Matt do you have any thoughts about an intel based solution. If you ignore the comparable cost of such a build, Would an e7400+ intel mini-itx like Commell LV-678 (Q35 chipset) or G31 biostar m/b be a solid low watt solution?
Obviously it would be more powerful than a Biostar/5050e solution but for a linux server (mythbackend - stream HD, mysql, mpd, jabber, firewall, gateway, samba, mail, apache http) would it be over kill? I know that's a loaded question. (if I could answer that myself I would have purchased
) I do have another intel/nvidia based HTPC for a mythfrontend, so the server does not need HD graphics or VDPAU, or anything really... just ssh.
I have a little experience with the Intel Q35 chipset via an Intel BOXDQ35JOE
motherboard I used to have. I was using an e5200 CPU. I used this as my fileserver/NAS platform for a few months.
In terms of idle power consumption, it was comparable to the Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2 and BE-2350 CPU, which I also used for a few months as my NAS platform.
In both cases, all components were exactly the same (except motherboard and CPU obviously). I kept a spreadsheet of the power usage numbers, but don't have it handy at the moment. But I do remember that both platforms were roughly the same (within a watt or two of each other).
But note that both boards were running with mostly stock BIOS options (except for obvious stuff, like disabling sound and floppy). In other words, no underclocking/undervolting. Had I spent some time with the Gigabyte board, I probably could have beat the Intel board in terms of idle power consumption, because the Intel board didn't have any BIOS voltage or clocking controls.
That Commell board looks nice. I'd wager that it's power usage is on par with the Intel board I used, probably even lower. But I doubt it has any voltage or clock controls. I'd actually be interested in playing with that (but I've already sunk too much money in all these different boards!).
I don't have any experience with the G31 chipset, but I've seen a number of people on this site build low-power systems with it. Another place you might want to peruse is the Data Storage Systems Forum at Hard Forum
. There was a thread not too long ago dealing with low-power. Eventually I'll post my Biostar A760G findings over there. But anyway, I do remember seeing a fair number of folks over there using the G31 chipset as well.
I don't know if it's a requirement for you or not, but one thing you'll give up by going the Intel route is ECC memory support. Only Intel's (power hungry) server chipsets support ECC memory.
As for how much computing power you need, it depends on how much "service" the system will provide. Some random thoughts:
- mythbackend - stream HD: recording and streaming HD are almost purely I/O loads; even the wimpiest processor will support this. Transcoding obviously takes a lot of CPU power. I don't know about commercial flagging---I know my combined frontend/backend (Asus 8300 + 4850e) can do commercial flagging while we're watching videos and not have any impact. But I've never actually studied the CPU usage while commercial flagging is going on.
- mysql - if only to support MythTV, this is a very minimal load. Of course, if you want to power a highly dynamic, "Web 2.0" website (e.g. hosting busy forums), it will take some muscle.
- mpd - negligible.
- jabber - probably negligible, unless you're running a server to support thousands of simultaneous users.
- firewall/gateway - negligible, unless you have very fancy/complicated firewall rules, with encrypted VPN tunnels and such.
- samba - also generally boils down to an I/O load. CPU load is negligible.
- mail - for a small number of users, very little load. If you have a lot of users and a ridiculous amount of spam you need to filter, this would obviously take more CPU horsepower.
- apache http - for simple uses (e.g., talking to MythTV), negligible load... unless of course you're developing and/or hosting rich web applications.
Again, that's just my rough, off-the-cuff approximations. But the gist is, for typical home-use applications, I'd really be surprised if the AMD solution was underpowered.
I'm hoping to find time this weekend to do testing with the 5050e CPU.