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 Post subject: [building] silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:11 pm
Posts: 7
Hi all,

From some time I'm trying to choose components for my silent home server, that will be used as:

- samba/nfs
- openVPN
- torrent client
- DLNA server
- backup
- maybe 720p/1080p transcoding (that would be nice feature of that server, but I can live without it :))

all with Gigabit speed (I'd use drives connected for movies/photos/music storage, so high speeds/responsivity will be appreciated)


I've figured out that this Atom based build should work (probably without HD transcoding on the fly):

ASROCk AD2700 (Atom D2700 2,13Ghz, 10W TDP)
M350 Case
PicoPSU + Seasonic AC/DC Brick
4GB Ram DDR3 1066Mhz
80GB 2.5' noteboock HDD

+ my external 2TB USB 2.0 WD drive that I've already bought

everything will cost ~330$


But, I've figured out, that with small effort I can upgrade my actual PC, and use old parts to build a nice server (the only change will be smaller case, PSU and new HDD)

My actual config:

Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2H (AM2+, microATX, DDR2)
Athlon X2 5200+ (2,7Ghz, BOX fan)
4GB DDR2 RAM

+ Geforce 9600GT and 320GB HDD & 128GB SSD that i'd like to save nor a upgraded PC.


My question to You is:

What case, PSU and cooling should I choose for that mobo/CPU, to keep it silent (20-30dB) and cheap?
What will be estimated power consumption of that server?
Is it possible that building server from parts of my actual PC + upgrade will cost as much as (or maybe little more expensive) Atom based solution that I've presented above?


Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1693
Location: Switzerland
If you switch the D2700 board for the DN2800MT, you won't need a pico.
How do you get to $330? That's ridiculous. It should cost $150-$200 if you don't buy stuff you don't need. Seasonic bricks are nothing special if that's what's driving up your price.

On-the-fly transcoding is a gimmick in my opinion.
The DN2800MT would have a much lower power consumption than your AM2. The only point in using anything else is if your electricity is cheap and you can't afford a 100$ board which includes it's own power supply.


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:11 pm
Posts: 7
Prices in Poland, from allegro (Polish biggest auctioning sites, like eBay):

ASROCk AD2700 - 103$
M350 Case - 71$
PicoPSU 80W - 52$
Seasonic AC/DC Brick - 26$
4GB Ram DDR3 1066Mhz - 25$
80GB 2.5' notebook HDD - 26$
Shipping ~ 28$

TOTAL: ~ 330$

DN2800MT costs ~115$ here, so I will save ~40$, but will get lower performance than D2700

About AC/DC brick - what should I buy? I'm not very familiar in AC/DC bricks, but i remember when I was buying PSU for my PC, everyone told me to buy good PSU, because if it wil break down, it could damage other PC components.

And about electricity in Poland - 1kWh costs ~0.086$, so 20W server would cost:

0.086 * 0.02 * 24 * 30 = 1.23$ / month


PS.

And by the way - what do you think of using one of these fanless mainboards without chasis at all? I know that more dust will cover it, but I will save extra $$$ :)


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1693
Location: Switzerland
Axadiw wrote:
M350 Case - 71$
PicoPSU 80W - 52$

All your prices are high (Polish taxes?) but those prices are really excessive.

If you want to use a board which needs a regular power supply, get a case which includes a fanless power supply and you'll save money (especially since they include a brick and you wouldn't need to pay so much for shipping).

Axadiw wrote:
will get lower performance than D2700

You'll also get lower temperatures.
You don't need more performance than a N2800 for that kind of server. Nor do you need 4G of RAM by the way.

Axadiw wrote:
About AC/DC brick - what should I buy?

If you don't care about a few watts of power consumption, you can reuse an old brick.
If you buy from a reputable vendor, any brick with the right specifications will be fine.
But if the Seasonic is not too expensive and you know it's compatible, you might as well buy one instead of wasting your time looking for an alternative.

Axadiw wrote:
And about electricity in Poland - 1kWh costs ~0.086$

In that case the cheapest solution might be to reuse old gear no one wants.
I think it makes more financial sense to sell your AM2 than to use it for this project. But I assume you want to keep using your old hardware regardless...

If you want case/PSU advice you should explain what you mean by "silent".
If you buy an Atom board and a M350, no explanation is needed: the HD will be the only noisy part (be careful though: some laptop drives are quite noisy!).
But it would be expensive to make regular desktop hardware literally silent. So you should explain how much noise is OK.

Axadiw wrote:
And by the way - what do you think of using one of these fanless mainboards without chasis at all? I know that more dust will cover it, but I will save extra $$$ :)

Dust isn't a real issue in most environments (and the M350 wouldn't protect the board from dust... or from liquid spills for that matter) but the chassis protects the board against a number of threats.
If you can put the board where nothing will accidentally fall on it or simply be pushed against it and where and no children or animals will reach it, I don't think you need a chassis. You could also build a rudimentary chassis yourself, perhaps by cutting and folding and a wire mesh and putting a sheet of non-conductive material like balsa under the board. People have also made rudimentary cases out of thick paper but that's bad for fanless cooling.
Running without a chassis would get you lower temperatures by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:11 pm
Posts: 7
Quote:
Axadiw wrote:
M350 Case - 71$
PicoPSU 80W - 52$

All your prices are high (Polish taxes?) but those prices are really excessive.


So maybe I should bout it in the US - could you recommend any shops here, that will be cheaper that Poland and will ship to Poland at low prices?:)

Quote:
If you want to use a board which needs a regular power supply, get a case which includes a fanless power supply and you'll save money (especially since they include a brick and you wouldn't need to pay so much for shipping).


Could you recommend any of these?:)

Quote:
Axadiw wrote:
About AC/DC brick - what should I buy?

If you don't care about a few watts of power consumption, you can reuse an old brick.
If you buy from a reputable vendor, any brick with the right specifications will be fine.
But if the Seasonic is not too expensive and you know it's compatible, you might as well buy one instead of wasting your time looking for an alternative.


So what are the "right specifications" for AC/DC brick? What parameters should I look at?

Quote:
If you want case/PSU advice you should explain what you mean by "silent".
If you buy an Atom board and a M350, no explanation is needed: the HD will be the only noisy part (be careful though: some laptop drives are quite noisy!).
But it would be expensive to make regular desktop hardware literally silent. So you should explain how much noise is OK.


It's hard to say, beacause I don't have access to good noise meter, so I can't tell you exactly. The server will be placed in my bedroom, so it needs to be very quiet (especialy at night).
I can compare to noise that my MacBook from 2010 procudes in idle, when it's inaudible for me.
I've read on the web that this Mac produces ~30dB in idle.
Quote:
Dust isn't a real issue in most environments (and the M350 wouldn't protect the board from dust... or from liquid spills for that matter) but the chassis protects the board against a number of threats.
If you can put the board where nothing will accidentally fall on it or simply be pushed against it and where and no children or animals will reach it, I don't think you need a chassis. You could also build a rudimentary chassis yourself, perhaps by cutting and folding and a wire mesh and putting a sheet of non-conductive material like balsa under the board. People have also made rudimentary cases out of thick paper but that's bad for fanless cooling.
Running without a chassis would get you lower temperatures by the way.


I've got a place for that board on the top of my closet, where nothing will fall at, and no children and animal will have access, so maybe I can cut some of the price on the case :)


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1693
Location: Switzerland
Axadiw wrote:
So maybe I should bout it in the US - could you recommend any shops here, that will be cheaper that Poland and will ship to Poland at low prices?:)

No, because I would have to waste a lot of time to check shipping costs. The last time I bought this type of gear abroad, I bought several units. Shipping costs are going to be an issue... and don't forget Polish customs!
Logicsupply has a German shop now. It's not the cheapest shop and you'll probably have to pay German taxes. But it would still be cheaper than the prices you quoted and they do good work so it'd be nice of you to support them. I'll let you search the web and eBay for cheaper prices if you don't want to...

Axadiw wrote:
Could you recommend any of these?:)

I'm a fan of Morex. The T3500 is expensive but it's the best. Antec has some nice cases featuring fanless power supplies as well. With a DN2800MT you can easily use cheaper cases however. Check SPCR's reviews and Logicsupply's catalogue.
Lots of vendors seem to have jumped on that bandwagon. Most of these products are obscure but you might find some at a good price in your own country. See for instance: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=64194

Come to think of it, why don't you buy a barebone? Shuttle had a fanless Atom barebone for instance (case, power supply, motherboard and CPU in one afforable package). If you can find it for sale in Poland, it'd make your life easier.

Axadiw wrote:
So what are the "right specifications" for AC/DC brick? What parameters should I look at?

V, W or A and the transformer type. The right values depend on what you're going to connect it to of course.
The seller of the power supply usually offers an affordable compatible brick anyway. Sometimes it's included in the price so you wouldn't have to waste your time looking for a free brick.

Quote:
I can compare to noise that my MacBook from 2010 procudes in idle, when it's inaudible for me.
I've read on the web that this Mac produces ~30dB in idle.

Could you find the source for that number? Or at least tell us what Mac you're talking about?
30 dB is pretty loud at night unless you live in a busy city neighborhood. If that kind of noise is really OK, you wouldn't need an expensive power supply, case or CPU heatsink. If you buy a mITX board, a cheap case/PSU combo like this one (apparently rebranded by Thermaltake and sold in Europe) would do for instance: http://www.silentpcreview.com/apex-mi008


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:11 pm
Posts: 7
Quote:
30 dB is pretty loud at night unless you live in a busy city neighborhood.


Sure It's quite noisy here, but not at night.

Quote:
Quote:
I can compare to noise that my MacBook from 2010 procudes in idle, when it's inaudible for me.
I've read on the web that this Mac produces ~30dB in idle.

Could you find the source for that number? Or at least tell us what Mac you're talking about?


http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-App ... 430.0.html


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1693
Location: Switzerland
Do you have any reason to think that the source you reference is capable of reliably measring noise around 30 dB or less? Their numbers are suspicious.
Unfortunately I'm not a Mac guy. Maybe you could compare your expectations to more standard noises (a hard drive model reviewed by SPCR perhaps?) or pay a visit to an audio pro...


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:11 pm
Posts: 7
HFat wrote:
Do you have any reason to think that the source you reference is capable of reliably measring noise around 30 dB or less? Their numbers are suspicious.
Unfortunately I'm not a Mac guy. Maybe you could compare your expectations to more standard noises (a hard drive model reviewed by SPCR perhaps?) or pay a visit to an audio pro...



I can't rely on that numbers that notebookcheck.com gives, but I don't have any other sources.

Unfortunately I don't have access to any of SPCR reviewed HD's, but I have WD Elements 2TB external hard drive, that is absolutely inaudible for me from the place that it will be placed with the server (it is audible then I put my ear next to it only). But again - I can't say how much noise it produces in dB ;/


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1693
Location: Switzerland
Can you tell the model of the drive that's in your "Elements"? Some USB controllers tell it to the OS.
It sounds like you won't have to be too picky about the noise of your components anyway.

What can you hear from the place you want to put your server then?
You say you have an AM2 box. I guess you can hear it but can you stop some noisy components for a little while? If you want to reuse it for a server, it would be informative to know which components you can hear and which components you can't hear.


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:11 pm
Posts: 7
Quote:
Can you tell the model of the drive that's in your "Elements"? Some USB controllers tell it to the OS.
It sounds like you won't have to be too picky about the noise of your components anyway.


WD WDBAAU0020HBK (http://www.wdc.com/global/products/spec ... language=1)

I've also found an old notebook drive (80GB Fujitsu MHY2080BH), that is audible only from 5cm distance, so I will probably use it for my server.

Also maybe not using chasis at all isn't the worst idea, so the only costs that I will have to cover will be:

-Mainbaord
-AC/DC brick
-RAM

If I will choose DN2800MT, Seasonic AC/DC Brick and cheap RAM (I can find used 4GB ddr3 notebook ram for ~15$), everything will cost ~150$, so thats probably the cheapest solution.


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1693
Location: Switzerland
If you want a chassis for safety, the DN2800MT isn't too picky (unlike more powerful fanless boards).
If the case has some holes or is big enough, it won't overheat. You could buy a cheap chassis on the used market or perhaps even reuse one someone wants to throw away.

Axadiw wrote:

I meant the model of the enclosed drive, not of the whole product. No matter since this is a decent reference:
Axadiw wrote:
I've also found an old notebook drive (80GB Fujitsu MHY2080BH), that is audible only from 5cm distance

Strange. I have an older version (MHV) which should be slightly louder according to the specs but I can hear it across the room. It wouldn't surprise me if the specs understated the difference and if I couldn't hear yours across the room... but 5cm?!?

Next time you ask a question here, tell people about being unable to hear that drive from more than 5cm. You would probably think parts which others consider loud are fine.

So if you're willing to pay a little more, I think you wouldn't mind something with a fan like the DH61AG + G530. It also works without a full PSU but it would cost more and consume more electricity too. I would prefer the DN2800MT because I have no use for the extra power. But if you do...


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 Post subject: Re: builing silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:11 pm
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Ok, That you vary much for help, now I have some more knownledge about making silent server :)

Quote:
So if you're willing to pay a little more, I think you wouldn't mind something with a fan like the DH61AG + G530. It also works without a full PSU but it would cost more and consume more electricity too. I would prefer the DN2800MT because I have no use for the extra power. But if you do...


In Poland DH61AG + G530 will cost 200$, and it will probably need a chasis with a fan, so whole system will cost twice the DN2800MT solution.

Because I'll be buying this server in the next month or two, I'll have time to think of the appliances of that server, and if I'll find something CPU-demanding, I'll think about G530 :)

But for now - DN2800MT should be enough.

And again - thanks :)


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 Post subject: Re: [building] silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1693
Location: Switzerland
Polish prices: :-(

The G530's stock fan would be sufficient in most cases.
If the case was small and had only a few holes at the wrong place, maybe you'd need a case fan. But if you're OK with a little noise, you can run more powerful CPUs on the heatsink fan's alone.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: [building] silent and cheap home server
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:00 pm
Posts: 3274
Location: Essex, England
NOTE: I skipped everything except the original post.

The Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2H seems to be a very reliable motherboard, I used dozens of them and have not seen a failure yet.

I cant comment about anything else.


Andy

_________________
Main PC, P180, CM Silent Pro 500M, i5 3570k @ 4.2Ghz, 8-GB @ 2,000MHz, 256 GB Samsung 830, 500-GB 7K500, MSI 660Ti Twin Frozr, PC is super quiet :o
Server, 6-TB RAID-5 array, + 2 x 2-TB backup drives, 380W Enermax Pro82+, 4x very quiet fans, positive pressure only, no exhaust fans
Living Room PC, 3500+, 2-GB RAM, HD501LJ


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