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 Post subject: Atom energy efficiency champ: Intel D945GSEJT w/ Morex T1610
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:49 am 
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Atom energy efficiency champ: Intel D945GSEJT w/ Morex T1610 fanless case

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 Post subject: Editorial Nitpick
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:52 am 
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"The TIM pad is soft and thermally conductive. A protective plastic skin is peeled off before installing the motherboard. The pad presses against the underside of the CPU/chipset, and helps to transfer the heat into the aluminum chassis, which enhances cooling via convection"

I think an unenlightened reader (me) may be confused by this sentence- it isn't clear as to if it is referring to the heat transfer by the case to the gas in the room (convection) or the thermal pad to the case (conduction).


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 Post subject: Re: Editorial Nitpick
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:06 am 
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fri2219 wrote:
"The TIM pad is soft and thermally conductive. A protective plastic skin is peeled off before installing the motherboard. The pad presses against the underside of the CPU/chipset, and helps to transfer the heat into the aluminum chassis, which enhances cooling via convection"

I think an unenlightened (me) reader may be confused by this sentence- it isn't clear as to if it is referring to the heat transfer by the case to the gas in the room (convection) or the thermal pad to the case (conduction).

OK, I understand your confusion... but "which" in that sentence refers to chassis -- normal syntax/grammar is that the clause refers to the closest noun. This might make it clearer:

The pad presses against the underside of the CPU/chipset, and conduction transfers the heat into the aluminum chassis, which enhances cooling via convection.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:31 am 
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Despite the pricing issue that you raised, I would still be intrigued by this combination except that I need a CD drive also. Can anyone suggest an ultra SFF package that accommodates a CD drive, one 2.5" HDD, wifi antenna, and is fanless? A 1U rack would also be an acceptable form factor.


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 Post subject: Re: Atom energy efficiency champ: Intel D945GSEJT w/ Morex T
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:49 am 
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Thanks for the review. It was nice to see the temps didn't reach crazy levels. Add a quiet 2.5 drive or perhaps a SSD and it would be the quietest PC around.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:04 am 
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3beezer wrote:
Despite the pricing issue that you raised, I would still be intrigued by this combination except that I need a CD drive also. Can anyone suggest an ultra SFF package that accommodates a CD drive, one 2.5" HDD, wifi antenna, and is fanless? A 1U rack would also be an acceptable form factor.

Nothing even remotely close to the 1~1.2 liter size of the Morex and the other compared USFF systems. Keep in mind that with this mobo, a TIM pad will make just about any case fanless. We've reviewed the Coolermaster fanless case -- but it is not that small & hard to find and the price includes a DC/DC board you don't need. Some of the Silverstone cases will also work, like the LC09 -- but again, it has power you don't need. The SEED MA280 would work as well.

You know that an external USB slim optical drive can be had for as low as $50...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:10 pm 
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A flexible solution for only slightly more $ would be based on a Asus Eee PC 1005HA and a USB port(s) plus VGA port based docking station setup.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:15 pm 
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Very nice, I like it. I bought an Apple Cube case (empty guts only, no PC) years ago thinking it would make a neat server some day, but never saw a good motherboard for it. Mini-itx fits in there, but there was always the issue of tall heatsinks or trying to figure out how to get custom heatpipes to attach to the existing huge heatsink the cube has. This might do the trick, and it would make it easy to use the existing heatsink with just one of those thermal pads like in the review. Anyone know where to get those? The mini PCIe slot is great too, I haven't seen that on too many boards. I assume your power consumption numbers include that wifi card, yes? Not that it would make a difference of more than a watt or two...

Thanks for the review.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:39 pm 
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Quote:
The Intel GMA 950 isn't good for anything 3D or higher than "easy" 720p video playback, at best, while the Atom doesn't have the muscle to handle Flash video playback or Flash-heavy web sites well.



blah. today? come on now.
:roll:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:59 pm 
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I too wish they would add more SATA ports. These things would make ideal NAS/download boxes if they just had more SATA ports.

I suppose you could always get a SATA card.

It is also a real shame that they use crappy Realtek NICs. Gigabit performance on them is dire.

For those reasons I'm still using an old Intel board with Intel Gigabit and a low end dual core Pentium. It idles at 60W...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:24 pm 
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MoJo wrote:
I too wish they would add more SATA ports. These things would make ideal NAS/download boxes if they just had more SATA ports.

I suppose you could always get a SATA card.

It is also a real shame that they use crappy Realtek NICs. Gigabit performance on them is dire.

I don't see how the 2 sata ports disqualifies this as a good NAS or torrent board, considering the target power envelope. How many HDDs do you need in a NAS? Answer: more than or equal to one.

This board isn't targeting the many-TB market. Consider that the 2TB WD green drives have spin-up power consumption ~21W. A pair of those puts you right at the limit of that 12V molex, let alone the power brick, during start-up. Those looking to build a serious storage server will be better off with other products.

And what's wrong with Realtek NICs? Aside from a few rare OS incompatibilities, the three realtek 8111C's in systems I own are just as capable of saturating my gigabit lan as my Intel NICs. I'm not positive which realtek NIC this board uses, but I speculate that it's a RTL8111 series, which has pretty wide OS support these days.

IMO, this is the perfect low-powered, low-end NAS. This is positively going into my next SqueezeCenter build (currently ~30W idle).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:33 pm 
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colm wrote:
Quote:
The Intel GMA 950 isn't good for anything 3D or higher than "easy" 720p video playback, at best, while the Atom doesn't have the muscle to handle Flash video playback or Flash-heavy web sites well.

blah. today? come on now.
:roll:

And what does that mean? If you don't understand the point, it's simple: Atom/950 systems work but they're slow at just about everything. Personally, I've sworn off Atom for a desktop/laptop-- it's too much of a backward step. A P2 might be faster. It would be fine as a NAS/torrent box as Jay_S suggests, as long as you don't have >2tb storage requirement. (2tb the size limit for a single hdd at the moment.)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:52 pm 
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BTW Mike - thanks for the article. I was wondering how long it would take SPCR to review one of these. :D

First I read of this board was here: http://blog.aleutia.com/ They're a UK company who's products are apparently marketed toward remote-locales in developing nations running on solar or other limited forms of power.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:22 pm 
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Neat board and case, the little touches like the hard drive vibration dampers and thermal pad for the motherboard are great.

As far as performance goes I'd tend to agree, single-core Atom is a bit anemic for my tastes. But once Adobe finally gets around to implementing Flash GPU acceleration it would probably be much more viable as a daily use system.

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 Post subject: M350 / riser
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:46 pm 
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Mini-box makes a neat case and riser for this mobo:
http://www.mini-box.com/M350-universal- ... -enclosure
http://www.mini-box.com/I-O-shield-and- ... -D945GSEJT

For my own server, I've got an MSI dual-NIC Atom/945GSE board in a Sugo SG05:
http://www.mini-box.com/MSI-IM-945GSE-M ... otherboard

Unfortunately, I wanted to use a PCI wireless card and two NICs. Works fine, but not as neat as using the case in the article, or an M350.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:05 pm 
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That riser & I/O plate is pretty cool for $10. Adding a 2nd NIC is trivial, making this a great low-powered pfsense/m0n0wall/etc router/firewall/UTM box.
[EDIT] Wait - looks like that I/O plate is only compatible with the M350 case?

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 Post subject: A low power server board?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:09 am 
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Thanks for the review.

I've had this board for a while as it fulfils my requirement for a low power 24/7 server..I use a 1.5 Tb 3.5 inch drive in a custom case.

I searched extensively at the time and the MSI board seems better..with the intel nics..but is twice the price.

For a passive solution the M350 case also appears to be the best solution.

But then you have to go to different suppliers to get the best kit..with the need to pay higher shipping...grrr...

Personally I think ATOM for video playback is a dead duck..killed by Intel really...which is why I have bought a CULV laptop..and maybe in time that solution will replace ATOM in nettops and low power servers.

The new generation WD TV box (with networking) being supplied by a low power ATOM server is what I am trying to get to. It is then a question of how to record HD content.

I think low power servers are the way ahead for home use...and this board maybe perfect at this price point....if you want the intel nics then go for the MSI board.

Just my thoughts. :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:41 am 
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I don't quite agree that all these boards have "virtually identical performance, as the CPU and GPU are the same". The GSE runs the gma950 at less than half the clock of the desktop version last time I checked, which could definitely make a difference. Granted, since even the desktop version is already slow, it probably doesn't matter much, but it could hinder playability of Quake 3 :-).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:42 am 
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Posted a few comments on p.2 about the BIOS on request. Not much to say -- it's very limited.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:06 pm 
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I'd be interested to know what resolutions are supported through DVI? 1080p monitors are becoming common but some boards don't support that resolution (officially anyway).
My googleing led me to believe that, while the Asus B202 can do 1080p (the resolution), this board can't. Could someone who's actually tried the products tell me if I got it right?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:34 pm 
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All I want to say is that it's about time. What took so long in getting the 945GSE on the desktop? It's been in netbooks since forever.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:13 pm 
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Jay_S wrote:
This board isn't targeting the many-TB market. Consider that the 2TB WD green drives have spin-up power consumption ~21W. A pair of those puts you right at the limit of that 12V molex, let alone the power brick, during start-up. Those looking to build a serious storage server will be better off with other products.


Staggered power-up or a better PSU. 21W is about 2x what I get during start-up on Seagate 1TB HDDs.

You have to also consider practical aspects such as the need to connect another drive to back up a failing one or just copy the data over to a larger capacity model when the time comes. Having only 2 ports also means no RAID 5 and being limited to one drives worth of capacity in RAID 1.

You may also want a SATA optical drive for installation/ripping/backup.

The chipset probably supports at least 4 SATA ports, they just didn't put the headers on the board.

Quote:
And what's wrong with Realtek NICs? Aside from a few rare OS incompatibilities, the three realtek 8111C's in systems I own are just as capable of saturating my gigabit lan as my Intel NICs.


Right... Realtek NICs re-define the term "low end". They do very little to offload work from the CPU. I'd love to see some benchmarks where you saturate a gigabit link with file transfers, preferably including CPU usage. On a low speed CPU like the Atom you won't be able to reach your HDDs read speed over gigabit with a Realtek NIC.

You should not underestimate the difference a good NIC can make. I have a crappy Via C7 based board with Via on-board gigabit NIC and it can barely manage 15MB/sec reading from HDD. If I put in an Intel PCI gigabit NIC (and keep in mind the PCI bus is probably shared by IDE/SATA too) I can average 40MB/sec.

Plus, my NAS is fully encrypted so I prefer the CPU to be free to decrypt data rather than tied up with network I/O. My current low end Dual Core Pentium with Intel gigabit NIC can do 65MB/sec, decrypting on the fly and without jumbo frame support. If the client machine were Vista (for SMB2) and jumbo frames were supported I could probably hit 80MB/sec on parts of the disc.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:12 am 
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MoJo wrote:
Staggered power-up or a better PSU. 21W is about 2x what I get during start-up on Seagate 1TB HDDs.

You have to also consider practical aspects such as the need to connect another drive to back up a failing one or just copy the data over to a larger capacity model when the time comes. Having only 2 ports also means no RAID 5 and being limited to one drives worth of capacity in RAID 1.

You may also want a SATA optical drive for installation/ripping/backup.

I think you've missed the target market for this mb/CPU. Staggered spin-up? RAID5? What percentage of users do you think need these features? And what percentage of those who need these features expect to get them in a 14W system? I'm not trying to diminish the importance of those features, I just don't think this mb/cpu is the appropriate paltform for them.

I got the 21W figure from WD's datasheet (pdf) for the 2TB drive. There's a peak current draw spec ... 1.759A x 12V = ~21W peak. Real-word consumption might be different.

Quote:
Right... Realtek NICs re-define the term "low end". They do very little to offload work from the CPU. I'd love to see some benchmarks where you saturate a gigabit link with file transfers, preferably including CPU usage. On a low speed CPU like the Atom you won't be able to reach your HDDs read speed over gigabit with a Realtek NIC.

You should not underestimate the difference a good NIC can make.

I underestimate nothing ;). I own PCI and PCIe consumer-level Intel NICs, in addition to my on-board 8111c's. There's simply no reason to use the Intel NICs given my network and usage, unless some specific OS throws fits with the Realteks (ex.: opensolaris, the last time I used it). You're right about Realtek being low-end in general, and you're right about less TCP offload. But AFAIK, none of the consumer $30 Intel NICs do full offload either. Intel's TOE is reserved for their $100+ NICs. Do any Intel embedded NICs do TCP offloading?

The question of whether the single-core Atom can saturate GigE is one I've been asking anyone who owns this board/CPU combo. Like you, I also doubt this.

I'm at work now and don't have access to my data, but here's some real-world tests showing +/- 3MB/s difference between Realtek 8111C and Intel Pro/1000 PT PCIe NIC.

Saturating gigE is a non-trivial matter, and depends on many factors. IMO, the brand of NIC is less important than the bus it's sitting on (I'd take a PCIe Realtek over a PCI Intel). But this is just one piece in the puzzle. By far, the largest performance improvement I've seen came by switching to Windows 7 RC on a client PC. SMB2's dynamic windowing is half of the story. In addition, the new file copy engine maintains multiple transfers "in flight" at once. I wish XP could inherit these improvements, as I still prefer it to Vista/Win7.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:35 pm 
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Would like to ask question about realistic hdd options and power requirements for this mb.

Am looking at the possibility of building a small form factor, low powerl, quiet (not silent) headless always-on server running Linux with 2 1TB 3.5 sata disks booting off a usb stick (or 2.5 hdd or cf card)
ie: running samba, nfs, ftp, print services etc

This atom board would suit nicely, but I'm not sure about the disk options and power. Physically you can connect 2 Sata drives (shared 4 pin molex power socket), 1 2.5 hdd (44 pin ide) and an external usb stick.

According to the Intel specs the load for a minimum configuration is 12W, and for maximum configuration is 42W.
Does this mean the board can only supply 30W for the connected hdd's?

Looking at Hitachi 1TB drive specs the startup current is rated at 2A, so the startup load for 2 hdd's would be 4A or approx 48W.

Can the board handle this load?
Simply is it just a matter of using a 75W or 90W AC/DC power brick instead of the standard 60W supplied with most configurations?
Does the on board DC-DC converter have a max limit?

I have read suggestions about using an ATX type psu, but there are issues with startup for the board and the psu, as there is only the 4 pin on board psu plug.

Interested in comments.
WW


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:57 pm 
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white_westie wrote:
According to the Intel specs the load for a minimum configuration is 12W, and for maximum configuration is 42W.
Does this mean the board can only supply 30W for the connected hdd's?

These are the power draws for the systems Intel detailed as being likely max and min configs, not absolute max/min current capacity. It will probably handle more current, but maybe not that much more.

Quote:
Looking at Hitachi 1TB drive specs the startup current is rated at 2A, so the startup load for 2 hdd's would be 4A or approx 48W. Can the board handle this load?

If it really does go that high (the spec is usually the peak for a big sampling of HDDs of that model), then it might be borderline depending on whatever else you have connected. Longevity might be affected even if it worked OK.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:29 pm 
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Very pleased so far with this mainboard, although I'm not using the Morex case.

But I'm a bit frustrated as the supplied SATA power cable has a 1 x SATA and 1 x 4-pin Molex outputs, which means you need another cable to add a second SATA drive. And there's a male 4-pin Molex connector on the mainboard, which means the standard splitters don't fit (I'm trying to reduce the amount of cabling as I have a compact case).

Anyone know where I can get a cable with 4-pin Molex female to 2 x SATA?

Also, where might I get a connector for the on-board SPDIF?

thanks :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:17 pm 
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Email from LinITX in the UK:

"Due to Intel changing the Molex power connector on the D945GSEJT to Male
on the latest batch, you will need to use the power cable included with
the Board and use our adaptor RB413 to convert one of the Molex
connectors to SATA."

So Intel changed the spec... :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:10 am 
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Quote:
But I'm a bit frustrated as the supplied SATA power cable has a 1 x SATA and 1 x 4-pin Molex outputs, which means you need another cable to add a second SATA drive.


Mine shipped with a 2xsata cable. Ironically in my case this is a drawback as need 1 sata and one molex connector. As a result I have to use a 2xmolex connector plus a molex to sata converter (plus the molex to mini optical sata connector). A completely inefficient solution that makes me want to scream. In fact I`m going to do just that.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Very frustrating ntavlas, you buy a lovely compact mainboard and then the case fills with a mass of cables! In my book, Intel loses points for changing the specs without telling anyone...

Always amazes me that some of the mini-itx, nano and pico boards came with a mass of cables and chunky connectors, that completely negate the advantages of the small form factor... :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:16 pm 
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How Do I know which Seasonic Brick to get with this. Apparently Seasonic makes like 6 different models that seem similar. Which One so I want for lowest power? (lots are all 60w?)

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