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 Post subject: Need advice for buildi silent for low-power libre pc's
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:02 pm
Posts: 1
I want to build three desktops/servers entirely out of recycled/used PC parts. Naturally I want them to approach silence or generally inaudibility. I have some experience assembling computers from components. I'm really looking for brainstorming as to what would be optimal in my situation.

My other requirements for all three systems are:
*Low power: use as few watts, especially at idle, as possible
*100% ROHS compliant. They can't have lead in the solder.
*Libre drivers in Linux/BSD for all components; no binary blobs
*Prefer coreboot compatibility for mainboards ( so one of these motherboards http://www.coreboot.org/Supported_Motherboards )
*Prefer X86 or compatible architecture, just because the Linux/BSD support is better for them. ARM, MIPS and POWERPC is an option for PC1 but not PC2 or PC3.

PC 1: Offline desktop
It would run Gnome 2 and Evince as its most demanding applications, all other applications are lightweight. Will run Linux and needs minimal local storage. Needs an optical drive

PC 2: Internet Browsing device
Needs to be powerful enough to run Firefox, but not more. Would have OpenBSD as its OS, so hardware should be OpenBSD compatible.

PC3: Network (file)server
Administered from the command line, very low computing resources needed. Will also run OpenBSD. 128Mb RAM and 80GB HD would be plenty
Would run 24/7/365 (doesn't need remote administration), so lowest possible power is desirable. I was thinking about an alix device for this, but it would have to be a used one not a new one; in case anyone has any experience with these, I'd appreciate your comments.

My overall budget for all 3 is about $1500 but if that's not enough, I could go higher.


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 Post subject: Re: Need advice for buildi silent for low-power libre pc's
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:41 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 11822
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Depending on how far you are from Vancouver, SPCR's lab might have a bunch of suitable components. We just went through a round of updates to lab machines, and there are always many motherboards & other components that never get listed in the lab clearance page. So send me at email, mikec at you know where.

BTW --
*Low power: use as few watts, especially at idle, as possible -- this is going to be heavily dependent on the PSU, not just the components. You may have to go with a new PSU; older designs just don't do that well at low power. Except maybe high efficiency AC/DC adapter + picoPSU... which has its own limitations.
*100% ROHS compliant. They can't have lead in the solder -- just anything less than 5 years old will be ROHS compliant.

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Editor/Publisher, SPCR
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