Monday, May 27, 2013

1.3.5 Enclosure Selection

Posted by at Monday, May 27, 2013 Read our previous post

Any ATX casing can be the home of your NAS build. This is true provided you do not mind an enclosure that is twice the size of off shelve NAS and does not have HDD hot-swapping bays. But, I mind. =)

I didn't expect the NAS enclosure to be the most challenging component when I first started out my search. Believe it or not,  I took more than 3 weeks to confirm and purchase my NAS enclosure. I have spent more than 2 trips browsing around SLS (IT Mall) but the hunt was disappointing. Till date, I have yet come across an enclosure that suits my requirement and is available locally in Singapore. If you happen to know of any NAS enclosure that is available locally, do drop me a note. Now, let's take a look at my requirements:

1. Enclosure with 4 - 6 hot swappable HDD bays.
2. Affordable and below SGD $150.
3. As compact as possible; I don't need space for a normal sized PSU and a graphics card.

Shortlisted Enclosures
Mast C (my gang) said, "If there is no hot swap feature, it's a file server"

Haha...ok, after searching high and low, I have these enclosures shortlisted:

CFI A7879 Mini-ITX Server

4 hot swappable HDD bays, Mini-ITX, not avaliable in Singapore, China manufacturer.

G-Alantic - GA6301 

3 hot swappable HDD bays, 1 internal 3.5" HDD slot, Mini-ITX, not avaliable in Singapore, Taiwan manufacturer.

Fractal Design Node 304

NO hot swappable HDD bay, 6 internal 3.5" HDD slots, Mini-ITX, SGD $135, cheapest alternative.

Lian Li PC-Q25 

5 hot swappable HDD bays, 2 internal 3.5" HDD slots, Mini-ITX, EOS (End of sales).

Lian Li PC-Q18 

4 hot swappable HDD bays, 2 internal 3.5" HDD slots, Mini-ITX, SGD $185

At first, I have locked down my target on Lian Li PC-Q18. On yet another trip to SLS (IT Mall) to examine the actual product, I find PC-Q18 rather bulky and I'm kind of turned off by the half fuck hot swappable feature (need to remove side casing). I went back home and continued my search, determined to find something better. Indeed, my persistence paid off when I stumbled across U-NAS, a China company that provides cost effective NAS solutions.


The U-NAS NSC-600 is my most ideal NAS enclosure; 6 Hot swappable HDD bays, just perfect! When I thought I have landed my search this time, U-NAS replied they do not have available stocks for this model. I tried in vain to contact other possible sources, but news revealed that they have stopped producing this model for more than a year! My project has to go on and I decided not to wait, but go for my 2nd choice. 

My Pick - U-NAS NSC-400

I procrastinated on the enclosure decision for quite sometime, in hope of landing the NSC-600. I finally gave up hunting around and made a big gamble to buy U-NAS NSC-400 from overseas. There are a lot of uncertainties when you ship in a bulky item - transport cost, delivery schedule, buying from unknown source. I felt this is the best option and I went for it; crossing my fingers that the enclosure will arrive in 1 piece with no issues.

This NAS enclosure sets me back SGD $165 (excluding shipping) and is the most expensive component in my build.  I have certainly under estimated the cost of the NAS enclosure when I started this project! Below are the specs of the casing:

 Model  NSC-400
 Motherboard  Mini-ITX (17cm x 17cm)
 Material  Aluminum & Steel
 OS Tray  up to 2x 2.5" (optional)
 Hot-Swap  YES
 Hard Drive Tray  4x 2.5"/3.5" SATA Hot-Swap
 Case Fan  1x 12cm quiet fan
 Front USB  1x USB
 Switches  1x Power,1x Reset
 Net Weight  2.7KG
 Indicators  Power & HDD
 Dimensions  255mm x 190mm x 180mm

Lady luck smiled on me when my good bra-ther (brother that wears bra) offers to help me ship for free. Her generosity has greatly helped to reduce my build cost.

A very big thank you to Ah-Per, the next round of Moo-Ka-Ta is on me.

Updates - 6-6-2013
With good fate, I have linked up really well with the NAS enclosure seller since the purchase of NSC-400. If you embark on a journey to build your own NAS (BYON) and take keen interest in this enclosure, drop me an or PM. All for good will, I will help you acquire and ship it in to Singapore with no additional fees.


  1. Hi Jascent,

    I saw on the NSC400 that they have the PSU. Just curious why didnt you take up that option?
    Also, it say sold out on the website. Do you think you will still be able to ship them in?


    1. I prefer the PicoPSU for below reasons:
      i. More efficient power consumption than normal PSU
      ii. Tiny physical size
      iii. Silent / Fanless

      You can email me if you are keen to purchase it, I can try to help but no promises.

  2. hi, great great site!!! i think that this is the best!!! i'm trying to build my own nas (with little htcp capabilities) and i'd like to build it on a carrell wood without case. Do you think that there is bad thing? this is an image of my idea:

    what's the disavantages?

  3. hi, what's disavantages to use wood? i would like to insert mobo and ohter component directly on a plane wood: more air, more controll. this is my project:

    what do you think?? dangerous for fire?

    1. Wow...self made wooden case? I think it's worth having a go; I have no concern on fire hazards except that it might be kind of bulky. If size is not your concern, why not? since it reduce the costings. Also, wood may turn mouldy if the environment is humid, take note.

      I would love to have a look at it if you build it. =)


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