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Recommendations for server parts

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July 30, 2010 12:36:21 AM

I'm thinking of building a relatively cheap web server for personal use. I'll be looking into parts myself but could use some guidance if people have anything to add.

Here's what I'm thinking:

cpu - minimal/average cpu. don't think I'm going to need crazy processing power for anything. thinking of a 2ish ghz single core
  • AMD Sempron 140
  • Intel Celeron 430

    memory - thinking around 1GB
  • Kingston ValueRAM 1GB

    power - I want to try and minimize power consumption as much as possible, as I'll be running the server constantly

    motherboard - I'm gonna want a bios that can be configured to boot w/o a monitor/keyboard and a minimal integrated video chip. other than that, pretty much going for minimizing cost
  • ASUS M4N68T-M AM3 Micro atx (if I go with the AMD cpu)

    video - like I said, minimal integrated chipset. I'm planning on using a monitor only for the install and for when I can't access the server through other means (ssh)

    sound - don't see any reason to have sound

    case - I want a smallish/medium sized case if possible, unless it would cause heating issues
  • APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX

    fans/cooling - relatively important, trying to strike a good balance between quiet and heating-prevent. quietness may take some precedence as I'm going to probably be putting it in our basement where the rest of my family spends time, but as I'm going to be running it constantly I'm a bit concerned about heating
  • ARCTIC COOLING CPU Cooler for the AMD cpu, if I decide to not go with AMD's heatsink. supposed to be ultra quiet, but if AMD's heatsink isn't too bad I might just use that instead of spending $30 on this

    hdd - prob gonna go for 100gb or something, not going to be storing huge amounts of files, and if the need ever arises I can always upgrade
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 160GB

    that's everything I can think of. any input is appreciated.

    also, looking for 64bit support

    price so far: $214 (w/ the amd cpu and w/o a psu). $184 if I decide to not buy the separate heatsink
    July 30, 2010 1:12:15 AM

    Depending on how much power you need this rig to have, you may want to consider using an Atom based board. This will generally draw <100W (low power), and produce very little heat; lots of boards don't even have fans on the heatsinks. I'd look into the dual-core models :) 

    If you feel you need more power than this, then I think you've made very good decisions with the hardware you've listed. I'd opt for a tad more RAM (2gb would be a good amount), however 1gb should suffice.

    I'd probably go for a Micro-ATX rig. You can get cases very cheap, and they're quite small. I actually just ordered an mATX case for my home server, I'd check it out:
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

    Just out of curiosity, what do you plan on running for an OS?

    Good luck :) 
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    July 30, 2010 1:48:13 AM

    Quote:
    Just out of curiosity, what do you plan on running for an OS?

    Most probably Ubuntu server. Or if not, some other linux distro.

    I'll look into the atom based boards. my need for low power consumption isn't all that intense (ie I don't need it to be as low as 100W), though it does sound inciting as far as heat production.

    I might spring for 2GB if the price different isn't too huge.
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    July 30, 2010 3:54:56 AM

    I was just throwing the whole atom idea out there. My server is gonna be running an Athlon II dual core, which is overkill, but I like overkill ;)  It's entirely up to you!

    Supermicro makes some atom boards intended to be used for server applications. The best part is, Supermicro has excellent Linux/BSD support. :) 

    Good luck!
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    July 30, 2010 5:18:22 AM

    I know this is gonna sound crazy but do you have an old laptop laying around? I used to have a 2ghz core duo laptop with a broken lcd running my gateway/firewall doing unified threat management. It only pulled around 20 watts. I only say this cause your performance and storage requirements are very low. You can probably pick one up for very cheap if you don't already have one.
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    July 30, 2010 12:46:38 PM

    I don't have any old laptops/PCs lying around, but if I manage to find one for cheaper than the parts I'm looking for, I might just get that.
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    July 30, 2010 7:52:40 PM

    That's certainly an interesting idea; can't say I've ever heard of that being done before. Not saying it won't work, just saying it's a cool idea :) 

    The only issue I can foresee with this setup is the lack of storage, having only a single 2.5" HDD. However, you said you didn't need much storage, so you should be fine. You can get 500GB drives for pretty cheap :) 
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    July 30, 2010 8:50:59 PM

    I've actually known one person who used a laptop as their server before (I think the same person also didn't have a case for their desktop, and just had all the parts laying out in the open on an electrostatic mat).

    You mean a 3.5" HDD? I think 160GB is going to be plenty for my purposes. Right now my linux desktop is running off of two partitions that total 120GB and I'm only using around 40% of it. (My hdd is actually 640GB but vista won't let me take back any more space from it, which is a real shame since I barely use windows. I could just do a reinstall if I needed to, but right now ubuntu still has space to work)

    I've been having some trouble finding a suitable psu. Most of the microATX ones I've been looking at have reviews saying they're too noisy.

    Also, out of curiosity, would anyone know if the heatsinks amd ships with their processors are terribly noisy? I'll most likely use it anyway, and just buy the separate one I linked to above if I end up needing something quieter, but I'd still like to know what people think.
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    July 30, 2010 9:29:42 PM

    alecbenzer said:
    You mean a 3.5" HDD?


    I mean 2.5" :)  I was referring to the laptop, which uses 2.5" HDD's, while desktops use 3.5" :) 

    alecbenzer said:
    I've been having some trouble finding a suitable psu. Most of the microATX ones I've been looking at have reviews saying they're too noisy.


    The problem with mATX PSU's is that since they're small, they use smaller fans, which need to spin faster to move enough air, which in turn make more noise. You can get mATX cases that use full ATX sized power supplies; the one I'm using does.

    alecbenzer said:
    Also, out of curiosity, would anyone know if the heatsinks amd ships with their processors are terribly noisy? I'll most likely use it anyway, and just buy the separate one I linked to above if I end up needing something quieter, but I'd still like to know what people think.


    From my experience (on my Regor 245) they're surprisingly quiet. If you have Cool 'n Quiet (or whatever it's called) enabled, then it will only run as fast as it needs to, so it's very rarely at or near full speed.
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    July 30, 2010 9:30:15 PM

    There are even 1 terabyte laptop hard drives now, but like you said earlier 160gb is more than plenty. There are also very efficient pico type psu's that you can try. I've been down this road before trying to get a gateway that uses the least power. I've tried pentium m motherboards but a pentium m laptop used the least power in my findings. I can try to find the link if you want. The guy is selling them on Ebay and he's from canada. I have purchased 2 from him and am very happy with the product and service.
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