The need to rack mount my gaming rig has existed for the last year or so since moving into my house. The primary roadblock for this project is finding a chassis that’s compatible with the parts in my rig.
Currently my computer consists of the follow:
- EVGA CLC 240 (with 4 fans in a push/pull configuration)
- Fractal Meshify C
- EVGA 1000w P2 PSU
- EVGA 3090 FTW 3 Hybrid
- Trident Z 3600 CL14 32GB
- 2TB HDD (Mass storage)
- 3 SSDs for Games and Applications
- Two top mounted intake fans
Finding a chassis that can house all these parts succesfully while also proving the proper airflow needed to keep everything cool is difficult. This project needs to be accomplished for as little money as possible, so a custom Protocase chassis is out of the question (as an aside, LinusTechTips custom Protocase chassis starts at $1123.77). I have also been unable to find a rack mount chassis that looks decent enough while also fitting within the constraints of my rack.
I have a standard network rack that measures 19″ in width so I am unable to put the Enthoo Evolv in there as it measures over 19″ in height (it would lay on its side so its height becomes its width). I cleaned out the rack to give as much vertical space as possible to fit a new case. This required me to decommission one of the Z420 Hypervisor hosts I had in there and move my UPS to outside of my rack. This freed up 6U worth of space, and should allow me to fit a case less than 263mm in height (again, case will be on its side so the width of the case becomes the height when its in the rack)and no wider than 447mm so that it slides into the rack from the front/rear (else it won’t fit).
I’ve done some research over the last few months, and right now it looks like the Fractal Meshify S2 fits the bill pretty well. The case is 233mm in height and 448mm in width. This allows some of the RGB glowy-goodness to shine through the top glass panel while also fitting in between the posts in the rack. The front panel is a steel mesh and should help keep things fed with fresh air.
One of the necessities for the case is that the back panel is a flat piece of metal. If the back panel is glass I run the risk of damaging it as I slide it in and out of the rack. Luckily, the Meshify S2 offers a front glass panel and a rear steel panel so this works out perfectly.
One thing I almost forgot is just how far the computer is moving from my desk. Because I’ll be moving it about 5-6 ft I will need a solution to connect my monitors and peripherals up again.
For this I need the following:
- Two 10-15ft DP cables
- Four 8ft USB extension cables (or a high quality USB hub with a long enough cable)
- One 8ft 3.5mm extension cable.
- Cables ties and Zip Ties.
Fractal Meshify S2
When the case arrived I had to remove some pieces from it in order for it to slide neatly into my rack.
Fractals site states that it is 233mm without protrusions, so the case feet, bottom air filter, and air filter brackets had to be removed.
The feet have rubber pads on the bottom, so these will need to be pulled back so that you can access the screws that hold the feet in place.
Once the feet are removed I had to remove the bottom air filter. The air filter slides into four small brackets. Luckily the brackets can be removed by pulling up (there is a plastic pin that holds them in place) and sliding the brackets backwards.
It seems like this was designed with the thought that people might want to put this in a rack. The back panel is steel and not glass so that allows you slide the computer in and out without worrying about scratching or cracking a back glass panel. The air filter brackets are not riveted in place either and can be easily installed and removed.
Once the case was prepped, and the old parts removed from the old case, I installed everything in the new case, did some cable management, and booted up.
Luckily, everything turned on without issue. I installed the case in the rack, then ran the cables from the peripherals to the back of the case.