Atom as a simple server

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Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:15 am

Is anyone running a Atom based box as a simple server? I have an old P4 that I am running Win2k3 on as a simple server. I'm running the box headless, it has 3 HD in it plus the normal CD-rom just in case I have the need. There is one drive for OS and the one to two apps I have installed and the 2 other drives are in a raid1. I do an occasional back up of data onto an external drive, I know raids old help so much.

The Atom230 setups has a PCIe 1x slot but I kind of like the Atom330 better and the price is about the same. If I wanted to keep a raid a cheap raid card would be required. Any opinions? Would PCIe vs PCI really make much of a difference? Or would it be better to go with something else because of the amount of power draw the Atom chipset has?
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:23 pm

I would pony up the few bucks to get the dual core 330.

BTW, What Atom 230 MB are you looking at that has a PCI Express x1 slot?
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:13 pm

It seems there are some things to get ironed out on this front. Intel has its own ideas about what the Atom should be used for, it seems.

The Atom makes a nice candidate for a green small server but it has yet to find a 'green' chipset or small server oriented mobo. By that I mean a mobo with dual gigabit ethernet, a decent set of expansion card slots and ports, and basic PATA and SATA support, I don't think RAID support is needed but that seems to be a no cost add-on when you have 4 or more SATA ports. Also in this unnecessary (in my view) feature creep for this application is home theater sound and high end (but slow) on board graphics which aren't needed in server roles. I could do without any graphic or audio support as that role should be by web interface or SSH in this application.

I notice that some devices are showing up at CES that combine a number of small server functions. It'd be nice if there was an inexpensive mobo with an Atom and about 2 GB memory to make it easy to build a broadband modem, firewall, gateway, router, switch, wifi terminus, NAS, home control and security, voip, fax, and similar function into a small 'green' box. Oh, BTW, it needs to be able to run off a gel cell and control some external power outlets, too. Cost under $500, of course.

oh well, for now it appears that an AMD chip on an Asus board is as close as I can get.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:24 pm

Blain wrote:I would pony up the few bucks to get the dual core 330.

BTW, What Atom 230 MB are you looking at that has a PCI Express x1 slot?


Well I don't see as many atom combos on the egg as I did last time. This is an example of one.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813135100

bryanl I know what you mean, the desktop chipset is horrible and would be one of the main reasons I would be waiting.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:35 pm

Hey, I picked up that ECS Atom board a while ago to make a low-power fileserver. I've been sidetracked by work, though, and haven't done anything with it. Going to stick a PCI gigabit card and a PCIe SATA card in it.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:40 pm

One note about that ECS board: it's completely fanless, but it needs some air circulation via a case fan. Or something. The nortbridge heatsink gets frighteningly hot without airflow.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:20 pm

Nice to see that it is fanless, but the overly hot northbridge is not unexpected with the the current chipset. Hopefully because of the Nvidia chipset just coming out for the atom platform Intel will release something more useful.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:32 pm

FuturePastNow wrote:Going to stick a PCI gigabit card and a PCIe SATA card in it.


I would reverse the interfaces on those, if I had to choose one to be PCI and the other PCIe. Both really deserve PCIe interfaces, though.

PCI GbE is just sad in so many ways. The throughput isn't there, and the oversaturation of the already-saturated PCI bus with ethernet packets makes baby zombie jesus cry so hard.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:27 am

Forge wrote:
FuturePastNow wrote:Going to stick a PCI gigabit card and a PCIe SATA card in it.


I would reverse the interfaces on those, if I had to choose one to be PCI and the other PCIe. Both really deserve PCIe interfaces, though.

PCI GbE is just sad in so many ways. The throughput isn't there, and the oversaturation of the already-saturated PCI bus with ethernet packets makes baby zombie jesus cry so hard.


Maybe, but I'm a cheapskate and I've already got a PCI gigabit card. This server is going to use an Atom processor to run software RAID5 on 5400RPM drives (Greenpower). Throughput isn't going to be good anyway.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:22 am

I almost got an Atom for a server I'm building, but then decided to just get a low-power X2 and it wasn't much more expensive and has a non-neutered motherboard and will have much better performance at server-related stuff.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:42 am

FuturePastNow wrote:This server is going to use an Atom processor to run software RAID5 on 5400RPM drives (Greenpower). Throughput isn't going to be good.


You win. I give you my "Understatement of the Year 2008" trophy as a placeholder till your 2009 one comes out.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:35 pm

Forge wrote:
FuturePastNow wrote:This server is going to use an Atom processor to run software RAID5 on 5400RPM drives (Greenpower). Throughput isn't going to be good.


You win. I give you my "Understatement of the Year 2008" trophy as a placeholder till your 2009 one comes out.


Awesome.

If I'd thought about it, I should have bought a Sempron and a cheap AM2 board with GigE and enough SATA ports to begin with. But, I wanted an Atom to play with.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:51 am

RAID5 writes are going to be your main performance bottleneck. RAID5 requires a lot of CPU when writing to disk, to do the parity calculations. If the server is being used mostly for reads, it won't be too bad; but write performance is going to suck quite badly.

You may want to consider doing RAID1 instead.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:22 am

Here's another reason that Atom is a bad idea. This is an overgrown PDA processor with a lousy chipset, not a serious and capable modern computer. If developers have to start dumbing down everything to work with this underpowered joke, it'll set back performance advances by a decade.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:42 am

For what I need it is over powered...
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:55 pm

just brew it! wrote:RAID5 writes are going to be your main performance bottleneck. RAID5 requires a lot of CPU when writing to disk, to do the parity calculations. If the server is being used mostly for reads, it won't be too bad; but write performance is going to suck quite badly.

You may want to consider doing RAID1 instead.


Actually, I think I'll just bite the bullet and buy some desktop-class hardware. I'll use the Atom board to play with Linux or something.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:23 pm

I give you five dollah!
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:34 pm

Forge wrote:I give you five dollah!

Love you long time?
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:12 pm

tfp wrote:
Forge wrote:I give you five dollah!

Love you long time?


If he gives me that Atom board for five bucks? Assolutely.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:45 am

If power consumption is the motivation behind getting an Atom, I would hypothesize that you can get close by undervolting an X2/Sempron/Celeron anyway?
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:56 am

I'm using a dual-core Atom board as a simple home server/MSN machine/DivX player alongside my main PC. I've got it setup in an old rev.1 Antec Sonata with a pair of SATA HDs for storage, and an old Samsung PATA drive as a boot HD. One 7v 120mm provides more than enough cooling (with an old Thermalright HR-05 on the NB chip, hehe), and the PC stays on all the time quite happily. Get good transfer rates over my little Gigabit switch, and it's snappy enough for web browsing and MSN and stuff. I haven't actually checked power consumption, but it's almost certainly lower than the server-grade P4 motherboard it replaced :).
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:07 am

Yes, I built myself a Linux (Ubuntu) server based on the Intel Atom 230 motherboard in May of 2008.

I used a small mini-ITX case with a 250w PSU. The only other things I added was a 500GB WD "green" HDD (because it draws less power) and an Intel GigE Ethernet card (because the mobo only comes with 10/100) -- For the install of Ubuntu, I temporarily connected a DVD-ROM drive, but once the system was successfully installed, I disconnected and removed the drive. According to my Kill-A-Watt meter, the DVD drive draws 5+ watts even when it isn't doing anything.

Right now, the server when idling draws about 35 watts and under full load, it spikes to 45 watts. I don't use the server for much. It acts as a print server for my old HP laser printer (via parallel port), file server, and VPN server so I can connect back to my house securely when I'm out and about.

Sometimes I log into it as well to do some light web browsing if I don't feel like booting my main machine. Sure, it's not blazing fast, but it's fast enough for all these computing needs.

My only real complaint about this rig is that the fan on the chipset heatsink is kinda noisy. Not video card noisy, but I can definitely hear it. Once NewEgg gets the Scythe "mini kaze" chipset fan back in stock, I'm going to order one and replace the stock fan with the mini kaze. Apparently, it's totally silent but still moves a lot of air for its size.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:10 pm

Forge wrote:
tfp wrote:
Forge wrote:I give you five dollah!

Love you long time?


If he gives me that Atom board for five bucks? Assolutely.


Hey-oh. I'm sure I can find something to do with it. Maybe I'll try to get Windows 7 running on it.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:04 am

If the Atom boards have enough expansion for you and all it will be is a NAS with maybe a few other functions like print server great but the idea of a low power chipset and undervolted Core 2 based CPU is a good alternative. x2s draw more power but wouldn't be bad either, the up front cost is probably lower. One advantage to that is much greater storage expansion, you might pay more for the mobo upfront but it adds up to about the same as adding in controller cards. I have a Cel e1200 undervolted on a Gigabyte P35 mobo and with 2 HDs the normal power draw is 40-45W and loaded with P95, which is more of a load than it will ever see in real use, the draw is 70-75W. I can also use it to do non-time sensitive tasks like encoding DVR stuff from a TV tuner card, there's that expansion thing again. It depends upon what you want to do with it now and into the future.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:27 am

Mentawl wrote:I'm using a dual-core Atom board as a simple home server/MSN machine/DivX player alongside my main PC. I've got it setup in an old rev.1 Antec Sonata with a pair of SATA HDs for storage, and an old Samsung PATA drive as a boot HD. One 7v 120mm provides more than enough cooling (with an old Thermalright HR-05 on the NB chip, hehe), and the PC stays on all the time quite happily. Get good transfer rates over my little Gigabit switch, and it's snappy enough for web browsing and MSN and stuff. I haven't actually checked power consumption, but it's almost certainly lower than the server-grade P4 motherboard it replaced :).


Hi Mentawl,

I also plan to get a http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/product?lc=en&dlc=ru&cc=by&lang=ru&product=3835707 dual core Atom , mainly for blogging and internet surfing as well as p2p movie :lol: I know that it will serve me very well as the most is i going to play some 720p or BlurRay movie..else it match my requirement .
With cost of 264USD with include a 15 inc LCD(Why so cheap because i just top up RM11 for 2 year, i will get it FOC)... :P

Mind to share your experience on your atom also ?
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:21 pm

mghong wrote:*blah* dual core Atom *blah* as well as p2p movie *blah* 720p or BlurRay movie


Ehh, no. 720p on basic Atom, even the higher end dual core one, is a no-go. The i945 chipset has NO decode acceleration for high res x264/h264. Without decode acceleration, that Atom is not going to be able to handle internet 720p rips, much less a full on Blu-Ray.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:56 pm

Atom is far too wimpy for your multimedia applications. You would be much better off with AMD's integrated graphics and an affordable Athlon64 X2 processor.
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Re: Atom as a simple server

Postposted on Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:01 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Atom is far too wimpy for your multimedia applications. You would be much better off with AMD's integrated graphics and an affordable Athlon64 X2 processor.


But will it good to run just p2p/web hosting ?
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