OK..cheap. I’ll say it…cheap DIRT cheap. I am looking for an inexpensive drive chassis for my four Hitachi drives that I have currently installed in my G5 via Popsicle sticks (see, I want dirt cheap options)…and four more that I might possibly buy. Eight drives. I am looking for an 8-drive SATA chassis…cheap. Sure, there are the usual suspects for cases: Burly Box, Sonnet, Weibetech, D-RAID. But for the 8 bay Burly you have to shell out $1075. For the other solutions, you’d have to buy two chassis for $400-$450 each…approaching $1000. Now, why are these so expensive? All they do is hold drives, cool them and supply them power. Why is that so expensive?

Really…that is a question. I would like feedback.

Well, here is a solution that I and Patrick Sheffield, my partner in DIRT CHEAP crime, have been mulling over.

We looked at a couple PC cases. Yes…PC cases. Cases that you bought to start building your own PC. They have power and they have cooling. Here are the two we are looking at:

This one costs $30…

10-Bay ATX Case

Then there is this one, which is said to run quiet…thus the $90 price tag:

Quiet Super Mid Tower

Both are 10-bay machines…so up to 10 drives. The only drawback? The drives aren’t removable. They are mounted inside the case. I think these must be server cases…why else would you need 10-bays? ANYWAY…why not use these to store, power and cool the drives? Then I’d send the SATA cables from my computer into this one and connect them to each drive. That should work, right? Heck, it would be worth $30 just to test this theory out. BUT…again, between projects.

Want removable trays? Well…lookee here:

ICY DOCK
ISTAR Cage

These would be put in the front slots of the cases that I posted, as they both have 3 5.25″ slots. Then there is additional cooling for those 5 drives. PLUS…the quiet tower has SIX front slots, so I can put in two of these removable tray chassis into the front alone!

Am I just being a basement-level hacker with this? Tell me, what are the professional chassis other than a place to mount the drives with power supply and cooling? Or is there more involved.

Wait, I only have an 8-port SATA card, the Tempo 4+4. How am I going to control 10 drives? Hmmm…need a port multiplier…this one is $99:

Coolgear Port Multiplier

Then I might need a new SATA controller card that is Port Multiplier aware for $265:

Tempo SATA X4P

So for less that $1000 I can get a 10-drive port multiplied chassis and controller card…just about the cost for the chassis only if you go the pro route. So a savings of about $300? Is that worth it…for 10 drives? It is cheaper if you just go the 8-drive route.

OK…talk amongst yourselves…BUT HERE. I wanna see comments.