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 Post subject: Three Zens, One Reserator
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 7:19 pm 
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My latest and greatest, three Shuttle ST62K Zens folding away 24/7. Two of the Zens are running 3.06 P4's underclocked to 2.56ghz and the other is running a 3.0C P4 underclocked to 2.49ghz. All are undervolted; the 3.06's @ 1.0625 & 1.1375 and the 3.0 @ 1.1625. Churning approximately 7.5ghz of hyperthreaded goodness is only consuming about 150 watts, or approximately 50 watts per Zen. All three Zens use notebook drives wrapped in foam, then put in SmartDrive enclosures. Drive temps hover around 40C in this setup.

All three are cooled in series with a Reserator using Zalman waterblocks. Full load CPU temps in series are as follows:

Reserator -> 43C -> 43C -> 44C -> Reserator

The combination of the Zen's external brick PSU, the single Reserator, and having the drives wrapped in foam and enclosed in SmartDrives makes it a nearly silent operation. There are no fans anywhere in the system.

I use VNC to remote desktop manage the two lower units as an alternative to a KVM switch. Remote desktopping works fabulous until you need to get to the BIOS on one of the remotes. :) I also recently took advantage of the OEM firewire ports to network the three together. I found it a nice touch as it eliminates some clutter, and saves a few watts that would otherwise be running 24/7. I can report that firewire works wonderfully for simple file sharing, remote desktop, and intenet access. The top computer has a cat5 that runs to the broadband and the other two are connected to it via firewire. I was using wireless but the damn thing was in and out so much that I decided to run the cat5.

Here's a shot of the crew:

Image

Using the auto power-on after power-fail in the BIOS and eliminating the wireless broadband connection has left my system very dependable. It's nice not coming home to find that the power or the network went out the night before and nothing has been working for 15 hours. Now even if there is a power failure the system reboots itself, the network re-establishes itself, and F@H, running as a service, restarts all by itself. The worst I've noticed to happen is occassionaly a second instance of F@H will complain that it's already running and fail to start, this even though they are setup to run simultaneously. But it's a minor issue as the other instance will still be left running, running faster since it's by itself, until I notice it and get the other running.

The thing I like most is the Zen's PSU. I'd like to see this type of PSU become a standard for all PC's. The things are dead silent, eliminating a road block that most PC's face. Another thing I really like is the Samsung notebook drive:

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=101055

This thing puts my first notebook drive, a Toshiba reviewed here, to shame. It's not that the Toshiba is bad, 'cause it's not. It's that compared to the Samsung, the toshiba makes a racket. Maybe SPCR will get their hands on one for a review. Seeks are nearly inaudable even when the drive is naked and exposed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 3:30 pm 
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I'm tinkering around with SETI right now and the systems are running cooler and using less current. CPU temps are now:

Reserator -> 41C -> 41C -> 42 C -> Reserator

Total wattage measured at the wall socket is now 135 watts, or 45 watts each. I suspect that at least part of the difference may be that with F@H I ran two instances on each computer, but with SETI I only have one instance on each.

Pretty impressive what a 17% underclock combined with undervolting will do. My 3.06 system running on an Intel board at stock clock and Vcore pulled 120 watts all by itself.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 2:10 pm 
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Location: Vancouver BC
If you are VNCing into the machines, then are you able to put them in a remote location? This way, you don't need to worry about undervolting or underclocking. Just let them run at full power, squeeze all the juice you can out of them. And no noise if definately better than some noise.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:12 pm 
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I have them underclocked not for noise, but because they become much more efficient. For a 17% reduction in clock speed I'm realizing nearly a 40% reduction in electric consumption. They'd run just as quiet at full speed since the Reserator is more than capable of cooling them undervolted at full clock speed. But they would consume much more electricity. Electric consumption would jump from 150 watts to around 240 - 250 watts, which still isn't bad for three computers folding.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2004 4:52 pm 
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I thought rather than start a new topic I'd just update this one. I'm no longer using the Reserator and have instead switched to using the new NCU-2000 CPU coolers from Scythe. Undervolting the CPUs makes it possible to run them at full clock speed with CPU temps hovering around 60C - 65C at full load. In fact, I have one 3.0C that will undervolt to 1.3000 Vcore and runs at only 58C.

But, since I'm an incessant tinkerer, and for no other appearent reason, I have the CPUs at 1.5 ghz right now. My little half speed SETI farm.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 1:30 am 
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Location: Australia
Very nice :) (and tidy!)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 4:53 pm 
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Why not reserator? And what happened to it?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 3:50 am 
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Still have the Reserator. I stopped using it because although it is extremely quiet, it's not silent like my current setup.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 4:17 am 
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So was it the reserator not being quiet enough or something else not being able to keep as quiet in the reserator setup? Did you have any fans in the reserator setup?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:12 pm 
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There were no fans or any other sources of noise in the system other than the Reserator. The Zen PSU's are external fanless bricks like used on a laptop. The graphics are on board using a passive north bridge heat sink. The Reserator does a fine job, but in a system that otherwise makes no noise and in a quiet home office the pump in the Reserator can be heard.

Just a little something for the more obsessive of us to obsess over. :)

I'd have no problem recommending the Reserator for a quiet system because it does a fine job, probably better than any fan considering it could cool three computers. It just isn't silent though.


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