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Mini ITX Case with room for 2 full hard drives (Reloaded)


Standard Member

First off I know this issues has been posted before, I tried to reply but I got the familiar 'thread too old message', so I'm resurrecting the thread, hope it doesn't bother anyone.

I'm trying to build some sort of HTPC as well -- specifically I'd like to build a NAS (with 2 x 3.5in HDDs) upon a platform which may be used as a HTPC as well (HDMI-enabled box, media center yada yada).

I've seen some 2-bay cases but they seem to be a bit "premium" and do not seem to allow for enough space for a ION Mainboard.

Let me describe the rig I would like to build :

2 x 3.5 in HDDs, 1TB 7200 rpm (Amazon.de)
1 x Zotac IONITX-A-E (Amazon.de)

That's it, the Mainboard has a fan and PSU, so it seems to be all in order I think. I don't care about a DVD drive as well. Now the question remains - Which Mini ITX Case to pick ?

I'm currently considering a JCP MI-102 (Official Site ; Amazon ; Internal View 1 ; Internal View 2). Sorry for the German articles, only the pictures are important. Yet I don't know if the envisioned HDDs will fit inside along the Mainboard.

I've tried sketching it up to see if it's possible (View 1, View 2, View 3), whereas

blue is the case,
purple is the Mainboard and
green is one HDD.

I've tried to pursue real values within the sketch.

Therefore my question would be : Will it fit ?

Seeing previous comments to the fallen thread which stated that a member had managed to fit 3 x 3.5in HDDs into a similar case, I'm eagerly awaiting your reply, thank you in advance !

P.S. : I've also found this Apex case to be quite nice, yet I can't order it in Germany, and mail forwarding would be quite costly..


Established Member
Hi there and thanks for the reference.
My case must be made by the same people. It looks too similar not to be. But it's a smaller design.

Physically, just looking at the dimensions, you can fit two drives into the case, but you need to turn it through 90 degrees. you would need to lay them alongside each other, and you would almost certainly need to manufature your own mountings for them. I can see no other way of fitting them in.

Other cases: You've currently opted for one of the smallest cases for the smallest form factor mobo, so you're really pushing the boundaries of what is possible. It's difficult to make recommendations without knowing your full criteria. For me, i had a rack to fit the HTPC into, so there were specific restrictions on height and depth. Aesthetically, i also wanted a HTPC that didn't look too much like a PC. I wanted something that looked more like AV kit. I had quite a small budget. Lastly, i had 3 HDD's to fit. With all those criteria i had maybe one or two cases to choose from.

If you have very limited space, you probably could not have used my antler case as it's somewhat bigger than the one you've shown.

One case i did look at, but chose not to, because it couldn't take 3 HDD was this one. I'm fairly sure it will take two HDD, and it's made by (IMO) the best case maker out there.

Over the last few months, i keep seeing this case whenever i walk into Maplins, and i think it looks really great (the first photo does not do it justice and it looks much better in the flesh).

At the other end, there is this one or this one, which has one official expansion slot, but it also has drive bays and a lot of room to build into. It also has NAS-type looks. The height would probably be more difficult to mount in a cabinet.

Some other things to consider:
2.5" drives -
They've moved on a fair bit in the last year and you can fit loads more in the same space. Although if you're using 1tb, then i guess, like me, you want to use up existing drives.

Overall space -
Although i can fit 6Tb at current drive capacities, I have 3.5Tb currently installed. I filled this space up about 5 months after building the device and since then have been priorisitising which media stays and which gets deleted. 1 single movie can be 13Gb and a HD collection, like Sopranos or James Bond, is well over 100Gb. So consider capacities well; the price of 2Tb drives is excellent value right now and will only get better.

Codec -
All i can say is BUY COREAVC. It's a fantastic product for this chipset and only costs £5.00.

Lastly, did you know that the new Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU have just been released, the ATOM/ION2. I've bought a Revo device for someone else, that uses it, but haven't had the chance to set it up yet. This doesn't only mean that there are better CPU's to aim for, but also that the old ones in the Zotac mobos should start falling in price.

Good luck.

[EDIT] Do you really mean that you want a NAS, or do you just want a networked PC with a lot of storage that you can share? I ask because a NAS has very specific NAS server software and usually doesn't run as an HTPC as well. A NAS dedicates far more of it's computing resources to intelligent file management, performance, security etc.
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