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Old 12-05-2007, 08:28 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Somewhat Energy Efficient Server Build Advise Needed

Hello All,

I just moved into a new(old) house and went to fire up my old server, it it seems to have taken its last breath.

I would like to build a new somewhat energy efficient server that can handle the following:

dev server
security server - running zoneminder - (I have 3 outside camera's)
x10 / insteon server - controls home automation
web server
And a few various other things like monitoring temps in the house etc...

With that said, I'd like to do 1 to 2 Gigs of ram (why not its pretty cheap), either a Core 2 Duo or AMD X2 (65w) - Any Suggestions??

I have not built something in over 2 years, so I am not in the loop with the hardware and thats the reason I am asking for some assistance.

The motherboard should be able to support a bunch of PCI slots, I have a 3ware Raid card, a video in card for the camera's, and a TV card (not in use now, but might in the future).

I believe I would like to have a dedicated gfx card (low power consumption).

OS will be Debian lenny.

Thank you all in advance, and please let me know if you need me to clarify anything.

- John
Old 12-05-2007, 02:06 PM   #2
Registered: Feb 2005
Distribution: Arch, CentOS, Fedora, macOS, SLES, Ubuntu
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My thoughts:

You're already on the right track--either a Core2 Duo, or a Athlon X2--both of which are pretty good on power efficiency when idle.

If you're looking for the best energy savings...

--It's relatively unlikely you will need more than 2GB of RAM for the above description
--Don't buy more processor than you really "need"
--Get an EPS12V power supply (these tend to be slightly more efficient than average)
--Some of the hardware RAID cards support drive power management, but I don't really think it has a proper place on a true server. That said, accept that the spindles always will be spinning; limit the hard drives to a reasonable number (these tend to both be power hogs and create lots of heat).
--Select a server- or workstation-class motherboard with integrated graphics, or add a rather weak video card to a desktop board--less heat etc.
--A dedicated graphics card would require additional power, and may even require proprietary drivers. I don't run the binary nvidia or ATI drivers on any of my servers--I just use the apps via web interfaces etc. from workstations with fancy cards.
--Aim for overall efficiency--the better the case airflow, the less fans you will need, and the less power used to vent heat outside the case. A few 120mm/12cm fans running slowly are quieter--and more efficient--than an array of 80mm/8cm fans screaming away under the desk...

Hope this helps. Good luck!
Old 12-05-2007, 02:40 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. The only reason I was thinking of using a dedicated video card is if I was to choose to make this a mythtv front end, and or 2nd desktop in case the other PC was being used. I need to find a good motherboard that has plenty of pci slots and is fully compatible w/linux. I believe most of the Nvidia boards are good.
Old 12-06-2007, 06:17 AM   #4
Registered: Feb 2005
Distribution: Arch, CentOS, Fedora, macOS, SLES, Ubuntu
Posts: 327

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Some of the earlier nvidia "nforce" chipsets had some funky issues, but I think most are reliable in linux at this point.
All in all, it's been my experience that Intel chipsets are hard to beat. They run on everything.

I run a MythTV server+frontend and a separate backend at the house. You definitely will want an nvidia-based card if you plan on using xvmc etc. with MythTV for the smoothest playback... Even still, an FX5200 is more than enough for SDTV--and it doesn't generate an excessive amount of heat (unlike a monster gaming card).

The Happauge PVR-150 cards emit way more heat than I'd imagined; I have three in my backend+frontend box and had to put a dual 120mm CardCooler on them to prevent the rest of the case (mid-tower CoolerMaster) from melting


home, server

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