Question Suggested hardware for a quiet and economical server that is going to be constantly on

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by elsmandino, May 3, 2017.

  1. elsmandino

    elsmandino
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    Hello,

    This is the hardware that I am currently using for my current home server:

    G1840
    MSI B85M-E45
    12GB RAM (2x4GB and 2x2GB)
    1 x 64GB Crucial M4 SSD
    2 x 2TB Samsung F4 Harddrives
    1 x 6TB WD Red Harddrive
    TBS6905) Quad DVB-T2 TV Tuner
    Superflower Golden Green 350w PSU
    Tower with 1 x 140mm exhaust fan and 1 x 120mm intake fan (both fans thermo-regulated).

    Until recently, I was running Windows 10 on it but have made the leap to Linux and am now running it headless with Openmediavault.

    In addition to just serving my client's with media, I also run TVHeadend on it for recording all my TV.

    There are two main problems with my server that I just cannot sort out:

    1. I cannot get WOL to work.
    2. I cannot find a satisfactory way to get the server to sleep when idling and then wake up for scheduled recordings (this was really easy to set up with Windows but really complex with Linux).

    The server itself is pretty quiet but could be better.

    In light of the above, I can see why Linux servers tend to be left on 24/7 but then I looked into how much more electricity that would use.

    I ran all the hardware through one of the online checkers and it seems to suggest and idle wattage of 56W whilst idle and a maximum of 128W.

    Taking into account inefficiencies of my gold-rated PSU, hard drives spinning down and the fact that the CPU will not be doing anything like encoding etc, I reckon that it would draw 75W on average, every hour.

    75W over a year equates to about £80.00 in electricity.

    This seems awfully wasteful and I would be grateful for any advice to both make the system quieter and much more efficient.

    I was thinking about a newer generation motherboard with an integrated (fanless) CPU and perhaps a pico PSU.

    What do you think?

    Should I even consider an ARM motherboard?
     
  2. brunation

    brunation
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    When I bought a N3050I-C for a NAS build, (IIRC) Asrock were the only ones doing a 4-Sata port ITX board. However, 2 of the ports were provided by an additional SATA controller. I used the PCI-E slot for a 4-port SATA card.

    With a quad tuner and future HDD expansion. I'd recommend a fanless MATX board.
     
  3. cjed

    cjed
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    I think you may be overestimating the power usage of your system. Can you get hold of a power meter to check it's consumption? My main server (Lenovo TS140) has a similar mix of hardware (excluding the TV card) and has an average draw with the drives spun down of around 30W.
     
  4. elsmandino

    elsmandino
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    Thank you, both, for that.

    I was in fact thinking of an ITX board, but shall look out for mATX instead.

    I totally agree that I should in fact actually measure the power usage before doing anything else.

    Might you be able to recommend any power meter in particular? Some that I have found, online, have pretty poor reviews.
     
  5. mickevh

    mickevh
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    I share you pain with WOL on Linux - not that I've investigated it much, but mine doesn't work. And I'm running ZFS file system and (using my version) that won't let me spin down the discs when they are inactive. Still, it keeps the server "cupboard" nice and warm. :D
     
  6. cjed

    cjed
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    This isn't what I use, but if I was buying again I'd probably get one. Should be straightforward to wire into an extension lead. I use a Power Safer 2024C, which is basically one built into an 8 way extension.
     
  7. elsmandino

    elsmandino
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    Thanks for that - a really clever idea. Going to order one of those, shortly.

    Just out of interest, what hardware are you using and have you any idea what your power usage is?
     
  8. mickevh

    mickevh
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    It's an HP MicroServer - I've never measured the power usage, but I believe other AVF'rs have.
     
  9. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    I couldn't get WOL to work with my Intel NUC Skull Canyon (makes an excellent ESXi server btw). Turns out there was a bug in the BIOS firmware, upgraded to the latest and that resolved the issue. Might be worth checking your hardware for BIOS updates.
     
  10. elsmandino

    elsmandino
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    Bit of an update on this one - considering getting one of these as a replacement for my server Odroid XU4 - Octa core Odroid computer (inc PSU).

    It has 8 cores, Gigabit ethernet and 2GB RAM and (most importantly) USB3.0, so I can connect my hard drives via a caddy.

    Still looking into whether it could be a complete substitute for my current server but as far as I can tell, you seem to be able to install Openmediavault on it.
     

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