Low power WHS box - recommendations for mobo needed

Ecological issues around computing. This is an experimental forum.

Moderators: Ralf Hutter, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:57 am
Location: UK

Low power WHS box - recommendations for mobo needed

Post by niw_uk1964 » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:20 am

Noob post.....

My current Windows Home Server box is way too thirsty - 200W on boot, 140W full load, idle 100W. It has 8 drives in it, which don't help.

I think part of the cause is the CPU - a 64-bit Athlon 64 3000+. Whilst I have downclocked it to a 1.5Ghz and a minimum of 800Mhz when idle, with undervolting, I don't think this goes far enough (I am using RMClock).

I originally built it as a cheap box to test WHS. WHS works well for me, so as a result, I am considering building something more properly engineered towards being economical.

The motherboard is a cheap old ESC7610 job. This originally only had two SATA-I ports, so I added some PCI-SATA adapter cards to give me the extra ports - by dumping these I hope some power might be saved albeit a small amount.

I use the WHS box for backup and file serving media to various machines around the house. It only boots and comes online when the appropriate machine/s in the house boot.

I prefer to use AMD. I was thinking of one of the new dual/triple/quad core 45WTDP Athlons (the current cpu is 89W TDP), 2GB of RAM (it never exceeds 1GB in use) and a mATX motherboard.

Does anyone have mobo recommendations that can be undervolted easily and have 5-6 SATA-II connections with integrated graphics and a gigabit LAN?

The drives are:

2 x WD500 IDE
2 x 250GB IDE Hitachi
4x 1.5TB SATA-II Samsung green.

The Hitachis will go and will be replaced by a single green Samsung 1.5TB SATA-II drive. The WD's will stay for now.

Assuming all drives use about 10W on load and 3-5W idle I am probably looking at 80W load and 30-40W idle from them alone. My aim is to get idle power down to about 70-80W.



Posts: 2131
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:00 am
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Post by jhhoffma » Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:39 pm

Definitely doable...

My WHS is running at ~80W at idle with the following hardware.

Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H
AMD Athlon X2 4850e
Maxtor 200GB IDE (Primary)
Maxtor 320GB SATA
WD5000KS (500GB) SATA
2xWD5000AACS (500GB) SATA

All hard drives running off the mobo with no additional SATA controllers.

I've had some issues with the install, but I think it was specific to my system.

At load, I've seen it go up to 110W, but that's much better than the old hardware which drew up to 160W at boot (nForce2/AthlonXP combo). You will want to turn down your GPU speed to keep from wasting power (not really sure that it helps all that much, but it won't hurt you).

Posts: 198
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 12:48 pm
Location: Shi-Khan: Vulcan or MosEisley Tattonnie

Post by fastturtle » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:51 am

This is the Celeron Wattage Listing
Keep in mind the EIOS are no longer available

http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection. ... milyID=288

Two things to keep in mind. Unless you're running a Database app, you don't need lots of CPU for a light duty server. This means either a low power Celeron or Sempron is good enough and you don't even need to go bleeding edge since WHS does not have a 64bit version yet. Throw 3GB at it with a reasonable CPU and you should be good to go.

My suggestion is to simply forget AMD as it's almost impossible to find boards that support the Sempron. Most DIY'ers are interested in Power, not energy efficiency, which means Intel - They've got far more options and it's their chipset that supports the CPU's.

Look for something with Onboard Graphics, Network, SATA3 and support for the Celeron of your choice. You also want at least 2GB of memory though 4GB will be much better. What you're looking for will be in the M-ATX form factor with onboard video/networking and sound. Nothing fancy and in the budget end. TIP For things that take time (video transcoding) just run them in the background on the server. You have CPU cycles to spare and once done, they're in a specific folder shared with the devices that handle that format.

Jhoffma: My desktop, Monitor, Router all on my UPS use 95 watts right now. I've not seen more then 150 watts used total by the entire system even when I was Folding - So even though you're using less then GP, you're still using to much :lol:

Posts: 1201
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:53 pm
Location: Plymouth, MI

Post by psiu » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:07 am

Main problem I found with cheap Intel boards is finding them with lots of SATA ports and (to a lesser extent) Gb LAN.

Post Reply