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I'm planning a summer project to set up a fileserver, which may also become a web/ftp server for me to access my files from various places.
My first though was to get an XBox and put linux on it - i won't need a huge amount of storage space, and the compact physical size is handy (the fact i've hardly looked into this also probably helps me feel it's feasible).
But i also need to take power consumption into account, given that i already use an alarming amount of electricity.
What would i be looking for in something that doesn't use much power? I like the X-box idea, but i've no idea what it's power consumption is like. Otherwise, would laptop hardware be up to it, and how easy is it to custom build a headless linux-based laptop?
i wouldnt go for the xbox server idea. Technically it is a computer but it would be difficult to use and difficult to upgrade. if it is just a simple ftp then the laptop should work fimne and will have lower power consumption than the xbox since it is designed that way.
Yeah, i think the XBox idea is only really there as an ideal way to merge my wanting to put Linux on an XBox, and me wanting a file server.
What kind of specs would i need/want of a laptop, then? I can't see a need for far over even 5GB of space for the near future - it's just to back up work and the occasional config file, so would an older laptop be up to it?
All i can think of it needing is Linux compatability, an ethernet socket and a working power lead...
that is the bare minimum. Probably want more than 5 GB though but harddrives are cheap anyways so that shouldnt be a problem. The question you should be asking yourself is do i want to be cheap and use a laptop that just barely meets the minimum requirements or do youjust want to get some desktop and use a bit more power. A desktop would be much more expandable since upgrading drives, ram, etc is so much easier.
A laptop like that would get by as a server if it had to. You would probably wnat something like vector linux which is lightweigth and then proftp or something and if you dont have a static ip address yet i would use no-ip to get yourself one. Thats about it i think.
how easy is it to custom build a headless linux-based laptop?
Considering theres a lcd kinda attached to it, I don't know. You could remove it if you really wanted to. A laptop is fairly low-power. But theres a devices attached to it that could drain unneccessary power(cdrom, monitor, disk drive). I would say it depends on its age and processor.
But a laptop would seem to have the advantage of its own built in UPS.
If you really want to go effecient, I mean hardcore effecient.
You could try an Via or Transmeta cpu. The cpu itself only uses 7 watt/hr. And then you could get flash drive instead of normal harddrive(expensive 150$ for 4 gigs eeep!) which will use even less total energy(being purely electronic). And scrap everything else, except ram.
If all you want is a file server, linksys sells this. There's a distrobution for it that is similar to debian, their page is found here. I have yet to try it out, but basically all it needs is a USB 2.0 HD, and a power supply for the HD and the little box itself.
I have made one already. VIA EPIA Mini ITX mainboard with 500MHz fanless processor. 128M ram, 20G laptop Hdd and a minibox 12v in 60W power supply. I installed Linux from an external USB cdrom drive, then unplugged everything but power and network. I ssh in if I need to do anything. It runs from an old 12v wall wart which as 1200mA max.