iStarUSA Rackmount Mini-ITX Server Chassis Review:

Server chassis ideals for custom firewall solution.

iStarUSA Rackmount Mini-ITX Server Chassis Review 3In my work as an Information Technology and Computer Security consultant, I often have the need to create my own custom solutions for networking and security related projects. Recently, I had the need to build a custom firewall solution with integrated VPN capabilities for one of my clients and buying an out of the box solution was not an option.

iStarUSA Rackmount Mini-ITX Server Chassis Review 4 For this project, I chose to work with untangle ( and I needed custom hardware that met the requirements for their software. I also wanted it to mount it in a standard 19” server rack and have a form factor that would look like a prefabricated enterprise firewall. The D-118V2-ITX Rackmount Mini-ITX Server Chassis from iStarUSA met all of my requirements and exceeded my expectations.

I’m sure many people in this situation would have just found an available PC case to serve as the firewall or perhaps they would have purchased a small Mini-ITX case for this project. After all, the purpose of the Mini-ITX form factor is to fit a PC with decent power into a small space and in most instances, without the benefit of a cooling fan. However, I am a big believer in good design and I usually try to have my custom solutions look as good as they perform.

iStarUSA Rackmount Mini-ITX Server Chassis Review  5This case is simple and brilliant at the same time. To open it up, you just remove to hand turn screens and two phillips screws on the side of the case. It literally 30 seconds to get inside the case. Once inside, you will find easily identifiable mounting pins for your Mini-ITX motherboard, power supply and 2.5 inch SATA hard drive (if your solution requires it). The outside of the case sports a power button, reset button, power and hard disk activity indicator LED lights and two front accessible USB ports.

How the rear of the case looks will depend on your particular motherboard, but all required screws and mounting accessories are included except for the mother board ports plate that should come with the motherboard you purchase.

iStarUSA Rackmount Mini-ITX Server Chassis Review 6My untangle firewall now runs and looks great at my client’s location and with our branding sticker placed on the front, no one will know that it’s not an out of the box enterprise firewall.

This case is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a simple an unbranded solution to mount a Mini-ITX base device in a standard 19” rack. It retails for around $47.

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