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energy efficient HOME servers

i know there are a few people here with there own servers at home with some space for there media and all.

i have also not see a thread here about it but its a good question i feel for this day and age.

well to start it these are the rough server specs.

and the question is. what can be done to make them more energy efficient.
LOL im cheap and i don't want big power bills for my data habits.

Server A:
AMD athlon 64 2800 754.
1gb DDR400
12 200GB hard Drives
1 40gb main drive
1 DVD burner
one sata card.
thermal take 500W PSU
5. 120mm 100CFM fans
steel case.

Server B
Intel 3.4ghz p4 1mbl2
1gb DDR2
8 250 hard Drives
4 external USB 500gb Drives
1 40gb OS drive
DVD burner
thermal take 500W PSU
5 120mm 100 CFM fans
steel case

what can be done to have these take up as little power as possible.
keep standard heat for each box - case temp no more than 45 and CPU no more than 40

and also all data accessible 24/7
if anyone has any random ideas. things that may not make sense but hey we can figure them out. any ideas at all.
if new hardware is in thoughts. please post with specs and why. but as for drives, they do make them bigger so i could have less for same amount of data but too many eggs in one basket. if i louse a 700gb drive of stuff. thats a LOT.

Admiral Michael

Michaelsoft Systems CEO
Well if you want to go AMD get a 65W processor. And instead of alot of 200Gb drives get bigger drives.Like insead of 12 200GB for 2.4TB get 5x 500GB drives. Same goes for the external drives, fewer larger capacities will be less on power consumption. Larger drives means no SATA card which will be a bit less on power as well.

Also if you don't need alot of CPU power then maybe look into a mobile version of the CPU, yes you can use them in desktops. They are designed for lower temps and power consumption.

And cut down on the fans, if you plan this out you wont need 5 case fans. Also make sure the server is located in a well ventilated area as that will help with cooling. Less fans not only cuts down on power consumption but on noise as well so its a plus plus benefit.

That's all I can think about at the moment.

PS. That's some storage capacities you want :D

my only issue with the 500GB drives is that its a lot of data to loose if one dies. now its not mission critical data but its a pain in the butt if its lost.

ive been looking into the AMD solution because the AMD server takes up about half the power as the intel in total for the servers. but the board i like is 754 socket because it has 8 sata on board.

and i shal take a look at antec.


Political User
Raid 5 them. If you have 5 HD's, with Raid 5, if one dies the other 4 continue until you pop in another drive, and then that 5th drive gets rebuilt with the parity from the other 4, and you are set.


Political User
do what michael said, mobile cpus are the way to go, specially from intel...
most work ok with just the heatsink

athlons 64 -low end models, venice and orleans core- are also very good... they consume a bit more than dothans (~60w vs ~30w, both max tdp) but cost way less -like little more than a quarter of the price of the mobiles-
-On board video.

-Slowest CPU that will work. Mobile prefered, but they are pricey.

-Smallest PSU possibe. Those big 500W jobbers waste more power when doing nothing. Get some 250W PSU's it's all you need for a low power system. LAPTOPs are about 100W and Small Form Factor are 200-250W.

-Ditch the DVD burners. Hook up an optical drive jsut to install then remove it. Backup over the net.

-Only ONE ram stick. 1-1GB uses half the power of 2-512MB.

-5400 RPM HD. The network is the choke point for data access you don't need 7200 RPM power pigs.

-Fans - get rid of 4, probably all 5. The PSU fan will be enough to cool a low power rig, especially if you use a full size case.

-Monitors - Get a KVM and only use one 15 inch LCD monitor for trouble shooting.

PS I feel for you. My electric bill doubled in 18 months and I only run one PC at a time now. I used to run 3 at once off a KVM doing different tasks.


Political User
I am in a house with 6 other guys, and we all have laptops/PC's on 24/7. Our electricity bill with AC running to cool down the house in the AZ summer is $159, without AC it is $70. Which is not a whole lot at all. There are 4 main computers on at all times, and then around 10 laptops and other appliances. The worse electricity is wasted on lights. Changing out two light bulbs for fluorescent ones or LED ones will save you more money than trying to lower cost by going with a tad slower HD's.

LeeJend is kind of correct that network is a choke point. I am on GigBit however, and I can transfer at the max speed that my IDE HD running at 5400 RPM can read at. Around 30 MB/sec. I replaced it with a IDE drive running at 7200 RPM, which in a read test did a nice 60 MB/sec a second, and now over the network I get around 50 MB/sec. So HD speed can make a big difference.
i am planning on just duming down the intel server to an amd 2800 like its partner but if the fans die the system temp goes to about 80c. and cpu temp is scary
my case is this but with NO window. just solid steel.
i could do raid 5,i would just rearrange it but in total it would still be more hard drives.
for a simple file server, watching movies, music, and launching ISO files over the network for 4 computers. how fast a CPU would be needed?
oh and also. these are not plans to build. they are currently running in my apartment but im moving into a home soon so yea LOL. i want it as cheap as passable but the most space i can get
I am in a house with 6 other guys, and we all have laptops/PC's on 24/7. Our electricity bill with AC running to cool down the house in the AZ summer is $159, without AC it is $70. [\quote]

Must be nice -
Fort Worth, TX the electric bill for 2 people is $140 in the winter with gas heat and hot water and $320 in the summer with air on. My bill is one of the lowest of all the people I know (I did the green thing - flourescents, storms & thermalpane, double insulated attic).

The bills almost doubled in the last 2 years (was $85/200). We get a whole 10% reduction in our bills starting next month when the new company takes ver the utilities. Going with the alternate providers on long term fixed rate contracts will save you a few bucks a month if you're willing to accept the early cancel penalties.

I'm curious what are your electric rates up there per kilowat hour (USD or Canadian)? Mine are 14.7 cents/kwhr USD.

80C for a system temp does not sound right, it sounds more like the chipset temp? Stick a real thermometer in there and measure the air temp with and without the fans.

The P4 runs really hot, like 95W under load, the sempron will help markedly and allow cutting back on fans. The only fan you should need is one intake fan at the front. Using too many fans or in the wrong places can actually heat up components by causing areas of low pressure. There is an article on it linked in one of my posts.

X-istence - same question. What are the rates in Arizona? I need to know how pissed off to be at my local utility.
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Political User
Do those systems support Cool N Quiet or whatever Intel's equivalent is? Thats a massive reduction in heat and power consumption while idle.
hmm cool and quiet. i shal look into that and test it on the amd system and check out the P4.
as for power rates 6.4 cents per kWh above 1000Kwh a month, below 1000 kwh per month is 5.5cents

interesting rate difference. LOL

as for the case temp each case has about 12 hdd's in them lined up along the front and they get warm. they are all seagate drives. and after running for about 1 hour it will hit 80 case temp on intel and about 50 on the amd. and with all the fans running case temp on intel is 35 average. and amd with fans LOL is 28 almost all the time, cpu with fans is on average 10c lower

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