After a couple of years, it's time to upgrade the previous hardware. We opted for a compact Asus barebone again, the Pundit P6-P8H61E (User's Guide).
It's a socket 1155 system using the H61 chipset. Luckily, Intel has finally stopped crippling their SATA ports on purpose, and AHCI is supported for all three ports. The mainboard seems to be prepared to offer two SATA III ports, but neither the connectors nor the controller seems to be mounted in our version.
We've decided to use the space for the optical drive for a dual 2.5" hot swap disk drive carrier that allows us to quickly add or replace two 2.5" drives.
Photo of the back side of the Asus P6-P8H61E case, showing the two low-profile PCIe slots, the HDMI and VGA ports, four USB and gigabit Ethernet ports, the six sound in- and outputs, as well as the space for the optical SP-DIF and serial port connectors.
After removing the P6-P8H61E's side panel, the two drive carriers and the major part of the mainboard become visible.
The 3.5" hard disk drive carrier on the P6-P8H61E is secured by two flathead screws and folds up to receive a hard disk. The disk has to be installed upside down and secured through it's bottom mounting holes.
The 5.25" optical disk tray is secured with five countersunk screws and lifts out of the case.
The 5.25" drive carrier has tabs on it's underside to allow mounting a 2.5" disk. A 9.5mm disks fits in there without issues, but getting 12mm disk to slide in might be cumbersome.
The back of the system offers three SATA II ports as well as two low-profile PCIx slots (16x and 1x, respectively).
The P6-P8H61E mainboard has three populated SATA II connectors as well as a serial port header for a straight-through DB9 connector.
The 5.25" optical drive is accessible through a door that would be pushed open by a drive's sled.
The front of the case features a small door hiding a headphone and a mic jack, two USB 3 ports and an SDHC-compatible SD-Card reader.