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HTPC/Home Server/BitTorrent client

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March 7, 2009 8:25:12 PM

I've been kicking around the idea of having a always on computer for awhile now and wanted to get a little bit of input. My budget is about $300 or less. And I am going to use something like xubuntu or other light linux distro.

As it'll be always on, I wanted something that wouldn't be an energy hog and am inclined to use one of those mini-ITX boards with an Atom CPU on it. Using something like a picoPSU kit. A 500gb HDD and a DVD drive. 2 GB of RAM. Probably make a case out of a shoe box or something.

I know that is pretty low powered but my needs are pretty minimal. I'm not terribly picky about sound and video quality. The server would primarily be for doing weekly backups of my main system. Nothing with heavy use.

Would the Atom be enough for this?

...are there any other considerations that I'm missing? Or do you have any related advice?
March 7, 2009 11:29:37 PM

So, the atom processor should be sufficient? Also, guessing from that only having a PCI slot, the Intel GMA 950 is good enough for video?

...and a somewhat personal case against a pre-built is that with the part's I have lying around, I could get by with just buying a mobo and a stick of RAM for $90 (includes shipping). .......I'm very temped.

...or fill it out with a DVD burner, case+PSU, 500GB HDD for a total of $221. Leaving about $40 for keyboard and mouse (both of which I have and am not going to buy). You'll need to log into NewEgg, but here is the wish list: https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...
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March 8, 2009 1:30:55 AM

Well, in all honesty a G45 or some such would handle hi-def video better. The Rosewill PSU is expensive AND junk, all rolled into one...

As long as you have a case, how about a low wattage Athlon and a board that will actually handle Hi-def? In a couple months you could add in a blu-ray player, as they come down.
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

March 8, 2009 3:00:18 AM

Proximon said:
Well, in all honesty a G45 or some such would handle hi-def video better. The Rosewill PSU is expensive AND junk, all rolled into one...

As long as you have a case, how about a low wattage Athlon and a board that will actually handle Hi-def? In a couple months you could add in a blu-ray player, as they come down.
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...



How is that on power consumption? I'm concerned with my carbon footprint.
March 8, 2009 5:34:53 AM

That CPU is pretty tame. That's about the best you can do with a real HTPC set up. The PSU is where you'll get the biggest savings anyway, not the other hardware. It's a fairly recent board, so it should play well with power saving features. You could get a greener hard drive though:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A similar system pulled an average of 88W in Flight Sim X, a very graphic intense program.
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=328...
March 8, 2009 2:29:36 PM

Proximon said:
Something like this is hard to argue with:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Once you get down to $450 or below we have a hard time matching pre-builts.

Thats not bad at all for the price and would make a good headless server using something like rTorrent and no GUI to save CPU cycles.
March 16, 2009 11:51:10 PM

I think not. There is no indication of efficiency as far as I see. Just because a PSU delivers less max wattage does not mean it saves power.

You could get a 1000W PSU if it happened to be efficient in the 100W range. PSUs only draw the power that they need from the wall. If you want something very efficient:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's also very high quality.
!