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Low-power server?

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September 5, 2009 6:17:41 PM

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.

Thank you in advance for your advice!

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September 8, 2009 1:58:54 PM

You can use FreeNAS or Opensolaris with ZFS. Here is a cheap build.

How-to: Mini DIY Project: 2TB NAS Box for $360 (Update 3)

http://boredsysadm.blogspot.com/2008/10/how-to-mini-diy...

Product Description Unit Price Total Price
1 Rosewill R223-P-BK 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$19.99 $19.99
1 Foxconn G9657MA-8EKRS2H LGA 775 Intel G965 Express Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$49.99 $49.99
1 Antec Basiq BP-350B 350W ATX12V Version 2.01 Power Supply - OEM
$9.99 $9.99
1 Intel Celeron 430 Conroe-L 1.8GHz LGA 775 35W Single-Core Processor Model BX80557430 - Retail
$37.99 $37.99
1 Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model KVR800D2N6/1G - Retail
$14.99 $14.99
1 OS FreeNAS
$0.0 $0.0
1 OS OpenFiler $0.0 $0.0
3 Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
$74.99 $224.97
3 Optional Part: iStarUSA T-5-SA 1x5.25" Bay Trayless Anti-vibration SATA Mobile Rack - Retail $14.99 $44.97
Subtotal: $357.92
Subtotal (with Mobile Racks) 402.89
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September 8, 2009 2:06:26 PM

A regular motherboard will have more SATA ports than a mini-ITX or mini-ATX.
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September 8, 2009 2:54:05 PM

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.
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