Low Power Home Server

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Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:57 am

I'm looking to build a low power server for my personal use. I'm currently using an old laptop, but I want to move to something newer since I don't know how much time this thing has left it. I already have a case and power supply, I just need a CPU, Motherboard and Memory. The OS will be Ubuntu Server or Linux Mint, depending on how much I think I still need a GUI for somethings. It'll start off as a web server for Python/Ruby development but I may expand its roll to include media.

AMD:

AMD A4-4000 Richland 3.2GHz - $45.99 /w Free Shipping
MSI FM2-A55M-E33 - $49.99 + $5.39 Shipping
MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 - $59.99 w/ Free Shipping
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 - $34.99 w/ Free Shipping

Total Cost: $136.36
Total Cost: $140.97

Intel:

Intel Celeron G1610 Ivy Bridge 2.6GHz - $49.99 /w Free Shipping
ASRock H61M-DGS - $44.99 + $5.49 Shipping
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 - $34.99 w/ Free Shipping

Total Cost: $135.46

I'm going with micro-ATX because the premium for mini-ITX didn't seem worth paying for something like this. I tried to keep the prices and power consumptions (where applicable) for both builds. I imagine the CPU for the AMD build would be slightly better, but the mobo for the Intel build gives me PCI-E 3.0 (which...uhhh, doesn't matter at all).

Comments/Suggestions?
Last edited by Kurotetsu on Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:37 am

Those seem to be the cheapest options available at Newegg today. I didn't see any combination deals that looked more appealing.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:34 pm

Kurotetsu wrote:to include media.

Storage (just need disks and decent networking), playback (may need better CPU and/or GPU), stream (networking, better CPU required for transcoding), or all of them?
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:57 pm

I would find a motherboard you like then work backwards from there. The two mobos you listed have a few shortcomings imo, but you need to determine your needs and wants. They both only have 4 SATA ports and a limited number of expansion slots. If you know you won't need more than 4 SATA ports, great, otherwise maybe look for mobos with at least 6 SATA ports. (Yes, you can always add cheap 2-port SATA cards if you want in the future too though.) Expansion slots can matter for things like SATA add-on cards, TV tuners, etc if those things are possibilities. You might also want to consider durability, if the file server is going to be on 24/7 then all solid caps and all the other marketing stuff mobo manufacturers tout may matter.

For pure file serving either CPU you are looking at is fine, if you want it to do more than just serve files over a network like Flying Fox is asking then you might need to start looking in-depth at CPUs. But if you're just looking for the least expensive options that balance power use and basic capability, what you've got is sufficient.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:00 pm

Flying Fox wrote:
Kurotetsu wrote:to include media.

Storage (just need disks and decent networking), playback (may need better CPU and/or GPU), stream (networking, better CPU required for transcoding), or all of them?


Storage and streaming (I don't think I'll need transcoding right now). This box won't be leaving my office (closet) most likely. I already have an Intel NIC I can use for networking. I did forget to include storage in the configs though.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:21 pm

also consider that if you get a mobo with fewer SATA that you get one that supports eSATA with port extension support then you can add a drive chassis later.

for processor I went the A6-3500 for my home server.

EDIT- fix typo.
Last edited by Arvald on Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:47 pm

I''m no Linux person but for Windows there's not much between your two options.

For linux I would imagine the Intel chipset drivers (the ICH8/9/10 drives) are more robust than the AMD ones, but I don't have any recent experience to back that up.
Maybe someone else can confirm?

I can also recommend solid-state caps for a machine that's on 24/7/365.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:38 pm

Kurotetsu wrote:Intel Celeron G1610 Ivy Bridge 2.6GHz - $49.99 /w Free Shipping


The Celeron doesn't seem to have video built in, or at least NewEgg doesn't list it as a feature.

You can install a GUI desktop on Ubuntu Server, so there really isn't a reason to consider Mint.

Chrispy_ wrote:For linux I would imagine the Intel chipset drivers (the ICH8/9/10 drives) are more robust than the AMD ones, but I don't have any recent experience to back that up.
Maybe someone else can confirm?


I haven't heard anything about stability problems due to AMD or Intel chipsets. If basic video is the objective, graphics drivers favor Intel.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:17 pm

That Celeron has built-in graphics according to Intel ARK: http://ark.intel.com/products/71072/
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:57 pm

HP ProLiant G7 N54L Ultra Micro Tower Server System AMD Turion II Model Neo N54L 2GB 250GB LFF Operating System None 704941-001
+ 20% off w/ promo code WXUYHW86, ends 6/13
Free Gift: Free Gift: HighPoint RocketStor 5122B Dual-Dedicated 5Gb/s USB 3.0 2.5"/3.5" Smart Backup Storage Dock (value:$64.99)

$339.99
Save: $50.00 (13%)
$289.99 after $50.00 rebate card

$339.99
- %20 from WXUYHW86 = $272.00
- $50 rebate = $222.00.

It's got a 150w power supply and it's already built for you. You can't beat this deal with a stick.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:17 pm

I can confirm the G1610 has an IGP.

It's pretty bad (it's a 6EU castrated HD2000 that lacks quicksync too) but at the same time it's plenty flexible enough for custom resolutions and supports most of the 3D API's I've tried it on pretty robustly. Just don't, for the love of all that is holy, try to game on it.

In another random tip, I've been buying "outdated" 3.5" external USB storage because it's significantly cheaper (often on sale) than bare drives. Certainly in the UK I've been finding 3TB drives for 30-40% less than the equivalent bare drive. The bare drive is of course only a screwdriver and some shattered plastic away....
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:40 am

Updated AMD motherboard selection in OP. Couldn't immediately find an Intel equivalent to keep things fair, but it only added $4 and some change to the total cost so I probably won't bother.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:54 am

If you don't mind adding another $5 to your build, here's some better memory (PC3-14900 vs. PC3-10600):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231474
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:38 am

I know the price keeps inching up, but I personally would pick this AsRock FM2A75 Pro4-M for $65. It may be a little more than you need right now, but it checks all the right boxes for future expansion:

All solid caps, one more power phase than the MSI E35, INCLUDES A VRM HEATSINK
4 RAM slots
5 SATA3 connectors and 1 eSATA
4 USB2 and 2 USB3 on the rear panel with an additional 6 USB2 and 2 USB3 connectors onboard.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:56 am

It's too bad that it isn't easy to find power draw numbers for all the various low- to mid-range boards. 'Low power' indeed...even though a 10W or whatever difference isn't very much in absolute terms, it adds up.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:35 pm

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128585
$65 (after $10 GC) and low power seems like a solid option to me (with dual Ethernet to boot).

Low cost, and would be fine for most things. If you want to add more storage later you have eSATA or could throw in a PCI sata card. But I'd do a small 32GB SSD for boot with a pair of cloned drives right off the bat and probably be good for a long while depending on how much storage you need. (I wouldn't mirror for media, just run a nightly dupe so you have an actual backup, or mirror and dupe to an external unit for extra uptime)
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:52 pm

This might be a good application for a booksize unit. Crazy low power draw due to using mobile components, at the expense of performance and upgrade potential. The Intel NUC is a standout for using a more capable CPU than most of the others. I've thought about getting one to have a pocket Linux box too but can't decide if putting mobile stuff in a desktop is worth it.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:30 am

NovusBogus wrote:This might be a good application for a booksize unit. Crazy low power draw due to using mobile components, at the expense of performance and upgrade potential. The Intel NUC is a standout for using a more capable CPU than most of the others. I've thought about getting one to have a pocket Linux box too but can't decide if putting mobile stuff in a desktop is worth it.


I kind of don't see the point of that unless you're OK with a single notebook drive for storage but that would mean no redundancy, and expensive $/GB drives that are slow. If you're going to use one but add external drives or a multidrive USB or eSATA drive enclosure you're right back to mini-server size and space. The HP miniserver makes for a really cool pure NAS (no meaningful output capabilities) if you're OK with the hardware it uses and makes more sense than a book-size PC with external drives.
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:09 am

Kurotetsu wrote:I'm going with micro-ATX because the premium for mini-ITX didn't seem worth paying for something like this. I tried to keep the prices and power consumptions (where applicable) for both builds. I imagine the CPU for the AMD build would be slightly better, but the mobo for the Intel build gives me PCI-E 3.0 (which...uhhh, doesn't matter at all).

The Celeron is significantly faster (other than gaming with its IGP) and uses less than half the power at full load:

http://www.techspot.com/review/681-amd- ... page4.html
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Re: Low Power Home Server

Postposted on Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:30 pm

Personally I have been very pleasantly surprised by the AMD A8-5600K I bought for my NAS.

I did not set out to buy it, I was looking for the best deal I could get on a Mobo/CPU/RAM bundle.

Up until now I had always gone with Intel processors. I wanted something which I could use as a replacement machine in case my main machine was ever down for repairs. Whilst looking around and doing comparisons the closest Intel CPU was the core i3 in the price class. However one really would need to get a separate graphic card because the GPU unit integrated into the i3 is pretty basic and thus the power saving of the i3 in comparison to the A8-5600K disappears.
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