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 Post subject: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:35 am 
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I was hoping to build a simple, fanless, file-server based on the Zacate platform.

Obviously, I wouldn't need the HDMI, WiFi, etc., extras.

The Asus E35M1-I DELUXE looks great, is the only fanless solution I've seen thus far, but its a bit pricy.

Are there any other fanless, mini-ITX (Zacate) boards coming out soon?

Here's my planned build:

+ WHS 2011 or FreeNAS 8
+ 4gb DDR3
+ 1x 320GB OS drive (or maybe 80GB SSD)
+ 3x 2TB Samsung F4s
+ 160watt PicoPSU
+ LL PC-Q11


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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:17 am 
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If you are not set on miti-ITX, the micro ATX version of the same board is $30 cheaper:

ASUS E35M1-M PRO:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131697

Different audio chipset and no wifi, but otherwise very similar.

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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:47 am 
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Thanks.

I was really hoping to go with m-ITX as I want to keep the footprint as small as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:44 am 
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aztec wrote:
Obviously, I wouldn't need the HDMI, WiFi, etc., extras.

The Asus E35M1-I DELUXE looks great, is the only fanless solution I've seen thus far, but its a bit pricy.

edit: HTPC is pretty much the point of Zacate. If you don't care for the graphics capability and digital video output, fanless Atoms start at about 60$.

If you want a Zacate that burns little power at idle, the MSI is the one which was reported as consuming the least power. It's cheaper than the Asus. If you want to burn money, Jetway has just released an Ontario board which probably consumes less power.

Asrock has the cheapest Zacate board.

If you don't want to burn money, don't use Windows or an OS drive. You can boot free operating systems from cheap non-SSD flash devices and it'd be just as fast once the system is booted. Or you could simply boot your OS from one or two of your data drives.


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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:15 pm 
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Location: Foster City, CA
Atom won't work for me, as I need the extra SATA ports and the USB 3.0 would be of great use. There are a few Atom boards with 4x or more SATA ports, Supermicro for example, but for that price, I would rather go with a faster Hudson, and USB 3.0 equipped board.

I'll be getting WHS 2011 from a Technet Subscription.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:05 pm 
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Location: Switzerland
It's a pity no one makes cheap boards suitable for file servers with more than two drives but cards with additional SATA ports are cheap enough that pairing one with a cheap board remains a good bit cheaper than more expensive boards with more ports.
That said there's at least one Atom board (Zotac) with many SATA ports which is cheaper than Zacates. edit: this is not a recommendation!

I didn't notice the 4G of RAM at first glance. That's way overkill by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:25 pm 
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Location: Foster City, CA
spare PCI-E slot is for NIC.

IMO, 4Gb is not overkill for WHS 2011 (2Gb is minimum MS requirement). For, the price-point in US for a 4GB pair and a single 2GB stick isn't too much a consideration, especially with all the crazy deals on memory these days.


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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:59 pm 
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I'm looking for a motherboard for a similar build and right now I'm thinking about either MSI E350IA-E45 with a fan change or Intel DH67CF-B3 with an i3 2100. Fanless isn't a requirement for me though, since at least one HDD will be spinning at any time and I expect the HDD to be louder than the fan.

Sad that the Zacate boards are so expensive that Sandy Bridge becomes an alternative for this kind of system.

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Main: ASRock B85M-ITX | i3-4330 | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 730 240GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 13.9W
HTPC: ASRock H81M-ITX | Pentium G3420 | 4GB DDR3 | Intel 520 120GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 11.2W
Gaming: Intel DH77EB | i5-3570K | GTX 750 Ti | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 520 120GB | TJ08-E | G-360 360W
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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:06 pm 
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Quote:
Sad that the Zacate boards are so expensive that Sandy Bridge becomes an alternative for this kind of system.


You need to explain that one - the cheapest SB chip costs ~£10 more than a zacate board + chip (integrated of course). Everything else is equal so the cheapest SB Chip + board costs the same as a Zacate with RAM + HDD, if Zacate is enough why spend more.?

I have a Zacate system that I am going to be putting together and testing over the next week, I will let SPCR know everything that I can including how it does as a file server, media centre, internet PC and all combined at the same time - no kidding, I am planning on shunting data to the drive via gigabit whilst playing HD video and streaming HD video stored locally to another PC on my Gigabit network whilst browsing the net.

If the system can cope with that - simply put, it can cope with anything that the average home user can throw at it. If that is the case - Zacate is enough for a HTPC and File Server combo - and its cheaper than anything else that can do that - if it can do all of that.

If......... will be answered in a few days, be patient.


Andy

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Server, 6-TB RAID-5 array, + 2 x 2-TB backup drives, 380W Enermax Pro82+, 4x very quiet fans, positive pressure only, no exhaust fans
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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:27 pm 
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Your test is going to be more about the software than anything else. For one thing, accessing many files on a hard drive at the same time can be very slow because the head must move constantly so the videos could freeze randomly or something. If the software deals with that cleverly, it may pass the test. If not, you can't blame the board.

Home users sometimes do things that demand more of a CPU/GPU than your test such as real-time transcoding for a dumb device.


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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:57 pm 
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andyb wrote:
You need to explain that one - the cheapest SB chip costs ~£10 more than a zacate board + chip (integrated of course). Everything else is equal so the cheapest SB Chip + board costs the same as a Zacate with RAM + HDD, if Zacate is enough why spend more.?

I will be brief, since I really should be on my way to work. :)

For me the cost is something like 1200 SEK for the Zacate board and 2000 SEK for the Sandy Bridge combo. Then comes the cost of RAM, case, power supply, HDDs etc. Power consumption at idle isn't that far apart either if I understand correctly.

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Main: ASRock B85M-ITX | i3-4330 | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 730 240GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 13.9W
HTPC: ASRock H81M-ITX | Pentium G3420 | 4GB DDR3 | Intel 520 120GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 11.2W
Gaming: Intel DH77EB | i5-3570K | GTX 750 Ti | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 520 120GB | TJ08-E | G-360 360W
Server: Intel DH77DF | i3-2100T | 4TB+3x3TB | picoPSU | Idle 24W AC


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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:00 pm
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Location: Essex, England
Quote:
Your test is going to be more about the software than anything else. For one thing, accessing many files on a hard drive at the same time can be very slow because the head must move constantly so the videos could freeze randomly or something. If the software deals with that cleverly, it may pass the test. If not, you can't blame the board.


Thats not a problem because I cant access many files simultaneously without the help of extra people and computers without running into the problems of trying that from a single computer - so I simply wont. As you say, the outcome would be skewed. The tests are really there for use as a media centre and home file server at this stage.

Quote:
For me the cost is something like 1200 SEK for the Zacate board and 2000 SEK for the Sandy Bridge combo. Then comes the cost of RAM, case, power supply, HDDs etc. Power consumption at idle isn't that far apart either if I understand correctly.


The cost difference varies by perspective with the total system cost as much as anything else, if your overall system cost is high £60 is a small number, if it is low £60 is a high number. Likewise if that £60 extra brings no noticable difference then it is simply wasted money, if it does, then whether it is considered "good value" depends on many perspectives - personally I would add a little more and buy an SSD for some systems, for others I would use an i3-2100.


Andy

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Server, 6-TB RAID-5 array, + 2 x 2-TB backup drives, 380W Enermax Pro82+, 4x very quiet fans, positive pressure only, no exhaust fans
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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:58 am 
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Vicotnik wrote:
Power consumption at idle isn't that far apart either if I understand correctly.

It depends on the details. There is a significant different in power consumption anyway but some Zacate boards like the MSI may consume a good bit less at idle than the one reviewed by SPCR (if Anandtech is to be believed). A 65W CPU may force you to get a less efficient PSU (or brick) at low power draw which would increase total consumption. So a 2100T instead of a 2100 might actually end up costing less.
I wouldn't pay that much for a server which doesn't support ECC. Sandy Bridge prices are going to drop in the coming months. The G620T is going to be the non-Xeon CPU you want for a low-power Sandy Bridge server.

2x2G of RAM instead of 2G would also affect power consumption by the way. I have no idea why MS seems to believe you'd need so much memory but it would be insance to require 2G for a file server. There are file servers sold with 128M of RAM (and old ones has less). The new WHS must have new features. If you don't need them, you won't need the RAM.


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 Post subject: Re: Where are all the non-HTPC Zacate boards?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:11 am 
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FYI Zacate as a light-weight file server seems perfectly fine, especially if outfitted with an SSD.

Spec as follows.

Asrock E350M1, 1x 2GB Stick DDR3 @ unknown voltage, 1x 500GB Samsung 2.5" 5400 rpm drive, housed in an Antec ISK300-65.

17.5W Idle, 26W load.

Data throughput moving a single 4GB file accross gigabit ethernet was ~70 MB/s, with both cores on full load this dropped to ~ 55 MB/s - 60 MB/s.

The system was running W7-64BIT, AVG Free was installed and everything turned on during testing. Load was achieved by using Prime-95 with the option to use the most amount of CPU power and heat generated.

Note that at the point of testing my AC voltage was 236v.

The reason for the simulated CPU abuse was to see how the system performs when its moving lots of data around a network and the Antivirus ends up using 100% CPU load - as you can see it still performs well. I have no doubt that it can perform better with a fast desktop HDD, and obviously an SSD.

So in answer, yes it seems that as a light-weight file server it performs well, is cool, cheap, and very low power. When I say "light-weight" file server I mean SOHO not a gigantic commercial entity with thousands of users in a single building.

Also as a side note, it is "snappier" than a single core Atom (with 2 threads) with both cores being tortured - as much as it shows how capable the E350 is, it also shows how lame Atom's are.


Andy

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Main PC, P180, CM Silent Pro 500M, i5 3570k @ 4.2Ghz, 8-GB @ 2,000MHz, 256 GB Samsung 830, 500-GB 7K500, MSI 660Ti Twin Frozr, PC is super quiet :o
Server, 6-TB RAID-5 array, + 2 x 2-TB backup drives, 380W Enermax Pro82+, 4x very quiet fans, positive pressure only, no exhaust fans
Living Room PC, 3500+, 2-GB RAM, HD501LJ


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