StarTech RK8OD Review 8U Open Frame Rack

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StarTech RK8OD Cover
StarTech RK8OD Cover

Today we have something a little bit different. For edge deployments such as offices, retail locations, and even some homes, a full rack is simply not necessary. Yet, there is still a need for some networking gear or even lightweight servers. That is exactly where the StarTech RK8OD comes in as an 8U open-frame 2-post rack for the edge. Years ago, we reviewed the 12U model in Startech 12U 19-Inch Desktop Open Frame 2 Post Rack (RK12OD) Review. It has taken some time, but now we have a smaller unit in the lab.

StarTech RK8OD Overview

The StarTech RK8OD is probably one of the least complex items we review on STH. The unit itself provides 8U of rack space with rack units clearly labeled. It comes in a small box with three horizontal pieces and two vertical rack posts. Dimensions are 16.1″ x 19.8″ x 11.5″ or 410mm x 503mm x 292mm (H x W x D) which has similar dimensions to the 12U model except that it is ~7″ or ~177mm shorter.

StarTech RK8OD Front View
StarTech RK8OD Front View

The unit only has 8 screws which makes it extremely easy to assemble. If you want to be extra secure, you could source your own nuts, but if you tighten the screws down it stays relatively sturdy. The unit is rated at up to 50kg or 110.5lb of carrying weight.

StarTech RK8OD 5 Piece And 8 Screw Construction
StarTech RK8OD 5 Piece And 8 Screw Construction

We should mention that when the rack is empty, it feels slightly malleable. Once you put a device in the middle of the 8U or higher, it begins to feel much sturdier. Here are a few of the MikroTik CRS line products we have reviewed recently.

StarTech RK8OD With Two Switches And An NVIDIA Titan RTX Box
StarTech RK8OD With Two Switches And An NVIDIA Titan RTX Box

One uses standard M5 cage nuts and screws to mount gear into the racks. The unit itself comes with 20 M5 screws and cage nuts which is enough for five pieces of gear. In theory, one wants at least 8U x 4 nut and screw sets per or 32 pieces of each. We wish Startech would include these, however, most 1U gear that comes with rackmount ears also comes with mounting hardware.

StarTech RK8OD Cable Management Compatible Sides
StarTech RK8OD Cable Management Compatible Sides

The side of the rack is very nice. It has additional holes on the side of the unit. These are absolutely great for adding nice cable management solutions along the side of the rack. Alternatively, one can also use Velcro or zip ties to keep cables tidy.

StarTech RK8OD With Two Switches And An NVIDIA Titan RTX Box Side
StarTech RK8OD With Two Switches And An NVIDIA Titan RTX Box Side

Another small, but nice feature is the rubber feet. The unit rests upon four removable rubber feet that sit at the bottom of the rack and help protect floors, desks, or other surfaces from the metal of the StarTech RK8OD.

StarTech RK8OD Rubber Feet
StarTech RK8OD Rubber Feet


StarTech RK8OD Video

We also have a short video from Patrick talking about this unit. If you want to check it out, here is the embed:

Final Words

This is certainly far from the fanciest item we have reviewed. At the same time, we have a lot of users who read STH and can use this type of solution in various places they manage. The bigger question is whether this unit makes sense from a cost perspective. The 12U unit has 50% more rack space at only a $10-15 premium. If those five inches/ 83mm of vertical height are too much, this unit makes more sense.

There are a number of add-ons such as shelves that greatly expand the usefulness of this setup. One item we noticed is that compared to the 12U model, the shorter 8U model was less prone to becoming unstable with top-heavy gear stacks. That may be a consideration for some users as well.

If you have a small stack of gear and want to get more organized, this is a great solution that will let you take advantage of an industry-standard mounting system.

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