rackmount cases - How big/small?


Jan 26, 2005
I'm building a PC to use for audio recording/processing, and I want a rackmount case to go with my other equipment. Question is - How big does it need to be? I'd love a 2U case, but am I letting myself open for problems with a smaller case? Here's the setup I'm planning:

Asus P4C800E motherboard/P4 3GHz CPU with Zalman CPU cooler
Seagate 80 Gb SATA HDD
Seagate 160 Gb SATA HDD
Zalman ZM400A PS
Lite On 1633S DVD drive

Echo Layla PCI audio interface
generic video card

I notice that the 2U rack cases have the "riser card" adaptors for placing the PCI cards horizontal. The 3U cases have the PCI cards vertical. Does this make a big difference? Are the riser card adaptors a big PITA? Thanks!!


Sep 15, 2002
It can pretty much be as small as you want it to be, lol. 2U would probably be the best though, not to small, not to big.

I think most riser cards that come with rackmount cases are for 64bit pci slots. I'm not sure how they will work in a 32bit slot. If you found a case with a 32bit riser card or found a 32bit riser card that will work with the case you want you should be ok.

<A HREF="http://www.folken.net/myrig.htm" target="_new">My precious...</A>


Former Staff
I'd stick with 3U so you can use whatever slots your motherboard has, rather than be limitted by what riser cards are available.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>