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Old December 9, 2009, 01:03 PM
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Default Fairly low-power server

Not really sure where to pose this question, so I'll put it here for now...

Basically I want something dual-core, DDR2/3 (same price really), onboard graphics and use as little power as possible. All at the same time, being cheap.

At the moment I was thinking an Athlon II X2 240 + MSI 785GM-E65 (judging by Tom's this board uses the least power of "cheap" AM3 boards).

It's basically a home server more or less, but I don't run Windows Home Server. Rather I run Server 2003 R2 Enterprise, and perhaps Server 2008 R2 Enterprise on this new setup, since I get those free with my MSDNAA. Two HDDs for media files in RAID1, another two for the OS and other files in RAID1 and a single drive for downloads. So 5 SATA ports is the bare minimum.

Now I'm sure some might say an Atom system would suffice, and sure it could, but I prefer a more full system. Leaves it open to expansion a bit more and if I want to do some folding or something intensive, I'll be able to.

mATX would be nice since I'm eying that P180 Mini. Though ATX is fine as well since then I wouldn't be tempted to buy a new case.

Just need to know if it's wiser to go the Core 2 way or the AMD Athlon II way based purely upon power consumption.
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Old December 9, 2009, 01:41 PM
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I use an Intel G31PR on my 2003 server, the driver cd include , install everything, so no need to search for driver. I match it with a e7500 , I pay $ 64 for the board. So tht's cheap and mATX , I will not comment on my 2008 r2 server since I use a dual xeon for it.
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Old December 9, 2009, 05:38 PM
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Sounds like a good setup to me. I'd say any ASUS, Gigabyte, or MSI DDR3-capable 785G M-ATX board would be good. DDR3 is a big advantage to the 785G's graphics if you enable it to use system memory.

If you want it to be really low powered you could downgrade to a Sempron 140. May not be worth the performance drop, I'm not really sure. Just an option.

Also, as for AM3 vs C2, I think Core 2 chips themselves use less power, but the boards use more. AMD CPUs take on the memory controller which uses a fair amount of power. I'd still take AMD, but mostly because I believe it's less expensive for comparable setups.
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Old December 9, 2009, 06:46 PM
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The MSI board has sideport memory (128MB DDR3) actually so it wouldn't be eating into the RAM. Not like I need graphics horsepower though.

And the other way would be like a E5200 and ASUS P5G43T-M Pro which is roughly the same price.

Doesn't really seem like many review sites focus on lower end stuff and the power consumption though :(

As for drivers, that's not a huge concern. I know Server 2003 supports anything XP really. And if Server 2008 follows the trend, anything Vista/7 should work with it.
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Old December 9, 2009, 09:43 PM
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If you want such a review, check this out:
techPowerUp :: AMD Athlon II X2 240 2.80 GHz Review :: Page 1 / 13

It's got comparisons in a bunch of benchmarks (even against an e5200, as it happens) and compares power at stock and undervolted.
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Old December 10, 2009, 10:56 AM
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So at stock voltages, the E5200 seems to pull ahead, though the motherboards they used don't have on-board graphics (P45 and 790FX), so it's hard to compare directly. Either way, it seems pretty low coming in at ~150W idle with a HD4890 in there.

And I'd also probably grab a 80Plus Bronze/Silver rated PSU to further help things along. So I imagine I could pull off <100W at idle.
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Old December 27, 2009, 09:26 PM
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Well since I have enough money to go forth with this idea, I'm actually considering it now. Only have until the 29th though for the PSU and CPU prices, so I guess I need to make my mind up...

Anyways give me some opinions on the following:
  • From Tom's, it seems as though the MSI uses the least amount of power of AM3 boards. Open to alternatives, preferably power consumption numbers.
  • Not too picky on the RAM, maybe there's cheaper, but it needs to work with AM3 without issues. At least G.SKILL lists the MSI board as being compatible on their site. Open to suggestions here. Could drop back to DDR2 and a different motherboard too I guess, but it seems pointless to buy into DDR2 these days.
  • Cheapest 80+ Silver PSU I believe and should be decent enough since it won't run any where near full load. Gets 86% efficiency at 111W which lower wattage PSUs that aren't Silver rated can't match, at least the ones I looked at.
  • Reusing my Antec 900, dual 500GB drives for the OS, and a single 250GB drive for downloads along with my Intel PCI-E Gigabit NIC. And hopefully it'll run Server 2008 R2 Standard/Enterprise.
And on the side, the Noctua AM2 Upgrade Kit to re-use my NH-U12 that I currently have in my server (s939). Passively of course. And possibly the ASUS RT-N16 and flashing that with DD-WRT (my DIR-655 is just getting annoying).

Ends up at $685.10 shipped with Purolator Ground (not trusting UPS anymore).
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Old December 27, 2009, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrom17 View Post

Ends up at $685.10 shipped with Purolator Ground (not trusting UPS anymore).

Good man, i swear ill never ship ups again after all the screw ups with them
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Old December 28, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Looks pretty good, I probably wouldn't be changing anything personally except for the drives. I just don't like the slowpokeness of the WD Greens.
But if you value low power consumption more than performance, they're definitely for you.
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