Home>Posts>Industrial IoT>Not Your Typical Mini-ITX Rackmount

Not Your Typical Mini-ITX Rackmount

By ·Categories: Industrial IoT·Published On: April 15th, 2010·5.8 min read·

We’re a technology company. So, obviously, we attract a fair amount of geeky engineers to our team who get extremely giddy when the opportunity arises for new product development. It’s actually an interesting process to observe: an Ikea-clad conference room populated by a bunch of technology optimists hashing out grand plans for world domination. You know the kind. “And what if we added this and made it work like this, and if we flipped that around and put another one of those in there, then, well… Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Alright, we’re not building Rome here (I know, I know!), but I can’t hide the excitement from seeing one of our product designs realized.

The SL1UR-B is a 1U Mini-ITX rackmount case that offers a lot of flexibility for storage, expansion, mounting, cooling, and power supply options. The goal was to create a basic, bare-bone configuration and let customers add on the accessories as needed and design a rackmount system that truly fit their requirements and their budgets.

The case has the following features:

  • Material: Cold-rolled steel
  • Color: black (other colors can be made upon request and with a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) 100 pieces)
  • Dimensions: 1U – 482 x 45 x 254 mm (18.97″ x 1.75″ x 10″)
  • 2x PCI slots (PCI riser cards not included)
  • CF slot with front access (CF adapter not included)
  • Front access to 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Features universal backplate
  • 2x PCI blanks with extra ventilation slats built in

Sl1ur-b Top View

The inside of the case is nice and roomy, but not too spacious—just big enough to fit all the necessary components.

sl1ur-b Back

The back panel shows the universal backplate, the dual PCI expansion slots and the empty space where you can either put an extra fan (fan bracket and hardware included with the case) or the ATX power supply.

Choose Your Own Power Supply

Onboard Power: In the past, we typically didn’t carry Mini-ITX mainboards with onboard power. All of our cases came with a power supply and customers would end up paying twice for a power source. Not ideal. But, a mainboard with onboard power is actually a pretty good solution because a case power supply typically makes up a large portion of the overall cost of a case and the price of a mainboard with onboard power is fairly comparable to non-onboard power mainboards. It also means that you get more space in the case if you don’t have to worry about a DC-DC board and all the cabling that comes with it.

We also have found that it is becoming increasingly unavoidable to carry mainboards with onboard power. Many of the mainboard manufacturers we work with are releasing designs featuring this characteristic. The only real drawbacks are possible power output restrictions and the inability to make your system automotive.

So, if you choose a mainboard with onboard power (and we have quite a few) with this rackmount case, the space where the ATX power supply would have occupied can be filled with a 3.5″ HDD or 2x 2.5″ HDDs. The total storage options for this configuration would be:

  1. Mainboard power source with 2x 3.5″ HDDs or
  2. Mainboard power source with 1x 3.5″ HDD and 2x 2.5″ HDDs, 0 or 1 PCI riser cards (depending on length and size) or
  3. Mainboard power source with 4x 2.5″ HDDs, 0 or 1 PCI riser cards (depending on length and size); this requires a 3.5″ to 2x 2.5″ HDD Adapter

ATX Power: Even though the majority of our mainboards and systems are energy efficient and require less than 60 W of power (depending on use and peripherals, you may need more or less), customers still like those larger ATX type power supplies. The biggest reason: they don’t like the AC Adapter hanging around off the back of the case. The SL1UR-B can be configured with a Seasonic 250-watt ATX power supply; the compromise there would be less space for storage. The options would look like this:

  1. ATX power supply with 1x 3.5″ HDD or
  2. ATX power supply with 2x 2.5″ HDDs, 0 or 1 PCI cards (depending on length and size) or
  3. ATX power supply with direct-plug solid state storage (IDE, SATA, USB), 1 or 2 PCI cards

Direct-Plug picoPSU: And then, of course you have the picoPSU as an option. This is a direct-plug ATX power supply that has an incredibly small footprint and offers a wide range of options (e.g., wide input voltage, Intelligent Automotive). If you take this route, the configuration options would be:

  1. picoPSU with 2x 3.5″ HDDs or
  2. picoPSU with 1x 3.5″ HDD and 2x 2.5″ HDDs, 0 or 1 PCI riser cards (depending on length and size) or
  3. picoPSU with 4x 2.5″ HDDs, 0 or 1 PCI riser cards (depending on length and size); this requires a 3.5″ to 2x 2.5″ HDD Adapter

How Would You Like to Mount That?

We allowed for flexibility with the mounting options, too. For customers who just want a case with expansion, storage, and low-profile design, but are not placing the system in a rack, side mounting brackets can be selected as an add-on. The case comes standard with mounting ears that are reversible to allow for mounting the system in a rack with either the front panel or back panel being accessible from the front. This is certainly handy if convenient access to the back panel I/O is critical to your application.

Keep It Cool

In the past, we’ve seen 1U rackmount cases with solid feature sets but terrible cooling and airflow management. The SL1UR-B comes standard with two 40x40x20 ball-bearing fans with space for two additional 40x40x20 fans on the same bracket. If using either a mainboard with onboard power or a picoPSU power supply, another fan can be placed where the ATX power supply goes. The ATX unit will have a fan of its own, if that is the power solution of choice.

If using four cooling fans, just be aware of the number of fan headers on the mainboard. Most have two, many of the Jetway boards have three. In most cases, you’ll need at least one fan splitter/extension cable, maybe more.

Make It Your Own

Branding options also are available and pretty straightforward. Because this case is designed for appliance computing, we expect customers to re-brand it so it can be re-sold as a final solution. There’s a beveled area on the front panel of the case that is designed to be covered up with a label. This also allows the front I/O to be hidden from public access. The entire case can be painted, too. There is an MOQ of 100 for custom painting. However, the labeling option is far more affordable and doesn’t require you to order all the units up front.

In summary, our goal when designing this case was to offer customers the ability to custom tailor a rackmount solution with just the right items, without having to pay for unnecessary components. We hope you like as much as we do!

Get the Latest Tech Updates

Subscribe to our newsletters to get updates from OnLogic delivered straight to your inbox. News and insights from our team of experts are just a click away. Hit the button to head to our subscription page.


About the Author: Kristina Bond

Kristina Bond was the Marketing Director for Logic Supply from 2007 to 2012. She graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia with an M.F.A. in photography and a B.F.A in photography and communication from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. While technology and Logic Supply remain close to her heart, she moved on from the company in June 2012 to do marketing for the restaurant industry. To get in touch with Kristina, please contact kristina@kristinadrobny.com.

More Articles