Rackmount Computers: The Basics

A Rackmount Computer is a PC in varying sizes that is stored securely in an enclosure or a “rackmount cabinet”. This protects the computer from being damaged by outside sources or elements. Rackmount computers are used in settings ranging from industrial to office for a number of applications. 


When mounting your computer in a rack enclosure you would need to be aware of how everything will measure out for maximum storage space. This is where the knowledge of “U” comes in.  A rack unit (RU or just U) is the measurement between shelves in a rack. Thus, rackmount computers come in different sizes to meet those measurements. Sizes include 1U, 2U, 3U all the way up to 7U. Each “U” is equal to one rack unit of height which is 1.75 inches.  A 1U computer is 1.75 inches high to go into a 1U space. A 2U is two rack units measuring at 3.5 inches in height. A 3U measures out to 5.25 inches of height and so forth.

What is the Right Size For You?

When deciding on what size rackmount chassis to use, you will have to determine what components are going to be added such as video, network or data acquisition or control cards. The size of the rackmount cabinet (depth and height) will also factor into the size of the rackmount chassis you choose. Standard rack cabinets range from 18U to 42U with depths of 600- 800mm.


The use cases for a rackmount PC are plentiful but maybe none more so than security. Most rackmount chassis and cabinets have locking mechanisms. In addition to that, rack mounted computers are better cooled, are built to be in harsher environments, are more effectively managed and provide cleaner workspaces than their desktop counterparts. Also, multiple rackmount computers can stored in one confined area saving valuable space.

Monitors can also be stored in these racks for a more centralized workstation (Rackmount monitor basics: Choosing the right setup) As well as creating rackmount servers (Benefits of a Rackmount Server).

We here at General Technics are experts in the field of rackmount computers and are eager to help you with any questions you may have.