mini-ITX Windows Server 2003 Home Server

Logic Supply Mini-ITX System with Casetronic C134

I recently built a really small and quiet home server that ran Windows Server 2003 based on a mini-ITX motherboard. It turns out you can build a great system in a very small package. The only down-side is that the really nice cases are pretty expensive compared to larger cases driving the total cost up.


The system I bought was a Casetronic C134 based system from LOGIC SUPPLY. With no OS, a 20gb hard drive and 512MB of memory (256MB would have worked fine, but I always like to go overboard on memory). The total cost was $503.50 without shipping.


This device will make a great infrastructure and/or automation server. The fact that it can only house a 2.5″ laptop hard drive means it’s not ideal as a storage server, although you can use external USB drives. If you want it to be a router, using either Windows’ built-in router/firewall support or ISA 2004 you could add a USB ethernet adapter.


Performance wise, it’s amazing how well Windows Server 2003 runs on a machine like this. Setup is quite slow, but once the OS is installed it is certainly fast enough for to support a small network. I tested it as a file server, an active directory server, DNS and DHCP server, and even with sharepoint.


casetronic c138 mini-itx case black 90wThe Casetronic C138 mini-ITX chassis has room for a 3.5″ hard drive as well as a single PCI slot. It would be killer if there was a case like this that had room for 2 3.5″ hard drives so you could enable RAID 1 mirroring via software in Windows. But, alas, I have not found one that was as “tight” as these Casetronic units. For example the Morex Venus 668 appears to fit the bill but is actually just as big as a Shuttle “cube” style computer. The mini-ITX mobo is tiny inside and there’s tons of wasted space.

© Charlie Kindel. All Rights Reserved.

4 comments


  1. How about the noise levels? Reasonable?

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    Have you checked out Shuttle?

    This case supports 2 – 3.5"

    http://us.shuttle.com/specs2.asp?pro_id=514

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    The Shuttle is huge (relatively), much more expensive, and very noisy. You don’t need anywhere near the horsepower for this sort of home server.

    The C135 is very quiet. I has a fan, but it is not lound. There are variants of this case that do not have fans…

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    For just a home fileserver the iomega nas 100d might be interesting too. It is delivered in a 160 Gb and a 250 Gb model.

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