It is currently Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:00 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Intel 3420 + Xeon L3426 = ultimate low-power NAS?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:51 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:35 am
Posts: 535
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
Not too long ago, I built (and documented) what I would consider a very capable but also low-power NAS system based on the Biostar A760G motherboard.

In that same post, I documented my personal requirements for a NAS system:
  • Ability to host at least six SATA drives on a fast bus (i.e. motherboard southbridge, or expansion cards on PCIe)
  • Low power (generally implies BIOS voltage controls)
  • Gigabit network (2x would be ideal, especially with Intel chips, but not necessary)
  • ECC RAM support
  • Free PCIe slot for future upgrades
The ECC requirement eliminates a lot of potentially great platforms. But a good challenge is fun.

I was browsing newegg's selection of socket 1156 server motherboards, which use the Intel 3420 chipset. I would assume this is basically the "server version" of their P55 chipset (which itself isn't much more than the oldish ICH10 southbridge). The neat thing about 1156 is: no northbridge, and the 3420/P55/ICH10 chipsets are fairly low power. Going with a "server" motherboard quite often means they throw in some basic (meaning low power) video chip, and often have dual NICs. For example, this Intel S3420GPLC looks promising, as does the Supermicro X8SIL-F (though not yet available on newegg).

As far as I can tell, to get ECC support on a socket 1156 chip, you have to buy from the Xeon line. Usually the Xeon chips aren't tuned for low power consumption. However, if I remember correctly, these new Lynnfield (and Nehalem) processors have very low power states for idle times. At least my NAS system will be idle virtually all the time. So the CPU should be able to live mostly in the least power state.

Still, quad core is overkill for a simple NAS. But I can't seem to find any single- or dual-core Intel 1156 CPUs with ECC support. But, for someone willing to spend the big bucks, the Xeon L3426 looks almost magical (see also here). TDP is listed at 45 watts; voltage range .65V-1.400V. My guess is that on an idle system, the CPU will automatically drop down to 0.65V (or very close), and undervolting may not even be necessary.

So... ignoring cost (which, with this solution is obscenely high), how low do you think idle power consumption will be with a 3420-based motherboard and a Xeon L3426 CPU? I know it's impossible to tell without getting the hardware and testing (not to mention implementation differences from one board to the next), but, in general: could this configuration beat the Biostar A760G in terms of power consumption?

Thoughts in general?

If somebody wants to buy me these parts, I'll build the system and do an analysis! :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:53 pm 
Offline
Friend of SPCR

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:14 am
Posts: 1235
Location: Finland
Xeon souns total overkill, but I don't know much about them. How expensive does that system become with it?

The mobo in my current system (and which cost about 150eur a year and a half ago), the Gigabyte EX38-DS4, fulfills all your requrements, but it's socket 775 with DDR2. The dual gigabit ethernet and ECC support were specifically my hard requirements for the mobo when I bought it, and it also has 6x SATA on the Intel ICH9R southbridge. Two true 16x PCI-E slots, 3 1x PCI-E slots and 2 PCI ports. Seems to have a lot of voltage options in the BIOS, but I did not do any tinkering with those myself.

I'm not sure of this but I think all X38 and X48 based mobos have ECC support. Or at least the chipset supports it. They might also be cheaper. I don't really see what you would gain by more money.

_________________
my general purpose desktop system: HP LP3065 30" LCD 2560x1600 pixels, Q9450, 8GB DDR2 ECC 800MHz, EVGA 460GTX 1GB SC (OC@800MHz/2000MHz), WD Velociraptor 300GB, Samsung 2TB, Gigabyte EX38-DS4, Antec P182b, Corsair VX450, Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme, Scythe S-Flex fan, <90W AC idle, 200W AC gaming


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:05 pm 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:35 am
Posts: 535
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
lm wrote:
Xeon souns total overkill, but I don't know much about them. How expensive does that system become with it?


I don't even know if that Xeon L3426 is available yet, but IIRC, the price was $280 or so---for a one thousand lot purchase. So I would expect retail pricing to be over $300. The Intel motherboard I linked above was $214 I think. So, over $500 for motherboard and processor alone.

lm wrote:
I'm not sure of this but I think all X38 and X48 based mobos have ECC support. Or at least the chipset supports it. They might also be cheaper. I don't really see what you would gain by more money.


I believe you are correct. The gain---or, at least the gain I was speculating---is in the form of lower power consumption. The X38 and X48 chipsets use 12 Watts even when idle. Socket 1156 moves most of these power-hungry chipsets' functionality into the CPU itself.

That was kind of the point of my post: just kind of "thinking-out-loud" as to whether the 3420-based motherboards + the L3400 series Xeons make a low-power NAS platform. As much for fun as an actual suggestion. :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:44 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:11 am
Posts: 24
Location: California
hi,

somebody told me that AMD machine is much better than Intel machine. i am confuse about it because "Intel" we all know that its a big name and provide best machine then why AMD is much better? anybody can remove my confusion? and these machine will better than AMD machine or not?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:12 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 134
Location: California
Matt, that's definitely out-of-the-box thinking. But what is the real advantage? The A760G+4850e config you documented before got down to ~30W before disks and it can currently be purchased for about $109. I don't know what the power minimum would be on this new one, but even if you saves 10-15W would it really be work the ~$400 premium? I think the payback on power would be measured in tens-of-years...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:03 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:35 am
Posts: 535
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
piglover wrote:
Matt, that's definitely out-of-the-box thinking. But what is the real advantage? The A760G+4850e config you documented before got down to ~30W before disks and it can currently be purchased for about $109. I don't know what the power minimum would be on this new one, but even if you saves 10-15W would it really be work the ~$400 premium? I think the payback on power would be measured in tens-of-years...


When used only as a NAS/fileserver, when you consider the cost, there really isn't any advantage (unless you want to brag about expensive hardware!). I was mostly just thinking out loud. :)

On the other hand, I've recently been looking at power reduction from an all-inclusive perspective, as opposed to a system-by-system perspective. That is, I used to say: here I have a media PC, I'll reduce its power as much as possible; here's my fileserver, can I reduce its power; here's my workstation... Now I'm trying to look at all of those combined: say I move one system's task to another: maybe that adds 10W to the target system, but allows me to hibernate the original system 95% of the time, averaging out to 20W of savings.

So with the "uber NAS" I spec'ed out in my original post, in the back of my mind, I was thinking, maybe I could also use this as my workstation, and replace my workstation with a laptop or possibly a netbook. The net result would be possibly the same or marginally higher power usage on the server, but workstation power would be virtually eliminated. Overall, a significant net savings in power.

<shrug> Anyway, I'm just thinking out loud, throwing ideas out there for anyone who enjoys thinking about this stuff.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:13 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:53 am
Posts: 20
Location: EU
I am building a NAS - I ordered all components, I can post the list if you want.

Why do you need ECC RAM?

Why not get a decent RAID card? Like Adaptec 51645 (this is what I ordered), or Areca - you would not need to worry about the rest of the system.

Still looking for a good OS run it - need Windows connectivity... Any recommendations?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:02 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:35 am
Posts: 535
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
Csimbi wrote:
Why do you need ECC RAM?


It's arguably overkill for a simple home NAS/media server. However, ECC RAM doesn't cost much more than non-ECC, and, in theory, should make for a more stable system. If nothing else, it's another toy/feature to play with. :)

Csimbi wrote:
Why not get a decent RAID card? Like Adaptec 51645 (this is what I ordered), or Areca - you would not need to worry about the rest of the system.


Several reasons:
  • Cost - hardware RAID cards are usually quite expensive
  • Linux MD - the software RAID provided by the Linux kernel is stable (and free). I've been using it for years now, without any problems. I've also moved my array several times (different machines/different Linux distros), without incident. Hardware-based arrays need to stay with the same controller.
  • Power consumption - all the RAID cards I've ever seen have heatsinks on them. Even in the absence of heatsinks, another card still pulls more power. Why increase power consumption when the CPU and Linux can do exactly what I want?

Csimbi wrote:
Still looking for a good OS run it - need Windows connectivity... Any recommendations?


I'm (obviously) partial to Linux (any distro). Windows connectivity is not a problem via Samba. Also, I know lots of people seem to like Windows Home Server.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Intel 3420 + Xeon L3426 = ultimate low-power NAS?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:37 am
Posts: 3
Location: Tokyo
[quote="matt_garman"]
So... ignoring cost (which, with this solution is obscenely high), how low do you think idle power consumption will be with a 3420-based motherboard and a Xeon L3426 CPU? I know it's impossible to tell without getting the hardware and testing (not to mention implementation differences from one board to the next), but, in general: could this configuration beat the Biostar A760G in terms of power consumption?
[/quote]

I just bought this board and cpu and 8g of ram (hynix)
Survey says 75W. Total cost around 100000y (4g ecc rdimms hurt most)

However, it won't post at all and the LED code isn't in the manual, so I guess I get to talk to intel support tomorrow to ask them what the hell 0xBE is.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Intel 3420 + Xeon L3426 = ultimate low-power NAS?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:20 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:35 am
Posts: 535
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
bunny wrote:
I just bought this board and cpu and 8g of ram (hynix)
Survey says 75W. Total cost around 100000y (4g ecc rdimms hurt most)


You're using the Xeon L3426 CPU and Intel S3420GPLC motherboard?

What frequency is the memory?

Can you post the rest of your system specs? I.e., number and make of hard drives, power supply, any additional video cards, etc.

Pictures are always nice too! :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Intel 3420 + Xeon L3426 = ultimate low-power NAS?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:30 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:37 am
Posts: 3
Location: Tokyo
matt_garman wrote:
You're using the Xeon L3426 CPU and Intel S3420GPLC motherboard?
What frequency is the memory?
Can you post the rest of your system specs? I.e., number and make of hard drives, power supply, any additional video cards, etc.
Pictures are always nice too! :)


at the moment, 1 hd, some old 7200.12 and cdrom, nothing else. no keyboard either, some random 400W psu (scythe?) it will have 4 drives when it works.


the memory is (and I'm not sure if this is the problem)
hynix hmt141r7afp4c-h9 (4g) *2 (2 rank)
they list the afp8c, which is 4 rank, but their tech specs say on page 3.2.1 that it supports all sorts of ranks. (the 8c isnt in akiba that I could find.)

-- update :shock:

replaced the 2x4g with 4x2g, 2 hitachi 500g drives, removed the cdrom, installed W2k8 R2, its ticking over doing nothing now: 56W.
the 4 pin fans are nice, with those, it calms down quite a lot. I wouldn't put this in the louge, but its not too bad in an office, except the ALMIGHTY BEEPS it generates.

Total cost of bits:
board 24000y
cpu 31000y
memory 40000y (4 off 10000y)
disks - spares from somewhere
case - nasty rack case, 3U,
psu - 400W scythe from the previous board. (which 2 years ago cost more!)

Now, will it run for 53 years like the intel blurb on ECC's merits says?
:D


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Intel 3420 + Xeon L3426 = ultimate low-power NAS?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:05 pm 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:35 am
Posts: 535
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
bunny wrote:
-- update :shock:

replaced the 2x4g with 4x2g, 2 hitachi 500g drives, removed the cdrom, installed W2k8 R2, its ticking over doing nothing now: 56W.
the 4 pin fans are nice, with those, it calms down quite a lot. I wouldn't put this in the louge, but its not too bad in an office, except the ALMIGHTY BEEPS it generates.


Hrm, that looks better, but still higher than I'd expect. Someone left a comment on my blog, pointing to his blog, where he built the server I spec'ed out above (with the Supermicro X8SIL-F board). (I hope he doesn't mind me linking to it!)

But his rig idles at 40 watts. That's closer to what (but still higher than) I expected. Still, a boatload of computing power for such low wattage.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:10 pm
Posts: 1810
Location: Northern New Jersey
What about a VIA PC1 series?

http://www.via.com.tw/en/initiatives/em ... /index.jsp

I used one as a file server until I just gave in and started getting external enclosures for my older IDE drives. was wireless, so the transfer speeds weren't exactly fabulous, but it worked.

Now it's running off a 40 watt power brick with 1 drive, move up to a ~60W brick for I would guess up to 5 or 6 drives could be possible with a PCI-e RAID or SATA card.

worth looking into at least...

_________________
|Dual Intel Xeon E5-2620-Xigmatek SD1283 DK-II|Asus Z9PA-D8-HR-05 IFX|WD 250gb Velociraptor SATA3|16gb DDR3-1600 ECC RDIMM|WD Blue 640GB SATA2 x2|Logitech K750|Logitech Wireless Mouse|nVidia GTX660ti 2GB|Antec HCG-750|NZXT Source 210 Elite|M-Audio ProFire 2626|Art TubeOpto8 with Smooth Plate Tube Swap|Avid Artist Mix x2|
FartingBob wrote:
A 9500GT with 1GB of RAM is the most pointless thing since NASCAR.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Intel 3420 + Xeon L3426 = ultimate low-power NAS?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:37 am
Posts: 3
Location: Tokyo
matt_garman wrote:
bunny wrote:
its ticking over doing nothing now: 56W.

But his rig idles at 40 watts. That's closer to what (but still higher than) I expected. Still, a boatload of computing power for such low wattage.


Its a low power cpu, most of those watts are going in psu inefficiency and support hardware.

There comes a point where being an ECO DROOLY becomes inane. Going "green" just means wasting your money like a hollywood celeb.

You can save X watts at some cost you would never recoup. Fundamentally, I did not want an L3426, I wanted a fire breathing server but it was the only Xeon I could find in Akiba. It cost about 31000, for that I could have got the 3450, which has a rated TDP of 95W, (as opposed to what, 45W?) but in all likelihood would never get near that. I believe the idle power is the same.

So, ask yourself, how much electricity would the extra 10000y (or 100$ or whatever) pay for and at 50W, how long would your money last? In fact, lets do that sum. For the sake of arguments, lets assume that you save 50W continuously by buying the lower power cpu, this is unrealistic of course, since the higher power cpu is unlikely to be burning all those Watts.

State of Hawaii, payback begins after about 11 months. So as long as your hardware lasts a year, you win!
Washington state, payback begins 2 years and 10 months.

Being a greenie becomes pointless then.

I will, however, look at that X8 board, I can find that in 1 shop in Akiba ^^!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Intel 3420 + Xeon L3426 = ultimate low-power NAS?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:19 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:35 am
Posts: 535
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
bunny wrote:
You can save X watts at some cost you would never recoup. Fundamentally, I did not want an L3426, I wanted a fire breathing server but it was the only Xeon I could find in Akiba. It cost about 31000, for that I could have got the 3450, which has a rated TDP of 95W, (as opposed to what, 45W?) but in all likelihood would never get near that. I believe the idle power is the same.


The voltage range on the Xeon X3450 is 0.70 to 1.4. The bottom of the L3426 is 0.65, but that 0.05 Volts probably doesn't make much difference.

I believe the "low tdp" versions of processors (e.g. L3426) are generally just cherry-picked versions of their faster, higher-tdp brothers. And depending on marketing/sales forecasts, you could quite easily buy something like the X3450 that literally could have been binned as an L3426. People (particularly on this forum) do that all the time: buy the cheaper, mainstream part, then use their enthusiast motherboard to undervolt and/or underclock the chip to get virtually the same power performance as the more expensive version of the chip.

The only catch is that the true server-grade motherboards (like the ones we've been discussing here) generally don't have voltage controls like the enthusiast boards. So it would be interesting to see if there's any difference in idle power consumption between the X3450 and L3426. I'd wager there's a slight difference, as the 3426 has a lower minimum v core, and a lower clock speed. However, I wouldn't bet on a substantial difference! The hardware review sites usually do these kinds of comparisons, but, sadly, not with expensive server parts! (So that means someone on this forum with deep pockets has to buy all these parts and do a the testing for us! :))

bunny wrote:
So, ask yourself, how much electricity would the extra 10000y (or 100$ or whatever) pay for and at 50W, how long would your money last? In fact, lets do that sum. For the sake of arguments, lets assume that you save 50W continuously by buying the lower power cpu, this is unrealistic of course, since the higher power cpu is unlikely to be burning all those Watts.


Indeed. In my area (Chicago, Illinois), I calculated (roughly) that each watt saved equals about $1/year. So, saving 50 watts over the course of a year is worth $50.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I really only started this thread to "think out loud". I like planning out builds, even if I never intend to actually buy the parts. For me, it's kind of like going to a car enthusiast forum, and talking about Ferrari and Bentley, even though I'll never buy one.

On the other hand, a "real" recommendation for a NAS w/ECC is the Biostar A760G-M2+ plus a cheap AMD CPU. It's "green" (even if not marketed as such) and light on the wallet.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:27 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:35 am
Posts: 535
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
Anyone ever go into a store that has a sign that reads something like this:
Quote:
We do three kinds of work here: (1) fast, (2) cheap, (3) high quality. Choose any two.

It's kind of the same with computer hardware. (1) fast, (2) low power, (3) cheap. Pick any two. The Biostar gets you low power and cheap. The L3426 gets you fast and low power.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:24 am
Posts: 4
Location: Finland
I'm going the Xeon route for my file-/general-purpose-server upgrade. Currently I have AMD4850e/4GB/3hdd combination that idles at 50W. The thing is I'm running Windows Server 2008 and am going to move to OpenSolaris for zfs and it doesn't support the low power modes of the 4850e. So with OpenSolaris the rig idles at 100W.

Anyways, I've ordered an Asus P7F-X server mobo, which is lowend and good enough plus couple of raid cards. The rest will be likely Xeon x3440, 4GB ECC RAM and 6 WD GP 1,5TB drives in raidz2(similar to raid6) plus mirrored system drives. All in Nexus Edge case. If I'm lucky it will idle at 100W. Should get all the parts within the next month.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 8:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:13 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Australia
Im running a similar system and i think i got a good balance of fast, fairly cheap and fairly low power.
Xeon X3450
Intel 2320GPLC
4 x WD Caviar Back
Fractal Design R2 Case (with 3 extra fans total)
Corsair VX450 450W PSU (made by Seasonic but distributed cheap by Corsair)

Still waiting on 4GB RDIMMs after first being sold memory that turned out to be incompatible so currently just using 2x 2GB non ECC DIMMs and while im still setting everything up on this system its enough memory for now.

I found a great price on an X3450 otherwise i would of gone with an X3440 as there is such a small difference in clock speed.
Looking at any board that was available the ASUS board turned out to be a big no go for me when when i read they only rated its life at 25 degrees C and i want a very long life out of this system.

Still not sure on the exact power draw but the systems runs so cool and quiet i cant imagine its drawing to much power. Considering i have 4 HDD spinning and so much processing power available the low noise is actually pretty amazing.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 7:29 am 
Offline
*Lifetime Patron*

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:35 am
Posts: 535
Location: Chicago, Ill., USA
I happened across this Serve The Home site the other day. There's a review of the power consumption of the Supermicro X8SIL-F motherboard with the Xeon X3440 and Core i3-530 CPUs. With a solid state drive, 4 GB of 1333 RAM and a PicoPSU, power consumption at idle was 48 and 40 watts, respectively. It looks like the BMC hardware on the board alone require about 4 watts. Supermicro makes a version of that board without the BMC.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group