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Low Power home server build

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February 9, 2012 8:00:07 AM

Hi All!

I am about to build a very low power, small form factor pc to use as home server. It will mainly run web and email server, occasional development tool like Cloud9 and maybe some other service, but nothing too fancy and I expect the server to be idle most of the time.

I've already bought an Antec ISK110 case, but now I am torn between 3 possible CPU options:

1) Zacate
2) I3 2100
3) I3 2100T

All three of them would be supplied with 8 GB ddr3, 60 GB SSD and, if case and psu allow, a 500 GB 2.5" hdd.

I know that for my needs the Zacate is probably enough, but I was considering the I3 builds, just in case I may need some extra strength now and then.
My main issues with the I3s, however, is: would the 90w of the Antec PSU be enough for the I3 builds? According to the http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp it is not, yet here and there I see threads with people that have built an ISK100 with an I3. Should I trust that site?

Finally.. if the psu is enough for both I3s.. should I go the 2100T safest route or can I take the less-expensive, more-powerful, almost-same-idle-consumption 2100? Besides having an higher TDP I am afraid the stock cooler may be too high for that case.

Thank you in advance!
February 9, 2012 4:09:54 PM

Quote:
All three of them would be supplied with 8 GB ddr3, 60 GB SSD and, if case and psu allow, a 500 GB 2.5" hdd.


Why would you power a file server with just a 60GB SSD? This is where a hybrid SSD drive like the Seagate Momentus XT could come in handy as you can run up to 750GB SSD/HD hybrid on that.

Quote:
I know that for my needs the Zacate is probably enough, but I was considering the I3 builds, just in case I may need some extra strength now and then.


Go with the i3-2120. It's the best price-performance CPU out of the i3 series.

Quote:
My main issues with the I3s, however, is: would the 90w of the Antec PSU be enough for the I3 builds? According to the http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp it is not, yet here and there I see threads with people that have built an ISK100 with an I3. Should I trust that site?


Here's a far more accurate PSU calculator: http://support.asus.com/PowerSupply.aspx?SLanguage=en

The problem with that site you linked to is that it uses power requirements for a lot of hardware that's outdated and actually doesn't exist anymore. A more accurate wattage calculation using your parameters would come out to something like 350W minimum.

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February 9, 2012 4:29:07 PM

amythompson172 said:
The Intel Core i3-2120 would also be my choice.

Quote:
It's the best price-performance CPU out of the i3 series.


This processor is currently running in my rig, and I'm really happy with it. I was worried about it performing well, but it runs roughly as fast as a stock i5 if you're running games. Performs better than any AMD chip I've seen.

http://www.amazon.com/Intel-i3-2120-Processor-Socket-LGA1155/dp/B004KZDV8E/


I don't think the OP wants a gaming system though - it's only going to be a file server and it won't take much to power it. I also use an i3-2120 and it's excellent for the price. I will probably upgrade to an i5-2500K when the price drops, though.
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February 9, 2012 4:39:05 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:
All three of them would be supplied with 8 GB ddr3, 60 GB SSD and, if case and psu allow, a 500 GB 2.5" hdd.


Why would you power a file server with just a 60GB SSD? This is where a hybrid SSD drive like the Seagate Momentus XT could come in handy as you can run up to 750GB SSD/HD hybrid on that.


Did I say a file server? I already have a big enough NAS for that. I only need a small form factor development server. Therefore I don't really need a lot of space (not that extra space would hurt, of course).

Thanks for your suggestion, though. But even with your calculator the i3 requires way more power than the ISK110 can provide. I am not sure I can replace the built-in PSU so I guess my options are either to stick with zacate and hope it's not that bad or buy a different case/psu combo.

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February 9, 2012 4:41:15 PM

Tonyx said:
Did I say a file server? I already have a big enough NAS for that. I only need a small form factor development server. Therefore I don't really need a lot of space (not that extra space would hurt, of course).

Thanks for your suggestion, though. But even with your calculator the i3 requires way more power than the ISK110 can provide. I am not sure I can replace the built-in PSU so I guess my options are either to stick with zacate and hope it's not that bad or buy a different case/psu combo.


What's the Zacate that you're referring to? Is it Xeon, AMD, something else?
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February 9, 2012 4:50:13 PM

Tonyx said:
Low-power AMD APU like this: http://www.amazon.com/Zacate-Hudson-Motherboard-E35M1-M...

Probably enough for my needs, at least for now.


I'd really hesitate to recommend a motherboard with a built in PSU. You'll go through tech support hell if something goes wrong - Asus will recommend you contact AMD, AMD will tell you that they won't service it since it's an OEM, and so on and so forth.

You're better off going with something like this. A little bit more but fewer headaches down the road:

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 9, 2012 4:59:23 PM

The price is not an issue (within certain boundaries, of course). But I do really want to use the ISK 110 case, which only has a 90w psu.

Any small form factor case recommendations for the i3?

Thanks for your input
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February 9, 2012 5:09:48 PM

I think the i3 is overkill for you.
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February 9, 2012 5:16:50 PM

FinneousPJ said:
I think the i3 is overkill for you.


Probably you are right. I just thought that, since price is not an issue, if the psu allowed it, it would have been nice to cut some compile time. Not needed, though.
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February 12, 2012 5:02:33 AM

Looks like those online calculators are not reliable at all, by much.
Anyone with a 2100 i3 that can give me power consumptions?
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