Hello! I've been trying to figure out the best way to build a low-power server. It will be basically be running FTP and SSH, and that's about all. For file storage, I plan on using two hard drives with a software RAID configuration. I'd also like for the cooling fans to be quiet, as I'll be storing this in my living room.
Anyways, any recommendations as to which parts to pick as to minimize power consumption and keep the noise level down? Do smaller ITX motherboards use less power than mini-ATX ones? Should I get something with an integrated processor like an Atom board, or buy a regular ol' processor and maybe underclock/undervolt it? The case doesn't matter too much to me, as long as it has room for two hard drives and the power supply is quiet.
For software I'll be running the newest Ubuntu, unless I can figure out a good reason not to.
Ubuntu server is a good choice for building a low power file server. It is very light weight, and I think it even has samba already on it. I think the guys over at smallnetbuilder.com did some testing of Ubuntu server vs FreeNAS and it was a tiny bit faster. I think Tom's did some low-power shootouts a while back, and they concluded it by saying a low power core 2 duo beats an atom in overall power consumption since the core 2 duo is able to reduce its idle consumption more than the atom. peak power usage is still higher with the core 2 duo, but you get much more performance.