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 Post subject: Low Power Video Card for Headless Server
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:56 pm
Posts: 25
Location: Winchester, MA
So I have a motherboard and CPU in mind for my server.

While the server is going to be headless (no monitor) for some reason PC's still need a video card in order to pass POST.

The motherboard I plan on using does not have on board video, so I'll need to install something in one of the slots.

I want it to cost as little as possible and use as little power as possible.

My first instinct is to grab an old early 90's 1MB (or less) PCI SVGA card.

It should cost near nothing, and my theory is that since the old video cards did not get particularly warm, and didn't have heatsinks on the chips, they can't have used a whole lot of power, right?

Is my assumption correct, or am I - by using an old video card - going to introduce something into my lean power efficient server that's going to be old and inefficient and use more power than I want it to?

I'd appreciate any input.

Thanks,
Matt

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 Post subject: Re: Low Power Video Card for Headless Server
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:20 am
Posts: 471
Location: Ottawa
You might not need a video card at all. Some boards will boot up fine without one. I have a couple of gigabyte boards that give a no video beep then continue booting just fine. Windows (at least server 2008 R2) doesn't care and of course Linux/BSD are fine as well.

That being said, I've used a few different low end PCI cards in servers and they work fine. They use about 4-6 watts given my testing with them in and with them removed.


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 Post subject: Re: Low Power Video Card for Headless Server
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:38 pm 
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Sometimes there's an option in the BIOS settings called 'Halt on' or similar. Setting it to 'No errors' is sometimes required for the computer to pass POST if no keyboard, graphics card etc is connected.

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 Post subject: Re: Low Power Video Card for Headless Server
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:08 am 
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Location: Guatemala
You can go for the mobos that have built in basic GPU like most of the server grade mobos from Supermicro, Tyan, etc. Depending on your needs you could go for something really basic like Super Micro X7SPA-H Motherboard with atom dual core cpu, 6 sata ports or if you need something more powerful like SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCM-F-O that supports i3/5 xeon, etc. You could also go for simple sandy bridge mobot and Celeron G530 and use the built in iGPU, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Low Power Video Card for Headless Server
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:46 am 
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Location: Winchester, MA
Abula wrote:
You can go for the mobos that have built in basic GPU like most of the server grade mobos from Supermicro, Tyan, etc. Depending on your needs you could go for something really basic like Super Micro X7SPA-H Motherboard with atom dual core cpu, 6 sata ports or if you need something more powerful like SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCM-F-O that supports i3/5 xeon, etc. You could also go for simple sandy bridge mobot and Celeron G530 and use the built in iGPU, etc.


That MBD-X9SCM-F-O looks like a really nice board. A bit expensive, but you get what you pay for.

It's too bad it uses Intel's 82579LM and 82574L ethernet chipsets, as they are not supported in ESXi (yet) but I already have a couple of good discrete NIC's I plan on using. (one two port Intel EXPI9402PTBLK and one single port Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5761)

You seem familiar with the board, so I'll ask you a couple of questions.

1.) Do you know if it supports VT-D?

2.) Can I use standard desktop DDR3 ram in this, or do I need to buy special ECC RAM?

I bet this would pair very nicely with a Xeon E3-1220L

thank you for the suggestion!

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 Post subject: Re: Low Power Video Card for Headless Server
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:47 am
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Location: Bratislava, Slovak Republic
mattlach wrote:
It's too bad it uses Intel's 82579LM and 82574L ethernet chipsets, as they are not supported in ESXi (yet) but I already have a couple of good discrete NIC's I plan on using. (one two port Intel EXPI9402PTBLK and one single port Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5761)


Uhm what ? :shock:

82574L : http://partnerweb.vmware.com/comp_guide ... 7&vcl=true
82579LM : http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1607992


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 Post subject: Re: Low Power Video Card for Headless Server
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1749
Location: Guatemala
mattlach wrote:
It's too bad it uses Intel's 82579LM and 82574L ethernet chipsets, as they are not supported in ESXi (yet) but I already have a couple of good discrete NIC's I plan on using. (one two port Intel EXPI9402PTBLK and one single port Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5761)
To what i remember the 82579LM wasnt supported (well with the above post it might have changed), but the 82574L was (crosscheck it), one of the critism about this mobo is that, but there are other options with dual 82574L, like SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCL+-F.

Quote:
I bet this would pair very nicely with a Xeon E3-1220L
This was my initial idea, but price wise is almost the same as E3 1230.

Quote:
1.) Do you know if it supports VT-D?
It should, but check HardOCP storage section, you will find more users that might help you more about all your questions about it.

Quote:
2.) Can I use standard desktop DDR3 ram in this, or do I need to buy special ECC RAM?
I never tried none ECC on my mobo, another downside that it uses unbuffered, so there is not that many choices out there, when i bought mine there were only 4gb modules, 8gb were coming out but ultra expensive, so you are kinda limited to 16gb.

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 Post subject: Re: Low Power Video Card for Headless Server
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:10 pm
Posts: 1008
Location: San Jose, California
This isn't really what you are asking, but other viewers of this thread may be interested to know that the new 7XXX series 28nm AMD Radeon graphics cards go into a long idle mode when the monitor is turned off and use less than 3W. Some 6XXX series cards are relabled as 7XXX series cards and don't have this feature, so as far as I know the AMD Radeon 7750 would provide the lowest long idle power draw of any modern video card. AMD has stopped making new chips with less performance than the 7750 because their onchip graphics are now powerful enough to compete in the low end market.


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