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Super quiet small home server recommendation

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:59 am
by boardtc
I just turned on my Linux Ubuntu box to be greeted with the message that it had not been checked in 447 days. After being on for a few minutes I was reminded why I had abandoned it - it's just too noisy to have in our spare bedroom. Previously I have installed a quietpc fan and tried to line the case without avail.

Now I have real reason to use a server again. So I would love a recommendation for a low cost server to use at home. I will use if for running squeezecentre server and storing files (movies, music backups), other requirements are:
- super quiet, hardly know it's on
- small, don't need monitor, keyboard, mouse, have all that if needed
- reasonably priced

I have a 1TB external drive I would like to connect to it so harddisk size is not an issue.

I appreciate the advice.

Thanks, Tom.

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:43 am
by mentawl
I just built a little always-on box for myself, which is currently idling away at...11 watts. Used the new low-profile Intel Atom board ( along with a Netbook-style case( and an "old" SSD. Completely fanless, uses a power brick, supports Gigabit LAN and provides 3 rear and 2 front USB ports, along with DVI and VGA. Only issue I had with the case is it doesn't allow much room for the cabling, and the cabling gets a little squished when it's closed. Nothing too major though.

Wasn't too pricey either (for what it is), with the motherboard + case running to just over £100 with delivery - I already had a power brick, but those are only £15. The SSD would be the most expensive part, but if you're not after absolute silence, any ol' 2.5" HDD would do :). The power saving I'll make up by not running my i7 24/7 will make up the price for me in not much time at all, hehe.

Going for a MATX-based system based on a low-end Celeron or one of the other mITX boards may be a little cheaper, at the cost of being somewhat bulkier. =)

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:23 am
by MikeC
mentawl's wee box with an external 1tb drive could be a perfect SqueezeCenter server. Only question is whether SqC might benefit from greater computing power. I've seen some discussion in forums that suggests it could, but if it is a dedicated machine to stream music, this might be moot. Where more computing power comes in most handy is when you have a very large music database that you're sorting or searching. An SSD for the OS might be helpful for this, too.

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:38 am
by boardtc
@mentawl. cheers for all the info. I built the server I mentioned so know it's not that hard. With a SSD I would be in the £200-£250 range likely so.

Anyone know anything pre-built that matches the requirements?

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:56 am
by mentawl
Could take a look at :).

This one likely uses the exact same board I used, and can be ordered complete with internal components:

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:47 am
by boardtc
Thanks for that. The tranquilpc T7-HSAi without os would seem decent, which is £300 (inc vat) plus shipping...hmmmm...

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:05 am
by mentawl
Another option, since you're not too concerned about internal storage capacity, would be one of the "desktop netbook" type machines.

One of these, for example:

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:52 am
by boardtc
Very interesting. I knew about netbooks and have one for work but had not heard about these Desktop versions. The only thing I can think of it might not tick, is the noise factor. My dell inspirion laptop is pretty noisy and the self build / tranquilpc by all account is low....thanks for the ideas.

Posted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:31 am
by soloz2
what about the Acer Aspire easystore H340, which is actually designed for home server use?

Posted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:22 am
by boardtc
#soloz2 - this looks the real deal!!
Picked it up for £299 inc delivery

So I am sating goodbye to linux on my server. The last straw for me was getting a driver for my Canon MP780 - I would need to buy one for €30. Hope setting up a print server for a canon multi functional on the Acer Aspire easystore will be ok.

Thanks for all your help...and #soloz2 for the killer tip

Posted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:08 pm
by soloz2
that's a bit different than the version I've been looking at, but regardless it's a pretty sweet deal. I priced up the cost to build a box and I can't even build one for the price of the easystore. I'm seriously considering ordering one myself.

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:17 am
by boardtc
#soloz2, did not intend it to be different but availability in Europe of these model's seems sporadic....the aerial in the picture confused me, not sure what's that for... but I ended up getting it and awaiting delivery.

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:26 am
by soloz2
I think the version available outside the US is different than our version.

Ours is called the H340 and is powered by a single core Atom cpu and 2Gb RAM, no wi-fi and a single 1Tb drive.

I'm looking forward to your impressions. I've spent the last several days reading up about the HP servers, but they all consume more power than the Acer and use smaller fans so will likely be louder and hotter, and they cost more. Since I don't own a Mac I don't forsee more than 2 clients connected at any one time (and likely only 1 at a time) I think the cooler, quieter atom will be fine for my needs.

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:35 am
by boardtc
I'm really hoping the sounds is not an issue with this box, that's my number one requirement. Even the sound of my laptop running (dell inspiron) is louder than what I hope this box is!

Not clued into the wi-fi aerial but I guess it just helps ensure the easystore can be seen around the house. So far, the only time I've noticed an issue in my house is my iTouch not picking up the wi-fi upstairs but fine downstairs but the squeezeboxes have no problem.

I would prefer to have only 1 drive rather than the 4 250 slots, but I guess on the plus side, that allows room for expansion...I have a 1TB in am enclosure I could pop in there instead of one of them I guess.

I will post up here with some feedback.

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:02 pm
by boardtc
I only got a chance to start playing with this kit today. First impressions are not great.

I have had it on all day today behind me and the noise seem as loud as my laptop, which is disappointing. Maybe it will be better when in on the shelf as oposed to out on the open...

The firmware is listed as being 11/07/2007 and the unit is not listed on the acer uk site as a product. When I queried support about firmware they directed me to a readme.txt there directs to ... store.html ...acer just informed me that "We are sorry, but we have limited resources for your product as it is a discontinued product."

Over 7 days since dispatch so I am stuck with this. Nothing in the manual about setting up as a print server or installing external software (slimcenter), does anyone have any advice on how I can find out how to do this?

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:27 pm
by soloz2
Those links don't work for me?

I just got home 20min ago and unboxed my H340. It looks pretty solid, aside from the plastic door and handles on the hot swap bay, but I don't think they'll pose any real problem of breaking.
I pulled the drive that came with it and it is indeed a WD Green 1TB drive with 8MB cashe, so it's not the current version sold by Newegg (that one has 32mb cashe)
There is a 120mm fan on the side, which I hear is orientated to exhaust and then the small power supply fan. I don't believe there is a fan on the cpu/chipset heatsink.
What size fan does yours have?

I haven't plugged it in yet, so I can't say how much noise this thing makes, but I'm hopeful thus far. I will probably hook it up after work tomorrow.

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:31 am
by soloz2
I've had mine hooked up for a couple days now and while it is not silent, is is very quiet. The loudest component is the hdds. (I currently have 2 1TB drives installed and plan to add a 3rd)

I'm not happy with the temperatures though. The cpu is running about 65, so maybe adding a small 80mm fan as intake is in order.

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:56 am
by boardtc
Good to hear about the noise. Hope same holds out about my "older" model.

Still trying to figure out the remote desktop stuff so is really unused as of yet, finding documentation is not great...

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:14 am
by soloz2
You should be able to do 99% of everything via the console, which once you install the software on the client computers comes right up once you log in.

In the console it will tell you the IP address under settings, then just open up remote desktop on your PC, put in the IP address and then when the username and password come it up it should be something to the tune of Administrator and your regular password.

client softwzre

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:59 pm
by boardtc
Client software...hmmm..the option on my cd is easySearch and Backup software and User Guide, nothing in the user guide about client software...the table of contents is here http:/// one has responded on the acer forums so my only option seems to be the acer premium phone line.... :-(

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:33 am
by soloz2
I don't think yours is running Windows Home Server is it? I think I saw your thread on WGS and I don't think they know how to help you (not sure I do either) as you have a different version than I do and I the product link you posted doesn't load for me anymore. I think you got the old version. Can you get the H340 there? it's Atom based and runs Windows Home Server OS

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:52 am
by boardtc
soloz2 wrote:I don't think yours is running Windows Home Server is it? I think I saw your thread on WGS and I don't think they know how to help you (not sure I do either) as you have a different version than I do and I the product link you posted doesn't load for me anymore. I think you got the old version. Can you get the H340 there? it's Atom based and runs Windows Home Server OS
This is the worst purchasing experience I have ever had, but it's my own fault for rushing it. I thought it was running WHS, but it's NAS only. Acer have said the box is "Out of warranty" and they can't help me, thought I just bought it. cclonline are claiming otherwise...I have just managed to agree a return with them with a 10% restocking fee and am happy to be getting rid of this as I thought I was stuck with it.

Now back to the drawing board. soloz2 your easystore is a NAS with WHS I think, pity that version does not appear to be available in Europe. I definitely want something quieter than the aspire easystore I just had.

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:54 pm
by soloz2
I hope it works out for you. For being the first computer I've purchased as a pre-built in years my experience has been favorable. Normally I wouldn't even think about buying a pre-built, but the case is what won me over.

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:40 pm
by capecodbackup
Here is a nice one I have never seen before...


Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:26 am
by boardtc
Seems to be out for 2 years ... 2-desktop/. Anyone played with it?

CCL Mini Home Server

Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:34 pm
by boardtc
What do people think of this box, they say it's very quiet: ... t_id=35589

the specs for the home server are below

CAB4009 RJ45/Cat5 Patch Cabl 160 1 1.000000 EA 05/10/09
CAS0372 Chenbro ES34069 2 Co 150 1 1.000000 EA 05/10/09
HDD0143 WD WD5000AAKS 140 1 2.000000 EA 29/07/09
MBD5077 Intel D945GCLF2 Desk 110 1 1.000000 EA 29/07/09
RAM7518 Corsair Value Select 120 1 1.000000 EA 29/07/09
SFT2120 Windows Home Server 170 1 1.000000 EA 05/10/09

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:47 am
by HFat
945GC... bottom of the barrel stuff (low power efficiency).
Would a single core be enough for your needs? Passively-cooled 945GSE boards (see SPCR's review... and the first answers you got) are not that expensive.
If you're in no hurry, Intel is supposed to release the next generation in January.

apple mac mini with snow leopard server

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:05 am
by boardtc
What do people think of the apple-mac-mini-with-snow-leopard-server ... ard-server
I've read another review which said it was very quiet, though can't find spec info to give me that info.

Price in an issue though
£500 ($800) was the cheapest I found ... ID=B256439

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:18 am
by aztec ... ount_.html

Available in the UK already.

Dual Core Atom D510 2x 1.66Ghz
PASSIVE CPU cooling!
15w (CPU + NB)

what's not to like?

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:47 am
by boardtc
Thanks aztec. According to that link - Shipping from 6th January 2010
Please note, we cannot take pre-orders until it has been released by Intel on approx 4th Jan.

I'm struggling to find the time and energy for a new build project. Surely someone has put these kick ass components yourself and mentawl have talked about together for a reasonable price?