My den, where I keep all my tech and hobby related safely away from children’s mitts and wife’s eyes was becoming quite chaotic. Between 2 full sized PCs, a NUC, my PS5, 3 monitors and all the associated networking and wiring it was becoming quite the rats nest.

It was time to do something about it, and I decided to move build a server rack containing all my stuff.

A full sized 42U rack wasn’t going to fit in a room that already had slightly low ceilings, so I needed something that would give me room for all my things - with a bit of room to grow - but not take up as much space as a conventional server rack.

I found quite a few options out there for mid-height racks and also reduced depth. I did keep an eye on facebook marketplace and eBay for a while for bargains, but nothing came up that wasn’t going to be at least a 6 hour round trip. I eventually found a (new) 27U rack that was 600mm x 600mm on eBay.

I won’t be linking to the specific one as the seller tried to scam me for postage after the sale:

An email trying to con me out of money

Unfortunately for them I wasn’t born yesterday so they ended up posting it out on a pallet at their own cost, as it should have been. Fuckers.


The Rack

The rack arrived and was relatively easy to put together without any assistance. I don’t think the same could have been said for a full 42U rack - so maybe keep that in mind when deciding what to get.

Excuse the mess - it is not normally this bad.

Overall the quality is good, it feels sturdy. My only gripe is that the front glass isn’t great - there are tiny abrasions on it if you get really close. From more than 30cm away though it looks great.

I added an LED strip around the inside without a diffuser for now, I quite like the harsh look. Everyone knows that LEDs make things go faster.

The next step is going to be decanting all my existing machines into server chassis that fit this particular rack and sort out my networking.

My advise for looking at server racks is:

Know your space

Don’t get a 42U full depth rack if you don’t need it, and definitely don’t get one if you don’t have a spot for such a beast.

Consider the size of the server chassis you want to contain, how many U you actually need, and the depth.

Most of all, plan for the space you have. You might not even need a full size rack, StarTech do some cool little cabinets .

Keep an eye out for bargains

There were loads of bargains on facebook marketplace and eBay, but none of them were the right size for me. If you live in a city there are almost certainly going to be some in your area.

If you’re patient you can get a deal.

Consider future expansion

I planned for about 50% future expansion over what I needed in terms of height. You might not need that, but it’s always good to have space for more projects. Also you can fill the spaces with blanks and stickers until then. Win/win.

That’s it! Good luck…