The SilverStone CS280 is a compact mITX chassis that has 8x hot-swap bays. If you want to build a small form factor all-SSD array, there are not many choices on the market. In our SilverStone CS280 review, we are going to show off the features of the chassis. We are then going to build a NAS out of it, and see how it performs. Last year Patrick did an Improbable Hyper-Converged NAS build log based on the SilverStone CS01-HS which you can find here. This year, we are going to up the ante and fit not just an embedded product, but a full Intel Xeon Scalable system in the small chassis.
SilverStone CS280 Overview
Officially, the model we have is the SilverStone SST-CS280B that we are calling the “SilverStone CS280.” This is a small form factor (SFF) case that fits a mini-ITX or mini-DTX motherboard and holds eight 2.5-inch hot-swappable SAS or SATA drives. The case itself is bigger than most 8-bay pre-built NAS units we have reviewed. The extra depth of the CS280 is needed to hold a power supply that most NAS appliances do not use, as they use a power brick much smaller power supplies. This may not be readily apparent when looking online, so look at measurements, especially the depth.
The enclosure of the CS280 comes in at 221.5mm (W) x 176.7mm (H) x 301mm (D) or 8.72” (W) x 6.96” (H) x 11.85” (D). As we can see by the above pictures there are ample cooling vents along the sides and top of the case. Here are the key specs:
Two key specifications to look at here is the limitation of 65mm CPU Cooler height. At this size, a standard Intel Xeon E3/ Xeon E heatsink will work fine, but it is a tight fit for any aftermarket coolers. Next, is the PSU depth specification at 100mm, this falls into the SFX PSU size.
After opening the door we see the general layout of the front of the SilverStone CS280. At the top, we see the 8-bay 2.5” drive cage, below the HDD cage, are two 80mm cooling fans. Over to the left, we see two USB 3.0 ports, audio jacks, and power/reset buttons. There is also a status LED between the power/reset buttons.
One feature that we find a big plus is the removable air filter at the front of the two 80mm cooling fans built into the case. We also like the removable dust filter in front of the two cooling fans, this greatly aids in keeping inside the case dust free and allows for removal and cleaning.
Looking at the rear of the CS280 we see the knockouts for the PSU and motherboard I/O plate and two PCIe slots at the right. If you wanted a GPU or another double-wide PCIe device, you could do that here.
Looking at the 8-bay drive cage backplane, we see a simple design. This backplane requires two power connections via Molex connectors. Eight SATA connections are spread across the middle and power caps take up the majority of the space. The power caps can be bent around very easily so care should be taken to not break them.
As a quick aside, one can use SAS to SATA breakout cables, but we suspect most users will utilize SATA SSDs here.
With the cover removed we see how much space we have to work with inside the CS280. It is clear to see why an SFX power supply is needed as space is very tight. Another item one can probably see is that the cables are long, and we have not yet installed a PSU, nor the SATA cables for the backplane. This is a small chassis with a lot of cables inside.
The fans utilized are 3-pin units. We would have preferred here if the fans were 4-pin PWM units which allows easier control of the fan speed. In 2019, virtually every motherboard that one would use in this chassis has 4-pin fan headers.
Under the 8-bay 2.5” cage is a single 2.5” drive cage for an OS SSD. This cage can be removed if space is needed underneath. Technically, this makes the unit a 9x 2.5″ chassis.
The 8-bay 2.5” drive cage is removable to make installing the motherboard easier. We will need that as we get into our review and build a high-performance NAS in this device. Let us move on to getting our hardware installed and testing.