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 Post subject: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:05 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:58 pm
Posts: 5
Hey guys, I'm looking for some advice on building a home web server to replace my Azure and EC2 instances. The server would be running Linux 24/7, so low/no noise and low power consumption would be preferable. Keeping costs low, and the system compact are my priorities, so mini-ITX seems like a natural fit. Here is the build I've scoped out:

Intel G530
Foxconn H67S
2x4GB 1333 Ram
whichever 60/64 GB SSD goes on sale

Would a 90W PSU be sufficient to power this setup? I feel unsure since PSU calculators say I should use at least 150W. Is it safe to go fanless with the G530?

Thanks for the help guys!


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:34 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
I assume you know what you're doing when you selected a G530, 8G of RAM and a small SSD. This not what the typical de-mutualized web server would require I think. But it might be exactly what you need of course.

buhhy wrote:
Foxconn H67S

Why do you need an H67?
I'm not sure Foxconn has got such a good record when it comes to efficiency.
How about an Intel H61 board?

For that matter, how about a server board?

buhhy wrote:
Would a 90W PSU be sufficient to power this setup? I feel unsure since PSU calculators say I should use at least 150W.

Yes, as would a 60W PSU.
Most PSU calculators are silly.

buhhy wrote:
Is it safe to go fanless with the G530?

As far as the CPU itself is concerned, yes (with a large enough heatsink).
But some board vendors such as Intel recommend against dispensing with the heatsink fan (it cools some parts of the board too). Check the documentation of the board you intend to use (I wouldn't use a board which didn't come with decent documentation for a server).

Considering this is a server, I don't think it's smart to try to push the envelope: use at least a fan. If your case has enough ventilation, the heatsink fan can cool the whole box. If not, you might consider getting rid of the heatsink fan in favor of a large case fan positionned to blow on the heatsink. But you'll get better results (and more reliability) with both a heatsink fan and a case fan. They can spin slower (and therefore be less noisy) if they're assisted by a second, better-postitioned fan.

Note that some boards do not come with good fan control. It's not strictly necessary for a server but it might require you to be more careful when shopping for fans and/or to resort to hacking.

Frankly I think you should put your server some place where a little noise wouldn't bother you instead of skimping on cooling. A small mITX case can fit virtually anywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:23 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:58 pm
Posts: 5
Thanks for taking the time to help me. I'm new to server setups, and you are obviously knowledgeable, so please bear with me :)

Size is very important, because I will need to pack it in a suitcase when I fly back to Canada, so buying a used 1u server off ebay is out of the question. I would also like to keep costs around $300 preferably.

HFat wrote:
I assume you know what you're doing when you selected a G530, 8G of RAM and a small SSD. This not what the typical de-mutualized web server would require I think. But it might be exactly what you need of course.


I chose the G530 because it offers decent performance at a cheap price.
I will be running some memory-intensive Java applications, so I figure that more RAM will help.
I can swap out the SSD for a 5400 RPM 500GB 2.5" HDD.

Do you have any particular recommendations?

HFat wrote:
Why do you need an H67?
I'm not sure Foxconn has got such a good record when it comes to efficiency.
How about an Intel H61 board?

For that matter, how about a server board?


I picked it because it was cheaper, would Intel BOXDH61DLB3 be better? The Intel DBS1200KP was the only server mini-itx 1155 board I could find and it seems a little expensive while having not-so-great ratings.

HFat wrote:
As far as the CPU itself is concerned, yes (with a large enough heatsink).
But some board vendors such as Intel recommend against dispensing with the heatsink fan (it cools some parts of the board too). Check the documentation of the board you intend to use (I wouldn't use a board which didn't come with decent documentation for a server).

Considering this is a server, I don't think it's smart to try to push the envelope: use at least a fan. If your case has enough ventilation, the heatsink fan can cool the whole box. If not, you might consider getting rid of the heatsink fan in favor of a large case fan positionned to blow on the heatsink. But you'll get better results (and more reliability) with both a heatsink fan and a case fan. They can spin slower (and therefore be less noisy) if they're assisted by a second, better-postitioned fan.

Note that some boards do not come with good fan control. It's not strictly necessary for a server but it might require you to be more careful when shopping for fans and/or to resort to hacking.

Frankly I think you should put your server some place where a little noise wouldn't bother you instead of skimping on cooling. A small mITX case can fit virtually anywhere.


Alright, will keep the fan :)


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
buhhy wrote:
Size is very important, because I will need to pack it in a suitcase when I fly back to Canada, so buying a used 1u server off ebay is out of the question.

If you want small, it'll be more noisy. There's a tradeoff.
If you were willing to go with a low-power CPU, you would be in a better position. But assuming you really need a mainstream CPU (only you can tell), your best bet I guess would be a single-fan setup like ISK-110 (case/power supply) + Kozuti (CPU heatsink/fan). It could be cheaper if you didn't mind more noise of course...
Note: do your homework if you get a third-party cooler (it could block some stuff on the board like RAM slots) and if not, keep in mind Intel has two types of stock coolers so it's sometimes worth getting a slightly different CPU to get the right cooler.

But if you want portability and reliability isn't a big issue, how about a small laptop instead? It'd be noisier but much slimmer and you could buy it used to save a lot of money before upgrading the RAM. You'd get a portable UPS and KVM (sort-of) in the deal.

HFat wrote:
I picked it because it was cheaper, would Intel BOXDH61DLB3 be better? The Intel DBS1200KP was the only server mini-itx 1155 board I could find and it seems a little expensive while having not-so-great ratings.

Well, the Intel would in all likelyhood consume less power and I trust their boards more than most brands. But Intel's mITX boards are expensive except perhaps the DH61AG if you use it with a case like the M350 which doesn't have a power supply (that board includes a power supply).
Foxconn isn't the cheapest choice here so I didn't figure you were selecting based on cost. An ASRock H61 board would be cheapest.

Yeah, server boards are more expensive obviously. Look why the ratings are not-so-great before taking them into account... if there's no evidence they were left by knowledgable users, they're worthless.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:58 pm
Posts: 5
HFat wrote:
buhhy wrote:
Size is very important, because I will need to pack it in a suitcase when I fly back to Canada, so buying a used 1u server off ebay is out of the question.

If you want small, it'll be more noisy. There's a tradeoff.
If you were willing to go with a low-power CPU, you would be in a better position. But assuming you really need a mainstream CPU (only you can tell), your best bet I guess would be a single-fan setup like ISK-110 (case/power supply) + Kozuti (CPU heatsink/fan). It could be cheaper if you didn't mind more noise of course...
Note: do your homework if you get a third-party cooler (it could block some stuff on the board like RAM slots) and if not, keep in mind Intel has two types of stock coolers so it's sometimes worth getting a slightly different CPU to get the right cooler.

But if you want portability and reliability isn't a big issue, how about a small laptop instead? It'd be noisier but much slimmer and you could buy it used to save a lot of money before upgrading the RAM. You'd get a portable UPS and KVM (sort-of) in the deal.

HFat wrote:
I picked it because it was cheaper, would Intel BOXDH61DLB3 be better? The Intel DBS1200KP was the only server mini-itx 1155 board I could find and it seems a little expensive while having not-so-great ratings.

Well, the Intel would in all likelyhood consume less power and I trust their boards more than most brands. But Intel's mITX boards are expensive except perhaps the DH61AG if you use it with a case like the M350 which doesn't have a power supply (that board includes a power supply).
Foxconn isn't the cheapest choice here so I didn't figure you were selecting based on cost. An ASRock H61 board would be cheapest.

Yeah, server boards are more expensive obviously. Look why the ratings are not-so-great before taking them into account... if there's no evidence they were left by knowledgable users, they're worthless.


I made some changes to my build based on your recommendations:

G530 43.99
DH61AG 98
M350 38.95
PA-3E 90W 19.5V 14.5
F3-10666CL9D-8GBSQ 39.99
Intel 330 SSD 120GB 79.99
315.42

I'll see if the stock cooler fits inside the case before committing to a heatsink. What are yout thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:39 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 625
Location: Germany
I'd opt for 2 RAM modules for dual channel access. If you don't tax the cpu to much i'd give the stock cooler a try, might turn out tolerable at the pictured load.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1728
Location: Switzerland
buhhy wrote:
I'll see if the stock cooler fits inside the case before committing to a heatsink. What are yout thoughts?

This is a really slim case so look the cooler thing up before buying the parts!
If it turns out you cann't fit a normal stock cooler plus a 2.5'' drive into the M350, you'll either want an mSATA drive or a slim stock cooler (noiser). I don't know which cooler comes with the G530 but I bet the G530T has the slim cooler like the G620T.
You might even have to get a slim cooler as well as a very small drive. I don't think so but please verify before buying anything!

As to the RAM matter, only you can tell if you need the two channels (typically, you wouldn't).
And like I said before, typically you wouldn't need an expensive SSD either. Most small test servers would run fine on a used 2.5'' drive (people end up with one to sell after upgrading their laptop for instance).


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 12:24 pm
Posts: 222
Location: US
Linux web server doing what exactly?

You know you can get pretty decent shared hosting of a web site for $5/month or less these days, right? Complete with canned apps, unlimited email accounts, etc. etc.

_________________
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-M PRO CPU: Intel i5-3750K CPU Cooler: Scythe Mugen 3 Rev.B Memory: G.Skill Ares DDR3 1600 16 GB
Boot Drive: Samsung 830 SSD 128 GB Work Drive: WDC WD1001FALS 1 TB 7200 RPM Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB DVD-RW
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini Fans: 2 x FD 120mm front, Scythe 120mm PWM rear Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 620


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:58 pm
Posts: 5
JJ wrote:
Linux web server doing what exactly?

You know you can get pretty decent shared hosting of a web site for $5/month or less these days, right? Complete with canned apps, unlimited email accounts, etc. etc.


Yeah, I know that. I'm currently using Amazon EC2 and Windows Azure to host my stuff. But their VM instances are a little weak on the RAM side and you pay out the nose for the higher tiers. I'm doing some Scala development right now, and the JVM really consumes the RAM that I don't have. I'm not sure if any hosting services like BlueHost provide root access to the machine so I can tinker around with Node, Scala, nosql, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 12:24 pm
Posts: 222
Location: US
So is a testing server for development, or a public server for production web sites?

_________________
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-M PRO CPU: Intel i5-3750K CPU Cooler: Scythe Mugen 3 Rev.B Memory: G.Skill Ares DDR3 1600 16 GB
Boot Drive: Samsung 830 SSD 128 GB Work Drive: WDC WD1001FALS 1 TB 7200 RPM Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB DVD-RW
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini Fans: 2 x FD 120mm front, Scythe 120mm PWM rear Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 620


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on linux web server setup
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:58 pm
Posts: 5
JJ wrote:
So is a testing server for development, or a public server for production web sites?

Both, the production sites will be low traffic.


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