Chenbro ES34069 Home Server Chassis - Hands-on

With only a few OEMs releasing dedicated Windows Home Server systems to the market, many enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to build their own home servers, either through recycling old systems and components lying around the house (Windows Home Server’s hardware requirements a far more modest than Windows Vista’s) or through purchasing a “barebones” […]

With only a few OEMs releasing dedicated Windows Home Server systems to the market, many enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to build their own home servers, either through recycling old systems and components lying around the house (Windows Home Server’s hardware requirements a far more modest than Windows Vista’s) or through purchasing a “barebones” system, and adding new components to it.

So far, enthusiasts have had to adapt standard PC chassis for home server purposes - not a massive issue, except when it comes to storage, with many standard chassis offering space for just 1 or 2 SATA hard drives - fine for a starter home server, but paling into significance when you compare it to the 4 drive OEM systems such as the HP MediaSmart Server.

That changed with the release of Norco’s DS-520 unit, which was one of the first 4 drive NAS/Home Server chassis available on the market. We reviewed the Norco unit late last year, and found it to be a solidly build unit, but a little on the industrial side. Taiwanese manufacturer Chenbro, however, have come to the rescue with the ES34069, which at first glance, looks like it could fulfill the dreams of many a self-builder.

Where to Find It: The Chenbro unit is actually pretty difficult to source (it took us a few months to find one), and the company tend not to answer queries from the public or the press. We picked up our review unit, and components required to build the test server from mini-itx.com and we’d like to say a big thanks to Ewan over at the site for loaning us the server. As a shameless plug, not only do they have the kit available, they also have a huge amount of expertise in self-build components, so if you’re in the market for a new, small footprint machine, they’re well worth checking out.

 Model: Chenbro ES34069  Manufacturer: Chenbro
 Price: £175 (inc VAT)More Info: www.mini-itx.com

Review Kit: One issue we discovered about reviewing barebones machines is that to see if they’re any good, you actually have to build one! So here’s the kit we used to build the Chenbro system:

  • Chenbro ES34069 Barebones Home Server
  • Via EPIA SN Series Mini-ITX Motherboard (with embedded processor)
  • Slimline (Laptop Width) DVD Drive
  • 1Tb Seagate Hard Drive
  • 1Gb PC4200 RAM
  • Windows Home Server Power Pack 1 RC2 (not currently available)

Full Review

WHS, Windows Home Server, Hardware, Chassis, Cases, Chenbro, ES34069, Review, Hand-on