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Quiet, 'Green' mini personal web server advice (sub $600)

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September 25, 2009 6:00:50 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This Week

BUDGET RANGE: $300 to $600 or so

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Personal web server, eg: Apache, MySQL, PHP. Maybe Ruby or Django, etc.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Will be headless, and expecting to control via SSH. No keybaord, monitor, etc.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: No preference COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: I live and will be building/using it in Canada. Is that what this is asking?

PARTS PREFERENCES: No preference. Whatever is best suited to the application.

OVERCLOCKING: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: N/A

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Looking to build a reliable LAMP server. No need for anything exotic, but quiet (silent is good!) energy efficient ('Green') and small form factor (Mini-ITX) are high priorities. Inspiration for this comes from the Mac Mini. I could just buy one of them, but I'd much rather build it myself.

Assembling this thing will now be an issue for me, but I will admit that I am NOT a hardware spec guy.
September 26, 2009 7:51:08 AM

Thanks for your reply. Great of you to supply Canadian prices and supplier too!

A friend has suggested an Intel DG45FC Mini-ITX Motherboard / Intel E5300 Dual Core CPU combo. As I am not really a hardware guy, I have no opinion on his suggestion, but maybe you do. I am assuming that while his suggestions would make for a more robust system, yours fall much more in line with the 'quiet and green' requirements I specified.

Care to chime in?
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September 27, 2009 1:19:17 AM

It's certainly not a bad choice. It's a bit more than double the cost of the Atom330/945 combo but you do get a more modern MB chipset and a considerably more powerful CPU. With the added bonus of being able to upgrade the CPU at a later date if you choose. Except it doesnt take quad core CPUs from what I read. The E5300 would be a better option if you ever decide to re-purpose the server as a HTPC, for example.

I think the Atom combo leads in power savings and quietness but not by a huge margin.

If you're thinking about running a Windows based server (with XAMPP for example) I think you'd find a use for the extra horsepower of the E5300. A personal web server isnt that demanding, especially running Linux, when you get right down to it.



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September 27, 2009 1:36:47 AM

Here is a review of the DG45FC mini-ITX motherboard with a E5200. It's power consumption isn't bad comparted to the Atom330.
Idle / load: Atom 41W/45W - E5200 45W/80W
Maybe change out that for a Celeron E3200?
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September 27, 2009 2:04:50 AM

Once again, thanks!

I'm beginning to think the 'quiet and green' is all relative to the potential performance of this little box. I know myself well enough to admit that I will end up pushing it far harder than I originally planned. With that, I think 'quite-ish and green-ish' should be the new standard. ;) 

Part of the fun of this project is doing / learning new stuff, so Windows will not factor into the build in anyway. Having messed around with various flavors of 'desktop' Linux on numerous other projects, I plan on jumping in with both feet and running FreeBSD.

Once again, being a hardware spec noob, what's behind your suggestion for the Celeron E3200 over the E5300?

Thanks for your patience, and I hope I am not boring you with too many questions.
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September 27, 2009 3:30:20 AM

More powerful than an Atom and more power efficient than the E5300. In raw performance power it's not far off the E5300 (in line with its $15 cheaper price).
And the E3200 supports Virtualization Technology where the E5300 doesnt.
It's the VM ability of the E3200 that makes it more attractive than the E5300 for a server environment IMO.
E3200 E3300 E5300 E6300
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September 27, 2009 3:46:46 AM

Thank you again! I'll do a little more research tonight an dlet you know what I end up choosing.
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October 6, 2009 9:10:20 PM

Thanks for all of your help. I ended up going with the more robust pieces we discussed plus a little extra...

  • 1 - Intel DG45FC Mini-ITX Motherboard
  • 1 - Intel E5300 Dual Core CPU While I was at it,
  • 2 - Kingston 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
  • 1 - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
  • 1 - Foxconn RS233 chassis

    All in all, it is a fantastic machine. Total investment was about $630 Canadian including environmental levies and taxes. I could have saved money all over the place, but once I decided to go for a heftier machine, it got carried away. ;) 

    My only gripe is the Foxconn PSU fan is LOUD. I will have to do something about the noise, but it can wait for now. I've spent the last couple of days creating a FreeBSD based web server and I am having a riot.

    Thanks again for your help.
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    October 7, 2009 11:08:33 PM

    Thanks for the feedback. Good to know it's worked out well for you.
    I've have problems with excessive PSU noise before and there is nothing more annoying than that steady loud type of whine IMO. If I dont have any personal experience I always look for a case and PSU review I trust like the APEX MI-008 review from SPCR I linked above.
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