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 Post subject: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:36 pm 
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Hi everyone

So I want to build a server at home to do... well... everything.

1) host my documents, videos, pictures, music, etc...
2) host my personal (extremely low traffic) website
3) host my e-mail, contacts, calendar, etc...
4) be nice and small; quiet; low-power

I've never gotten into this type of thing before and so I wanted to ask for help about the CPU. Mainly, what type of CPU is necessary? dual core atom? Ivy Bridge dual core celeron? I was originally thinking the intel g1610 but then I saw the d2700 integrated onto an mitx MB for cheap. Am i limiting myself if I get the atom? Do i need a more powerful CPU to run web hosting applilcations (even if it's for just myself)?

Or... am I delusional in thinking I can do all this at all.


*always learning*

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:48 am 
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Sure you can do this if you're willing to put in the time required. It's kind of tedious unless you actually enjoy fooling around with this stuff.
If you don't want to waste your time, you might want to buy mutualized services running in a datacenter as well as a turnkey NAS instead.

It depends what web app you're talking about of course but in most case a D2700 would be overkill for what you're talking about.
The main limiting factor with affordable Atom boards for that kind of usage is actually storage.
If you don't need much storage, the DN2800MT is probably the quietest (easily runs fully fanless) and most efficient board out there. You don't need a PSU (just a wall wart) with this one which cuts down cost and size. Like all the Atoms of its generation, the integrated graphics have a driver problem. But that's normally not an issue for a server. The equivalent Sandy/Ivy boards are of course better but more expensive, consume a bit more electricity and would give you a cooling problem to solve.
Of note is also the Atom board with two nice NICs. Probably overkill for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:41 am 
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thanks for the feedback, hfat

for storage, i wasn't thinking anything complicated. I was hoping for a small SSD boot drive + 2x1TB HDD in raid 1 for backup purposes.

power consumption is important, but probably not a hugely limiting factor since electricity isn't super expensive for me. where I live, 1W x 365 days = $1 (Canadian) as an upper limit.

how much should i expect in terms of power draw for an atom board with 1 ssd and 2 hdd?

also: are there major disadvantages to using mSata instead of regular sata? the board you mentioned has 1 mSata and 2 SATA3 connectors.

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:35 am 
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Hey matchu

Power consumption will probably depend a lot on the drives you choose. Someone else on this forum got as low as 7W idle with the DN2800MT with just a mSATA and no spinning disks. Adding drives will obviously make that higher.

My less efficient Atom D510MO board uses around 23W with two 2.5" drives and an extra dual port NIC.

There is no real difference between using SATA and mSATA assuming the SSDs are comparable. Be aware that on the DN2800MT the mSATA port is shared with one of the SATA ports. You can only have a max of 2 drives, either 2 X SATA or 1 SATA and one mSATA.

You should not use RAID 1 as a backup. RAID is not a backup. If you have a separate drive/system for backups great, but if you only have two drives use one for storage and the other as an external backup.

Given the two drive limitation of the DN2800MT I'd go with a small SSD for the boot drive and a storage drive. Use the other drive for backups in an external case.


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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:15 am 
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thanks washu

i suppose that means i should rely on a software-based backup system for my files onto an external hard drive? i have plenty of those around, so it shouldn't be a problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:15 am 
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The backup-value (so to speak) of RAID1 isn't zero but it's definitely not something you should use instead of off-line backups. If you use hard drives for backups, I'd put having two separate backup drives (in rotation) at a higher prority than RAID1. Having just one is not bad but I'd get a second before investing in RAID1.
RAID1 is a great when you have a drive failure but those aren't so common anymore (with your kind of usage anyway).

It depends on what exactly you want to run on this thing and on your preferences with regard to latency but a SSD might be a bit of a waste for this type of server. You'll have lots of RAM to spare for caching compared to your disk requests. Then again small SSDs are getting cheap on the used market...
Also be aware that if you use the DN2800MT's two SATA ports internally, backing up to an external hard drive over USB2 will be slow (and somewhat unreliable).

The disadvantage of mSATA is price and availability.

If you don't want the best power consumption, maybe you should get a mainstream PC instead. They can be pretty efficient as well (just not as much). It depends on how much value you put on easy fanless operation.
If you like the concept of a DC-powered board, Intel has a few such boards for mainstream CPUs which aren't as limiting as the DN2800MT. But they're still limited storage-wise compared to a regular PC. Even low-power boards like Asus' Ontario board can have many SATA ports and a regular PSU will power as many drives as you want.

If you want to use 3.5'' drives with the DN2800MT, check its specs for how much power it can feed them. I'm not sure it's designed for that. I've used mine to power a 3.5'' but it was a fairly energy-efficient model.
Also be aware that 3.5'' drives can run hot in a case without any fans. Again, take care to pick an energy-efficient one.
Plus small cases which are designed for this type of board simply have no room for more than 1 or 2 2.5'' drives.


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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:49 pm 
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re hard drive: i was just going to reuse an old 1TB WD EARS.

would it be reasonable to just install the OS onto this drive?

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:38 pm 
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It depends what your goal is.
Certainly you can run the sort of stuff you're talking about from that drive. Now if you have a particularly disk-intensive application in mind or if you want your server to be very reactive in all cirucmstances, you might be disappointed.
You can squeeze a bit more performance out of a drive by clever partitioning by the way... or make an exasperating mess of it. There's such a thing as trying to be too clever.

In any case, the OS isn't going to be the issue unless you want to shutdown or reboot the server constantly. A cheap RAM stick will hold a server OS nowadays. There's no reason the OS as such should be accessing your drive constantly.
You're more likely to notice that your emails aren't on an SSD for instance if you start searching in them and they're not cached on your client or indexed efficently.
Then again, you didn't tell us what OS you want to use. I haven't used Windows as a server in many years for instance. Mayhap there are some disk-greedy server OSs.


Something else: you said you wanted small. If you know for a fact 1T is all you're going to need, you could have a smaller (and potentially less noisy) server if you used a 2.5'' drive. 1T 2.5''s have become affordable now and you can always use your old drive as a backup. Once you go for a big case, there'll be no shrinking it (or vice-versa).


Last edited by HFat on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:40 pm 
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To be honest, I'm more concerned with overall cost than I am with power consumption per se. Fanless operation isn't a must. It'll be sitting far away from my ears. Also, a small case is important to me as well.

Regarding the power delivery... I feel like a 300+W PSU will be overkill... what are your suggestions? I'm not familiar with how to connect a wall-wart to, let's say, the hard drives and such.

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:25 pm 
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The DN2800MT doesn't use a normal ATX power supply. It takes 8 to 19V from an external brick similar to how a laptop does. It has an included cable that plugs into the motherboard and supplies 2X SATA and 1X PATA power connectors for the drives. The board has onboard regulartors to generate the voltgages needed by the drives. You will need to get your own power brick with the right connector to power the system.

If you already have a normal power supply that you wish to use then look at the D2550MUD2 instead of DN2800MT. It's a bit cheaper, but likely uses a bit more power and doesn't have a mSATA slot.


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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:43 pm 
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The 2800MT sata power is 1Amp @12V rail, 2.5A @5V rail and 0.5V @3.3V rail

I'm not sure if I understand the specs on the WDEARS 1TB drive though...

1.65A (peak) @ 12VDC
5.3W read/write

So... i'm guessing the intel board does not supply enough power for my particular HDD?

I appreciate the input everyone. I will keep researching and come up with a basic direction

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:03 am 
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matchu wrote:
So... i'm guessing the intel board does not supply enough power for my particular HDD?

It looks like this pairing is not supported.
But 1A isn't much. I suspect my 3.5'' drive used more than that, that Intel isn't talking about transient peaks and it would work fine... but I don't know. Do you want to take chances?

Look at the specs for the DH61AG and the DQ77KB (I hope I'm remembering the jumble of letters and numbers right).
More expensive, yes. But you get value for your money and with a Celeron CPU, the cost will remain reasonable.

matchu wrote:
To be honest, I'm more concerned with overall cost than I am with power consumption per se. Fanless operation isn't a must.

Then I would look at the used market.

If you're using a full PSU or are willing to source a pico:
Any Atom board from Pineview onwards is fine. Washu's D510MO would be an example.
Any low-power AMD board from Zacate onwards is fine.
And probably any low-end board for Intel CPUs from Clarkdale onwards would be a good choice too.
There are other options but I guess these would be the easier to pick. In case you find several interesting prospects, MSI and Intel used to be the best brands, efficiency-wise.

You can find DC-powered boards on the used market for a fraction of their price but it would probably require some patience and effort.

washu wrote:
If you already have a normal power supply that you wish to use then look at the D2550MUD2 instead of DN2800MT. It's a bit cheaper, but likely uses a bit more power and doesn't have a mSATA slot.

If you couple it with your average PSU, it will use more than a bit more power!
There are very few PSUs with an efficiency at that kind of power draw that's comparable to a DC-powered board plus a decent AC/DC brick.


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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:38 am 
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Another option since you want small, is building around Antec ISK-110 Mini-ITX, its a small mini itx case that comes with 90W PSU and all needed to connect inside all your hardware. It can hold 2x 2.5 hdds on the bottom of the case (below the motherboard tray).

Image

Image

Depending on the motherboard you chose, you could go msata and your desired twin mechanical in raid1, but raid shouldn't be seen as a true backup, but an uptime ensurer... that in case of a drive fail you still have access to your info and the server is still running. But i would still use the WD Greeen EARS that you already own for doing you external backups, this should protect you from accident deletion and even a surge that could take all, etc.

For a cheap small msata ssd i recommend Crucial m4 64GB 2.5-Inch (9.5mm) SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive CT064M4SSD2. If the board you chose dont have msata and you will be going with 2.5 ssd, then Crucial m4 64GB 2.5-Inch (9.5mm) SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive CT064M4SSD2.

For Storage all manufacturers have 2.5 1tb 5400rpm drives, around the same price $80,
WD Blue 1 TB Mobile Hard Drive: 2.5 Inch, 5400 RPM, SATA II, 8 MB Cache - WD10JPVT
Samsung SpinPoint SATA 5400rpm 8 MB Cache 1 TB 2.5-Inch Hard Drive (M8 HN-M101MBB)
Seagate Momentus 1 TB 5400RPM SATA 3Gb/s 8 MB Cache 2.5-Inch Internal Notebook Hard Drive - Retail Kit STBD1000100
HGST Travelstar 2.5-Inch 1TB 5400RPM SATA 6Gbps 8MB Cache Internal Hard Drive (0J22413) (HTS541010A9E680)
1TB Toshiba 2.5-inch SATA laptop hard drive (5400rpm, 8MB cache) MQ01ABD100

The cost of the Intel DN2800MT cost $98, an Intel Celeron G1610 + Foxconn H61S would be $93. Very similar in price, the downside is you will need a the cpu fan, the good news you get a much more capable cpu, weather you need it or not its up to you. On my MiniMi build i have manage to idle around 14W but with 3 fans, i think i could hit close to 10W with just the cpu fan, ivy is suppose to consume less than my 2100T but i never really bother researching the new celerons into if there is a tangle difference.

Another alternative is the one that Hfat suggested, DQ77KB Intel Mini-ITXB more expensive, but intel mobos are usually the most efficient also, and has a lot of things that might become usefull to you, like mSata ssd. Add the PSU on the bottom of the page, 19v/8.4A 160 Watt AC-DC Power Adapter + M350 Universal Mini-ITX enclosure.

Image

Keep in mind this motherboard uses laptop memory (SODIMM), for example, Crucial 4GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) 1.35V CT51264BF1339. The motherboard comes with the power connectors for your hdds,

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:01 am 
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Hi everyone

So in the end, what I decided to go for was something like this...

Intel DN2800MT
Minibox M350 (Second-hand for $45)
Mushkin Essentials 2x2GB 1066 SODIMM (or any other cheap ram set)
WD Blue 1TB 2.5" laptop drive (or cheapest 2.5" drive at time of purchase
Cooler Master NA90 Laptop Power Brick

I'm kind of pondering that power brick option to be honest. I selected it because it provides 19VDC in, is Energy Star V-rated has more than enough wattage, and is local. I worry that none of the supplied tips will fit, though... what' the chance of that? =s and... aside from the risk of not fitting into the plug, there should be no electrical issues with that brick right? I've also seen the Dell DA-2 power adapter... but all the sellers are Ebay and Amazon and I'm kind of iffy on that.

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:38 am 
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matchu wrote:

4G is likely overkill. It depends on the OS and so on. Less RAM means lower power consumption and risk.
Be careful with RAM. You're building a server with consumer gear. Regular RAM can go bad without warning and cause all sorts of problems. So this is not the place where I would try to save a couple of bucks by going with a disreputable product.

matchu wrote:
I'm kind of pondering that power brick option to be honest. ...

I used a brick I had laying around and it just worked. I'm not suggesting you should go dumpster-diving but lost of people have spare bricks lying around...
As far as the tip is concerned, if you want to be safe and the adapter you're looking to buy is local, you could wait until you get the mobo to buy it and simply try it on before buying. There's also the issue of whether the outer contact is +/-/ground perhaps but I would hope this has been standardized by now.


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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:57 am 
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HFat wrote:
4G is likely overkill. It depends on the OS and so on. Less RAM means lower power consumption and risk.
Be careful with RAM. You're building a server with consumer gear. Regular RAM can go bad without warning and cause all sorts of problems. So this is not the place where I would try to save a couple of bucks by going with a disreputable product.



Thanks for the reply again. I'm thinking of using this as a personal server running some flavor of linux. It's definitely not mission critical - more of a hobby at this point then anything else. Will 2GB be enough? I can just keep it to one stick of sodimm.

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Memory: Corsair XMS3 2x2GB 1600MHz 9-9-9-24
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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:52 pm 
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I can't tell you if 2G is enough without knowing what apps you're planning on running. But it should be more than enough. Only, the more RAM you've got, the better your HD performance will be (with strongly diminishing returns the more RAM you add). It's a tradeoff.
If you value stability above performance, you will probably pick no more than 2G. Then there's the issue of price. But maybe you can get a more modern 4G stick today for not much more than what I paid for my 2G stick.

Code:
~# free -h | grep -
-/+ buffers/cache:       671M       1.3G

I wasn't running a reasonably compley web app. I used to and it worked fine on 2G of course but the 671M you're seeing is mostly Einstein@home actually. The other stuff doesn't use much RAM. Tor alone accounts for maybe half of the rest (OS included).


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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:33 pm 
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In that case I will probably stick with a single stick of 2GB sodimm and expand upwards if needed.

I might also be able to get a hold of this for $30. It's ugly... but it saves me $30+tax off of the m350 and also has space for a 3.5" hard drive. I've noted a few people on teh interwebz having powered a 3.5" drive from this motherboard, so I might just take that chance.

And as per your question from way back, which I missed, I will be experimenting with a linux-based server. I'm familiar with desktop ubuntu, but am also thinking about centos.

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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:09 pm 
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One nice thing about the DN2800MT is that it'll run fanless in pretty much any case (pretty much any != literaly any however). You could go dumpster-diving for a suitable case if you're handy and want to save $30 actually.
But without a case fan in a mostly closed case, the board will run hot and your 3.5'' may not like to operate without any ventilation in a closed, cramped case next to hot electronics...

matchu wrote:
I've noted a few people on teh interwebz having powered a 3.5" drive from this motherboard

Myself included. Going by the specs, it'd be dicey but in practice a WD Green with 2 platters should be OK I think.


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 Post subject: Re: Multi-purpose home server - advice needed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:35 pm 
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HFat wrote:
One nice thing about the DN2800MT is that it'll run fanless in pretty much any case (pretty much any != literaly any however). You could go dumpster-diving for a suitable case if you're handy and want to save $30 actually.
But without a case fan in a mostly closed case, the board will run hot and your 3.5'' may not like to operate without any ventilation in a closed, cramped case next to hot electronics...


In that case... I will just recycle an old Dell Dimension 3000 case I have lying around. Oh, dump-diving! Kinda big and ugly.... but at least I save on that cost AND the HDD will have some room to breath.

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Memory: Corsair XMS3 2x2GB 1600MHz 9-9-9-24
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