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Atom D525 System Build & Question About Making it A Gateway

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February 3, 2011 6:02:36 PM

Hello All,
Recently I have parted together an rather nice Intel Atom D525 based system that is outlined below:
Case/Power Supply: Thermaltake Element Q - $64.99
Motherboard/Processor: ASUS AT5IONT-I Intel Atom D525 (1.8GHz, dual-core) - $179.99
Memory: Kingston 2GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM Unbuffered DDR3 800 - $25.49 - x2 $50.98
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB - $64.99

So far everything has gone great and I have Fedora Core 14 desktop running on it without any problem. The major goals of the system I've had are following:
- Very low power consumption system
- Act as light weight web/file server for external usage
- Maintain persistent connection to chat services for pidgin/irc
- Use Tiger VNC for remote desktop
- Serve as secure system to wake-on-lan other computers
- Light media PC roles (possibly, it has a decent enough video card)

The whole idea was that this is a system I can leave on 24/7 due to its low power footprint (25-50 watts measured so far with a P3 Kill A Watt Electricity Load Meter and Monitor) so I can save on AC and computer bills. If I need something more than its basic power can provide I have scripts set up to wake my other machines up for what needs to be done and then put them back to sleep.

To my question! More recently I've wanted to substitute this system for my router, replacing its firewall/gateway roles so that I can have a little more control and monitoring regarding my connections. This leads me to these questions:
- Is this a good idea even? I'm already loading quite a few tasks onto this system, is acting as a gateway just too much for it?
- The ASUS motherboard contains a PCI-E 4x expansion slot but the mini-itx case and motherboard back plate aren't really suited for a standard sized card. Any ideas on what might fit here? I'm not really looking to use wireless as I think a dedicated router is fine for that application.

I will post some more power/performance/load metrics regarding the project when I get more into it but I would be glad for any feedback.
Regards,
-Michael
February 3, 2011 6:42:38 PM

It won't introduce almost any load compared to what your seeing. I wouldn't suspect you would even measure a watt difference on your load meter. I have a P4 running all of those services and more and it throttles down to 325mhz 99% of the time. I can't even see a percent processor increase when idle and the other computers in the house are downloading or surfing.
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February 3, 2011 7:43:16 PM

Conceptually that makes sense as all of that traffic would be just going through the North Bridge but this raises the question of what pci-e network will fit in a mini-itx case. Any suggestions?
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February 3, 2011 8:39:29 PM

I'm just curious why they did what they did above the DVI port. Kinda makes no sense. Just the end of a heatpipe sticking out?
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