StarTech has been known to produce and release unconventional products for some time. Nothing out of left field, they take something, see a slight need, and do a little twist to make it fill a niche. When one thinks of server racks or cabinets, silence typically doesn’t go hand in hand. With the StarTech 12U Quiet Office Server Cabinet, servers can be up and operational in office areas without becoming a nuisance for those in the office.

StarTech has been known to produce and release unconventional products for some time. Nothing out of left field, they take something, see a slight need, and do a little twist to make it fill a niche. When one thinks of server racks or cabinets, silence typically doesn’t go hand in hand. With the StarTech 12U Quiet Office Server Cabinet, servers can be up and operational in office areas without becoming a nuisance for those in the office.

StarTech 12U Quiet Office Server Cabinet

StarTech 12U Quiet Office Server Cabinet

Sometimes servers need to be close, such in edge locations, at other times there just isn’t spare closets that can be converted. In either case, the StarTech 12U Quiet Office Server Cabinet can be leveraged. Coming with foam-insulation on the top, bottom, and rear of the cabinet, noise is drastically reduced. Meaning that the cabinet can be deployed in several areas where noise would normally be an issue, without disrupting work.

Our video review is here:

The first issue that pops into everyone’s mind will be airflow. Servers generate heat and need fans to keep them cool. The cabinet comes with three, 3.5” fan modules that push 120 CFM. This should quell some fears with overheating issues with equipment loaded with that in mind.

StarTech 12U Quiet Office Server Cabinet Specifications

Warranty 2 Years
HARDWARE
Fan Options Three Fans Included: 92 mm
Frame Type Enclosed Cabinet
Front Door Construction Wood with Glass Window
Front Door Features Secure Key Lock
Industry Standards EIA/ECA-310-E
Mounting Hole Types Square (For Cage Nut)
Mounting Rail Profile G-Shape
Rack Type 4-Post
Rear Door Construction Steel
Side Panel Construction Steel
Special Features Adjustable Mounting Rails
Casters (Included)
Ships Fully Assembled
U Height 12U
Wallmountable No
PERFORMANCE
Airflow Rate 40 CFM per fan
Audible Noise 36 dBA @ 1 Meter
Weight Capacity (Stationary) 600 lb [271.5 kg]
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
Color Dark Gray with Wood Finish Top
Rear Door Features Secure Key Lock with Removable Back Door
PRODUCT MEASUREMENTS
Internal Depth 28.4 in [72.1 cm]
Internal Width 18.6 in [47.2 cm]
Maximum Mounting Depth 21.6 in [54.8 cm]
Minimum Mounting Depth 14.1 in [35.9 cm]
Product Height 25.3 in [64.2 cm]
Product Height with Casters 28.1 in [71.3 cm]
Product Length 30.8 in [78.3 cm]
Product Width 27.8 in [70.5 cm]
Weight of Product 182.4 lb [82.6 kg]

Design, Build, and Usability

The StarTech 12U Quiet Office Server Cabinet comes fully assembled and can be rolled out of its box to where it needs to go to be loaded up. It is just over two feet tall including its casters. The cabinet comes with wood laminate on its top. While this should fit in with most office decors, it may not match them all. The front has a shaded glass window that makes the equipment inside visible but not to a distracting point. And the door can be locked for security reasons.

StarTech 12U Quiet Office Server Cabinet rear

StarTech 12U Quiet Office Server Cabinet rear

From a build standpoint the cabinet is built very well, with quite a bit of attention to detail. Starting with the floor contact the casters offer large plastic-coated wheels, making them glide quietly and easily over different surfaces. This includes vinyl flooring, low pile carpet and thresholds. The wheels also have a locking tab that keeps the cabinet firmly planted in one position.

For access the front door has over-extending hinges, which offer exceptional access to equipment being loaded or removed from the rack. While some racks have had basic pin hinges, these allow the front door to swing open and almost fold back on the side of the cabinet. This might not seem like a big deal but for equipment with really large mounting ears, this makes maneuvering it in and out of the cabinet an easy task. The back panel tilts back and removes for access, again giving full access. While hinges might help, some deployments might have this pressed up close to a wall or corner, making a full door hard to open.

The inside is well laid out, with egg-crate foam lining the floor, walls and ceiling. The inside metal is all powder-coated and doesn’t have any sharp edges to catch on clothing or arms going in to service gear. The rails are labeled for each U position with a notch (no numbering), making it pretty easy to line up hardware front to back. The only design element that might present issues for some is making sure your equipment can fit, or that the rails are compatible with the mounting depth. The Quiet Office Server Cabinet has a maximum mounting depth of just over 21″.

To give a sense of what can fit inside the cabinet, we loaded it with a Dell EMC S4048 10G switch, a NetApp C190 All-Flash array, an HPE Gen10 Plus MicroServer and a Lenovo SE350 half-width server. With this cabinet serving edge and small business use-cases, you probably aren’t looking to mount full-size 1-2U servers inside of this. Smaller microservers more fit the role and budgets of where this would be deployed. In those uses the rack easily fits and accommodates those systems. It will be important though to look at your total thermal load from the equipment installed, and make sure it is compliant with airflow with the doors closed. If you plan to exceed 120CFM of cooling, and don’t mind the louder result, you can solve this by removing the back panel and front glass or door.

Conclusion

The build quality of the rack is top notch, the wheels alone are excellent, and the unit looks pretty great too. Aesthetically, it would look perfectly at home in a small office, or even a boardroom. The ability to fit in visually is only exceeded by the rack’s ability to dampen noise. As noted, it’s not full length and doesn’t move a ton of air, so piling in a bunch of servers isn’t going to work. But that’s not really the intention. Most server vendors make short servers for use cases like edge and small/remote offices that would be more appropriate here. Or perhaps it could be filled with a few shelves and small workstations or servers, that can easily be rolled from room to room. There just aren’t a lot of solutions like this on the market and StarTech has done well to carve this space out for use cases that need a good looking, quiet rack that is also portable.

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