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 Post subject: Home server with low power and huge capacity
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:56 am
Posts: 16
Location: Spain
Hi all.

I am new at this forum, but after reading it for a while I decided to post.

Actually, I am looking for a solution for home. I am trying to build a home server basically for NAS, some FTP, and sharing media (music and videos). At this moment, I have a Zotac with Atom N330 and Nvidia 9400m onboard graphic card, with 3 HD (1x2TB, 2x1TB), blue-ray unit, bluetooth keyboard (Logitech DiNovo Mini) and Wifi (external USB) plunged to the TV using HDMI cable. It is working as mediacenter, sharing and reproducing HD content with great performance under Windows 7 (64 bits). The problem is that it consumes 65w average, and it is always ON, because I usually access my content using an FTP when at work. At this moment, I need more storage capacity, so I was thinking adding a pcie card with more sata ports, even with a RAID 1 configuration for my personal and profesional data (at this moment I use software backup only), but adding more drives and the card will add more power to the system and I would like to lower the power.

At this point, I was thinking in upgrading the mobo to one with lower power and more sata (maybe an Epia solution) and something like Xtreamer for watching the videos and photos on the TV, but after reading the forum I haven't decided yet.

So, what do you think? Would be a better and "greener" option to upgrade that mobo with pcie card and drives or move to a new one or a NAS + Xtreamer option?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:49 pm
Posts: 336
Location: Upper left hand corner, USA
"65W average" - what does it use at idle? How much of the time is it idle (vs. active).

How about using Wake on LAN (and timed wake up if using it to record media) so you can turn it off most of the time?

How much longer will it serve your needs? (i.e. if you upgrade it with expansion board, how many years would it last you).

How much more storage do you need?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:52 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Baltimore, USA
Also, take into account the energy input for a new motherboard vs the energy savings. Is 65W so much? My advice is to wait until you really need to upgrade before you do so.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:49 pm
Posts: 336
Location: Upper left hand corner, USA
Followup/expansion on my previous post (I was called away before really finished it).

65watts sounds high for an idle power, so I assume you mean this is some combination of idle and under load power. Might be easier to suggest alternatives if know separate items (idle power, load power, time spent in each state).

As atmartens, in general most of the power and environmental impact in a computer is used in making it and recycling it. So the usual answer is to keep using what already have, rather than getting something new.
(Unless there are other constraints/considerations -
such as limited power availability, going to need to upgrade soon for other reasons, etc.)

In any case - need to estimate how long the service life of the upgrade (expansion card, new motherboard, whatever) would be to estimate the impact, compare to payback time, etc.

Another possibility: Do you need all of your content on SATA connected drives at the same time? Could you get a USB to SATA connector for one of your smaller drives, and use it for less-frequently needed material, or material that didn't need as fast access. (e.g. unless you have extraordinarily fast broadband connection, material accessed remotely shouldn't be that much slower accessed by USB).

How much space do you need - for instance, can you upgrade the 1TB drives to 2TB drives (e.g. 5400RMP), sell the 1TB drives (or use them for backup.)

As far as turning it off some of the time - can be as simple as using an external timer to turn it on in the morning, and have it set to shut itself down at night.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:56 am
Posts: 16
Location: Spain
Hi!!

I appreciate your answers a lot. Maybe I was focusing too much in upgrading and the short solution would be some "modding" as you propose.

After posting, I started to make some tweaks at Windows energy configuration, and I was able to low the "idle" power to 52-55 w (turned wifi and usb to maximum saving). That should be my idle power. While using HD playback, it reaches 65W so my previous words weren't accurate.

I also made a mistake while posting my mobo, the real model is from Point of View, not Zotac, just if it helps.

My problem is that I actually have 3 TB and Blu-Ray unit, but I would like to have 8TB so I don't have to use other computers or USB drives to storage data. Im going to try a SATA to USB adapter to plug the Blu-Ray drive instead of using one SATA connector (the mobo only has 4), so I can upgrade to another 2 TB WD Green HD (I actually have one and it works nicely for storage). After that, I think I would be able to upgrade the other two 1TB drives for other 2 TB drives as you propose. It should safe some power as they are going to be nearly always OFF, only the OS drive is going to be up and running all time, I need to check what would be the best solution to that. I would like to migrate to ubuntu instead of Windows so I can use a Compact Flash card instead of HD as OS drive, that would safe another 3-5 watts, but I am afraid of HD content playback, as I tried it on the past and never could get a decent media content software playing HD perfectly.

Thanks for your answers guys.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:35 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:49 pm
Posts: 336
Location: Upper left hand corner, USA
You might want to try to figure out (if you haven't already) what is using how much of the power in your system. Your idle power seems pretty high (assuming that is with most of the drives spun down).
This thread
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... c&start=30
suggests that one would expect idle power of
about 30 watts (without lot of extra hardware).

Might check to see if there is something keeping the disks from spinning down, etc.

If want to reduce the power use - be sure you know what is using the power. (e.g. are your drives spinning down as much as can,
how efficient is the power supply, etc.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:53 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:19 am
Posts: 266
Location: OV, The Netherlands
What PSU do you have?

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