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 Post subject: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:11 pm 
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Posts: 90
Hello,
I need to build a router/modem and samba/ldap server.

I would like to use plugcomputer or mikrotik but, unfortunately, the linux distros I use for this purpose (zentyal, zeroshell, pfsense) run only on x86.

So I need a motherboard+cpu combo (or a prebuilt system) that:

- draws 6/7 watt MAXIMUM;
- possibly have a pci slot so I can put an adsl pci card and I stop using the ethernet adsl modem and its power supply.

I have read other threads in the forum and I see that there is hope in a atom zseries and us15w chipset.
But where can I buy it?
Are there other solutions? (I say immediately that I do not like very much alix, I need 1gb of ram)

Thanks to all for any help!

Mario


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:28 pm 
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Check out Soekris and PC Engines products.

Edit: Disregard PC Engines, I missed the 1GB requirement.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:11 am 
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Posts: 90
sousa wrote:
Check out Soekris


I have seen their atom board: beautiful but... from 379$? Too much for my heart...

And probably it has no watchdog.

I hope in something cheaper!

Thanks again,
Mario


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:50 am 
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Location: Switzerland
The fit-PC is expensive as well. But maybe you could find a used fit-PC?

Cheaper than that but which consumes 6-7W max.? Either you need to try modding a board by disabling some power-hungry parts (good luck!) or you need to find a used Pineview or Poulsbo laptop and gut it. Low-power mobile guts can consume a lot less than their desktop counterparts.

You could also wait for measurements of the regular Atom boards which should become available within a couple of weeks but I doubt very much the cheap desktop boards will consume less than 8W. It's technically possible so you never know...

Your best bet in my opinion is to accept higher power consumption in exchange for the replacement of your modem which must be consuming a non-trivial amount of power.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:33 am 
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HFat wrote:
You could also wait for measurements of the regular Atom boards which should become available within a couple of weeks but I doubt very much the cheap desktop boards will consume less than 8W. It's technically possible so you never know...

Your best bet in my opinion is to accept higher power consumption in exchange for the replacement of your modem which must be consuming a non-trivial amount of power.


Probably I will finish to accept higher power consumption but now I am adding to the list also motherboard with atom E600 and amd c30/c50.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 11:20 am
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Location: california
There is an old saying: "fast, cheap or good, pick any two".

You picked all three so are out of luck.

The soekris, or other such embedded appliance product, gives you everything you ask for. Unfortunately what you ask for isn't cheap.

You can abandon your 6 watt limit and go itx with something like the intel d510 board. People are reporting 18-20 watts idle for a NAS (search this forum). Though you can get the same 18-20 watts idle with an i3.

You can build a d510 system will cost 80-120 for the mobo/cpu, 25 for memory and your choice of psu/case. Then you have to figure out how to boot it, either adding a SSD which is not cheap, adding a hard drive which draws more power or (recommended) use a CF adapter. So, for half the money you can get a desktop solution that draws 3-4 times the power and takes up 3-4 times as much space.

You can buy a variety of off the shelf systems that are small and low power but most lack pci slots. They are often aimed at the set top or kiosk market. The asus eb1020 using the amd c-50 is reported to draw between 9 and 19 watts and can be had for around 200 dollars.

Finally, there are a number of offerings at mini-box.com . 200 dollars will get you a motherboard and small case/psu. 310 will get you one with a riser card so you can add your pci card. That is a few dollars less than soekris.

Full disclosure: I am a customer of both mini-box and soekris but have no relation with them other than that of a satisfied customer.

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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:56 pm 
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You can do better than 18W idle with an i3 or a D510 with an efficient power supply and you can easily do better than both (there are cheaper products in both lines which consume less power as well as alternatives lines which consume even less as you point out).
I thought the OP wanted less than 8W max. anyway, not idle.

Where can I find dependable power consumption measurements for Soekris' products? They look good but how efficient are they, really?


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:12 pm 
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Clearly, this is ARM territory. Maybe next year...


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:34 pm 
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I have a Via 1Ghz ULV (3.5W TDP) quite small uses about 5W idle and 8 to 9W load.
I will make a video on my youtube channel soon about this then it will be on eBay since I do not use this for anything.

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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:26 am 
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I'm looking for something similar. In fact I asked about it on the ServeTheHome forums.

So far as I can tell, I don't think such a beast exists. In fact, I'm using a PCEngines Alix2d3 right now. Works great, but I decided I want a little more flexibility.

The Soekris board posted above looks to be about perfect, but the cost is too high.

This SuperMicro X7SPA uses an Atom D525, and really is everything I want. But I suspect power consumption will be around the 20 Watt (or higher) mark. And it still costs $220, for which you could build a Sandy Bridge Pentium system, and probably have the same (maybe better) idle power consumption, and a "real" CPU when you need it.

Does anyone have any experience with this Intel D525MW motherboard? With something like a PicoPSU I'm guessing you might be able to do around 15 Watts idle (that's pure speculation on my part).

This oft-quoted Missing Remote i3-2100T + DH67CF system claims less than 15 Watts idle. You could disable a core and underclock to limit max TDP (likely wouldn't change idle power consumption though). Although the initial purchase price is much higher than an Atom, the electrical cost is the same (or better) and the CPU is significantly better.

Another option, if you're into spending the big bucks, is something like this: Portwell WADE-8020 Core i3/i5/i7 Mobile Mini-ITX Mainboard. By the time you add CPU and memory though, you'll be pushing $500.

But finding an x86 system that breaks the 10 Watt barrier without spending a fortune seems to be impossible at the moment.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:56 am 
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Location: Switzerland
I've avoided the D525MW because of the excessive power consumption at load and went with the D510MO which costs about 70$. I bought a bunch of them.
Unless you're in a hurry, wait for the new Atoms. The CPUs are going to be more efficent and they should consume less (official TDP is lower anyway). European retailers have them listed but they're not available yet. And no one has reviewed them yet.

There's little point in paying for a 2100T when you can get a G530T or simply a G530. There's no point in having a faster CPU for this purpose. Their main advantage over Atoms is that boards have more ports and that there are Sandy Bridge boards which support ECC.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 8:09 am
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Ok let's recap:

- soekris net6501 based on atom e6xxx series: perfect but 349$ is too much for me;
- atom z seriese and e series: perfect but where are motherboards? I cannot find them! Can you help me?
- Via cpus: can someone says to me what cpu+chipset combo has least power usage? The VIA web site is very confusing!

Thanks again for now.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:07 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:34 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Denmark
No one having a look at the fusion boards?

I'm getting 10W idle running a zotac board. And only a few watts more when browsing.

(I know its not 6-7W max, but actually quite good value / low power).

Parts
Zotac E350-A-E
Pico PSU 120
80W power adaptor
Intel SSD 320 120GB

More info
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/e-3 ... 58-16.html (they are not using the most ideal powersupply in this review, but at least the same for all tests).

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ESXi: Intel NUC D54250WYKH | Intel SSD 520 240GB | 2 x KVR16LS11/8 | Idle at ~10w
NAS: Synology DS213j | 2 x WD40EFRX | Idle at ~3.5w
Switch: HP 1810-8G V2 | Idle at (to be measured)
Wireless: Airport Extreme 6th gen | Airport Extreme 4th gen | Airport Express 2th gen


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:03 am 
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matt_garman wrote:
This oft-quoted Missing Remote i3-2100T + DH67CF system claims less than 15 Watts idle. You could disable a core and underclock to limit max TDP (likely wouldn't change idle power consumption though). Although the initial purchase price is much higher than an Atom, the electrical cost is the same (or better) and the CPU is significantly better.


There's also the Celeron G440. $40 at Newegg, single-core, no HT. Not at all exciting, but should still be faster than an Atom, reasonably cheap, and it'll certainly draw less power than any other SNB.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:24 am 
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The G440 lacks a power-saving feature. So it might actually consume more than dual-cores at idle.

Depending on the metric you look at, some Atoms should be faster. Obviously the Sandy Bridge would be superior by a large margin for single-threaded operations.

Unless you really don't care about multi-threaded performance, better use an underclocked dual-core.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:09 am 
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HFat wrote:
The G440 lacks a power-saving feature. So it might actually consume more than dual-cores at idle.

Depending on the metric you look at, some Atoms should be faster. Obviously the Sandy Bridge would be superior by a large margin for single-threaded operations.

Unless you really don't care about multi-threaded performance, better use an underclocked dual-core.


According to the OP, price is a factor, and according to http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... 440_8.html, the G440 system idles about 10% lower than the D525. The projected use of the machine shouldn't come close to being constrained by a G440. I still think it's worth mentioning as an option.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:53 am 
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Going by Google Shopping, the difference between the G530 and the G440 is 1$.
There's no reason to expect more than 1W more at idle in favor of the G440 and reason to expect it might actually be worse than dual-cores at idle. The OP wasn't talking about idle anyway which rules out both CPUs.

xbitlabs's numbers are absurd, as discussed elsewhere on these forums.
The D525 consumes a lot less than the G440 but that's irrelevant since the D525 has so far as I know never been sold with an efficient board. And what matters is the system's power consumption. The D525MW is a cheap board but it's outdated and was never very efficient to begin with. There's no way I'd recommend that or the G440 to the OP.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:34 pm 
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Maybe it's the language barrier, but do you have any idea how arrogant you come across as?


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:57 pm 
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Over on the similar ServeTheHome thread, somename suggested this MSI IM-945GSE-A Atom Mini-ITX board. Retail price is high at $200, but he says they can be found on ebay for closer to $100. He says 10W idle, which is higher than what the original poster wanted, but pretty close (and exactly what I was personally looking for).

I'm gonna keep my eye on ebay anyway. :)


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:42 pm 
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MSI boards have often been noted for their unusually good efficiency.

Unfortunately the source for the 10W number does not give us the information we would need to assess it. It's probably AC but what PSU was used and was the meter reliable? At this level of power consumption, these factors are very important.
SPCR got 11-12W idle (2.5'' HD included) with the equivalent Intel board (which used to be cheaper) and the brick shipped by Morex (that board takes DC from a brick). In my experience, Morex ships Seasonic bricks with their pico-like PSUs but according to my unreliable measurements (I don't have a good meter), their combined efficency is not very good.

I wouldn't spend a lot on such an outdated product (the chipset must be 5 or 6 years old) at this juncture anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:56 pm 
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Scrooge wrote:
Maybe it's the language barrier, but do you have any idea how arrogant you come across as?

I'm quite persuaded that when he's so convinced about his own arguments, he almost likes to displease.
At anyway, give a look at this relatively recent thread.

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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:34 pm 
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alewinsky wrote:
No one having a look at the fusion boards?

I'm getting 10W idle running a zotac board. And only a few watts more when browsing.

(I know its not 6-7W max, but actually quite good value / low power).

Very nice to hear, thanks!

And BTW, what about amd c350? Are there motherboards for it?


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:45 am 
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How about Intel D945GSEJT ?


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:50 am 
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tramall wrote:
How about Intel D945GSEJT ?

The price is nice, how many watts?


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:52 am 
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Sorry to ask but why no one talks about VIA cpus?
Via claims for e2300 model an idle power of 100mw, is it possible?
And also has a 1w tdp cpu, is it possible?


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:09 am 
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Yeah it's possible. Most of the other CPUs we talked about don't consume much at idle. And some of them consume very little at load as well. But the system power consumption can be much higher than the CPU power consumption.
The affordable mobile Atom board people brought up (in one case without realizing it had already been brought up) has a 2.5W CPU for instance. That's a load value, no idle! But the system power consumption with that board is usually going to be higher than 10W at idle.
There are Atoms CPUs which consume even less as well as more efficient chipsets but so far as I know they are only sold to OEMs such as laptop makers, fit-PC or Soekris.

Your problem is that you require x86 where other people wouldn't. So there are very few products which come close to matching your requirements.
What you should do if you're not in a hurry is to wait for the new Atom boards or to give up your x86 requirement.

The reason we don't bring up VIA CPUs anymore is that other manufacturers have better technologies. It used to be that VIA made low-power products other manufacturers didn't care to make so VIA products had interesting characteristics. Now it's different. But maybe I'm missing some cool VIA products...


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:20 am 
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mgiammarco wrote:
Sorry to ask but why no one talks about VIA cpus?
Via claims for e2300 model an idle power of 100mw, is it possible?
And also has a 1w tdp cpu, is it possible?



You probably missed my answer above about the Via ULV 3.5W TDP CPU I have is quite low power idle about 5W for the entire system DVI output 4 USB 2.0 and up to 2GB RAM and 44pin IDE but there is only place for a small flash inside on the IDE right now I have a 256MB flash and run puppy linux.
I want to make a video about on my youtube channel just to find some time I have first to finalize other videos but it will be done this year.
Via has low power / system but not that great performance so performance / watt is not the best also they are rare and more expensive especially considering performance.
But Via is still great if you do not need performance and need x86 compatibility.
If you want the best performance / watt and low power then ARM will be the best the only problem is X86 compatibility.

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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:47 pm 
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electrodacus wrote:
mgiammarco wrote:
Sorry to ask but why no one talks about VIA cpus?
Via claims for e2300 model an idle power of 100mw, is it possible?
And also has a 1w tdp cpu, is it possible?



You probably missed my answer above about the Via ULV 3.5W TDP CPU I have is quite low power idle about 5W for the entire system


No I have not missed it but you give me no model of motherboard and cpu. I will wait for your video!

Thanks,
Mario


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:04 pm 
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Location: EU
We need more competition in this segment. I was considering a similar system for myself but when I added up all the components cost. I decided it's not worth it. I believe, we will be seeing quite a lot of reasonably priced products by the end of 2012, though.

ARM making Intel/AMD sweat. GOOOOOOOOD!


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 Post subject: Re: x86 with arm like power draw for router/server
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:20 pm 
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Posts: 90
Ok here I will add what I am finding on internet in the hope to be useful to others:

http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/Axiomtek-Capa111/?kc=rss price unknown

Also this with watchdog (useful for a router) and expansion board with ethernet (again useful for a router):

http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/ipcboard_vi ... 76-N1GL-LF

but again: price and real power usage?


Last edited by mgiammarco on Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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