Rackmount cases for your CPU

Not sure how niche this is, or if perhaps it should be rolled into another thread. Has anyone had success putting their CPUs in a rackmount form factor?

I’ve been thinking about consolidating gear, minimizing my footprint, and making setups more mobile. Rolling, travel safe rack cases seemed to make sense for audio gear. But I realized that there are computer cases for motherboards etc that can also be rack mounted as well.

I can see this being practical for video artists and other creative computing types as well as musicians and sound artists. Does anyone do this? How many U spaces are you taking up? What size mobo are you using? What other accessories or rack units are complimenting your cpu?

Theres plenty of types of these cases, from very bare bones boxes to units with touchscreens built in and little hidden trays that expose keyboards. Are the bells and whistles worth it? Any brands you trust most?

Wisdom and public discussion around this is greatly appreciated!

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Just a thought, many rack mount computer cases are designed for server rooms and maximising airflow, ie. they tend to have very loud fans (and not the kind you want, pardon the pun :wink:)

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Yeah, I’ve been experimenting with some audiovisual stuffs with Houdini, Blender, Unreal, etc. on Linux and wanted to move my desktop PC into a format that could be mounted into a rugged rack cabinet for mobile-installation-type duty.

A year or so ago I found a Rosewill RSV-L4500 on eBay which is a discontinued RAID-intended case from the 90’s. The fans needed to be replaced but everything went in smoothly (ASRock z390, 9900k, 2080ti), even my huge overkill Corsair aio water cooler.

Definitely take care to read the physical specs for each case and find as many pictures as possible, took a long time for me to settle on one I was reasonably sure would work (several times I hovered over the ‘buy’ button only to read some deal-breaking detail at the last second).

It’s buried in books, plants, and a laptop right now but I’ll take some photos if I can nab some time to open it up.

So far I’ve liked it–super convenient for maintenance and it’s kinda cool to have the “visual performance appliance” vibe.

The full-size ATX rack case is 4U and I have another 3U rack which houses my Motu 16a audio interface, a single-board x86 Linux music computer, and a 1/4" patchbay. The 1U music computer and 4U visual computer send each other open-sound-control messages about what the other is doing.

Any fan noise can be fixed by buying quiet fans–I can’t hear the computer over my PA system (I imagine noise might become a problem if you’re actually outfitting yours with server PSU’s or something).


IN Italy there’s a company selling audio PCs with rackmount cases.
As you can see though they don’t use the slim server-style cases, but taller ones. These should in theory accomodate the standard silent fans and cooling systems.


I’ve had a rackmount Carillon PC since 2011

Hermetech Mastering (@hermetechmastering) • Instagram photos and videos


I’ve built multiple studio PCs in rackmount cases until my last Hackintosh build in 2018. Received lots of strong advice against it from professional builders, and also could easily fit a tower case into the space I was moving into.

I am glad I made the switch, the larger case fans are much quieter than the best fans I could use in the rackmount cases, and it’s possible to use high-performance CPU coolers, e.g. Dark Rock Pro or Noctua D-15.

Also building, maintenance, and expansion are much more convenient. I’d definitely recommend getting a nice tower case like the Fractal Define R6 over any rackmount case. The ones suitable for studio use (airflow, space for expansion) set you back 200-400$ and won’t perform as well.

I’m curious about this. What sbc is it and what 1u rack did you use? Seems like it could be a clever setup!


for music, the sbc i use is an udoo x86 ultra-advanced version 1. i got one of these after i was running into CPU limits on a raspberry pi.

then to house it in my rack i gorilla glued standoffs inside a plastic 1U project box (bud industries prm-14460) and screwed the udoo down. i was careful to keep the USB3 ports front-facing so that I could easily plug in my monome and a midi interface, the rear USB2 port is always connected to my audio interface which sits above it. i also have an SSD connected to it with a small SPI display.

the sbc itself runs a headless stripped down gentoo linux system, JACK, and a couple music/DSP programs that i’ve been writing for my music practice. the udoo’s been great for me–plenty of CPU headroom and really reliable so far (tested with hours of van vibration and bumping around inside of a roadcase).

(excuse the dust)