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iStar D-Storm D300 3U 19-inch Rackmount Chassis Review
iStar D-Storm D300 3U 19-inch Rackmount Chassis Review - PCSTATS
The midnight-black iStar D-Storm D300 3U chassis measures 20.8" deep, 19" wide and 5.25" high. It weighs about 12kg empty.
 79% Rating:   
Filed under: Cases Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: iStar Aug 10 2006   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Cases > iStar D-Storm D300

When it comes time to roll out a computer server that will operate from within an Internet Data Center (IDC) or hosting facility, sending over a mid-tower computer case that looks like the re-incarnation of a Voltron character is not going to go over well - even if it's packed with the latest & greatest computing technology.

Hosting centers are secure locations which offer direct connections to the internet, housing their clients computer servers in climate controlled rooms with special fire suppression, air conditioning, power backup, and physical security measures put into place. These aspects effectively dictate that hosting space for computer servers is expensive, so the more computers the facility can squeeze into a given space, the better. Desktop PC cases are notoriously un-compact, full of wasted space and poorly suited for environments like this.

In hosting facilities, individual computers are stacked one on top one another in 7-foot tall 19" wide metal framed racks. Each individual computer is contained in specially shaped cases that conform to standardized dimensions, and specific rack mounting criteria. These 19" rackmount cases come in several vertical thicknesses which are based upon a standard 1.75" Unit, or "U". The smallest of which is the 1U rackmount chassis, and the largest is generally a 5U chassis. Blade server systems, and other enterprise equipment like UPS battery backups may be as thick as 10U, but for most situations a 1U, 2U, 3U or 4U chassis is going to be the norm.

The modern day 19" four-post server rack evolved from the days when telephone companies operated thousands of telecommunications switches, each mounted atop the next in two-post switch racks to save floor space. A typical modern four-posted server rack stands 7-feet tall, has 42U of useable space, and offers a convenient standard with which to house and deliver electrical power, cooling, network connectivity, and administrative access. Desktop cases on the other hand are bulky, difficult to gain access into, and are a really poor use of space...

Most commercial rackmount computer servers use proprietory chassis layouts, with proprietory cooling systems, proprietory hot-swapable drive caddy's and the like. None of which is very helpful if you're intent on building a custom computer server system from off the shelf hardware. A small handful of companies manufacture bare 19" rackmount chassis, and for the purposes of this review PCSTATS will be examining iStar's offering, the D-Storm D300.

iStar D-Storm D300 3U Rackmount Chassis

Instruction booklet, power cord, case mounting hardware (screws and PCB stands), zip ties, (6) I/O slot fillers, keys.

The iStar D-Storm D300 is a 20.8" deep 3U steel chassis that will accommodate a standard ATX2.0 motherboard, up to four 3.5" hard drives, and four 5.25" devices. The D-Storm D300 features two lockable vented aluminum swing-out doors that protect the drive bays from unauthorized user access (with integral dust filters no less) and two 60mm exhaust fans at the rear for maintaining reasonable internal case temperatures. The case mounts into a rack via two front brackets (cage nuts and screws not included), and tapped holes along the side of the chassis can alternatively be used with rails for easier pull-out access. The rails are not included.

The top cover of the iStar D-Storm D300 is secured with two screws at either side and a tooless captive thumbscrew at the rear. The top cover has abundant venting along the back edge, but once installed into a rack that will more than likely be blocked by whatever is above. The anodized aluminum doors at the front of the D-Storm D300 incorporate removable dust filters that can be rinsed out and reused when the dust bunnies get too thick.

The midnight-black iStar D-Storm D300 3U chassis measures 20.8" deep, 19" wide and 5.25" high. It weighs about 12kg empty, although the unit we received for testing came equipped with a 300W power supply installed.

The two aluminum handles at either side of the front of the chassis make maneuvering it into and out of a rack reasonably comfortable when the chassis is fully installed with heavy computer hardware. The handles are comfortably curved along the edges, and powder coated black for a solid grip that should stand up to years of IT abuse.

The chassis itself is made from 1.2mm thick steel which has been Zinc-coated for corrosion resistance. The iStar D-Storm D300 3U chassis retails for about $220USD ($250CDN, £115GPB), remarkably inexpensive considering what these types of cases used to go for, and because it also ships with a power supply.

The printed manual included with the iStar D-Storm D300 3U case is brief, but well illustrated. The necessary motherboard mounting hardware is included, as well as keys for the case locks, a couple zip ties and some adhesive cable organizers. If you are so inclined, you can also get an optional fan speed controller with temperature sensor or a set of sliding rails to make mounting the D-Storm D300 3U chassis fit into a 19" rack a little more easily.

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Contents of Article: iStar D-Storm D300
 Pg 1.  — iStar D-Storm D300 3U 19-inch Rackmount Chassis Review
 Pg 2.  Front Control Panel and Airflow
 Pg 3.  Case Details and Notable Features
 Pg 4.  User Access and Features
 Pg 5.  Inside a 19-inch Rackmount Case
 Pg 6.  A worthwhile 'whitebox' 19-inch case?

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