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Low powered home server build. Am I missing any other options?

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January 7, 2013 5:32:37 PM

Hey fellas. First time post here... trying to scout the yard for as many options as possible. I'm looking to replace my nettop as my server. Not entirely because it's a nettop... the Intel Atom works great... but I want to have a more internal setup instead of having hard drives hanging off via USB in external enclosures. I feel as though I've done a good deal of research but I'm still somewhat meh on where to go.

The server is going to be running Linux of some sort... likely a GUI-less variant, such as Ubuntu Server 12.04. It'll be running 24/7. I have video surveillance cameras that are going to record feeds to the system via Samba. I'll also have it available for backups of all of the systems in the house, Subsonic music streaming, ownCloud personal cloud storage, and maybe a few more oddball things such as Irssi, etc. As I said, the Atom has worked great so far, but I really want something that is a singular box without external HDDs all over the place.

I've been largely comparing some motherboard/cpu/gpu combo setups on NewEgg lately. The AMD E350 is continually coming up on the radar, but I'm semi hesitant to go with AMD. Perhaps it's due to their lack of Linux support vs Intel or Nvidia, or the fact I saw an article from last month showing AMD's consistent downward slope of 2012, who knows. I'd just like to stick with Intel if possible, but I'm starting to feel like it's becoming less likely.

Required:
- Low power consumption
- At least 4 SATA ports (SATA III would be an absolutely incredible bonus)
- Gigabit ethernet

Nice, but not needed:
- Mini ITX, but I'll settle for Micro ATX
- An expansion slot for a nicer GPU. This would be nice in case I ever want to re-purpose this system as an HTPC.

There's an ASRock AMD E350 board on NewEgg I can grab for 100 bucks. It supports more than 4GB of RAM (ala Atom board) and have four SATA III ports. The CPU is easily powerful enough for what I need and it's pretty dang green. It's Mini ITX, which is a bonus. It also has a PCIE slot, but it's downclocked to x4 instead of x16. I have no idea how much this effects actual 1080 HD playback, but it's a bit of a "meh" feeling.

The competition is few and far between from what I'm seeing. I can do an Intel Atom board, but they come with SATA II ports (and normally 2 ports) and a regular PCI slot. I'm unsure of the actual speeds of PCI vs PCIE, but I'd be willing to bet PCIE x4 would rock PCI. That said, Intel Atoms for the most part have nothing going for them vs the AMD E350 when comparing spec to spec. There are other Intel options though, such as getting a 1155 board. But then I have a 90 dollar board with a 75 dollar processor... ramping the price up a bit. That said, even these 1155 boards typically (at best) have two SATA III ports... but there again, the E350 is still sporting 4 of them. Not to say that SATA III is absolutely required, but it's a heckuva nice bonus. Plus if I can get 4 of them @ 100 (E350) versus 2 of them @ 90+75 (1155)... eh...

I'm also open to other ideas, even entirely GUI-less ideas if I go the ARM route (not sure how the R-Pi does it, but I understand GPU ARM support in Linux to be non-existent). I have a Raspberry Pi which works wonderfully with Raspbian, however the only thing is with the Pi having both USB ports and the NIC bound under the same USB bus, it makes transferring a massive amount of data over the LAN to the external HDDs borderline impossible. That being said, I'd love to have an ARM powered board, and then I'd easily ignore the bonus with the E350 of having a PCIE x4 slot... the curve ball to that is all of the ARM boards I've found weren't a standard size, such as Mini ITX, Micro ATX, etc.

All in all, I'm curious if there's something I'm missing... some sort of Intel option that I didn't come across yet, or perhaps some sort of Mini ITX sized ARM board that's perfectly priced and SATA equipped. Or... if the E350 is the screaming winner here. What do you guys think?
January 7, 2013 5:37:57 PM

You want more advice, start with a firm budget. For what you pay, those mini-itx boards are a joke; expensive, poor heat transfer, etc. Get a regular micro atx board with low end Intel 1155 and micro atx case if you have the room in your cabinet/desk. They use just a little more energy than those atom/e350 setups, cost about the same, and give you more upgrade options later on.
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January 7, 2013 6:04:13 PM

amd apu? with matx mobo? strong enough graphics for hd video, hell even strong enough to game with out a discrete card
just my 2c
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January 7, 2013 6:15:55 PM

Thanks for the quick responses everybody. Yeah, the more I think about it the more I think a Micro ATX is going to be the best all around bang/buck, even though I don't necessarily need whatever processing power it can put out. There is something to be said about the versatility of larger cases as well. I'd really like to be able to utilize a PSU I already have handy, which is 280w max. Would that be suitable?

@ 13thmonkey, how much did that system run you? If I can use the PSU, that would be a savings, plus I have a Micro ATX tower already. I'd only get 4GB of RAM and wouldn't get a GPU to start. I'd really just need cpu, mobo, and RAM.
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January 7, 2013 6:21:52 PM

bjaminnyc said:
Why not just grab a Sempron <$50 or Athlon x2 for ~$50 and a $50 AM3 board with SATA III.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I guess I didn't really give older hardware a thought. With power consumption being one of the most important parameters, how would a board like you recommended fair? I understand that I won't get Intel Atom power consumption, but dangit, I want to certainly get as close as possible. :lol: 
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January 7, 2013 6:29:47 PM

JaSauders said:
I guess I didn't really give older hardware a thought. With power consumption being one of the most important parameters, how would a board like you recommended fair? I understand that I won't get Intel Atom power consumption, but dangit, I want to certainly get as close as possible. :lol: 


I run a simple file server / HTPC with a Semperon 145 @45w & 6450. The chip is unlockable to 2 cores but I left it at 1 for power consumption and heat concerns. That little chip stays super cool, and is plenty for XMBC WMC and file server responsibilities.

The board a listed seems to be fairly feature rich and has good reviews. However, I've never had any personal experience with that exact product. The board I have paired with the 145 was $10 with rebate and has been chugging along fine for years.
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January 7, 2013 6:48:13 PM

JaSauders said:
Thanks for the quick responses everybody. Yeah, the more I think about it the more I think a Micro ATX is going to be the best all around bang/buck, even though I don't necessarily need whatever processing power it can put out. There is something to be said about the versatility of larger cases as well. I'd really like to be able to utilize a PSU I already have handy, which is 280w max. Would that be suitable?

@ 13thmonkey, how much did that system run you? If I can use the PSU, that would be a savings, plus I have a Micro ATX tower already. I'd only get 4GB of RAM and wouldn't get a GPU to start. I'd really just need cpu, mobo, and RAM.


Roughly £260 all in, but that included the case, pico psu and power brick (£93 total)

RAM, CPU and MOBO (given that you are reusing everything else) was £30+£95+£53 (from memory) this is an office machine build however hence i wanted more power. There are 35W GXXX's out there too, but they idle at such low powers that purchases cost should be the consideration not running cost. Having a 2 core + HT or a true quad allows you to consider using the box for something beyond server duty.

My server started out as leftover bits whilst I figured out if I liked the idea and then went for an althlon II x2, 65W model I think.
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January 7, 2013 6:53:34 PM

I have a hard time justifying the purchase of an older board @ 50 bucks along with an older CPU @ 50 bucks, which comes out to 100... the same cost of the ASRock AMD E350 setup I saw... Don't get me wrong, I know Mini ITX and APUs come pre-packaged with their own limitations, but I'm finding it hard to justify that an older board and older proc @ a similar price is going to be a substantial leg up. The only thing it would grant me is the potential capability of adding a better GPU into place for use as a HTPC system. I'm certainly open to it, but I'm just not sure. I think I need to get some specific builds down and begin comparing...
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January 7, 2013 7:01:21 PM

whilst the new amd's might be newer, are they better? I'd say ivy is better, yes it might not be as graphically capable but then this is a sever.

as I noted above mine is an office build, my server is running a lower power (rana?) athlonII X2. No reason why a dual core ivy pentium shouldn't work, but i'd go for at least a dual core.

this for instance has 6 sata ports, and unless you are using SSD's then SATA II is the same as SATA III. http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8b75-m-lx-intel-b7...(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-micro-atx

note that a matx board will consume a little more juice than an itx board.
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January 7, 2013 7:08:55 PM

13thmonkey said:
whilst the new amd's might be newer, are they better? I'd say ivy is better, yes it might not be as graphically capable but then this is a sever.

as I noted above mine is an office build, my server is running a lower power (rana?) athlonII X2. No reason why a dual core ivy pentium shouldn't work, but i'd go for at least a dual core.

this for instance has 6 sata ports, and unless you are using SSD's then SATA II is the same as SATA III. http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8b75-m-lx-intel-b7...(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-micro-atx

note that a matx board will consume a little more juice than an itx board.


I'm on the fence with the SATA II vs III thing. On one hand, I'd love to have SATA III so I can put some higher capacity SSDs into this system, but on the other hand, SATA III SSD on a SATA II port is still dang fast. I guess I'd just hate to be without the full potential in the event that opportunity comes about.

That board looks nice, but the one SATA III and five SATA II thing is pretty irritating.
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January 7, 2013 7:10:43 PM



Wow. That's certainly a surprise, and some substantial food for thought. That's also dated 2011 - I wonder how the IB i3's are in comparison? I would venture to say if anything has changed, it's likely changed in Intel's favor...
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January 7, 2013 7:14:50 PM

IB's are also 35W (SB also 35W), although they might idle lower, and run cooler (means lower fan speeds in case).
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January 7, 2013 7:17:16 PM

13thmonkey said:
IB's are also 35W (SB also 35W), although they might idle lower, and run cooler (means lower fan speeds in case).


They're 35W? All of the i3's I'm seeing on NewEgg say they're 55W... Perhaps I'm not looking at the wrong thing? None of the i3 Ivy Bridge chips have a "T" variant...
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January 7, 2013 7:21:47 PM

I hear ya about spending money on hardware that's dated. Although, going the AM3 or + route not only gives you the flexibility to install a superior video subsystem you can also upgrade the CPU relatively inexpensively at some point if you need to.

Oh and even the lowly x2 240 is about 2x faster then the e-350. I bought my mother in-law a prebuilt with an e-350 ($250 out the door w7+500GB, 4GB DDR3) and it's slow as dirt, which was expected at that price point.
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January 7, 2013 10:01:31 PM

This is what I'm looking at now...

Parts:

Processor ($125) - i3 3220T Ivy Bridge
Motherboard ($65 or $70) - Either this ASRock or this EliteGroup ECS. I'm a little confused about the ASRock, because when I googled B75 vs H77, some people indicated that the big difference is the H77 typically comes with a 3rd SATA III port... but this particular ASRock is a B75 and has the higher SATA port count for both II and III.
RAM ($20) - Crucial 4GB
GPU - Will be utilizing Intel's built in functionality for now. If HTPC tasks ever come up I'll test accordingly or utilize the PCIE 3.0 slot on the board.
PSU (already have) - 280w max. It's a brand new PSU I bought a few months ago for a client, but later found their PSU wasn't bad. Instead of returning it I kept it but haven't needed it yet.
Case (already have) - Micro ATX no namer
HDD (already have) - three 500GB for now, looking to upgrade very soon. While the Linux mdadm RAID utility is a solid option, I won't be utilizing RAID in an effort to have some degree of a time based backup. Drive A will be for video surveillance and won't be backed up (it records 100GB a day for 4 days, plus it stores the OS. It's obnoxious to try and back it up when feeds are continually overwritten each night). Drive B will be the main network drive and it'll rsync to drive C every night at midnight.
DVD Drive (none)

I'm really leaning towards the ASRock board since it has an extra SATA II port as well as an extra SATA III port. Overall this would run me $210 USD out of pocket for the proc, mobo, and RAM.

Can I do better? Or would this be a pretty solid punch between horsepower/features/price/power efficiency?
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January 7, 2013 10:22:59 PM

I see mention of SATA III for bigger SSD's, you do not need SATA III for large SSD's as SATA III is backwards compatible with SATA II.

Overall, I find the ITX board I have to be very power friendly under light loads. No as much as 13thmonkey's system, but still quite good.

@ 13thmonkey. Nice mini system. I am in the mid sized(by ITX standards) SG05 case :)  that affords me a larger video card.

SG05 build Image 1
SG05 build Image 2 <- swapped to 2.5 inch for the hard drive after.
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January 7, 2013 10:35:33 PM

nukemaster said:
I see mention of SATA III for bigger SSD's, you do not need SATA III for large SSD's as SATA III is backwards compatible with SATA II.

Overall, I find the ITX board I have to be very power friendly under light loads. No as much as 13thmonkey's system, but still quite good.



Oh, I know that. But in order to take advantage of SATA III speeds one would need SATA III ports, which is why having it in case that ever comes up is really nice.

I'm certainly open to Mini ITX builds still, but from what I'm seeing, while I'd gain a bit of power savings, I'd be sacrificing quite a bit more in terms of ports etc. The cheapest Mini ITX 1155 board that has at least two SATA III ports and at least two SATA II ports is 100 bucks. 100 + 125 for proc... eh. Especially when I'm utilizing a Micro ATX case and could get significantly more (8 total) SATA ports in the event I want to go HDD crazy, which I suppose isn't out of the realm of possibility since I have a stack of SATA HDDs here I'm not using at the moment.

I do have to wonder what kind of power savings would take place if you had two identical systems... i3 3220T in both... same everything except one is an ASRock Mini ITX and the other is a comparable ASRock Micro ATX. Given that everything else is the same I wonder what would be different via a watt meter, because I just can't see how one would save power vs the other given everything else being identical.
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January 7, 2013 10:45:11 PM

I do not have a LGA 1156 board to test my old I5 750(this thing undervolts like a dream) in to check to be honest.

It is just mostly extras like more voltage phases, while nice for overclocking are not as nice for power efficiency(on low powered systems) and the extra chips for more sata and more usb 3 all add up.

I know that my mATX board with an i7 2600K is not too bad coming in at 75-80 watts idle. It dropped a good 7 watts removing the WDC Black 2TB drive(that is how it got to 75-80) and replacing it with 2 256gigabyte SSD's. For an overclocked system with a 5870 video card, those seem to be very good idles to me.

I remember my i7 920 idled about 140-150.

So I think picking up some nice low powered parts and not getting features you NEVER plan to use, an mATX board should still get the job done. I do recommend undervolting if you have the time to stability test it. This saves every single watt(Damn i wish i could undervolt my video card. Seems to only let me mess with load voltage not idle.).

If you are going for a larger system. Check out the fractal Define case :)  8 hard drive bays. sure a mATX board may look strange in it, but as long as it holds what you want.
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January 8, 2013 12:05:31 AM

I apologize if this is a "duh" question, but are you suggesting that having features like USB 3 and SATA 6, even if you aren't using them, will still add up in terms of power consumption? I thought power usage was largely dependent upon what's actively using power as opposed to what features are available on the board. In other words, I didn't expect a motherboard to use more power JUST because it has SATA 6 available, even if no drives are plugged in. If that's the case I can understand how some reports have suggested that ITX boards are lower powered than mATX, especially since in the majority of cases ITX doesn't have as much as mATX does. If that's the reality behind it I'll certainly give this some extra thought, since I surely don't want to future proof myself so much that I end up running a small super computer for what's meant to be a low powered rig.
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January 8, 2013 1:18:45 AM

I am saying every chip takes power even when it is an idle state.

also some chips take more power for instance the first NEC usb 3.0 chips take more power then the Renesas ones today. despite this they are the exact same design design, one is just made to take less power(i am not even sure if it is build on a smaller process).

Newer chips take less power if they build it on a smaller process as well. This is why current cpus can be so fast while using so little power.

Intel having SATA III and USB3 integrated into the chipset actually lowers power and cost of boards as well.

The reason more phases can be less efficient is that each phase is at a lower load and they operate at peak efficiency when loaded more. Now each phase being loaded lower means they have lots of headroom this is great for overclockers.
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January 8, 2013 1:39:43 AM

I see. Thanks for spelling that out for me. I wasn't entirely sure if I was off in left field or not.

nukemaster said:
Intel having SATA III and USB3 integrated into the chipset actually lowers power and cost of boards as well.


Another duh question. When you say "Intel" in the above quote... you're referring to the processor itself, no? Or is this something by Intel boards that help define them vs others like ASRock, MSI, etc?

One last thing... personal opinion here... do you think I'm splitting some serious hairs here? Or do you think there would be a substantial difference in power savings (say 30% or more in power savings) if I would go with a lower end board with less features or perhaps a Mini ITX board of some sort? I just hate to be passing up an Atom-esque power usage opportunity, but if everything else is kept identical I'm unsure of how it would vary more than a few watts and/or 5 bucks a year. But there again, I don't know - hence why I'm asking. ;) 
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January 8, 2013 1:57:26 AM

When I say Intel. I mean the chipsets they use like Z77 ect.

This is the same reason why cell phones have SOC(System on a chip) and integrate as much as they can into a single chip.

I have had some very basic ATX boards with low power idle as well. It is hard to tell without 2 boards and the same cpu to test on.
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January 8, 2013 2:03:34 AM

nukemaster said:
When I say Intel. I mean the chipsets they use like Z77 ect.

This is the same reason why cell phones have SOC(System on a chip) and integrate as much as they can into a single chip.

I have had some very basic ATX boards with low power idle as well. It is hard to tell without 2 boards and the same cpu to test on.


Is there a way to find out exactly what the chipsets are responsible for? I wonder if there's any sort of difference between B75 and Z77 that may give the upper hand to Z77 in terms of efficiency. At any rate, it's interesting to see, and really it makes sense that little chips like the Raspberry Pi are able to simply sip energy. 700MHz 512MB RAM computers from back in the day sure used a lot more than a few watts.
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January 8, 2013 2:18:00 AM



Very nice. Thank you for those links. So if the mobo is eating less than 7 watts... and the CPU is eating ~35 watts... after that we just have whatever the RAM would consume, fans, and HDDs, no? All things considered I guess I didn't realize that the CPU was the single most power hungry thing out of a typical setup.

EDIT - I assume you saying 6.7 watts MAX was referring to the chipset, and not the entire motherboard, eh? Perhaps I goofed there.
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January 8, 2013 2:41:57 AM

Yes, that is the chipset itself.

The cpu is the power eater for sure.

EDIT.

Here is my "low power" media center while playing SC2(the cpu is undervolted and the game is frame limited to 40 to further lower power). You can see the idle power. Note that this system was a bit higher with a 3.5 inch drive. I used a 2.5 inch drive(WD Scorpio Blue 1TB) and SSD(128GB M4) to lower power and noise.

You see power near the bottom. as long as my UPS is half accurate.

More demanding games get it over 150 watts. Hard drives seem to be about 5-10 watts in most cases.
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January 8, 2013 2:52:14 AM

I wonder if there's any way to measure the draw from the entire board... Or is it possible that with the chipset handling most everything these days that there's nothing left for the motherboard to even power?

Also curious about this... If my system has no monitor plugged in would it use less power with the graphics card/integrated gpu to the processor not being actively used?

Thanks for your patience and additional insight. It's certainly appreciated!
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January 8, 2013 2:59:53 AM

You can measure power of parts, but it takes allot more work and modification to the board.

When a video card is idle, most clock down to save power. Intel onboard video takes VERY little power.

AMD cards when idle long enough for the screen to shut down, will actually mostly power down and even shut off the fan. AMD calls this ZERO CORE. it is not actually ZERO watts, but very close.

I have an image kicking around of a 2600K with onboard video and 2 hard drives(will try to find it.).

How low of idle power are you looking for anyway?
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January 8, 2013 1:36:40 PM

You know... now that I've given it some more thought I've gotten myself even more confused. :lol:  To answer your question before my rambling starts, I don't really know how low of idle power I'm looking for. I just know that I'm spoiled with the power consumption of the Intel Atom I currently have, but I also acknowledge that the Atom is significantly underpowered versus the i3 3220T. I know that the i3 will give me some substantial headroom in terms of horsepower so if I dump more server related things on it then I'm at least covered. While it COULD happen, it's not overly expected, since I'm running quite a bit on the Atom and it does a decent job.

Part of me has been considering the HTPC or HTPC/Server idea. Down in my basement I have my office area, which has a wall of network gear attached to it. Router, 24 port gig switch, modem, patch panel, POE injectors for my surveillance cameras, etc. I have a very organized setup that I'm very happy with. I also have my Linux rig, my W7 gaming rig, and my nettop server down there as well. Now I would prefer to have my server downstairs and keep it separated from being upstairs in the family room where the HTPC is, but I'm also open to ideas if there are better ways. Then I began to consider the power consumption of the parts in the HTPC and server.

HTPC - G620, H61 mATX board, Nvidia GT430
Server (planned build) - i3 3220T, B75 mATX board, integrated GPU

The server will be running 24/7. The HTPC runs on an average of 3-4 hours a day. I wonder if the power "savings" from having the GT 430 and the media HDD in its own box that only runs 3-4 hours a day is justified. In other words, if I put the GT 430 and the media HDD into my projected i3 box and run that 24/7, would I have greater power savings even though the GPU and extra HDD is in the box and thereby running continuously? (at least the HDD, anyway, I assume the GPU would downclock to a sleep mode)

The other thought is my buddy just recommended me a Mini iMito MX1 for a HTPC. I see on Amazon this gizmo is less than 70 bucks. I could grab that and likely use quite a bit less power than the G620 HTPC and retire that box or part that system out.

Also, this just came on the radar. What about a processor like this? http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?p=G440BOX&c=fr&pid=...

It's 40 bucks so it's substantially cheaper, still 35w, but it's also 1.6GHz (Celeron G440). I know that's a substantial drop in horsepower from the i3, but so is the price. I wonder how the G440 would operate in comparison to the Intel Atom? The only thing is, if I get the i3 I'm using the same power from the wall to produce far more power for the system. Hmm... perhaps I just semi-answered my own question there. It's like having a 10,000 dollar Hyundai @ 200HP and 25mpg or a 30,000 dollar Firebird @ 600HP and 25mpg. Sure it costs more, but if operating costs (mpg) are the same and you get more power... maybe it's not such a big deal.

Anyway, I'm still semi confident in the i3 3220T idea, along with that ASRock B75 board. It looks like a good combo for a long running server. Part of me is reluctant to spend this kind of money even though we're talking 200 dollars and not exactly 5 grand, however with having a baby on the way you begin to reconsider each dollar. I would just kick myself if next month I'd see some 15w TDP i3's for the same price. :lol: 
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January 8, 2013 3:08:37 PM

It is important to know that the TDP is a loaded chip. at idle the cpu clocks down to save power as well.

This post from another forum used the same cpu you are looking at(i3) with very good results.

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=28...

Atom systems while low power from a cpu point of view actually kind of sucked because of the older 945 chipset used on many them.

As an example, The Atom 230 has a TDP of 4 watts while the 945GC chipset had a TDP of 22 watts. It kind of blows the power savings a bit. Newer systems used better chipsets, but lots of older ones used 945 variants.

http://ark.intel.com/products/35635/Intel-Atom-Processo...
http://ark.intel.com/products/34505/Intel-82945GC-Graph...

Honestly, your system will spend most time idle.

Now if one of those Android media players meets your needs(No DVD/BD or light gaming), they should use VERY little power and may be able to steam all your media your server with its mass storage. You should also have be able to steam(youtube/netflix ect)

Personally I like a bit more on a media center pc, but everyone is difference. I would jump on a 35 watt(the i3 you are looking at) chip vs the 95 watt chip in my media center(but I plan to ride this thing til it fails.).

I would be worried about the Celeron no having the power for some tasks, it also lacks many features found on the i3(quicksync video trans-coding being the big one.)
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January 8, 2013 4:16:33 PM

Thank you for your continued insight and patience. It really gives me a lot to think about. I do like having a full computer system as a media center, but the more that time passes the more I question how worthwhile it is. I say this only because I know my wife doesn't utilize anything else on the system besides XBMC (I have Ubuntu 12.04 auto logging in with XBMC auto launching), and I know I sure don't use it because by the time you consider the text size you have to maximize each and every web page. I just find it easier to hop on a laptop or tablet that I always have nearby, which helps to further negate the need for a full system. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea and I like knowing it's there, but the more time that passes the more I realize it's a feature I never really use.

About the build choices, I have to agree that the i3 3220T really sounds like it's a sure-fire winner for a solid balance between cost/performance/efficiency, at least based on everything that's been presented to me that I've read over. I have an i3 in my Linux rig currently and I definitely believe that sucker is going to be in my rig for quite a few years to come. If I recall, my nettop plugged into a kill-a-watt read something like 18w usage, however I believe my nettop has an NM10 chipset. I'm not sure how that compares but I understand the NM10 to be quite a bit newer.

To further screw with my mind, I can't help but to be curious about what the chipsets would use in comparison to a current NM10 atom chipset versus the B75 chipset for the i3. At this point I believe my mind is made up... i3 3220T + B75 ASRock, but like I said, I will undoubtedly be heartbroken if a new i3 surfaces next month with 15w TDP. :p 
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January 8, 2013 4:41:26 PM

there are 11W processors coming up, but all they do it cap the multiplier, so actually you could do the same and undervolt it, assuming your mobo has some options. BUT the cost of these chips will probably be higher, which would wipe out the power savings.

I've got a power meter, do you want me to take readings from my i3?
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January 8, 2013 4:44:08 PM

13thmonkey said:
there are 11W processors coming up, but all they do it cap the multiplier, so actually you could do the same and undervolt it, assuming your mobo has some options. BUT the cost of these chips will probably be higher, which would wipe out the power savings.

I've got a power meter, do you want me to take readings from my i3?


I cannot put into words how much I would appreciate that. I'd love to hear some real world "this is exactly what my particular system is getting" reading as opposed to what I'm seeing on paper.

That said, which i3 do you have? Is it the 3220T by chance?
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January 8, 2013 4:54:59 PM

13thmonkey said:
it is indeed


Ah yes I see that now when I scrolled up to earlier messages. I also see in the thread you posted above that you have some readings that you already took, so maybe new ones wouldn't be relevant.

Quote:
Power readings have now been taken at the wall, 9W off, 25W idle, and 50W under prime 95. A little disappointed with the off value, but the idle and load values are both good. yet to update bios, that might make a difference of the off value.


I'm a little confused by the 9W off... Even on my bigger systems when I suspend them I'm lucky to see 1W usage. This system won't ever be "off" unless there's a massive power loss, so that shouldn't matter even if the 9W off was somehow expected behavior of the system. The idle time sure is snazzy, as that's within just a few watts of my current Atom nettop. No complaints with that. You mentioned that you had a PCIE x16 earlier on, were you just saying you had that port available on the board or are you actively running a separate GPU?
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January 8, 2013 4:59:17 PM

If you have and prefer laptop/tablets(and it makes perfect sense when sitting in front of the tv having a second device to do some browsing or other stuff), you honestly just need the HTPC for streaming. then some of the those small android boxes or even a media streamer if you find one you like may be the best option. They require nearly no maintenance.

Then something as simple as a NAS for storing tons of data may work as well, but you still wanted a server for all your other hardware, the i3 gets suck a thumbs up in my book for power/performance. It is amazing to think how far things have come.

EDIT 9 watts off means when the system is OFF(power supplies take power even when off. If you have an EUP power supply and EUP setting in the bios you can lower OFF power by switching off USB ports and stuff.). My gaming system takes 10 off, I forget what my media center does as it is rarely off.
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January 8, 2013 5:25:49 PM

nukemaster said:
If you have and prefer laptop/tablets(and it makes perfect sense when sitting in front of the tv having a second device to do some browsing or other stuff), you honestly just need the HTPC for streaming. then some of the those small android boxes or even a media streamer if you find one you like may be the best option. They require nearly no maintenance.


What's funny is, more times than not I keep my phone or tablet around me because while I like to do other things on it, I also utilize XBMC remote a lot as well. I have a K400 keyboard (with the trackpad integrated) and it works well, but when I already have one of those devices around and I just want to go to the next episode, it's pretty convenient. I highly recommend checking out XBMC remote if you have an Android device that normally follows you around.

[/msgquoted said:

Then something as simple as a NAS for storing tons of data may work as well, but you still wanted a server for all your other hardware, the i3 gets suck a thumbs up in my book for power/performance. It is amazing to think how far things have come.
]

What's funny is, more times than not I keep my phone or tablet around me because while I like to do other things on it, I also utilize XBMC remote a lot as well. I have a K400 keyboard (with the trackpad integrated) and it works well, but when I already have one of those devices around and I just want to go to the next episode, it's pretty convenient. I highly recommend checking out XBMC remote if you have an Android device that normally follows you around.


Then something as simple as a NAS for storing tons of data may work as well, but you still wanted a server for all your other hardware, the i3 gets suck a thumbs up in my book for power/performance. It is amazing to think how far things have come.


Well, I'm aiming for having a massive NAS as well as the other things, such as Subsonic music streaming, ownCloud personal data storage, Apache web server for hosting random things I may need, Samba file services, video surveillance, etc. I'm hoping to in time get a pair of 2-3TB HDDs (greens probably?) to really maximize the server's storage potential. If I get the Android HTPC stick I'll more than likely take the 1TB HDD that's in the HTPC out and put it in an external enclosure... at least until I get enough HDD space to jam in my server and then have the "videos" drive auto-mount (somehow) to the Android HTPC. I'm unsure of how I could do that, but if it's possible, I'd have no problem streaming directly from my own server. If not, a 1TB external HDD is more than adequate for that situation.


EDIT 9 watts off means when the system is OFF(power supplies take power even when off. If you have an EUP power supply and EUP setting in the bios you can lower OFF power by switching off USB ports and stuff.). My gaming system takes 10 off, I forget what my media center does as it is rarely off. said:

EDIT 9 watts off means when the system is OFF(power supplies take power even when off. If you have an EUP power supply and EUP setting in the bios you can lower OFF power by switching off USB ports and stuff.). My gaming system takes 10 off, I forget what my media center does as it is rarely off.


I don't recall seeing my system read anything when it was turned off, at least with my kill-a-watt. I remember comparing off and suspend because I wanted to make sure suspend wasn't still eating like 80 watts. As a result I suspend my HTPC now when not in use because it uses so little power. I'll double check for kicks, but this is certainly the first I heard of a powered off computer utilizing any stream of wattage. *shrug*
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January 8, 2013 5:29:32 PM

this is the lowest of all my PCs, all components are eu cert'd I think, will try fiddling with usb settings.

the DC brick claims 0.5 watts, not sure about the pico PSU. note that with a pico psu I expect very high efficiencies partly because they take 12V and put 12V and 5V out. With a std PSU at 25-50W you are in a really poor efficiency zone.
http://linitx.com/product/12612
http://linitx.com/product/12064

But if I was doing it again i'd get a higher rated pico psu, so that it was 24pin.
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January 8, 2013 5:34:23 PM

It is what they call phantom power.

While in the old days, shutting off a computer(AT power supplies) would actually CUT the AC power from the power supply, while current power supplies just enter a standby state and still allow a certain amount of power to be used(5v standby power). This allows USB ports to work when the system is off.

It is a small amount of power and maybe my power meter just sucks at the lower end.

Either way, most power supplies still take some power while the system is off. Switching off the actually power switch should drop it to 0

EUP
http://www.asrock.com/feature/EuP/index.asp

Also, I am not sure how laptops are with this, I know my old one has no power on USB when off so may have lower OFF power(in fact, it sits off with the battery for ever without loosing much charge[self discharge is about all it seems to loose]).
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January 8, 2013 5:40:57 PM

13thmonkey said:
this is the lowest of all my PCs, all components are eu cert'd I think, will try fiddling with usb settings.

the DC brick claims 0.5 watts, not sure about the pico PSU. note that with a pico psu I expect very high efficiencies partly because they take 12V and put 12V and 5V out. With a std PSU at 25-50W you are in a really poor efficiency zone.
http://linitx.com/product/12612
http://linitx.com/product/12064

But if I was doing it again i'd get a higher rated pico psu, so that it was 24pin.


Very nice. I'm not entirely familiar with using a brick power supply in place of a regular ATX style power supply. I assume the Pico's in this case are more efficient? How exactly do you go about hooking it up? Is there any actual attachment or does the Pico just sit somewhere with a cable running in the back that effectively plugs into the main power connector of the motherboard?



nukemaster said:
It is what they call phantom power.

While in the old days, shutting off a computer(AT power supplies) would actually CUT the AC power from the power supply, while current power supplies just enter a standby state and still allow a certain amount of power to be used(5v standby power). This allows USB ports to work when the system is off.

It is a small amount of power and maybe my power meter just sucks at the lower end.

Either way, most power supplies still take some power while the system is off. Switching off the actually power switch should drop it to 0

EUP
http://www.asrock.com/feature/EuP/index.asp

Also, I am not sure how laptops are with this, I know my old one has no power on USB when off so may have lower OFF power(in fact, it sits off with the battery for ever without loosing much charge[self discharge is about all it seems to loose]).


The only thing about that is it seems like the EUP is a pretty new thing. I don't see any reference of it on the spec sheet of the ASRock board I'm looking at. Oh well. I suppose it's not a big deal, seeing as though this system won't ever be turned off...
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January 8, 2013 5:48:50 PM

JaSauders said:
Very nice. I'm not entirely familiar with using a brick power supply in place of a regular ATX style power supply. I assume the Pico's in this case are more efficient? How exactly do you go about hooking it up? Is there any actual attachment or does the Pico just sit somewhere with a cable running in the back that effectively plugs into the main power connector of the motherboard?


it literally plugs into the 24pin socket and there are three trailing leads, one for 4pin atx, one for sata and molex (only one of each on my 90W) and a lead that goes to the edge of the case to accept the 12V input plug.

given your desire to use a stock case, you'll have to drill...
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January 8, 2013 6:00:44 PM

13thmonkey said:
it literally plugs into the 24pin socket and there are three trailing leads, one for 4pin atx, one for sata and molex (only one of each on my 90W) and a lead that goes to the edge of the case to accept the 12V input plug.

given your desire to use a stock case, you'll have to drill...


I'm perfectly fine with drilling, however now that I hear about the pigtail connector limitations of these (I'm sure higher grade Pico's have more) I may just stick to a regular ATX PSU, simply because I'm going to likely have 3 HDDs out of the gate with this build... definitely a nice idea that I'll keep in mind for other builds though!

Time to order... :sol: 
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January 8, 2013 6:11:32 PM

do it, you know you want to...
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January 8, 2013 6:36:35 PM

I would not mind some images of the build when you get the parts as well as your power numbers.

If you have any interest :) 
Image 1
Image 2
I have one of the hard drive setup(SSD and 2.5 inch HDD), but did not upload it.
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!