Starting fresh hardware recommendation for rack mount server

Hi everyone,

I’m transitioning to Ubiquiti and planning to set up a beautiful network rack in my garage. I’m aiming to avoid the typical Intel NUC for hosting Home Assistant. Instead, I’m looking for a rack-mounted server that complements my Ubiquiti setup aesthetically.

For now, I’ll solely run Home Assistant on it, as I already have a separate NUC efficiently operating Frigate with a Coral TPU. However, I anticipate eventually consolidating everything into a rack-mounted server.

My Synology NAS currently handles all my Plex requirements, and I don’t foresee that changing.

I’d appreciate any recommendations on a rack-mountable server suitable for Home Assistant, ideally one that matches Ubiquiti’s design since Ubiquiti doesn’t seem to offer a server for this purpose.

Many thanks!

If you want a rack mounted server purely for aesthetics, I’d suggest buying just the case and filling it with the internals of a nuc (or whatever you have available) yourself.

That way you’ll have full control of power requirements & noise from the unit, something that rack mount servers usually seem to suffer from.

Someone here gutted his fibaro server. The concept is the same - you just need to find a case that you like & a used nuc for the internal parts.


Buy a server for specs / performance, not looks. If you are handy, you could try finding a rack mounted mac server (they are quite old) and modify it to house more modern hardware. That’s the most matching look I can think of.


thank you appreciate.

i’m surprised there isn’t a system i could rack mount in there (i mean looks really are secondary but i mean if its mounted it will look good vs just a nuc sitting in the rack). i’ll keep searching tho

You could use unifi’s cloud key mount and mount a NUC in there instead, or use one of their OCD panels and mount behind that, or get a rack shelf or NUC rack mount and paint it the same colour as the unifi gear, have seen someone a while ago did that, can’t remember where or what the colour was though.

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searching the forum - look like some folks just use an IBM 1ru server or something but not many people talk about an actual purchased server for rack mount for HA only.

Because it’s not a very cost effective purchase for a box to run HA. Going into the purchase wanting astheritics first is absolutely absurd.

Im with whomever said use the cloud key mount equipment. A brand new NUC is extremely capable kitted out with lots or ram and a big SSD for less than the cost of the telescopic rail kits for most secondhand 1u Dell servers.


I guess youve never been to r/ubiquiti

Yes I have and. I said what I said. I also own a UDMSE. And two pi and a NUC in my setup

If you are going to rack mount a server, if you can afford it, I would do two and cluster them together and virtualize. That way, you split the loads between them and then if you have one die or need to do maintenance, you can move everything to the surviving one and do what you need to do on the offline one.

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Nice. Well if I want to spend money on a sexy server I can.

Yes, you can. No one’s stopping you from doing that. But think about it for a moment:

  • It’s going to be in your garage. I’m willing to bet there’s a lot of unsexy stuff there, and you’re not going to be looking at it constantly.
  • It just needs to look somewhat like Ubiquiti’s design. Basically any silver(ish) server case will fulfil that requirement.
  • You already have a NUC with frigate and a Synology NAS, meaning you have all the internals ready to go and just need something where you could rackmount them.
  • The specs which usually come along with these kinds of servers mean they’re either power hungry, noisy, or both. That’s even without considering that they’re a total overkill for running HA by itself.

At the end of the day, it’s your money and your choice, but it’s looking like you have 90% of the materials already and are willing to redo everything just so it looks nice.

You can achieve both goals - just look into proxmox and run a search on your favourite Chinese site for a 1U chassis. You’ll be able to grab extremely good looking ones for something around $75 with display.


Yes whenever I think maybe I should look for a rack server, you end up finding that they are exactly as you describe.

There are plenty of projects out there to mount all sorts of hardware, such as you already have, in a rack. Add silver spray paint. Profit.


Or just sand it off. It’s all (silver) metal under there anyway, and the “brushed” look is sexy


Thanks for taking the time to write this.

My nuc running frigate could run ha also but I don’t want to have any delay in HA hence I want a dedicated system for HA. My nas runs Plex as well same issue.
So either way I’m getting a new piece of hardware to run ha.

Last night I spent a lot of time looking up homelabs it seems like people just get a power edge server second-hand and put a 3D printed cover over it to make it look good. So I shouldn’t have to spend too much.

Thank you for all of your tips I really appreciate it.

I would definitely get a unifi OCD panel if that’s your plan, it’ll match perfectly then

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i did not know they existed. perfect!! thank you

I’m all for disparate systems (I run a lot of various services and servers on stand-alone hardware), but, if you throw a Coral TPU on your Frigate instance (if you don’t have one already), I guarantee you that it won’t run anywhere close to taking resources from HA. I have Frigate running in the same docker swarm as my HA instance (both on the same NUC (i7/16gb/512gb ssd) and Frigate only takes about 15%-30% of the total CPU during it’s heaviest processing times and that’s scanning 14 camera feeds (and serving streams for all of them through go2rtc).

My HA instance barely touches the CPU or RAM at all.

Very good point I am running a coral tpu on it. I could definitely try that out initially then take my time and ensure I have the Rackspace in future.

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what about getting a 2u empty case where you can put a ATX mother board in

Do a search for “2u short depth case”