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 Post subject: Windows Home Server review?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:54 pm 
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I think there was a blog post awhile back about building an energy efficient server and how an article would be out soon. Any news on that front?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:41 pm 
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There was, but the more we dug into it, the more superfluous it seemed. WHS is not, in our view, all that HP and MS say it is. There are NAS boxes based on various flavors of Linus which simply to a better job. The hardware requirements are ridiculously simple for any of them -- an Atom board powered by one of the low power high efficiency PSUs we've reviewed would work well, though a store-bought NAS using is cheaper if you're looking at the low end.

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/ -- this is about the best site for the home/soho networking I've found. This article covers a topic of interest to many here: Build Your Own Atom-based NAS This is just one of several articles on the topic of DIY server/NAS boxes. They've reviewed a number of WHS boxes as well.

WHS is well covered by smallnetbuilder and by entire sites dedicated to it. Just try a google search on the term. Among the many sites...

http://mswhs.com/
http://www.homeserverhacks.com/
http://www.wegotserved.com/

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:44 pm 
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True, it's definitely not the messiah of home networking that M$ would like people to believe, and many OEMs add their own software with the package, so it's hard to compare apples to apples among them and separate out the true capabilities of the OS.

WHS doesn't really do anything that you can get elsewhere, but it does combine features together that make it easier to start with. Backups, A/V and spyware management, file sharing, remote administration are all packaged together by default. From there the add-ins take over.

Most self-builders are using their WHS as a media server, first and foremost. Some use it for automated backups. But if a NAS/JBOD is all you want for sharing, an low-powered unRAID system is probably cheaper and simpler to manage.

Personally, I love WHS for it's ability to allow addins such as MyMovies to automagically catalog movies and music and add additional functionality to the server. Plus the WHS Connector allows easy connection across a variety of networks to setup backups and monitoring.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:59 pm 
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jhhoffma -- are you running a home-brew WHS box or off the shelf box? details pls -- and comments about the speed of the apps/plugins running on the WHS box.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:38 pm 
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Home brew, used to be my old HTPC:

AMD AthlonXP 2500+ (@1.4V via 8rdavcore and S2kCtl)
Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe
2GB DDR400 (running @ 333MHz)
Antec SLK3000B (dampened and side vents blocked)
Promise Ultra 100 TX2 IDE controller
Western Digital WD1200JB (120GB-IDE) - OS/Boot drive
2x80GB Maxtor DM9 (IDE)
2x500GB WD Green (SATA)

For WHS, not a lot of power is not needed. Since it's the same kernel as WinXP and Server2003, you can expect similar performance and stability.

I share 4 other PC on the network, 3 Vista and 1 Win7. My gaming machine (Win7) and HTPC (Vista) are wired GigE and get file transfers around 50MB/s. Not groundbreaking but fast enough to transfer HD movies in a few minutes. The other two are Vista laptops (Dell Latitude) and are limited by the wireless connection, though mp3s and SD xvid movies stream just fine.

As for the Addins, the most useful is MyMovies for WHS, which is a mainly a backend DB for cataloging movies (and now CD music). It runs in the background and the client PCs connect to it. There is no speed issue to mention. The client version of MyMovies is installed on each connected PC and is where the speed is limited.

Other addins running on my WHS are:
LightsOut = power management, allows WHS to suspend when no clients are connected and is paired with a client install that wakes the server up when a client starts up.
Disk Management = provides additional information on system/pool disks and the ability to create a wireframe model to aid in identification of troubled disks.
WHS Task Viewer = A beefed up version of the Performance tab on the Task Manager.
Advanced Admin Console = add additional functionality to the console by providing access to different parts of the WHS desktop and services.

As of Power Pack 2 (PP2) the Media Center Connector has been added so that Media Center PC's (Vista and above) can add WHS shares to the library folders within Media Center (finally).

There are so many types of addins available that I couldn't list them all. However, the two best places to look are www.wegotserved.co.uk and it's satellite www.whsplus.com. The latter will list and detail many community-developed addins.

Again, I haven't found speed to be of issue with anything except logging into the console can take a little long. However, anyone who's ever logged into a Windows Server domain knows the same pain.

Let me know if you have any other specific questions.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:58 pm 
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For a home NAS, that's very powerful hardware, imo. I'd be surprised if you had any speed issue with it.

You know, I just retired a AMD AthlonXP 2500+ / nVidia board PC with 2 drives... and I found its idle AC power to be >90W. I am guessing that your PC w/ 3 more drives probably idles at 120W. Unless you're running something to emulate CnQ.

The QNAP TS109 Pro NAS w/ single terabyte drive draws <20W. Since its main function is network storage, there's not much point w/ anything more capable at this time. It has a bunch of features I have not explored, but one feature I really like is how its public folders become instantly accessible to all PCs on the network w/o any client software in the PCs. Access to its admin/control also feels quicker than in the HP WHS box we had here for a while.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:16 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
For a home NAS, that's very powerful hardware, imo. I'd be surprised if you had any speed issue with it.

You know, I just retired a AMD AthlonXP 2500+ / nVidia board PC with 2 drives... and I found its idle AC power to be >90W. I am guessing that your PC w/ 3 more drives probably idles at 120W. Unless you're running something to emulate CnQ.

The QNAP TS109 Pro NAS w/ single terabyte drive draws <20W. Since its main function is network storage, there's not much point w/ anything more capable at this time. It has a bunch of features I have not explored, but one feature I really like is how its public folders become instantly accessible to all PCs on the network w/o any client software in the PCs. Access to its admin/control also feels quicker than in the HP WHS box we had here for a while.


Mike, if you ever get interested, try out S2kCtl for those old K7's. It is magical.

Just plugged in the new KAW (and that thing is awesome) into my wife's computer:
Athlon XP 2600
Gigabyte mATX Via board
2x1GB DDR400 @ 333
80GB Seagate (7200.7 I think?)
ATI X800XT PE

Just about threw up seeing it peaking at around 140 during boot up. Stabilizes at around 115 with ATITool and S2kCtl disabled. Turning ATITool on and using clockspeed control saves me about 7W (from 520/560 to 125/250 -- but no voltage control). Activating S2kCtl drops me from 108 to 73 instantly. So a healthy 35W drop just from that does wonders.

Obviously newer equipment can do better, but then you get into both the financial outlays and energy expenditure's during production.

Back on topic, jhhoffma, do you utilize the Media Center Connector? Can you have multiple MC's record to it and then access the different recordings at different ones (including MCX's)?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:26 am 
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psiu wrote:
Mike, if you ever get interested, try out S2kCtl for those old K7's. It is magical.

Exactly, plus I use S3/Lightsout combo to go into S3 whenever the WHS is not needed. I keep meaning to get a KillAWatt to check out actual draw, but still haven't pulled the trigger
psiu wrote:
Back on topic, jhhoffma, do you utilize the Media Center Connector? Can you have multiple MC's record to it and then access the different recordings at different ones (including MCX's)?

I use the MCC, but my HTPC does not have a tuner (aside from Firewire to my Comcast STB). So no recordings as of now; besides, with Hulu Desktop, SecondRun.TV and TunerFreeMCE available, who needs it? Extenders are something I've never played with as they are too limited in what they can do, which is why no one is making them anymore.

Here's a quote from the WHS Team blog:
Quote:
Windows Media Center computers will automatically have access to content stored in shared folders on the home server. Music, Photos, Videos, and Recorded TV folders are enabled by default.

Windows Media Center Extenders can access and stream multimedia content stored on the home server. Access permission can be granted on an individual folder basis.

Windows Home Server now supports streaming MP4 files, a popular format for high quality multimedia, to Xbox 360 and other devices that support the MP4 format. Metadata such as title, artist, composer, album, and genre now appears in the music or video library.

I know that the Recorded TV folder can house shared TV recordings for all MCs to access, but you need a registry edit to allow your MCs to record to it live or manually copy the show to the folder.

I do use MCC to give all my clients (all have VMC or 7MC) access to the WHS shares (pictures, movies, and music) in Media Center. It just takes a while for the list to populate.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:12 pm 
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Excellent. Maybe if I ever get a job again I'll invest in a WHS. Though at this point we don't need it (just two us...though I certainly WANT it :)).

Just buy the KAW. I gave up waiting for it to go on sale again and bought it. Even worse about my wife's PC is I found it draws 8W from the wall off, and only 9W in regular standby! So no advantage to turning it fully off really.

Have you had any issues with stuttering in IE with Hulu/SR etc? I didn't, then all of a sudden I started having problems. Firefox is fine in both Vista/XP, Safari on a Mac over wireless is fine...seems like lots of trouble too from online reports, but spread over a huge variety of OS's, browsers, flash versions, etc. It's made SR practically unusable for me though (with VMC using IE as it's browser).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:05 pm 
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psiu wrote:
Have you had any issues with stuttering in IE with Hulu/SR etc? I didn't, then all of a sudden I started having problems. Firefox is fine in both Vista/XP, Safari on a Mac over wireless is fine...seems like lots of trouble too from online reports, but spread over a huge variety of OS's, browsers, flash versions, etc. It's made SR practically unusable for me though (with VMC using IE as it's browser).


Did you change your DPI settings in the desktop display options? I always had problems with SR.tv until I read that enabling large DPI caused lots of stutter. I changed the DPI back to normal, and the stuttering went away. I worked around by using advanced apperance settings to increase icon/text size to compensate.

If it (hulu) works fine in a normal browser window, that's usually a dead giveaway.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:32 pm 
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I've got an athlonXP system as well, and i've never heard of this s2kctl program. What is it and how does it work? The official web page isn't much help since it is all in Russian.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:23 am 
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PartEleven wrote:
I've got an athlonXP system as well, and i've never heard of this s2kctl program. What is it and how does it work? The official web page isn't much help since it is all in Russian.


SPCR members posted about it here.

XbitLabs did an article that covered this way back when.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:14 am 
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jhhoffma wrote:
psiu wrote:
Mike, if you ever get interested, try out S2kCtl for those old K7's. It is magical.

Exactly, plus I use S3/Lightsout combo to go into S3 whenever the WHS is not needed. I keep meaning to get a KillAWatt to check out actual draw, but still haven't pulled the trigger

I'd think it'd be similar to athcool over on the Linux side (since it sounds like the same thing: sending the halt command to the CPU while idle); my 2400+-based server (one DVD drive, one PATA drive, KM266-based chipset) went from ~70W idle to ~32W. Not sure how the savings scale up the tree, but I'd hope that faster processors would be able to save at least that ~40W.

And psiu's right, it is rather magical. It can take an old but still useful Athlon system from wasting lots of power to being relatively frugal (all the low-power reasonable systems I keep seeing reviewed don't seem to get much better, so as long as you aren't needing to try and up the performance, doesn't seem to be much reason to "upgrade"). 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:41 am 
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idale wrote:
And psiu's right, it is rather magical. It can take an old but still useful Athlon system from wasting lots of power to being relatively frugal (all the low-power reasonable systems I keep seeing reviewed don't seem to get much better, so as long as you aren't needing to try and up the performance, doesn't seem to be much reason to "upgrade"). 8)


If you think about it, the Barton XP's were 68W CPUs, except for the 3000+ and 3200+. Unless you get a Brisbane, Orleans, or Lima based AMD CPU, all modern desktop CPUs are in the same range (~65W) for TDP. Granted, modern processors have much better efficiency and better power management.

S2kctl, and others programs like it, all work to do the same thing that has been CPU-bound for a while now. I only wish, I could keep S2kctl running well after a resume from standby. I'm still trying to work that one out.

MikeC, for sure the WHS console is not the fastest app in the world. In fact, it's just a bloated RDP session. For most stuff that requires admin usage, I usually RDP into the WHS box manually. But that's just the console, and on the whole, it's probably not that well-optimized. I would expect better performance from the next version ("Vail") when it's released sometime in 2010. It will be based on Server2008/Vista core, and will likely integrate quite well with Win7-based systems. There is even some talk of Media Center (or MC-like functionality) becoming a WHS service in the future, instead of being installed in the client OS.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:51 am 
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jhhoffma wrote:
idale wrote:
And psiu's right, it is rather magical. It can take an old but still useful Athlon system from wasting lots of power to being relatively frugal (all the low-power reasonable systems I keep seeing reviewed don't seem to get much better, so as long as you aren't needing to try and up the performance, doesn't seem to be much reason to "upgrade"). 8)


If you think about it, the Barton XP's were 68W CPUs, except for the 3000+ and 3200+. Unless you get a Brisbane, Orleans, or Lima based AMD CPU, all modern desktop CPUs are in the same range (~65W) for TDP. Granted, modern processors have much better efficiency and better power management.

Yeah, I think my 2400+ is supposed to be a 62W TDP, so it's comparable to "standard-issue" dual-cores these days. Though either the chipsets have gotten more power-hungry (not surprising with all the stuff we're putting into them these days) or they don't scale back as much the XPs can be forced to be, since power consumption seems to be higher. (But in personal anecdote land, my more-modern AM2 system runs something like ~75W idle with an X2 3800+ (65W version), but it's got an nForce 570 Ultra motherboard, and at least as I hear it, the nForces were pretty bad on power efficiency, so it's entirely possible that if I had a more-efficient chipset that I'd be seeing reasonably-similar results as the ancient Linux box considering the few other component differences.)

What's really sad (I think) is how even with Atom the total consumption figures don't seem much lower. I'd hope that's just a really inefficient chipset and they'll get it sorted out, though. You can only push so low depending on what's on the board, but at such a huge TDP difference you'd think the idle figures would be at least somewhat lower. Unless the functionality triggered by athcool/S2kctl is unable to be compared to the standard Cool'n'Quiet/SpeedStep (though I thought that they were pretty well just enabling the functionality without OS support).

(Sorry for the sidetrack, just wanted to agree about the power-saving utilities being really nice for these CPUs, since normally you don't get any sort of break on consumption while idle, and it's a pretty decent drop when you're able to get the CPU to take a break while idle.)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:32 am 
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Continuing the sidetrack (apropos since an article on WHS alone isn't going to appear any time soon on SPCR...), I'm confused why people say the idle system power of newer systems is no lower than the old Athlon era PCs (with athcool/S2kctl). The last mobo we reviewed drew 34W at the Vista desktop -- Asus M4A78-HTPC/RC --
Quote:

OK, the laptop drive is pulling just 1W instead of the 7~8W typical of 3.5" drives, but still we're looking at ~40W AC in idle.

re Atom, our Intel Atom system drew just 27W at idle (w/ laptop drive).

Do any similar Athlon systems run as low as either of the above.? Sorry guys, I don't see why you say "even with Atom the total consumption figures don't seem much lower" :?:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:05 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
Do any similar Athlon systems run as low as either of the above.? Sorry guys, I don't see why you say "even with Atom the total consumption figures don't seem much lower" :?:

Notice I did use the qualifier "much", on purpose. (And I'm only comparing to our old, software-assisted XPs.) If I'm pulling 32W on the athcool-enabled system, that's a little less than the 34W (or 40W) system, and not a whole lot more than the 27W for the Atom (which again, I would like to think could go lower still). Of the two reviewed systems, honestly the 4850e-equipped one feels better. Sure it's using a little more power, but has extra headroom that neither competitor (Atom or my 2400+) could hope to match (assuming you can utilize the extra, but it's decidedly more "efficient").

And again, I have no way of knowing if the athcool/S2kctl situation is somehow an outlier and can't be used directly to compare efficiency. It very well could be that these results are "special". Though of course the fact remains, "special" or not, that unless you need more performance, there's little reason to upgrade this equipment, as it doesn't currently seem possible to get that much lower in power consumption. A little lower, certainly, but not as much as I'd like to think we'd be able to see. But maybe in the next year or so we'll see that floor get pushed down without much sacrifice. 8)

Certainly, though, if you don't have one of these XP CPUs, or need more power than your current one is providing, the current crop of lower-TDP parts is quite attractive. (My current plan for a future living room gaming/playback PC would involve a 4850e and a 4670, for example.) I wouldn't necessarily rush out to try and find an old XP system (since as you've mentioned you can get this level of consumption off current hardware -- and especially in the case of the 4850e much more powerful hardware), but for those of us already using it, using a solution like athcool/S2kctl can help greatly lower the idle consumption (if that's the only reason you'd be trying to dump the hardware), and with that lowered idle consumption, it's competitive with what seems to be the best currently available. I definitely hope this doesn't last for much longer, though. ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:48 pm 
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OK, I see the previous 32W reference...
idale wrote:
I'd think it'd be similar to athcool over on the Linux side (since it sounds like the same thing: sending the halt command to the CPU while idle); my 2400+-based server (one DVD drive, one PATA drive, KM266-based chipset) went from ~70W idle to ~32W

This sounds incredibly low for total AC power. What PSU, and how was the power measured?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:43 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
OK, I see the previous 32W reference...
idale wrote:
I'd think it'd be similar to athcool over on the Linux side (since it sounds like the same thing: sending the halt command to the CPU while idle); my 2400+-based server (one DVD drive, one PATA drive, KM266-based chipset) went from ~70W idle to ~32W

This sounds incredibly low for total AC power. What PSU, and how was the power measured?

Corsair TX650W (way overkill, but efficiency even at such a low level beat the pants off the other PSUs I've had, and wanted the ability to greatly expand the server), and measuring through my APC UPS (wattage it's currently providing, input voltage for reference was 123V). Not sure of the accuracy level of such a display versus a Kill-A-Watt-type device, though I would expect it to reasonably close, as everything's seemed to "add up" so far.

Load figure (CPU) was around 75W, not a lot more than the old idle (since it idled full-speed :?). The desktop (Vista, 65W X2 3800+, 570 Ultra chipset, four DDR2 (at 2.1V as I recall), one DVD, two SATA drives, 7600GT) showed 90W idle to 165W CPU+GPU load (or so, figures tended to vary while Windows was active, I chose the values that seemed to be held most consistently) through a TP2-430W (not the most efficient PSU -- from the efficiency tables on those PSUs, the 90W is likely comparable to the 75W on the Corsair).

If you're skeptical enough of the wattage report through the UPS, I can see about picking up a KAW and see what it has to say (would be useful for testing other things, but having the UPS's display made it simple to get some hopefully reasonable figures without bringing machines up and down too much).

Again, the wattage drop from the athcool (and S2kctl) assistance may very well be "extreme" compared to "standard" CnQ/SS, leading to a larger drop than you get with current power-saving implementations. It's a very specific solution and only pertains to certain CPUs on certain chipsets, but helps out a heck of a lot (as you can see).


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:49 pm 
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Yeah, I certainly would not tell you to go hunt down some Athlon XPs and old motherboards and the like on ebay--but certainly for an existing system it's nice, easy option (and I forgot about athcool, but I used that successfully in the past as well) to save some power.

Certainly if picking out some new parts, an Atom or Via system would be good, for a system with a little more available grunt under the proverbial hood, a single core modern AMD system undervolted offers a nice alternative.

Plus those machines are still amazingly useful, especially if you aren't spoiled by using a dual core with modern hard drives etc.

edit: and actually, I would tell you to sell that stuff on ebay, you should be able to get a pretty penny (loony?) for socket-A parts.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:05 pm 
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idale wrote:
Corsair TX650W (way overkill, but efficiency even at such a low level beat the pants off the other PSUs I've had, and wanted the ability to greatly expand the server), and measuring through my APC UPS (wattage it's currently providing, input voltage for reference was 123V). Not sure of the accuracy level of such a display versus a Kill-A-Watt-type device, though I would expect it to reasonably close, as everything's seemed to "add up" so far.

Ah..... I woudn't trust it w/o verification. Esp. with the Corsair TX650W, whose efficiency at 32W AC is no better than ~60%, which suggests <20W DC power output. That's just too low to be true. Time to dig up a killawatt or power angel, imo -- every card carrying geek should have at least one. :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:22 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
idale wrote:
Corsair TX650W (way overkill, but efficiency even at such a low level beat the pants off the other PSUs I've had, and wanted the ability to greatly expand the server), and measuring through my APC UPS (wattage it's currently providing, input voltage for reference was 123V). Not sure of the accuracy level of such a display versus a Kill-A-Watt-type device, though I would expect it to reasonably close, as everything's seemed to "add up" so far.

Ah..... I woudn't trust it w/o verification. Esp. with the Corsair TX650W, whose efficiency at 32W AC is no better than ~60%, which suggests <20W DC power output. That's just too low to be true. Time to dig up a killawatt or power angel, imo -- every card carrying geek should have at least one. :lol:

I don't blame you for being skeptical. ;) And yeah, I even attempted to approximate DC wattage for these PSUs (though the best I can do is straight-line interpolation -- or worse, extrapolation). The approximated figures (error level obviously increasing even more) were around 20-58W DC for the Linux box and 58-123W DC for the Vista box. I wouldn't be surprised if these were within a couple of watts, though. It may just be that the feature enabled by the software is able to save more power than the current standard methods. With CnQ, I think the CPU's just underclocked, whereas here it's supposed to also come off the FSB and partially shut down (nobody goes into detail, though). So that could be where the extra power saving comes from. Or the UPS is wildly inaccurate. ;)

I'll let you guys know what KAW says when I get my hands on one.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:57 pm 
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idale wrote:
I'll let you guys know what KAW says when I get my hands on one.

The Results(tm):
  • "Average" boot: 94W
  • Idle (athcool): 54W
  • Idle (no athcool): 90W
  • CPU load (cpuburn): 103W

So 36W drop instead of 38W, with the base figure up 22W (that's some error!). Trying to interpolate the DC figures again, that's around 37-72W DC. More in line with what you'd been expecting, Mike? :) I expected some nominal inaccuracy, but that's a pretty crazy amount, I think. :shock: Still, though, that 36W (on a 2400+) helps breathe some life back into the system, and seems to get it into "reasonable" consumption. May not be down at the bottom like it looked like, but for old hardware lying around, it can still put up a good fight. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:29 am 
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For me, the power efficiency between old and new hardware is meaningless, when comparing systems that sit at idle most of the time. The big point for me is that the newer parts can simply do more at the same power level than the old. I upgrade my HTPC not to save power (though it probably did, see HTPC in sig), but because I couldn't play HD h.264 material with it, and I knew that I couldn't use it with Vista.

I could have put some older lower-powered parts (P3 Coppermine, PC100, etc), to start off my WHS, but I think that would have been a little too conservative.

Going forward, if I upgrade my WHS, it won't be due to performance or power issues; it will only be because the next version of WHS will be 64-bit only, and the AthlonXP is not 64-bit capable.

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HTPC: OrigenAE X11|Gigabyte GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H|Phenom II x3 740BE w/AC Freezer 7|150GB Velociraptor|Corsair VX450
Main: Antec 300 (SlipStream @ 800rpm/140mm @ 5v)|Asus M4A88TD-M|Phenom II x4 945 (Mugen2 pass.)|Asus EAH6850|Samsung 830 128GB|Antec TP750
WHS: DF-85|P8H67-M Pro|I5-3450S/Hyper 212+|Corsair AX650|Sandisk Extreme 240GB, 2xWD20EARS, 2x WD15EARS, WD15EADS


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:44 am 
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To add my 2c:

(maybe first post on SPCR but been lurking!!!) I've bolded the bits most relevant to spcr.

I made a weird box recently that actually had 2 goals:
- Simple file server
- HTPC (as it sits next to the 55" sammy)
- (and is silent from 1m where i am!)

In the future I will split the goals and have a dedicated file server as i've made too many compromises to achieve both goals.

Anyway I've ended up running WHS primarily as it is the only OS that gets me:
- convenient, power efficient file serving (will go into this in a sec)
- windows base, allowing me to use directshow filters, to get "nice" (good scaling, judder-free) playback of media - e.g. spline resize to 1080 if required + reclock + mpc-hc accurate vsync (+can run mediaportal)

So for the processing i'm doing on the video side my components are a bit overkill for a file server, but this is what i liked on the file side...
Consider you want to run 8x 1 tb drives as your storage pool.
WHS lets you:
- have a "movies" folder dump that you can keep adding and don't have to worry about it spanning over multiple drives as necessary (kinda like JBOD)
- you can run RAID0/1/5 to achieve this as well but
- with striping as soon as you access a drive, the entire array spins up
- with WHS only the drive that has the media file you are accessing will spin up
- all 7 other drives stay spun down

- you can turn on file duplication to get a redundant copy with the power advantage (but you lose a bit of space efficiency vs RAID5)
- you can manipulate redundancy at a share level - i.e. it won't just do the entire pool, you can say, have it on for your photos and not for your movies

This can become very important when you start going to 16 drive pools, i certainly don't want to have all of those drives spinning, even if they are quiet.

Disadvantages:
- It constantly accesses the main system drive - i haven't looked into it too much to see what the culprit is...

Other adv/disadv:
- don't have to stuff around with linux, stuff works without googling a whole bunch of stuff, & you get enthusiast hardware support thanks to windows (i'm running an ASUS essence STX sound card, DVICO dual tv tuner, logitech remote peripherals)
- at 12pm and 12am, it will run a chkdsk on all the drives. this can interrupt your viewing (usually one stutter). I guess its not a problem if you are just using it as a file server. If anyone knows how i can turn this off I would be eternally grateful.
- Long boot time
- Long WHS install time, what an awful installer
- You have to coax some software to install (that is expecting xp)

But overall i'm very happy with it. I'm hoping WHS2 will be more of a grounds-up effort and will feel like less of the XP+server2003+whs layering if you know what I mean.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:32 pm 
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jhhoffma wrote:
For me, the power efficiency between old and new hardware is meaningless, when comparing systems that sit at idle most of the time. The big point for me is that the newer parts can simply do more at the same power level than the old. I upgrade my HTPC not to save power (though it probably did, see HTPC in sig), but because I couldn't play HD h.264 material with it, and I knew that I couldn't use it with Vista.

For me, it's more that these parts are definitely getting on in years (and started as a "low-end" brand PC) and I can't necessarily feel confident in them all continuing to work at 100% (if I start getting corruption due to memory/drive interface issues, that would be problematic). Though at the same time, I'd like to keep trending my 24/7 PC consumption down. The desktop isn't as big of a deal as it's asleep (~7W) most of the time, but since the server's always on (and not usually very active), those watts can add up. It'd have to be a pretty drastic consumption drop to be worth changing hardware solely for consumption, but personally it's a factor in systems I'd be configuring.

But you're right, you can do a lot more with the same power consumption these days, which is nice. I still want that low end to keep going down, though. 8) One of the possibilities I'm personally considering would be to refresh the core system by trying to get at least as much capability (should be very easy) while lowering consumption. Though then there's the other possibilities like building out bulk file storage, which wouldn't really be as compatible with "as low consumption as possible", so... yeah. ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:46 pm 
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idale wrote:
The Results(tm):
  • "Average" boot: 94W
  • Idle (athcool): 54W
  • Idle (no athcool): 90W
  • CPU load (cpuburn): 103W
So 36W drop instead of 38W, with the base figure up 22W (that's some error!). Trying to interpolate the DC figures again, that's around 37-72W DC. More in line with what you'd been expecting, Mike? :)

Yup. 54W idle for total system AC power seems about right. Modest, but not the <30W you can get w/ an optimized modern system. I'd guess with 2.5" drives and the right mITX board & PSU, it could be ~25W.
Quote:
these parts are definitely getting on in years (and started as a "low-end" brand PC) and I can't necessarily feel confident in them all continuing to work at 100%

A major reason for the nVidia XP 2500+ system being replaced recently. Electronic parts do wear down, capacitors lose their value, etc. I have had several motherboards break in just a couple of years due to bad caps, and mysterious intermittent faults develop on others in <5 years. Better safe than sorry when the replacement hardware cost is low; data can be priceless.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:17 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
A major reason for the nVidia XP 2500+ system being replaced recently. Electronic parts do wear down, capacitors lose their value, etc. I have had several motherboards break in just a couple of years due to bad caps, and mysterious intermittent faults develop on others in <5 years. Better safe than sorry when the replacement hardware cost is low; data can be priceless.


That's what happened to my first nForce2 mobo. Epox 8RDA+ was famous for bursting caps, and at last count I had 5 leaking and 8 bulging...not good.

The Asus board has always rock solid, not one problem attributed to it in over 5 years. I check it for bulging or leaky caps every time I clean out my WHS. I'm sure it will last as long as I plan on using it.

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HTPC: OrigenAE X11|Gigabyte GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H|Phenom II x3 740BE w/AC Freezer 7|150GB Velociraptor|Corsair VX450
Main: Antec 300 (SlipStream @ 800rpm/140mm @ 5v)|Asus M4A88TD-M|Phenom II x4 945 (Mugen2 pass.)|Asus EAH6850|Samsung 830 128GB|Antec TP750
WHS: DF-85|P8H67-M Pro|I5-3450S/Hyper 212+|Corsair AX650|Sandisk Extreme 240GB, 2xWD20EARS, 2x WD15EARS, WD15EADS


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:10 am 
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Hi..
Thanks for sharing the post... Its really good which you share and i have seen first to this topic...

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:54 am 
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I still got a couple of athlon xp`s on via chipsets one of which was my main computer until recently. Those and a pentium 133 on a soyo board are some of the longest living machines I`ve ever had. I`ve seen numerous parts die during that time due to bad caps or mosfet failures, jetway, asrock, abit and msi boards are some examples. The machines that are still working are based on boards by either asus or gigabyte. Coincidence?

Sorry to get off topic...

Now, some of you might know the intel D945GSEJT board. IMO it`s very well suited to the job of a NAS having two very interesting features: a low power, mobile chipset (5w tdp) and a built in dc/dc power supply. A fellow member build a nas based on this board and reported an astonishing 13 watt idle power use (drive spun down).

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=54161

It would be great to have a review of this board here, what do you think Mike?

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