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low heat output server for closet?

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March 21, 2010 12:30:45 AM

I have a closet that doesn't get much airflow. A little, but not a lot. Currently I have an old server in there that gets quite warm. It is time to replace it, so I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions on CPU/mobo/PSU/GPU/etc that would work well in such an environment?

The machine is normally a server. It has a few mirrored drives where I store music/pictures/documents/etc, so I guess the mobo needs RAID. It is connected to a 1080p TV, but I only get a chance maybe twice a month to watch a Bluray rip. Still, it needs a decent video card. Honestly, 99% of the time the machine will be idle, but I don't want it to overheat when it does get used.

I recently upgraded my main machine to an i7 920 CPU, Gigabyte EX58-UD4P mobo, and an X25-M SSD. This was a pleasure to put together and has had zero problems since. Unfortunately, they don't seem to make this mobo anymore, plus I'm not sure if this is the best CPU to use in my unique, low airflow closet.

Thanks for any help you can provide!
March 21, 2010 2:43:39 AM

I'd look along the lines of an E3400 for a CPU (45nm, dual core, 2.6ghz, $60).

On the video side a 4350, or a 4670 for light gaming.

Pick your favourite s775 motherboard with an ICH10R.
March 21, 2010 7:57:13 PM

I would recommend any Athlon II (they're quite cool chips), and an AM2+ motherboard since s775 won't be upgradeable at all.
For the video card, you can manage to get HD 1080 from quite a lot integrated graphics out there. If you want to game, ATIs 5000 series (especially the 5770/ 5750/ 5670 and lower end models) run really cool at idle and not much hot at load.
March 28, 2010 1:09:14 AM

I ended up going for an i5 650 and Gigabyte H55-USB3. I felt bad about losing performance to reduce heat, I went back and forth a lot. I also ended up going with 2x500gb mirrored, since I already had 1 of these drives, and 1TB regular for media and stuff. This is nice because I can backup the mirror to my 620gb USB external drive.

It is working out well. Got the new server up and running. Haven't watched any HD yet, but I got my drives all worked out and my data on there. CPU temps were about 25C to 30C in the room where I built the machine and setup the software. After moving it into the closet, I see idle temps of 42C on one core and and 36C on the other. I think this is acceptable, though I need to look at load temps expect it to rise a bit in the summer. The old machine idled at ~55C!

The "closet" isn't really a closet. It houses the hot water heat for my house. I have radiant heat, where the hot water is pumped through radiators in the walls throughout the house. So out of the hot water heater come a dozen rubber tubes leading to the radiators. These tubes get quite warm and raise the temp of the closet quite a bit. There are two vents to the outside in the closet, one high, one low, because the hot water heater is gas and needs fresh air to burn. Because the closet is cramped, the only place to put a computer is near the ceiling. I have two 120mm fans in the upper vent, near the computer, but running them pumps a lot of heat outdoors and is wasteful. The temps above for the new machine are with the fans off. I may have to turn them on for part of the summer, but so far it is working out great.
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