For a long time, the idea of having a home storage server meant compromising on price, performance, or form factor. The Silverstone CS01-HS is building something that a few years ago was improbable: a high capacity, low power mITX NAS in an attractive case. Although this case was released a few years ago, we saw it in a new light at Computex 2018 and Silverstone sent us one for review. When this case was released, the embedded motherboards for the Atom C2000 and Intel Xeon D-1500 lines all had up to six SATA connections. Now, the successor Intel Atom C3000 “Denverton” and Intel Xeon D-2100 chips are out with more SATA I/O and 10GbE, making the CS01-HS with 8x storage bays a more useful platform.
Silverstone CS01-HS Overview
The Silverstone CS01-HS series has two models: the SST-CS01B-HS and the SST-CS01S-HS. Our review unit is the SST-CS01B-HS with the “B” denoting the black finish. From a size perspective, this is a mITX only chassis. Key dimensions for reference are 8.29″ x 12.68″ x 8.27″ (WxHxD). That yields a relatively petite form factor.
The pictures of the Silverstone when the unit is unpopulated look great. Here is the top view. If you are so inclined, you could stick aftermarket rubber feet on the side of the chassis and also make this the front/ rear of the chassis.
This is the view that shows off almost every feature, save the power button and LEDs. The Rear I/O panel has a standard space for a motherboard I/O panel. There is an external power supply connector that bridges to the internal PSU. It has a USB 3.0 “front panel” dual port setup. In the background of this shot, one can see the 120mm cooling fan.
The big feature though is the 6-bay 2.5″ hot-swap cage. These six bays pop out and provide externally hot-swappable SATA or SAS connectivity, via a 7-pin connector. Our review unit was able to handle SAS3 12gbps speeds using a short 0.3m SFF-8643 to 7-pin breakout cable. We did not get to test SAS3 with a longer cable but that is impressive for a several-year-old backplane design.
The top of the case has what we will call “handles” which are metal pieces that arch over the case. There is another metal bar which allows cables terminating at the rear I/O panel to be hidden in the rear of the chassis.
Inside there are two more 2.5″ trays. These are not connected via backplanes so they need to be wired manually. The PSU mounts in the bottom corner of the chassis.
The bottom of the chassis has a massive 120mm fan. Our review unit had a 3-pin 1200rpm fan with a sub 20dba noise rating. This is great, as noise can be an issue. We would have preferred if this fan were a PWM controlled 4-pin fan. Still, for the vast majority of use cases, in such a small chassis this provides plenty of airflow. The fan has a nice filter mechanism which keeps the setup relatively clean. Our hyper-converged NAS is meant to be accessed remotely and in a home or office environment.
This orientation has an interesting impact. The airflow of the case for the CPU and motherboard is much better than in many competitive offerings, even those by companies like Supermicro when using server-style mITX embedded motherboards.
The metal case was nice. We would have liked metal drive trays or screw-less drive trays, but the overall case feels like a winner. We wanted to take this piece a step further and actually see what the Silverstone CS01-HS can do. While mITX form factors are compact, they often sacrifice power and capabilities. We had a feeling the CS01-HS could support a surprisingly big platform and so we decided to try it. For this, we are introducing the Improbable Hyper-Converged NAS. Check out more about that build on the next page.