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 Post subject: Lowest Power Consuming AM2 Motherboard
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 1:36 am 
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I want to assemble some computer nodes for use on field for a research related experiment. The computer nodes will have to run off 12V 40AH batteries for which I will be using requsite DC-DC supplies.

Now my requirement from the nodes is only compute power and not graphics etc. I also need 2 free legacy PCI slots. 2 DIMM solts are fine. Apart from that all features are unnecessary.

Please suggest me a stable AM2 mATX board which will consume the least possible power, has 2 (or more) PCI solts, 2 (or more) DIMM solts, and is suitable for running a BE-2400 procesor. An undervolting option will be a boon.....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:07 am 
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AFAIK these are the most power efficient mobo's for AM2, based on the nVidia 7050/630a chipset:

Asrock AliveNF7G-HDready
Abit AN-M2(HD)
Biostar

I myself use Gigabyte's GA-M68SM-S2 for building low power computers. It's about 3 watts less efficient than the Asrock board, but the better quality and dynamic fan control are more important to me in this case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 7:44 pm 
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^ Thanx a lot for the inputs. Appreciated.

It is little doubtful that these boards will be more effecient than AMD 690G/V based boards..... Most of the online reviews claim the 690 to be one of the most effecient chipsets. Plus 'AMD cool n quite' works well on the AMD chipset as against the nVidia chipset.

Since I dont need any type of graphics acceleration at all, wont VIA chipsets be a little more effecient?

Any further inputs anyone?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:25 am 
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My system config:
Biostar TA690G, AM2 Brisbane 4000+, 1x1GB ram, 2.5" notebook drive and no optical drive. Powered by picoPSU-120 with 80W brick.

Here are my power consumption figures at idle, as measured by Kill-a-watt meter, with CPU underclocked and undervolted to 1ghz@0.784 vcore:

= 20W - no case fan, no LAN connection.
+ 1W - 80mm case fan connected, controlled by Fan-mate to run @ 1000rpm.
+ 3W - GbE LAN connected
--------
= 24W total


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:15 am 
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Location: Los Angeles, California
Frank2003, is your TA690G underclocked and undervolted at the BIOS or using CrystalCPUID (or some other program)?

Thanks in advance


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:47 am 
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I use both the BIOS and CrystalCPUID to control the voltage and clock.

In the BIOS, I set the multiplier to 5x (for 1ghz CPU clock) and the Vcore to .950v (the Vcore is set slightly higher than the lowest possible vcore in case there are issues with wake up from sleep and hibernation). I underclock in BIOS in case the CCPUID crashes or does not start up in Windows for whatever reason so that my system runs at lower power state since it's on 24/7.

I use CCPUID in Windows for its flexible voltage and multiplier control to replace AMD's CnQ. Basically my system has two power states: idle@1ghz and HDTV playback @ 1.8ghz.

BTW, I know there's been much talk in these forums about Biostar boards not having underclock and undervolt controls. This is not true with the TA690G board if you update your BIOS (I'm running the version from 6/1/2007). The controls are found in the Overclock Navigator Engine, under NPT Fid control and NPT Vid control (for clock and vcore, respectively). IRRC you need to first turn off the AMD CnQ in order these values to take.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:58 am 
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Location: Israel
frank, have you been able to determine what caused the high power consumption in your Gigabyte 690G mATX board? Have you tried retaking the power reading with the latest F4 BIOS?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:12 am 
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line wrote:
frank, have you been able to determine what caused the high power consumption in your Gigabyte 690G mATX board? Have you tried retaking the power reading with the latest F4 BIOS?


I thought the gigabyte's higher power consumption (compared to the comparable Biostar board) was due to the heat wasted in the hot NB.

No, I have not tried the F4 BIOS yet, but will give it try when I get a chance


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:27 am 
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Ok thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:20 am 
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Location: Formosa
As for fan controlling function, Abit dominates in this field. Even a lowest-end AM2 board, NF-M2S, would equip with ambitious cpu fan control which lowered stock Athlon64 cooler to 540RPM at idle from my experience. Amazing! You can manually set every parameters by your will, including 3pin and 4pin PWM fans. :lol:

To make things better, AN-M2 series comes with more control accommodation to support CPU & Case fans. If you prefer this field like me, you wouldn't regret to get one Abit. I just wish Abit would release a AMD RS780 board, it'll be a perfect combo to me. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:29 am 
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So guys which is better...... Gigabyte or Biostar?

Thanks a ton all of you for the valuable inputs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:46 am 
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Except to lowest 1.95V DIMM, Biostar is better than Gigabyte one cause the abundance of oc fine-tuning in bios.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:27 am 
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Location: Braga, Portugal
Palindroman wrote:
AFAIK these are the most power efficient mobo's for AM2, based on the nVidia 7050/630a chipset:

Asrock AliveNF7G-HDready
Abit AN-M2(HD) (...)

First of all, sorry for digging this thread up.

I was wondering if this is still true.

I am starting to plan for a NAS device (WHS-based), and as such, I'd like to keep the power draw as close to 0 as possible (:lol:).

HDDs will be WD10EADSs (or WD20EADS, if those become available at decent prices in the meanwhile), and I'll most definetely go with simple DDR2-800 sticks (probably 2x2GB, since I'll be moving large files, and I don't want to limit transfer performance by the lack of memory. Though I might consider 1x2GB or 2x1GB.

So, appart from having to know if WHS would work ok with say a 160GB or 250GB 2.5'' system drive, plus 2xGP (for backup), I still have to choose a CPU and a motherboard.

I have recently seen the über-low power draws on standard hardware the G31+45nm can cough up (over at Anandtech). However, those are really expensive parts, and AMD seems to actually be able to deliver better on this front (not sure on G31+45nm underclocking ability, too), with a substantial price difference. Not to mention the ICH7 has a rather serious bandwidth limitation (2x80MBps per pair of ports seems to be the max, tested with several 945G/GZ boards).

This means that AMD will be the way to go (right?), albeit load power values can be on the high side (luckily, not that much power will be needed anyway...).

So, despite craving for a dual-core CPU (ever since I got my first one, I seem not to be able to turn back... :oops:), it seems a single-core one would be the best option. That being said, which one do you thing would be better, power-wise: Sempron LE-1250 or Athlon 1620? These seem to be the most efficient ones available (I never actually owned an AMD CPU, so be gentle with me, please, if I'm not right).

Also, since 2GHz+ is overkill anyway for just about any home server, be it either NAS or router (I probably have the most powerful, power-hungry home router/NAS/multipurpose server EVER, a 945GZ-based Pentium D 805 box... lol), undercloking and undervolting will also play a part on lowering power draw. Which means I need a good mobo for this, hence the question I asked in the beginning of the post.

I'd like to have as many SATA ports as possible (since it will be a NAS... I have to think ahead), and right now there are only a couple of chipsets that can handle more than 4 (which is fine, actually, but it only leaves me one available once I install the system drive and the storage drives, and that worries me, I'd like to skip extra SATA adapters, if possible...), namely 740G, 780G (way too expensive, and not that low power), 790GX (ditto) and 8x00 (which also tend to be rather expensive). However, if power figures are too different, I think I could handle a 4-port board (and the extra 2- or 4-port controller shouldn't draw that much, right?).

Right now, I think I can get my hands on either the ALiveNF7G-HDready, or the newer AliveNF7G-FullHD R3.0 (cheapest), as well as the Abit AN-M2HD and the 740G by Gigabyte (most expensive). The cheapest is the AliveNF7G-FullHD R3.0, at about €45. The other three run for around €60~€65, which is not that bad. Since the LE-1250 is about €30, it seems a great deal. (Btw, just for comparison, an E1200+GA-G31M-S2L runs for about €90, €50+40)

In short, which one of these should I go with? The two ASRock boards are very different on the layout department, so I don't know if the same low power figures can be achieved with the R3 (especially since it seems to be a 4-phase part, as all X4 are supported); it lacks the Firewire controller, though, which drops power consumption...

Or, would I be better off with something completely different? (yes, Monty Python reference here... lol)

Thanks in advance for you input on this one.

Cheers.

Miguel


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:56 am 
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I think the AMD 7 series chipset has the lowest power consumption over all the other boards (6 series and nvidia chipsets)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:25 am 
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You may want to consider 1x2GB instead of 2x2GB. And underclock it to 533MHz.

Really, you think you will be moving big files "all the time" but in reality, you will probably be moving big files every once in a while.

Why pay for all the power to sit in idle most of the time?

If you are truly using that much file transfer usage all the time, then WHS might not be the best choice, you may want something a little more industrial-strength. I only say this because they had a bug this year that was essentially corrupting data. While they have fixed the bug, the fact that it was there and not caught in the beta testing is a red flag.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:29 am 
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tnynyn wrote:
I think the AMD 7 series chipset has the lowest power consumption over all the other boards (6 series and nvidia chipsets)

Ups, I somehow skipped this answer. Sorry.

Until now, the lowest non-stock idle power consumption I've ever seen from a machine (appart from those P2 and P3 machines idling at 10W, of course, but those can hardly keep up with more than plain data storage duties) was the 1GHz X2 4050e on the Abit AN-M2 board. Then there are the 690 series, and lastly the 780G-based ones. Which is still very odd, since the 780G per se should only be ~1W idling, and the X2 4x50e series is around ~7W idling (stock, undervolted should be even less...)

So, what gives? I can understad why the 780G can be a power hog in load scenarios (after all, there is a rather good IGP under there...), but I seem not to be able to grasp why is there power figures from the 7 series are always higher than the 6 and NVIDIA 7000 parts... Any info on that? I'm sure it can't all be attributed to the extra voltage regulators...

Also, since the 740G is a die-shrunk 690G (with the SB700 instead of the iffy SB600), shouldn't it be, at least theoretically, be the most power efficient chipset right now?

austinbike wrote:
You may want to consider 1x2GB instead of 2x2GB. And underclock it to 533MHz.

Really, you think you will be moving big files "all the time" but in reality, you will probably be moving big files every once in a while.

Yes, you have a point there. 2GB is the smallest ammount I'd put in the system (not sure why, but it seems since XP SP3, Windows has become a HUGE memory hog... Not so long ago, 2x512MB were fine, and the system felt snappy. Now 2x1GB makes the HDD trash and whatnot... Not sure if Bitdefender is to blame for this one, though :P), and it seems to be standard for new NAS devices (like the new WHS HP NASes), so I'll probably stick to 1x2GB.

austinbike wrote:
I only say this because they had a bug this year that was essentially corrupting data. While they have fixed the bug, the fact that it was there and not caught in the beta testing is a red flag.

Yes, I am aware of that hedious bug. I also truly believe it was the cause for WHS not to be more popular, and at the time it too scared me.

However, after the corruption bug was taken care of, it appears there aren't any MAJOR bugs. WHS is basically Windows Server 2003 with a few extra services. And Windows Server 2003 is one of the most robust OSes I know (not that much experience with W2K8). Also, there are several key features on WHS I REALLY love which aren't easily replicable on other OSes (especially W2K3 and W2K8), like less overhead (and money needed, since you only need ONE extra any-size HDD at a time, not two of the same size) for mirroring data when compared to regular RAID implementations, more efficient backups and data management (WHS only keeps one copy of each identical file - I seriously believe this was a probable cause for the corruption bug, but...). And yes, it's cool to be able to just plug in an extra drive and be done with the expansion (no more partitioning, formatting, assigning a drive letter and creating a new network share).

However, I am open to new suggestions. It's not easy letting go of some features, but I don't really know any alternatives (there is none to the drive extender, but leave that one out).

Again, thanks for your input. Keep it coming.

Cheers.

Miguel


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:05 pm 
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Location: Leiden, The Netherlands
Miguel; please stop hiding your text in such a small font size. I have to copy it in Word and enlarge the size to be able to read it. :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:54 am
Posts: 138
Location: Braga, Portugal
peerke wrote:
please stop hiding your text in such a small font size.

:oops: :oops: Ups, sorry about that. I'll be more careful from now on. Better yet, I'll just try not to make such long OT comments (which is the reason I use the smaller size in the first place :P).

Btw, run Notepad instead (Start>Run>Notepad>Enter). Since Notepad has a fixed-size font, and strips just about any formatting from the text, you should be able to bypass the whole "enlarge" step.

Cheers.

Miguel


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:34 pm 
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Location: Leiden, The Netherlands
I didn't think they were that OT. Just interesting comments.
Thanks for the heads up on Notepad.


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