cheap, low power and fanless system

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SonGoku
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:40 am

cheap, low power and fanless system

Post by SonGoku » Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:16 am

Hi I wanna built a system fit to run ftp, apache and do some downloading 24/7 running winXP. My criteria is that is has to be cheap, use as little power as possible, as small as possible and has to be able to run XP. This is what I have come up with myself so far:
mobo: VIA EPIA-5000
case: Morex Cupid 3688 (black)
disk: Fujitsu 40.0 GB - UDMA/100 - 5400/8192KB FLUID, 12 ms
RAM: Kingston 256 MB SDRAM PC133

For low power usage I won't install a optical drive. When I install XP I'll just use a 5.25 drive and disconnect it again when installing is over.

Will this sytem able to run 24/7 with the above mentioned OS and programs?? Can a system be build using less power??

Since I'm a noob on this mini-ITX stuff I thought I'd better get a second opinion on this.

stevea
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:57 pm

Re: cheap, low power and fanless system

Post by stevea » Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:06 am

SonGoku wrote:Hi I wanna built a system fit to run ftp, apache and do some downloading 24/7 running winXP. My criteria is that is has to be cheap, use as little power as possible, as small as possible and has to be able to run XP. This is what I have come up with myself so far:
mobo: VIA EPIA-5000
case: Morex Cupid 3688 (black)
disk: Fujitsu 40.0 GB - UDMA/100 - 5400/8192KB FLUID, 12 ms
RAM: Kingston 256 MB SDRAM PC133

For low power usage I won't install a optical drive. When I install XP I'll just use a 5.25 drive and disconnect it again when installing is over.

Will this sytem able to run 24/7 with the above mentioned OS and programs? Can a system be build using less power??

Since I'm a noob on this mini-ITX stuff I thought I'd better get a second opinion on this.
You can build a comparable power and higher performance system from pentium-Ms, but the mobo and cpu will cost around $500! Another approach would be to build a system from 600Mhz celerons or AMD K-6s which would perhaps cost a few more watts, but double or triple the performance.

I assume you want to make a cheap home server for use in your router's DMZ or similar. Yes - you are on the right track. If you must run Windows then you are at the low price & performance point and can't get much cheaper. The Epia-5000 is about 40% the speed of a 600Mhz Celeron, so you can't afford to get a much slower solution.

My biggest concern is that WinXP isn't a very good choice for server applications and I personally find it to be semi-stable, make poor use of processor and memory resources and is full of security problems. I use both Windows and Linux professionally and I think this is a good application for Linux. My experience is that on the same hardware Linux is less prone to hacker attacks, is considerable more stable and much faster for network server applications. Also it costs $0 (compared to $150+ for a legal WinXP) and runs Apache & all the common network services including a version of Microsoft's file server(SAMBA) out of the box.

The EPIAs don't benchmark very well, but sufficient for a low end server. This http://www.silentpcreview.com/article17-page2.html
shows the EPIA-5000 at about 40% of the integer performance of a 600Mhz Celeron so it is slow as a slug, but should handle a 3megabit/sec home cable without problems. I feel that this processor will be very sluggish under WinXP esp with only 256MB, but you'll have to try it to find out. Linux uses memory much more conservatively and 256MB will be plenty.

I would STRONGLY advise that you not run ftp servers unless you understand the security issues. Look into the ssh and scp utilities (part of openssh) which run on Windows under Cygwin and native on Linux - secure and completely free.

The only other thing you may want to add to the EPIA config is a second ethernet card, so you can safely serve the EPIA files to your local/home network.

SonGoku
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:40 am

Post by SonGoku » Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:02 am

Thanks for your reply stevea, you made some very good points. Yes you're
right I'm planning to use the machine as cheap home server. The most
important tast would be downloading stuff. I just thought that if it's gonna
run 24/7 I might as well install some ftp and http on it. Performance is not
a big isue for me, I would gladly sacrifice performance for a few watts
less. As I said the most important criterias are:
1) Low power
2) Cheap
3) Low noise
4) Small size of case
With this in mind I think the Celeron or K6 would be too big and noisy and
the pentium-m solution would be to expensive. Maybe The EPIA ME6000 (600
MHz) would offer much more performance to the EPIA-5000 at only some 8 watts
more accordin to the EPIA Power Simulator at epiacenter.com!? Questions is
how much better does the ME6000 with its CLE266 chipset perform than
EPIA-5000 with PLE133 chipset???? The price difference is acceptable (some
50$), I'll have to see what the difference in power usage (8 watts) will
cost over 1 year.

Allthough I don't know much about Linux I agree that it will probably be
more suitable for this "server". My main concern is that I don't know to
much about it. It would be a whole new world for me. I think I could sevure
a windows machine much better than a Linux also. But this might be a good
occasion on starting on this Linux stuff. Which distribution would you
recommend for a Linux noob??

Tha applications I wanna run, run with great stability on my current power
hungry XP system. But I have an extra 512 MB SD RAM laying around, so if
that'll make the system perform much better than 256 MB then I'll just pop
that one in it.

I'll look into the ftp tools you talked about. I won't be running ftp any
time soon, but before I do so I'll meake sure to understand the security
issues.

Yup you're right, a second ethernet card would be sweet. But for now I'm not
gonna set up at DMZ so a single ethernet port will be OK. There is however
free PCI slot on the EPIA-5000, I wonder if a low profile ethernet card will
fit in the 3688 case!?!??

SonGoku
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:40 am

Post by SonGoku » Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:31 am

Just did some calculations over the price difference of 8 watts (the difference in power usage between EPIA-5000 and EPIA ME6000). Over a years of constant usage with the price I have to pay for power in my country I would have to pay a total of 20.5$ more if using the EPIA ME6000 over the EPIA-5000. I think it's acceptable but how big is the performance diffenrence between the 2 boards????

Tibors
Patron of SPCR
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Post by Tibors » Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:36 pm

The applications you will be running are not really processor intensitive. So I think you will hardly notice the difference. The benefit of double the memory will be far more important for Windows XP. The benefits of the ME-6000 over the classic 5000 are mostly multi-media related (MPEG2 acceleration, firewire). The ME-6000 also uses DDR memory (PC2100) in stead of the older PC133 memory.

Still Windows XP is a resource hog, so booting it on any of those two boards will take some time.

There is a review of the 3688 case at mini-itx.com.
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Beyonder
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Location: EARTH.

Post by Beyonder » Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:06 pm

First off, I second the motion for linux. It's free, stable, relatively easy to use, and generally more secure.

Based on your above criteria, I think you'll do fine with the setup you described earlier. I don't think you could get more "low power" than that sort of setup, to be honest.
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Nevarion
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:55 pm
Location: Sweden

Post by Nevarion » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:11 am

I can only say, Linux is worth every extra time it takes to learn how to config it. My linux server has been online for about 3 months. I have only rebooted the server once because of the risk for a thunderbolt.

I would say my pII 333mmx running linux slaps a celeron 600 running winxp with ease performing Internet-routing, FW, SFTP, Fileserver.

hvengel
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2002 12:06 am
Location: Concord, Ca

Post by hvengel » Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:31 pm

Also remember that with Linux you can configure it as a server and not run a GUI interface. This will reduce memory requirements significantly. You can not do this with Windows.

My experience with Linux is that it is way more stable and secure than Windows. If you want to do it for $0 then you might consider using Gentoo but this does require some Linux know how to setup. If you want to use a commerical distribution then I would recommend SuSE Professional. It has everything you need bundled on the distribution disks and is easy to setup.

There will be a learning curve and at first you will feel real lost trying to figure out how to get things setup. But work your way throught it and in a few weeks you will start to get things in hand and in the process you will learn a ton of stuff.

The Gentoo web site has a very active user forum and they are generaly very helpful. If you decide to go the SuSE route then I would recommend the forum at http://forums.suselinuxsupport.de/ Very helpful folks there and they are very good to Linux/SuSE noobs.
Hal

greeef
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Post by greeef » Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:08 pm

I've installed windows 2000 on a pentium 233 with appropriate hardware for the age. It took a while to boot up, but ran as well as 98 or 95. Rock stable too.

griff

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