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Wanting to build a File Server (and keep my electric bill low)

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August 17, 2008 10:56:49 PM

After getting a massive Electric bill I have been wanting to build a Efficient File Server. This file server will normally be just downloading and rarely un-raring stuff and recording TV shows using a TV-Tunner Card (Hauppauge PCI)

I will also be getting 4 HDD mininum (750gb).

The problem is that I still don't know what CPU to get. Not even sure if to go AMD or INTEL. By knowing which CPU I can get a appropriate Motherboard (with like 6 SATA and maybe onboard GPU)

So yeah... what would be a good CPU.



NOTE: I have a old M2N-Sli Deluxe (AM2) with a +4200 that I might be retiring soon. Should I use that as my file server? If I do... I will probably have to wait more... I have to save up for my next "INEFFICIENT Gaming Rig".
August 17, 2008 11:53:36 PM

Well I don't know if you can get specialised harware beyond the mainboard to control power usage but gigabyte have things like DES (Dynamic energy Saver) etc as part of their x48 and beyond mobo series. DES advanced also responds to overclocking if neccesary. Combined with Vista's power control features, I'm guessing this maybe the way to go. This will be an interesting thread for anyone wanting a secondary machine on direct standy like a file server or render box so I hope we may get an expert drop in and share some great ideas.
a b à CPUs
August 17, 2008 11:58:32 PM

Using old system is probably going to be the most efficient.

You might find this article from ExtremeTech helpful although it is about building a home server from scratch rather than modifying an old pc

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2327567,00.a...

You might also want to read a review about Windows Home Server software from Anandtech:

http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3075&p=1

Or this how-to article from PC World about re-using an old PC as a home server:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/109710/stepbystep_new_tr...
Related resources
August 18, 2008 12:19:03 AM

Thanks for those links Rockyjohn. But I am still looking for more advice...

This is what I have in my Wish List
ABIT AB9 Pro LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Intel Celeron E1200 1.6GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E1200 - Retail
SeaSonic SS-500ES 500W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 Power Supply - OEM
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
a c 86 à CPUs
August 18, 2008 12:33:16 AM

If you care about how much power its going to cost you, reusing an old system is NOT the way to go. Modern motherboards and CPUs are much more efficient then their older counterparts.

If this is truly a file server, then follow these guidelines. First, get the best/most efficient PSU you can afford. Check Jonnyguru.com for articles to make sure that it stays above 80% for most of the time. Second, do not use a video card at all. Onboard is all you need for a server, a GPU will simply eat extra power you don't need.

For the next part I'm not sure which consumes less energy. Either grab an EE chip from AMD, or get a C2D and underclock/undervolt it. Either way, you should be looking at less power then any older x2 you have laying around. Once the system is up, try lowering all the voltages you can and still stay stable. This system shouldn't consume a lot of power.
August 18, 2008 12:36:32 AM

itstemo1 said:
After getting a massive Electric bill I have been wanting to build a Efficient File Server. This file server will normally be just downloading and rarely un-raring stuff and recording TV shows using a TV-Tunner Card (Hauppauge PCI)

I will also be getting 4 HDD mininum (750gb).

The problem is that I still don't know what CPU to get. Not even sure if to go AMD or INTEL. By knowing which CPU I can get a appropriate Motherboard (with like 6 SATA and maybe onboard GPU)

So yeah... what would be a good CPU.



NOTE: I have a old M2N-Sli Deluxe (AM2) with a +4200 that I might be retiring soon. Should I use that as my file server? If I do... I will probably have to wait more... I have to save up for my next "INEFFICIENT Gaming Rig".




MS finally fixed corruption issues with Windows Home Server, and HP sells a model or two for around $500.

http://www.shopping.hp.com/can/desktop/desktop_hp/home_servers/1/accessories?jumpid=re_r602_de_demo_bnav_psg_nov07_mssdemoshopnow
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2008 12:44:45 AM

My suggestion would be an AMD 780G chipset mobo and one of the AMD 45w CPU's. The 780G will come with HDMI built in and can handle Bluray playback with ease.
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2008 12:54:50 AM

4745454b said:
If you care about how much power its going to cost you, reusing an old system is NOT the way to go. Modern motherboards and CPUs are much more efficient then their older counterparts.


I agree with you point about energy cost. But poster needs to consider total cost - and should do a total cost of operation analysis looking at what additional cost he will need to pay for new system and how long it will take to earn it back in energy savings. Could take quite awhile.

Itstemo - do you need to keep it on 24/7 for convenience or can one energy saving strategy be to simply turn if off for awhile each day? May make a huge difference in energy costs and payback time.

I use to keep mine on 24/7 until I saw it was putting me into the premium rates my electric company charges and cut back to keep my bill in the base rate category - a nice monthly savings that adds up over the year.


August 18, 2008 3:58:30 PM

runswindows95 said:
My suggestion would be an AMD 780G chipset mobo and one of the AMD 45w CPU's. The 780G will come with HDMI built in and can handle Bluray playback with ease.


+ 1 on this. The 780G will do anything you need for this. Throw in a cheap 45w CPU, and decent 500 watt PSU, 2 gigs of RAM, the HDs you want, the TV tuner card and your set.
August 18, 2008 9:03:14 PM

If you really want to save money consider a mini itx board witha mobile processor or an Intel atom board. I just built one witha turion x2 and three 750s and a160 os drive.
August 19, 2008 5:20:20 AM

I am keeping this baby one 24/7. Rarely will it be off.

Also the Atom only has 2-3 SATA drives. The WD GP drives are a great idea... might think about using those.
August 19, 2008 2:35:40 PM

itstemo1 said:
I am keeping this baby one 24/7. Rarely will it be off.

Also the Atom only has 2-3 SATA drives. The WD GP drives are a great idea... might think about using those.


Well, how many SATA ports do you need? Are you planning some sort of RAID?
a c 86 à CPUs
August 20, 2008 12:12:15 AM

From the first post,

Quote:
I will also be getting 4 HDD mininum (750gb)
August 20, 2008 8:53:34 AM

After reading the Extreme tech link above I found this titled "Build a bang for the watt PC":

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2326291,00.a...

The analysis is pretty good, I hope you get something from it. It's a shame we don't have more electrical engineers drop in because I was wondering how minimal the cost would be to set up an off the grid single power point solar unit would be? I mean they run entire house holds off the bigger photovoltaic panels, we just need a point or two.
August 20, 2008 9:24:34 AM

You'll need a lot of batteries for when the sun doesn't shine...
August 20, 2008 2:19:18 PM

Yep I did say and off the grid setup and really I think maybe even 4x12v batteries would do it in summer, he would use direct power in the day and unload battery supply during the night. An electrical engineer would be able to figure it out and I know there are calculators for PSU's around the net, these tabulate the power requirements for various components.
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