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Thread: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

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    Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    Hello folks,

    I am planning to build a low cost home server which will serve me following purposes.

    - File Server: Mostly Data & Media files
    - Download: Bittorrent and HTTP/FTP
    - Jboss Application Server
    - Subversion Repository
    - LAMP Server
    - Plenty more things related to WEB*

    I'm in need of serious help to decide which option is better as for this kind of system. Mainly I will be using it for my Development Server and File Server. I am also planning to move my website(1/7)* to this server in future as I will host complex applications. I think it will be cheaper than a dedicated machine. But, that's for later..

    I need this server to be online 24x7. So, I need it to be less power consuming. I've searched through net and found that people use their NAS Devices to perform some of these tasks. But, I know that any cheap NAS will not be able to handle all this.. or will it? (if then please mention)

    Another compact option is a Atom Based Mini-ITX system. (like Zotac ION etc, Intel's 945etc Mobos for Atom) .. Will it that all be cost-effective?

    There is also an option to use the old components to build a headless home server. But, I don't have so much space to accommodate it.

    Please help me building this system. Thank you very much in advance.

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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    Welcome to Hexus!

    I've just built a mini ITX system, based on a Jetway mobo. http://www.itx-warehouse.co.uk/produ...?ProductId=631

    I'm planning to use it as a web, file and mail server, using Fedora Core 10 as the OS. I'm hoping that it will be drawing under 40 watts using that mobo and two 2.5" hard drives.
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    Senior[ish] Member Singh400's Avatar
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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    Considering you want it running 24/7. I'd go low-end as possible. Peter's suggest is a good one. And there's a couple of other threads floating around on the same subject (some even 20 pages long!).

    First thing to do would be to set a budget. From there we can help your narrow down your choices.

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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    i've just set up a server for my squeezebox, media streaming etc using xubuntu. performance seems fine and it's based on an intel d945gclf2 dual core atom.
    the atom boards are much cheaper than that jetway one. not sure how the performance compares although the jetway one does have the advantage of 2 NICs but not sure if they're gigabit or not. the atom can also take more memory

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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    The jetway board NICs are Gigabit. It was one of the criteria, although I don't need two for my purposes. The other considerations were the fanless CPU and low power. !G or ram will be fine for my purposes, as will the 1.2 GHz processor, it isn't doing anything very demanding.
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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    The jetway board NICs are Gigabit. It was one of the criteria, although I don't need two for my purposes. The other considerations were the fanless CPU and low power. !G or ram will be fine for my purposes, as will the 1.2 GHz processor, it isn't doing anything very demanding.
    Some thoughts:

    Most of the Atom boards are fanless CPU, but there is a fan on the chipset. I would rather have one huge, slow fan on a CPU than a tiny buzzy fan on a chipset.

    I went low power Athlon 64 in my server with an Arctic Cooling CPU fan to keep the noise down.

    The CPU fan draws air over the hard drives and blows it towards the back of the PC, I think a bit of air circulation is good.

    Modern CPUs draw very little power on idle (about 7W I think for an Athlon64) but have the ability to really kick up a gear on those odd occasions when you want more power.

    Mind you, my machine runs MythTV front and backend as well as email/web serving duties so a bit of grunt is good.

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      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
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      • Memory:
      • 48K 8 bit memory on separate card
      • Storage:
      • Audio cassette tape - home built 5.25" floppy drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • text output (composite video)
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      • Home built
      • Case:
      • Home built
      • Operating System:
      • Nas-sys
      • Monitor(s):
      • 12" monocrome composite video input
      • Internet:
      • No networking capability on this machine

    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    True - but the case I am using (the M300) has a 40mm fan on the side (near the CPU heat sink) and I have plugged that into the otherwise redundant CPU fan socket so starts at 45C (idle) and goes max speed at 60C - still very quiet.

    The drives are screwed flat to an aluminium panel at the top of the case, which should act as a heat sink for them, but until I get the OS loaded and running, I won't really know how warm it will get. Interesting project though.
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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    I'm using an ASUS Eee Box as my server justnow, it serves my needs very well.

    I run a number of web services etc on it;
    - LAMP
    - Torrentflux
    - RNews RSS Reader
    - Gallery2
    - Samba Shares
    - OpenSSH
    - Bitlbee
    - nTop
    - Nagios/Zenoss (soon - see my latest thread - http://forums.hexus.net/operating-sy...ken-snmpd.html)

    I'm sure there is other stuff on the go too, but that is the stuff I use on it the most.

    I'm not sure of the power draw (toying with the idea of getting a Kill-a-watt, to measure the draw of various things), but its very small and quite quiet, my WRT54GL Router sits atop it next to my TV and the combination of the two serve as the hub of my home LAN, works well for me.
    "If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room!"
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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    A Dell Mini-(x) which is fanless. Stick in one or two USB HDD that can spin up as needed. That will give absolute minimal power usage.
    Workstation 1: Intel i7 950 @ 3.8Ghz / X58 / 12GB DDR3-1600 / HD4870 512MB / Antec P180
    Workstation 2: Intel C2Q Q9550 @ 3.6Ghz / X38 / 4GB DDR2-800 / 8400GS 512MB / Open Air
    Workstation 3: Intel Xeon X3350 @ 3.2Ghz / P35 / 4GB DDR2-800 / HD4770 512MB / Shuttle SP35P2
    HTPC: AMD Athlon X4 620 @ 2.6Ghz / 780G / 4GB DDR2-1000 / Antec Mini P180 White
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    Storage: 8x2TB Hitachi @ DELL PERC 6/i RAID6 / 13TB Non-RAID Across 12 HDDs
    Consoles: PS3 Slim 120GB / Xbox 360 Arcade 20GB / PS2

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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    Thank-you mates for the prompt helping ideas and suggestions, I can squeeze my budget to 200£ (that includes: cpu,mobo,case) I'm eying Zotac's ION-ITX Mini-ITX Board Package With Atom N330 Dual Core Link:[ .mini-itx.com/2009/05/04/zotac-ion-itx-atom-mini-itx-board-unboxing-and-salivating] Jetway mobo is good though i don't think via is as good as n330 plus its deprived of sata support, i really liked the idea of having an external little laptop like power-supply brick that comes with zotac's offering, evaluate please

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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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      • Motherboard:
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      • Memory:
      • 48K 8 bit memory on separate card
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      • PSU:
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      • 12" monocrome composite video input
      • Internet:
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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanoidG4 View Post
    <-----snip

    Jetway mobo is good though i don't think via is as good as n330 plus its deprived of sata support, i really liked the idea of having an external little laptop like power-supply brick that comes with zotac's offering, evaluate please
    The Jetway mobo I linked to has both SATA and IDE support. The "laptop like power supply" is part of a package - the actual PSU is the pico unit which plugs directly into the mobo and has a 12 v input. The laptop PSU is just a 12 volt power supply. (Which offers interesting alternatives for UPS, you could float charge a 12 volt battery - a dryfit or similar - with a suitable charger so the battery would take over in the event of power failure)
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    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanoidG4 View Post
    Thank-you mates for the prompt helping ideas and suggestions, I can squeeze my budget to 200£ (that includes: cpu,mobo,case) I'm eying Zotac's ION-ITX Mini-ITX Board Package With Atom N330 Dual Core Link:[ .mini-itx.com/2009/05/04/zotac-ion-itx-atom-mini-itx-board-unboxing-and-salivating] Jetway mobo is good though i don't think via is as good as n330 plus its deprived of sata support, i really liked the idea of having an external little laptop like power-supply brick that comes with zotac's offering, evaluate please
    i like the idea of the ion boards but i believe they'll be fairly expensive and can't see that they would offer much over a normal atom motherboard if you're using it as a server...

    another option though is something like those ion based PCs that are like £150 or something, chuck in a usb hard drive and sorted. probably a better idea than a dell mini 9 even though mine was only £150 too, but it would seem like a waste not to use it as a laptop

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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    • peterb's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Nascom 2
      • CPU:
      • Z80B
      • Memory:
      • 48K 8 bit memory on separate card
      • Storage:
      • Audio cassette tape - home built 5.25" floppy drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • text output (composite video)
      • PSU:
      • Home built
      • Case:
      • Home built
      • Operating System:
      • Nas-sys
      • Monitor(s):
      • 12" monocrome composite video input
      • Internet:
      • No networking capability on this machine

    Re: Help: Cost-effective/Power-efficent Home Server

    Just completed my build, and running normally takes about 38 Watts measured at the plug. The PSU is split - with a separate 'brick' feeding 12V to the machine itself, with an internal Pico psu plugged into the mobo.

    The interesting thing is that with the brick plugged in but not connected to the computer, it consumes 14 Watts. Plugging it into the machine (machine switched off) this rises to 16W, and with the machine powered up, this rises to about 38 so the computer itself is only consuming about 20 Watts (thats the mobo and two 2.5" drives.) I suppose I was a bit OTT with a 120W psu, I'll have to keep an eye out for one of lower power where the losses should be lower.
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