Home>Posts>I/O Embedded & IoT, I/O HUB>The Chenbro ES34069 Case Review, Part 2: The Perfect Mainboard?

The Chenbro ES34069 Case Review, Part 2: The Perfect Mainboard?

By ·Categories: I/O Embedded & IoT, I/O HUB·Published On: November 5th, 2008·14.7 min read·

Update 9/2/2011: Unfortunately, despite its continuing popularity, the Chenbro ES34069 has been discontinued by the manufacturer. We are currently in the process of bringing in a replacement product, and expect to see it next month.

Update 5/27/2011:  It’s been quite a while since this article was originally posted, but it’s still one of our most popular.  Because of the ongoing interest, we’ve decided to bring the ES34069 back in stock, with the 180W power option as standard.

Additionally, we’ll be adding several updated systems based on this case over the next few weeks.  We should have an Atom D525/ICH9R system up next week, with a Core i5/i7/P4500 and AMD Fusion options to follow soon.  All will have 5-6 SATA (and mSATA PCIe Mini Card SSD support on the Fusion board) ports with onboard RAID to take full advantage of this case’s storage options.

When we first brought in the Chenbro ES34069 NAS case, we were a little unsure as to how popular it would be with our customers. After all, it is extremely large for a Mini-ITX chassis, and rather power hungry (for a small form factor platform) and is a little more highly priced than some of our core cases.  However, we were pleasantly surprised.  The Chenbro ES34069 has been selling regularly and steadily for several months due to its unique feature set and excellent design.

The Case

ES34069 Case

Kristina initially reviewed the Chenbro ES34069 back in March of this year, outlining its (considerable) feature set and impressive build quality.  She also designed a basic NAS system using the IEI KINO-690S1 mainboard.  However, since the KINO-690S1 was our only AMD board with a socketed processor, and because demand for it was unfortunately rather low, we no longer carry the board or the processor. Thus, it became necessary to find an alternative mainboard, and hopefully one that could truly take advantage of the massive storage capabilities and extended functionality of the Chenbro chassis.

Unfortunately, with the KINO-690S1 gone, our board choices were limited. The VIA EPIA SN series had the requisite 4 SATA ports; but its USB headers were in an awkward location, preventing use of the Chenbro’s 4-in-1 Card Reader.  Also, the SN has a PCI-express x16 slot instead of the standard PCI, thus preventing the use of the Chenbro PCI riser card.

And, while the SN18000 is VIA’s fastest mainboard in terms of processing power, many customers have preferred the horsepower provided by an Intel dual-core solution for intensive applications like HD playback and content streaming. Overall, the SN is a fine low-power solution for this application, but it simply cannot take advantage of the full list of features this chassis has to offer. None of our other currently available boards have the requisite 4 SATA ports needed to really take advantage of the four hot-swappable SATA drive bays.

The Board


Enter the Gigabyte GA-6KIEH-RH. I had seen pictures of a prototype of this board at Computex earlier this year, and was intrigued by the board’s wide range of connectivity, its quality components, and Gigabyte’s solid brand name. Now that the 6KIEH has entered full production, we are working with Gigabyte’s embedded division to carry them on our Web site.  It is based on the Intel GME965 chipset, which supports Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile Socket P processors from the Santa Rosa refresh and uses the Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics solution. Thus, it should have plenty of horsepower for HD video playback and content streaming/backup.

The GA-6KIEH-RH mainboard is one of the most full-featured Mini-ITX mainboards I have ever seen. It has a heretofore unheard of five SATA ports, four of which can be linked in a variety of RAID configurations, including RAID 0,1,5, and 10 with the onboard Silicon Image 3114 RAID controller.  This RAID controller, typically included in outboard hardware RAID card solutions, is an excellent feature for an NAS system.

The board also has the requisite PCI slot, in addition to a Mini PCI and a PCIe Mini card slot with a unique tool-less locking bracket. Both USB headers are well within reach of the short card reader cable, and there is an IDE channel available for a slimline optical drive as well as any additional storage you might need. On the bottom edge of the board below the IDE port lies an extremely low-profile CF card slot, thoughtfully designed so that the card is accessible even after the board is installed.  Thankfully, this bottom-mounted component is quite slim and does not seem to cause as many compatibility headaches as most bottom-mounted CF and Mini PCI slots typically cause with our cases.

Backpanel I/O

On the back panel, we have a full suite of video connections: VGA, DVI-D, YPbPr (up to 1080i), and HDMI (up to 1080p) as well as an S/PDIF coaxial audio connector. This means that a Chenbro solution using this board could make an excellent HTPC or multimedia server.  The dual Gigabit LAN ports support this, allowing high-definition media streaming, and the four USB ports (plus four more through headers) provide plenty of peripheral connectivity. Gigabyte even thoughtfully provides a punch-out hole on the backplate for a wireless antenna or a TV Tuner card.

The Build

Armed with this strong base, in an effort to build a full-featured NAS/media server system I gathered the following components:

Case: Chenbro ES34069
Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-6KIEH-RH
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 2.4 GHz processor
Memory: 2x 2 GB Emphase Industrial DDR2 667 DIMMs for a total of 4 GB (3.25 GB recognizable)
CPU Cooler: Coolermaster EPN-41CSS-01 Core 2 Duo Mobile CPU Cooler
Optical Disc Drive: Panasonic CW-8124-B Slot-Load Slimline CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
System Drive: Seagate 80GB 2.5” SATA HDD (7200 RPM)
Storage Drives: 4x Seagate 3.5” 80GB SATA HDD (feel free to invest in larger sizes as needed)
Accessories: Chenbro 4-in-1 Card Reader; Qcom 802.11g Mini PCIe Wireless Card, Antenna + Pigtail Cable

Building a system in the ES34069 is a complex task. The case has been described by some of our build team as “over-engineered” for a reason. Certainly, it is durable and well-constructed, and every component is secured to the case by a plethora of screws, clips, and connectors. Components are often locked into place behind other components, and connectors can be hidden underneath or behind brackets.  This means that any components installed out of order will result in you assembling and disassembling parts of the case multiple times during the system build… as I discovered during my initial compatibility test!

Thus, planning and thinking everything through is even more important with a Chenbro build than with many of the other systems we sell here at Logic Supply. If you really want to spare yourself the trouble (and it can be a lot of trouble) we do offer a “Build and Test” service where we will assemble your system ourselves, as well as run a full CPU burn and memory test.  Check our FAQ for more information about the “Build and Test.”

Front Panel

After removing the case side panel and sliding the motherboard tray out a few inches, the most important and delicate step is removing the front panel. After removing the four hot-swap hard drive trays, it is necessary to pop loose the five plastic clips that hold the front panel in place. With some units of this case, this is relatively simple; with others, I have found that it can be necessary to loosen the clips from the back.

Unfortunately, loosening them from the back requires a lot of work; you have to remove the mainboard tray entirely (which includes threading all of the cables through the cable management holes,) remove the DC board, then pop out the lower pair of SATA backplane boards in order to reach the clips from behind.  If you are not careful when removing the front panel, you will break the clips that attach it to the case, preventing it from locking in place properly ever again.

Fully Assembled ES34069

Regardless, once the front panel is off, installing the 4-in-1 card reader requires removing both brackets that hold the optical drive in place.  Once that is completed, it is a simple matter to attach the card reader to the appropriate slot with a pair of screws, then plug in the data cable that connects it to a USB port on the mainboard.

Next, I recommend installing the 2.5” system drive while the optical drive brackets are still detached and out of the way. It mounts by popping it into place so that the screw holes on the drive line up with a pair of extrusions on the inside of the front panel.  The drive is then secured with a pair of small screws.
Once this system drive is in place, the optical drive bracket can then be screwed back into place. Then, the optical drive itself can be snapped into place in its removable tray (it locks in with no screws!) and slid into position. The IDE adapter board screws to the back of the drive with a pair of included screws, and then it’s a simple matter to run an IDE cable from the adapter board to the mainboard. I used a round cable to ease cable management woes.

Mounting the mainboard to the mainboard tray is thankfully quite simple, and connecting all of the various cables to the onboard headers is made easy thanks to Gigabyte’s thoughtful labeling and color scheme.  Unfortunately, the ES34069 has a lot of extra LEDs to monitor LAN activity and HDD usage for each individual drive, but there are no headers for most of these LEDs so I just connected the primary HDD and Power LED connectors to the appropriately labeled pin headers on the board and routed the other connectors out of the way.

With the system drive, mainboard, and 4-in-1 card reader in place, I could re-attach the mainboard tray. (Don’t forget to replace any brackets or SATA backplane boards you removed in order to get to the faceplate clips!)  From there, it’s a simple matter of connecting the various onboard cables to the board connectors.  Make sure that the case’s four red SATA cables (labeled 1 through 4) are plugged into the four purple SATA connectors on the mainboard, as those are the four ports connected to the Gigabyte board’s internal RAID controller. The SATA 2.5” system drive connects to the yellow SATA port on the board, and the included SATA power to Molex plug provides power to the system drive.  The 4-in-1 card reader cable plugs into one of the yellow USB pin headers, and the front panel USB cable attaches to the other.

Top View of ES34069

I installed a Qcom Wireless LAN 802.11b/g PCIe Mini network card and wireless antenna and pigtail at this point.  Conveniently, Gigabyte has included an appropriately-sized antenna punch-out on the backplate for a standard SMA antenna connector… this will support everything from TV tuner inputs to wireless LAN.  After all the onboard cabling is connected, it’s merely a matter of routing cables around the sides of the board and out of the way of the CPU cooling fans and venting holes, then snapping the front and side panels back into place.

The System

Chenbro 34069 Chassis

Voila! We now have an NAS (Network Attached Storage) or media server built. The HDMI and YPbPr outputs enable the system to interface with nearly any HDTV at up to 1080p resolution. The coaxial S/PDIF will send 6-channel audio to many home theater receivers. And, with 4 3.5” drives, you will have plenty of storage for media files… you can even use the optical drive to digitize your audio and video media collection so you don’t have to change DVDs or CDs.

If you are more interested in the business applications of a small NAS like this Chenbro/Gigabyte system, its small size, relatively low power use, and configurable RAID controller create a secure, power-efficient data server that can be placed in a corner and forgotten. You can even install a light OS such as Windows XP Embedded or Ubuntu Linux on a CompactFlash card, install it in the slot on the bottom of the mainboard, and leave the system to run as a backup appliance.

System Testing

Unfortunately, there is no current driver support for Windows Vista for the onboard Silicon Image 3114 RAID controller, so if you’re hoping to get a Vista Home Premium HTPC (Home Theater PC) set up, you’re out of luck till December, which is when Gigabyte has told me that they hope to have the appropriate drivers ready.  This means that installing the RAID drivers can be bit of a headache if you don’t have a floppy drive handy as Windows XP requires that any third party RAID controllers be installed via a floppy drive prior to installing the operating system.

Since the ES34069 has no connector (or place) for a floppy drive and I have no USB floppy drive on my test bench, I was unable to get a RAID array running in time for this post. Thus, I have not been able to measure the real hard disk performance that such a setup can offer. However, I could test the basic functionality of the system, as well as it’s performance using JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) instead of RAID.

I am not a big fan of system benchmarking, as it is a drawn-out and slightly bothersome process that can often offer inconclusive (or biased) results that just aren’t useful when evaluating a system for a specific purpose.  So, I have put together a small set of more “real-world” tests to get a basic idea of how well this system might perform in the sort of situations and conditions it might be subjected to.

Finally, I was not really able to effectively put together a networking test for the system, as evaluating such a setup would depend on a myriad number of factors not necessarily based on the capabilities of this specific unit. The dual Gigabit LAN connectors featored on this mainboard should offer plenty of network capacity; indeed, it is extremely likely that other components of the system would cause a performance bottleneck before the LAN when faced with taxing file transfers.

Test 1: CPU Burn in a Sealed Box

Because storage or media systems such as this one are usually tossed into a corner, a cabinet, a closet, or a sealed entertainment center, it is worth determining whether or not the system can handle heavy-duty operations for an extended period of time in a small, closed environment with little airflow.

For this test, I used our own in-house testing software, which has a CPU burn functionality that stresses a CPU far beyond what is considered a normal operating load.  This software is normally used to test all of our outgoing completed systems, and is designed to catch systems that could have thermal problems.

To simulate the sealed environment of a cabinet, I placed the system in a small, sealed enclosure, and left it overnight in a standard CPU burn. When I came back this morning to check on it, the onboard temperature reporting software reported an operating temperature of 62 degrees C on the CPU and a system temperature of 45 degrees C, which is within our operating temperature requirements for the system components.  Since the CPU burn stresses the heat-producing parts of the system far more than almost any real-world application would, I would certainly say that the system has passed.

Test 2: Video Playback (HD and DVD)

Since one conceivable home use for this system is as a media server/HTPC, it is worth determining how strong video playback performance can be overall. During full-screen playback of a 720p .wmv video file, CPU usage maxed out at around 12% overall, and showed less than 50 MB of system memory in use throughout the file’s playback. Thus, although I wouldn’t use the onboard Intel GMA X3100 graphics to play high-end games, it appears to be more than sufficient for video playback.

Playing a standard DVD on the system was a similar story. Using VideoLan’s open source VLC player, CPU usage peaked at 15% and memory usage peaked at 60MB briefly. There were no skips or stutters. Unfortunately, I do not have a Blu-Ray drive handy to test true hi-definition streaming media; however, something tells me that this configuration should be able to handle even that taxing load.


After my (admittedly small) battery of real-world tests, I can conclude that this system really can make an excellent small form factor NAS, HTPC, or media server. The GME965 platform on the Gigabyte 6KIEH mainboard is more than capable of handling HD video and DVD playback, and the system kept within a reasonable operating temperature during its overnight CPU burn in an enclosed box.

Unfortunately, due to space constraints (this post is getting quite long already!), I was unable to detail the procedure for installing RAID on the system by “slipstreaming” the necessary drivers onto a Windows installation CD. This allows the installation of RAID drivers without using a floppy drive. I will cover this operation in a later post, when I can get into more of the details of setting up a RAID array in this system.


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  1. […] Logic Supply just did a great one on their blog using a Chenbro case and a Gigabyte Mini-ITX motherboard. It’s very well done and reflects the advanced understanding of the components and how they work together that make these articles so interesting. Being an online retailer they have access to all sorts of great gear as well as a more experience working with the parts than almost anyone else. It’s very interesting, and it’s got to be the best way I can think of to inform consumers about your products. […]

  2. Bob Boerner November 7, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Nice part two!

    Is Logic Supply going to offer any of the Intel branded socketed Mini-ITX boards with this case?



    I would love to order a unit with this board and an OpenSolaris install using ZFS. This negates the need for a RAID controller.

    Throw in a SSD as the system drive and you could have a very robust little unit.

    Just my 2 cents :-)

  3. corey November 7, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    I got this case a while back, but haven’t really done much with it, I thought it would be good to try setting it up as an OpenSolaris file server using ZFS, but I heard that the OS likes to have a 64 bit processor and memory space to run well. I was hoping that at some point a Via Nano board would come out with the right qualifications, but I haven’t seen any yet. Do you guys have any dates on when any Via Nano boards might be coming out? I guess this core duo board would work somewhat, but I’d rather have something I could add more memory too (like 8GB).

  4. dal November 8, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Thanks Josh,

    Nice, informative post. Good tip on the front panel, it very annoying to damage one’s brand new system because of a little carelessness. Am looking forward to the next in the series. Would be very interested if you can try Ubuntu on it.

  5. josh November 10, 2008 at 4:33 pm


    At this point, we do not have any plans to carry the Intel Fly Creek/Eklo mainboards because they use desktop processors and thus draw far more power and generate far more heat than most of our enclosures (the Chenbro excluded, of course) can really handle.


    The Core 2 Duo CPUs do support 64-bit operating systems; however, we do not sell any 64-bit operating systems so I have not tested them with this configuration.

    The first VIA Nano board is likely to come out sometime in the next month to month-and-a-half. However, I wouldn’t hold your breath for a Mini-ITX mainboard from VIA that will support 8GB of RAM. Even Intel’s top-of-the-line Mini-ITX solutions (both embedded and desktop) only support up to 4GB of memory.


    Ubuntu does work with this configuration, both on a 4GB CF card mounted in the slot on the underside of the board and in a standard hard drive.

    Thank you for all of the comments!

  6. mike November 10, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    How’s the noise level and the power consumption with this configuration? Is this something I can set up in the living room besides the TV, running 24/7 (doing light server tasks, bittorrent, etc.) without me hearing a thing and drawing a reasonable amount of power?

    If not, is there a fanless cpu / mini-itx board capable of HD playback? Preferrably with a decent amount of SATA ports?

  7. josh November 11, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Hi Mike,

    The system is pretty quiet overall. Certainly the Coolermaster CPU fan is impossible to hear outside the case, and the two case fans are quiet enough that it’s very difficult to hear from more than a few feet away. I wouldn’t call it ‘silent’ though… it’s a little quieter than your average desktop but not dramatically so.

    Power consumption is a little high compared to many of our bread-and-butter embedded systems, but the Chenbro case comes stock with a 120W power adapter, so it definitely draws less power than a standard desktop.

    One of the main selling points of the Gigabyte solution is that it has so many SATA ports in such a small configuration. The only other board we currently stock with four SATA ports is the VIA SN series, which I briefly touched on in the article. Keep an eye out for some MSI solutions with 4 SATA sometime in the coming months, though…

  8. Faw November 12, 2008 at 9:54 am

    That’s the exact configuration I was looking for (without the SATA disks and only 2GB), but the rest is perfect. I see on the website that there’s no ‘System Solution’ for this configuration, when will it be available?

  9. josh November 13, 2008 at 3:48 pm


    We are unsure at this time if we are going to set up a ‘System Solution’ for this mainboard. However, you can get in touch with one of our technical sales associates and they can work with you to set up a custom system, including build and test if you so desire. I know for a fact we have already sold at least one Chenbro+Gigabyte custom soution.

  10. Bob Boerner November 13, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Josh,

    How about the upcoming MSI board that you have listed on your site?

    The MSI IM-945GC with its Atom processor (which is 64-bit) and four SATA ports looks ideal for this case and OpenSolaris :-)

  11. josh November 14, 2008 at 11:26 am

    The MSI IM-945GC looks like it could certainly work in a lower-cost configuration. However, all “Core 2” Intel processors are 64-bit capable, and for a data server application I would strongly recommend using something with that sort of horsepower.

    The Atom is an excellent, efficient CPU; however, it is NOT a powerhouse. The Atom/945GC combination can play 720p video by taxing the CPU heavily, but it stutters and skips with anything more difficult and complex.

    For a small server, it might well work; but for anything requiring any reasonable amount of performance (such as network data storage for a mid- to large-sized network or HD video playback and streaming) I would definitely continue to recommend the Core 2 Duo solution.

  12. Frank Chu November 15, 2008 at 6:40 am

    I’m really interested in getting this case and try to overclock a bit. I’m just wondering, how much room do you have after you put in the 45mm cpu fan? Do you think there would be room for a slightly bigger heatsink/fan at 65mm?

  13. James November 17, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    I’m interested in buying this case and using a PCI-E TV Tuner or a PCI-E RAID controller. I have both of these already but I haven’t heard anything about using a PCI-E riser in these cases. Ideally I’d like to get a system with 5 SATA ports and migrate my current RAID5 to that and also install the PCI-E tuner card on a riser. Would this be possible with the Gigabyte or SN boards?

  14. josh November 18, 2008 at 10:20 am


    It looks like there’s plenty of clearance for a larger fan than the Coolermaster unit… there’s over an inch of space directly above it.


    Unfortunately, your ideal configuration in this case does not seem to be possible. The Gigabyte board has 5 SATA but no full-sized PCI Express slot, while the VIA SN has the requisite PCI Express slot but only 4 SATA ports.

    Additionally, there is no PCI-Express riser designed specifically for the Chenbro case. This is a problem because the Chenbro uses a special PCI riser that holds the card a specified height away from the board so that the PCI card will lock into an included internal bracket.

    The final problem is that a PCI card must be low-profile and have no rear I/O in order to fit in the case, as there is no opening in the back of the enclosure for the rear of the PCI card. The PCI expansion area in the Chenbro case seems to be designed to work with a very specific type of PCI RAID controller.

    So, unfortunately, it appears there would have to be some compromise with your configuration if you were to go with this solution.

    I hope this helps.

  15. Frank November 22, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks for the answer!

  16. James November 25, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks for the response.

    I’ve found that there exists a Mini PCI-E to 1x PCI-E adapter for about 90 dollars that is flexible. So given that I have a mounting bracket, my existing PCI-E RAID card would work in this manner. That’s quite a bit of money for an adapter, however.
    If the I/O of my TV card is too much of a burden it would be possible to modify the case and reroute the I/O somewhere else assuming I would be able to mount the card somewhere using that MiniPCIe to PCI-E 1x adapter.
    My biggest concern with moving to a motherboard based RAID is the possibility that they would be incompatible with my existing RAID and I’d have data loss.

  17. Nano November 29, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    The box is all setup and powered on.
    Mob. Intel DG45FC + E2140 + 4GB.
    1 – 360GB SATA HD for OS (notebook drive)
    4 – 500GB SATA HD for 2x RAID1
    LG – CD/DVD slim R/W
    1 – SATA+IDE Controller for 360 and CD
    .. you know what, the power supply can’t handle the setup, only boots up with one drive out, dosent matter whitch one.
    OS is KUBUNTU Linux server.
    So, the ES34069 is perfect box for home server, only if I could find bigger power supply for it.

  18. Rick November 30, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Josh,
    Can you tell me about the PSU connectors.
    Is there a 24 pin and a separate 4 pin? *XF 2.0 standard?

    As the motherboard I have (Albatron KI690-AM2 bought before the Gigabyte was released) requires this.

    The manufacture has stated not to use a 20 pin to 24 pin converter as it would be dangerous! So, I need a PSU with a 24 pin and 4 pin :(

  19. Rick December 1, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Actually I have just found out that it’s a 20 pin to 24 pin converter. Which is a bit naughty really as there is a reason these boards require a 24 pin connector. They need that power!

    The Intel DG45FC is the best ITX board on the market for a NAS but it requires 24 pin and 4 pin connectors.

    Remember if an ITX board has RAID 5, then there is no need for an expensive RAID controller. Many ITX boards do not have RAID5 and up to 4GB RAM and Dual Core support and finally 4+ SATA ports. Which is the spec you may need for a NAS (okay 4GB is a luxury but hey memory is cheap at the moment).

    Therefore I can only recommend the Gigabyte board for Dual Core, RAID 5, 5 SATA ports and most importantly a 20 pin power connector.

    RAID 5 has only been tested by Gigabyte on Winblows lameware. It may work on Redhat or Ubuntu but Gigabyte haven’t bothered to test it.

    It is noticeable that most cases with their custom PSU’s only support 20 pin connectors. Josh you should include this information on your product pages as it often goes overlooked and is very important!

  20. Rick December 1, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Maybe we have to think again.
    The Gigabyte SATA controller does not support SATAII. Its only SATAI.

    What a shame :(

  21. josh December 1, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Hi Nano,

    Unfortunately, the Intel DG45FC mainboard draws quite a bit more power than the Gigabyte and VIA solutions because the DG45FC uses a desktop chipset and a desktop processor, which means that overall you probably have twice the power consumption with the DG45FC versus the Gigabyte 6KIEH.

    Chenbro does offer a 180W power brick option; however, we do not currently carry it as it is unnecessary for the vast majority of the systems we sell and it is a bit costly. The DC board for the case is apparently rated up to 180W, but the included power brick is only 120W.


    The Chenbro power supply comes with a 20-pin ATX connector and two four-pin P4 connectors. I believe this will allow your Albatron board to work… in fact, that Albatron might be the board that this case was initially designed for!

    Also, we are aware that the Gigabyte SATA controller only supports SATA I. One might expect a small performance hit as a result, but for the vast majority of real-world applications it would not provide a noticeable difference.

    The issue with the RAID controller on the 6KIEH in Linux is that the Silicon Image 3114 controller is what is called a “Software RAID” configuration. This page does a much better job of explaining this concept than I ever will: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/FakeRaidHowto

  22. Rick December 1, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    I think I would like SATA 2 to stream HD video playback to my lounge slave device. I may need SATA 2 for such an operation.

    One point is one of the 4 pin connector a square molex rather than the old style molex? Will I need a convertor?

    Other users have had power issues building this NAS:

    However I have found this board:

    Low wattage (max 70W for mobo and chip).
    4 SATA II
    RAID 5
    1 ATA 100 / Compact Flash
    3 GB Lan Ports (1 home Lan and 1 modem/Net).
    8 USB (4/4)
    3 GB Ram limit (lots of boards only go to 2GB)
    Intel chipset (hence lots of downloadable Linux drivers)

    Sure it does not have many snazzy features of other boards. But this one is imho the best ITX board suited for this NAS case. Mainly due to SATA 2 / RAID 5 and of course the power issues!

  23. josh December 2, 2008 at 11:33 am


    In my (albeit somewhat limited) experience, I have rarely seen a drive exceed real-world transfer speeds exceeding that of SATA I’s 150-200 MB/second “real-life” transfer rate.

    Two of the 4-pin connectors coming off of the ES34069’s power supply use the “square molex” you mention, which we call a “P4” connector (as shown here: http://www.logicsupply.com/products/pwr_2p) so you should be all set in that regard.

    Again, it is no surprise that the DG45FC is too much for the Chenbro’s stock 120W power supply, with an estimated 100W+ tied up in the board and processor alone. However, if you can source a 180W (19V 9.48A) power brick with the appropriate 4-pin DIN power connector, the ES34069’s stock DC board can support up to 180W.

    Finally, that Kontron board does look quite nice, and Kontron makes excellent products. However, they are very much designed for a highly industrial market, and have a price tag to match. That is not to say that it is not a good board for the application, but I do not have any experience with it, and it uses the older Merom/Yonah Core 2 Duo technology (which is much harder to find CPUs for these days!)

  24. Michael December 3, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    May the cpu heatsink bundled with the ES34069 be used on this motherboard (or the 986lcd-m-mitx kontron motherboard) ?

  25. josh December 4, 2008 at 10:00 am


    I have no experience with the Kontron mainboard, but the CPU heatsink bundled with the ES34069 is designed for an Albatron AMD mainboard that we do not carry.

    The included heat sink will not fit in the mounting holes of the Gigabyte mainboard, which uses a hole layout that has become the standard for socketed Intel MoDT (Mobile on DeskTop) mainboards. The Coolermaster and Cooljag CPU coolers we offer on our site are designed to fit this mounting hole pattern.

  26. Michael December 6, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Josh,

    I had a feeling the cooler that came with the case was a paperweight in disguise. Now if I could just get that nasty white thermal grease off my paperwork. :)


  27. leonard December 17, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Just in case it might be of interest, this Sun employee published all the details of putting together a very low power (50-55W idle) NAS using the ES34069 case and Intel D945GCLF2 (Atom 330 dual-core) board.

    Here’s his final BOM: http://blogs.sun.com/mebius/entry/home_nas_box_bom_bill

    And his description of setup: http://blogs.sun.com/mebius/entry/diy_home_nas_box_with2

    He ends up w/ something that performs about the same as a Thecus N5200 Pro that uses less power (my N5200 idles at about 80W, although that’s w/ 5x7200RPM drives) for a few hundred bucks less and w/ some more flexibility (Thecus’ Busybox Linux distro makes installing stuff a PITA).

    If you *don’t* work for Sun :), you’d probably do well w/ OpenFiler or Ubuntu on there, although NexentaOS/NexentaStor is looking pretty interesting…

  28. Lalufu December 22, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Thanks for the two very insightful articles about the Chenbro case. I am currently in the process of building such a machine myself (slated to run Opensolaris on four 1TB drives), and the information here was very helpful (it convinced me that using the Intel Q45 board would probably not work). I am going to use the MSI IM-GM45 board instead, since I don’t like the Silicon Image chipsets.

  29. Superkikim December 31, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Thank you Leonard, Exactly what I was looking for

  30. Gary January 2, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I’ve been researching this case for a few days now, if a 180watt power brick can be used as you say at the rated power 19v 9.48a, then the following FSP180-ABAN1 180W 19V 9.48A C14 is what you are looking for.

    These can be sourced from Gateway, Acer etc 19v 4 prong laptops. Liteon, FSP Technology Inc makes power bricks in this class.

    Are you sure that this case can take 180w, as the application I’m planning on will most likely need 180watts.

  31. josh January 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Gary,

    I have received confirmation from Chenbro that the DC board built into the case can handle a 180W 19V DC brick that uses a 4-pin DIN connector.

  32. Glen January 22, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Will this case support a JetWay JNC81-LF AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Mini ITX AMD Motherboard, using a AMD Athlon LE-1660 2.8Ghz Energy Efficient 45W Processor, with 4Gb of Ram?

  33. Kristina January 29, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Hi Glen,
    We don’t currently carry that Jetway mainboard, so I don’t know if I can help you there with case compatibility. We have found though, that the Chenbro case supports most of our mainboards, even the ones with components on the bottom.

    The DC board in this case scales to 180W, but the AC adapter is only 120W. Depending on your configuration and the hard drives you are using, including any other peripherals, you might be cutting it close. But, I haven’t done the math…

    I’m sorry I don’t have too much else to offer, but I hope you can find some of this helpful.


  34. Jose February 1, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Two questions:

    1. Where do you get the XP drivers for the QCOM wireless card? The QCOM web site doesn’t have any download links and Logic Supply doesn’t provide a disc with drivers.

    2. Can you install Windows Home Server on the Gigabyte board? Where would you get drivers for that?

  35. Kristina February 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Jose,
    You can find drivers for the Qcom wireless card on Ralink’s Web site. They seem to update their drivers on a regular basis, and the site is pretty well organized.

    I’m not too sure about Windows Home Server. This page is from Gigabyte’s Web site and lists out all the compatible OS’s:

    I hope that helps!


  36. Bart Grefte February 13, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Interresting case :)

    But I am curious about something:

    Are there mainboards out there that actually support all those LED’s on the front of the case?

    And what about that “fault”-LED. What’s it supposed to indicate? Faults, okay, but faults that occur during booting (to name an example)?

  37. […] my current server consumes at least 102W and often hits 120W while actively doing work. But, I have a plan to replace the hardware with low power parts, ones primarily aimed at the mobile and embedded […]

  38. BooToo March 16, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Greetings Josh (and the others),

    Very interesting discussion indeed…
    I currently have a Synology NAS (4×1 To) + a mediacenter PC and I have to say, the Gygabite mb + this case looks like I could get all in one single box as I do not use the extra functionnalities in the NAS.

    I only have 2 remaining questions before I order the board/proc/heatsinks/mem on your website

    1) Can you confirm the 120w PSU is enough to handle the GA-6KIEH-RH with a T8300 + 1 hdd 2.5 (7200) + 4 hdd 3.5 (7200)? – If no, do you sell an alternative power brick?

    2) Do I have to purchase any extra accessory/cable to plus all the power cables with the above configuration?

    Many thanks

  39. Tony March 18, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Hi BooToo,

    1) The build that was tested for this article used the standard 120W PSU without any problems in Josh’s limited real-world tests. The CPU and five HDDs that were used total 103W under load (50.9W for the CPU and Northbridge, 2.1W for the 2.5″ HDD, and 12.5*4=50W for the 3.5″ HDDs), so you should have enough overhead for the remaining peripherals.

    That being said, your specific configuration may require more power. If the HDD’s you intend to use have a higher wattage, or if you plan on running a wireless card rather than ethernet, you will probably be pushing the limits of this PSU. The newer 1TB Seagate drives actually consume less power, providing a little more room for other variables.

    If you need a larger power brick, a 180W version is available for special order. Please contact our Sales team for details if you think you will need this option: (802) 861-2300.

    2) The case and mainboard come with all of the necessary hardware needed to build this configuration.

    The case does not come with the power splitter required to use the 2.5″ drive from the factory, but we have our system set up to include this as a “mandatory option” so it will automatically be bundled with the case when purchased from Logic Supply.

    I believe Josh used a different IDE cable for the ODD to make cable management easier, but the stock one should work.

    You can always order one of our systems as a “Build and Test” to ensure that you won’t have to deal with any potential cable/accessory headaches. Although we don’t currently offer this setup as one of our normal configurations with a “Build and Test” option, our Sales team would be happy to set up a custom system for you – just give them a call!


  40. Tony March 20, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    @Bart Grefte

    I believe this case was originally designed for an Albatron board which may support for all of the front-panel lights.

  41. […] im Homeservermarkt. Jedenfalls wurde es bereits mehrfach getestet und für Gut befunden (1, 2 und 3, und 4 dienten mir als Informationsquelle). Das schönste ist eigentlich dass eine Netzteil schon […]

  42. BooToo March 27, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Many thanks for all your answers.
    Really appreciate the time.
    Order sent.

  43. Bill Strehl April 8, 2009 at 11:44 am


    I am trying to build a “portable” HDMI recorder based around the Black Magic Design Intensity Pro card. (http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/) to capture from my Canon HV20 Hi-Def camcorder. This card seems to have problems with the X58 chipset.

    Because of the amount of data being moved I need to have at least a raid 0 configuration with at least 2 7200 rpm SATA II drives. In addition I would have one more drive for the OS (Either XP or Vista). I was figuring on using 500 to 750 MB Seagate drives.

    The Chenbro ES34069 is close to the ideal case but I need to have a mother board with one PCI express slot that I can connect to externally and that has enough graphics power to play Blu-ray quality video.

    The Intel DG45FC motherboard seems to fit the bill as it seems to playback Blu-ray well and it has the needed RAID capability along with enough SATA connectors. I was planning on 4GB of RAM.

    I see the discussion above talks about the high power consumption and was wondering if anyone has tried a 12v to 12v DC power supply in the case. I found the following 200 watt power supply (http://www.e-itx.com/un2100.html) and thought that might work and allow me to power everything with either a car battery or 12 VDC power supply.

    Any thoughts or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Bill Strehl

  44. BooToo April 28, 2009 at 3:59 am

    Hello Tony,
    I have a serious issue finalizing this ultimate HTPC.
    The 4 drives connected to the RAID chipset do not hibernate in Vista.

    I can see the Motherboard and the 2.5 HDD are stopping but the 4 3.5 HDD keep spinning like everything is up and running…

    I have search in the Bios for all possible options who will trigger this behavior unsuccessfully so far (I am on S3 setting which are supposed to be the correct ones).

    I am left with 3 root causes:
    – The Bios: there is another version available but the windows utility doesn’t seems to work and I do not have a dos disk nearby…)
    – The built in power unit (I would assume it was correctly design and should not trigger such a problem)
    – The RAID drivers (I have the latest version installed from the Gigabyte website so nothing more I can do on this side…)

    H E L P…

  45. Tony April 28, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    @Bill Strehl
    Due to the many questions on this blog, we have acquired a limited quantity of the 180W AC brick for the Chenbro case.

    I would also recommend checking out the new Jetway NF93 mainboard – the GM45 chipset should handle BD playback just fine. And if the extra cost of using 2.5″ drives isn’t off-putting, we will have another case that you might find very, very attractive in the near future. It won’t accommodate a PCI card in stock form, but if you’re creative and don’t mind modding the case yourself, it could be exactly what you’re looking for.


    Unfortunately, I think this level of troubleshooting might be a bit outside the realm of this blog. Please contact our Customer Support at 802-861-2300 for further assistance.

  46. Bill Strehl May 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm


    Thanks for the reply. I just returned from the NAB show where I had a chance to talk to the tech rep for the Intensity card who told me their software won’t work with the GM45 chipset but will work with the Nvidia 9400 chipset. Looks like I will have to wait a little longer to see if someone creates a mini-itx board with a pci express slot.

    Thanks for the heads up on the new upcoming case.

  47. Tony May 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Hi Bill,

    Bummer about the Intensity!

    On the upside, we should be receiving samples of two different mini-ITX ION boards next week. Keep checking back here for updates!

  48. Jeremy May 4, 2009 at 5:14 am

    Zotac makes a PCIe mini-ITX board based around the GeForce 9300M chipset. It only has two SATA ports, however:

  49. Bill Strehl May 8, 2009 at 2:45 pm


    I considered the Zotac but the two SATA port limitation has made me decide to wait and see what is announced at the COMPUTEX show at the beginning of June.


    I am intrigued with the Atom series itx boards but the software I want to run needs at least a core duo running at 2.66GHz.

  50. MacGuy May 13, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Ok Question, Would these components support a hackintosh system? looking at the components I can see no reason why it wouldn’t, I’m trying to build a mobile imaging server for a number of geographically isolated buildings.

  51. Tony May 13, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Bill and Jeremy: We’re currently testing a mini-ITX mainboard with the NVIDIA ION system that has (4) SATA and a full PCIe x16 slot. Branding hasn’t been established yet so I can’t release any details yet, but keep an eye on our blog for more information in the next week or so.

    Also, Bill, If you need a C2D at 2.66GHz, I’d recommend calling our sales team on June 1st to see what they can do for you.

  52. Jonathan May 14, 2009 at 1:51 am

    I was considering building a system using the Chenbro ES34069 case, the Jetway NC-81lf, and an AMD 45W chip to use as both NAS storage/backup and as a media server with an HDTV card in it. In this case, the tuner card is a pcHDTV hd5500 card (http://www.pchdtv.com/hd_5500_right_down.html).

    So the question is, since the PCI riser doesn’t expose the back of the PCI card outside the case, is there enough space where the card does sit to route a coax cable from the card to a coax jack or f/f adapter mounted in/sitting in the coax punch-out? Same for potentially routing the audio/video I/O cable?

  53. Richard Bowden June 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    So i have had this case for about a year now, and love it. Running windows home server perfectly. Just recently it’s started to make a high pitched sound, even with hard disks pulled out. I think this is the PSU, the brick does not make the sound. Have anyone on here see \ got this issue?


  54. Chenbro ES34069 | kevin's Blog June 16, 2009 at 4:13 am

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  55. Jeffrey July 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I have a question which you guys probably know the answer for i just bought the 120 watt version from a local store and i was wondering if i could change the adapter to that 180watt you guys were selling on the same case….

    i really hope so else im screwed!

  56. Kristina July 10, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Hi Jeffrey,
    The Chenbro ES34069 comes with a 180 watt DC board and by default, a 120 watt AC adapter. We sell the 180 watt AC adapter on our site here: http://www.logicsupply.com/products/pw_19v9a5. You shouldn’t need to change out your DC board unless the place you purchased it from gets a different version of the case.
    I hope this works for you!

  57. […] selection of the Chenbro case, it was a luxury. It’s rather pricey for an ITX case, but the LogicSupply review convinced me it was w