When the developers preview of Windows 8 came out, I download and installed it in a couple of different VM systems. Because I was running it not only in a VM, but I had to operate through remote desktop, the navigation experience turned out to be a bit less than desirable. I had some extra hardware around so I wanted to put together a small system to test it with, and when I was done with the testing, I wanted to be able to repurpose the hardware to a small server for my daughter to replace her V1.
I had most of the hardware I needed to build the system except for a case. I wanted a small/mid case that would not only suit my needs now, but hold enough drives so when I was done it would make a great server case. I set a max budget of $120 and wanted something that held at least 6 drives. After my exhaustive search, I came up the Lian-Li PC-A04B. This case actually holds 7 drives, has two 120mm fans in the front and one 120mm fan on the top. The construction was signature Lian-Li with vibration mounts for the drives, great air flow, and excellent over overall construction. I was able to get the case from Newegg for $109 so it met all the criteria I set for myself and more.
The dimensions on the Newegg site are wrong and the actual case size is listed below. Although it fits somewhere between a mini tower and a mid tower, It surprisingly small for a 7 drive case.
(W) 7.40 x (H) 15.19 x (D) 18.11
(W) 188mm x (H) 386mm x (D) 460mm
As you can see from the pictures, it has a bottom mount power supply, and a USB 3 motherboard header. There is also a 80mm air vent in the rear providing an inlet of outside air blowing across the CPU and out the top of the case.
The case is actually very roomy and holds a Micro ATX board, power supply, and of course 7 drives along with two 5.25 in bays for either drive expansion or a couple of DVD drives.
Drive Cages are removable so the drives can be assembled outside the system. Tool-less would have been nice but I really like the sturdiness of their vibration mounting systems.
Two tool-less 5.25 drive bays.
One 120mm fan top mounted.
Audio, USB 3, and eSata connections along with the power and reset switch sit at the top of the case.
Below is what the completed project looked like when it was done. It is a great blend of a smaller size, tons of drive space, great construction, and excellent air flow. Throw in a RAID card and 6 more drives in this thing and you have got yourself a killer server. If you are looking for a server case that you are going to put in your living room and not take up too much room, or maybe a case for your desktop PC and plan to use a Micro-ATX board, definitely check this one out as I was very impressed with this case.