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 Post subject: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:41 am 
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I'm thinking about getting an Atom powered netbook or something similar to use as a low-power server for personal use on my home network. This does not need to be a 24/7 server, but something that can run all day without consuming a lot of energy.

What I'm wondering is, what is the most efficient way to use it? Leaving the charger plugged in all the time? Or charging it overnight when it is off, and running it off the battery during the day?


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:04 am 
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You have losses in the charger and in the battery so best is charger plugged in and battery removed when the system is on. Then disconnect the charger from the wall when the system is off since it draws a little bit just by being connected.

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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:01 am 
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how do you plan to connect hard drives to it? usb->sata adaptors?


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Vicotnik wrote:
You have losses in the charger and in the battery so best is charger plugged in and battery removed when the system is on.
Interesting. I hadn't considered that angle. I was thinking more about using power at peak hours, etc. If I charge at night during off-peak hours, and use the battery during the day, would that be less efficient power-wise, but more efficient cost-wise?

Vicotnik wrote:
Then disconnect the charger from the wall when the system is off since it draws a little bit just by being connected.
I connect everything to surge suppressors with switches on them so I can simply switch off the surge suppressor instead of having to constantly plug stuff in. Nevertheless, aren't modern AC/DC adapters equipped with self-switching technology so that you no longer have the thing sitting there constantly warm and drawing power when not in use?


Last edited by toronado455 on Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:47 pm 
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nzdcoy wrote:
how do you plan to connect hard drives to it? usb->sata adaptors?
Only HDD would be internal. My idea, IF I do this, would be to have the thing totally self-contained with no peripherals or wires hanging off (except PSU when charging). It might also double as a portable back-up system for me. I'm not talking about storing/serving large media files with this, just installing XAMPP on it. So mostly just web pages and SQL data.


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:23 pm 
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Keep in mind that power consumption varies a lot across laptops and even across Atoms.
If you don't have a reliable source for the power consumption of a model, you can look at the cooling system. If the laptop is fanless or if the fan doesn't spin at low loads, it has to be quite efficient. Of course, you might have to replace the brick if the stock brick is crap because that would ruin the efficiency of any laptop.

toronado455 wrote:
If I charge at night during off-peak hours, and use the battery during the day, would that be less efficient power-wise, but more efficient cost-wise?

It depends on the efficiencies of the battery and the brick. But with decent gear, I think it would be more efficient to let it run on AC all the time. If you want to keep the battery connected as an UPS, it shouldn't cost you a whole lot of electricity since charging can be disabled until the battery is virtually empty.
I don't understand what you mean by cost-wise. What other costs do you have expect power and possibly battery replacement? Do you actually pay less for electricity during the night? If so, post your rates. Domestic users get a flat rate around here. Only large users and such get demand-shaping incentives in their rates.


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:46 pm 
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It would be more energy efficient to run it from AC, not using the battery.
It is highly unlikely that the battery would be efficient enough to make up the difference in cost between night and day costs. (If significant savings were possible that way, then the power company would install big batteries (or other energy storage) and reduce the cost differential to the point where it was no longer economical.) Under that scenario you would also have to consider the cost of the batteries. Batteries have a limited number of charge/discharge cycles. Would have to include cost of replacing the batteries after they wore out from daily charge/discharge.

Of course the big energy (and $) usage here will be creating and buying the computer. Using an already existing machine would be less costly (energy and $).

Have you considered a second-hand laptop, or if you have the space a desktop?
Using a machine without a display, battery, etc. could likewise save some $, energy.

(e.g. if you pick up a second hand machine for $50, vs $200 for a netbook - even if the second hand machine uses more power, it will take a long time to use $150 of energy.)


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:48 pm 
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toronado455 wrote:
Nevertheless, aren't modern AC/DC adapters equipped with self-switching technology so that you no longer have the thing sitting there constantly warm and drawing power when not in use?

It depends on the brick, but even the efficient switching supplies (rating IV or V) draw a tiny amount.

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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:33 am 
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Vicotnik wrote:
toronado455 wrote:
Nevertheless, aren't modern AC/DC adapters equipped with self-switching technology so that you no longer have the thing sitting there constantly warm and drawing power when not in use?

It depends on the brick, but even the efficient switching supplies (rating IV or V) draw a tiny amount.


Thanks. Maybe someone could explain something to me. (I don't know much about this stuff). When one of these low-power netbooks is at idle it draws less power than when under full-load, right? Does the power brick just draw a constant amount of watts from the grid no matter what, or does it draw less energy when the computer is in idle mode?


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:40 am 
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It's going to draw less at idle but with a crappy brick and a very efficient laptop, there won't be much of a difference. In that case, running on battery might make sense.

By the way, the raspberries are supposed to ship by the end of the month in case you don't need much power.


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:08 am 
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HFat wrote:
It's going to draw less at idle but with a crappy brick and a very efficient laptop, there won't be much of a difference. In that case, running on battery might make sense.

By the way, the raspberries are supposed to ship by the end of the month in case you don't need much power.


The Raspberry Pi is uber cool, but it's ARM. I need X86.


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Thinking about the Sony VAIO Y (YB) netbook. Notebookcheck.net measured a pretty much constant fan noise of 33dB. Depending on the tonal character of the noise, I might be ok with that. The rest of the specs are good for what I want. And Sony has updated this to the E-450.


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:24 am 
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toronado455 wrote:
I was thinking more about using power at peak hours, etc. If I charge at night during off-peak hours, and use the battery during the day, would that be less efficient power-wise, but more efficient cost-wise?
You won't be using much energy no matter what. Why wear out the battery by involving it at all?

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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:27 am 
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toronado455 wrote:
When one of these low-power netbooks is at idle it draws less power than when under full-load, right? Does the power brick just draw a constant amount of watts from the grid no matter what, or does it draw less energy when the computer is in idle mode?
In theory you would expect it to draw less power at idle, though you would expect it to be most efficient at around mid or high power. The only way to know for certain is to test the power draw and feel for heat.

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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:29 am 
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toronado455 wrote:
Thinking about the Sony VAIO Y (YB) netbook. Notebookcheck.net measured a pretty much constant fan noise of 33dB. Depending on the tonal character of the noise, I might be ok with that. The rest of the specs are good for what I want. And Sony has updated this to the E-450.
Can't you get a netbook without a fan?

Here is a list of fanless laptops, though it is a bit out of date:
List of fanless laptops
viewtopic.php?t=39694

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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:08 am 
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Here you go
chooback wrote:
It seems I might finally be able to replace my Samsung Q40 with something new :-), which is fanless, is not heavier and hasn't a smaller screen! This is truly a good news, as I thought that the technological progress (in the sense that interests me anyway) stopped forever in 2007.http://netbooknavigator.com/index.php?o ... Itemid=208
If you click "Specifications", you see "Fanless design".
The only problem is that the delivery date is 11.04, and I'll be in US only till about 9.04... so probably will have to wait till it's available in UK (probably for 150% of the US price...)


Fanless Netbook April 21, 2010
http://gadgetmix.com/tag/sony-fanless-netbook/

Dell Inspiron Mini iM1012-1091OBK
http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/dell-in ... 926-5.html

Looking for fanless 10" or smaller netbook with texas instrument firewire
http://www.notebookforums.com/t/238138/ ... t-firewire

3/2/12 2:50 PM
In Reply to: fanless neetbooks, display 11-12 inch? by yjopwxe, My Dell Mini 1010 is fanless...I was under the impression that all Atom Z500 series were. I get 8 hours of battery life with the 6 cell.
http://forums.cnet.com/7723-19688_102-5 ... g=mncol;1f

Dell Inspiron Mini 1018 Netbook "the current Intel Atom N455 Processor forms the CPU, which supports DDR3 RAM (1 GB DDR3-10600S-RAM). Additionally, the netbook comes with your choice of a 160 or 250 GB hard disk and the usual Windows 7 Starter (32 Bit) from Microsoft." "The netbook comes with one of two hard disks, 160 GB or 250 GB net capacity. Our test model from Hitachi (HTS545025B9A300) contains 250 GB of storage space. With a maximum transfer rate of 86.8 MB per second and a Burst Rate of 156.9 MB per second, it ranks in above average among 2.5-inch hard disks for netbooks. Replacing the hard drive doesn't come easy, though, since there's no opening at the bottom of the case through which to access it." "A key feature of the Inspiron Mini 1012 is the fanless cooling system. The hardware temperature is maintained by a cooling body made of copper. Air is fed in through the bottom of the case since there's no vent on either side." "Due to the fanless cooling concept, a higher temperature of the hardware is inevitable. Most notably, the temperature of the processor rises and warm spots can be felt on the outside of the case. Under normal use the maximum temperature is 39.8 degrees Celsius. The palm rest is - at a maximum of 29.8 degrees - a bit warm but doesn't compromise comfort." "Under heavy use the maximum temperature of the bottom of the cases increases to 46.5 degrees Celcius." "The consumption of 5.5 to 10.2 watts under normal use stays within the normal range for this hardware configuration. When the netbook is turned off or in standby, the 0.2 watts used is perfectly within reason and leaves no room for negative commentary."
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Del ... 739.0.html
http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-mini1018/pd
currently available for $257.99
http://chucksaudiovideo.com/product/471 ... 34CLB.html
More vendors
http://www.google.com/products/catalog? ... CHoQgggwAA
refurbished
http://www.google.com/products/catalog? ... IYBEPMCMAE
Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Dell-Inspiron-iM1 ... B0044XU310

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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:49 pm 
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I don't want it to be fanless. That's not to say I'd rule fanless out, but that fanless isn't a requirement of mine. I'd rather it had a quiet fan and run cooler than have no fan and run warmer.

I want it to be energy-conserving and small in size, no larger than 12.5" max. I want something with the latest processor, either AMD E-450, or latest Intel (Sandy Bridge or newer), or latest Atom (Cedar Trail or newer).

I also have brand preferences/biases. I won't buy an Acer (or Gateway). I don't like HP at all, and with Dell I only like a few of their high-end products. I prefer Lenovo, Sony, Samsung, Fujitsu, and Apple. Alternatively I'd also consider products from ASUS, MSI, and Gigabyte.


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:24 pm 
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This is interesting:
http://liliputing.com/2012/03/asus-eee- ... eview.html

Although it doesn't meet my desire for general performance, I think it could be used as a linux server. Any opinions?


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:32 pm 
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I just wanted to weigh in on the "battery issue" being discussed here. My opinion is that looking at it as an obstacle is the wrong way to see it. I see it as being a built-in UPS. Treat it as such.

Throw a large external USB HD on that thing (if you need the space), and you have a cheap, non-power-guzzling home server, complete with its own low profile keyboard and monitor, plus UPS. If I had the money to build a higher-powered server with RAID and a "real" UPS, I would also have the money to not be concerned about power usage.


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:34 am 
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AnomalyTea wrote:
I just wanted to weigh in on the "battery issue" being discussed here. My opinion is that looking at it as an obstacle is the wrong way to see it. I see it as being a built-in UPS. Treat it as such.

Throw a large external USB HD on that thing (if you need the space), and you have a cheap, non-power-guzzling home server, complete with its own low profile keyboard and monitor, plus UPS. If I had the money to build a higher-powered server with RAID and a "real" UPS, I would also have the money to not be concerned about power usage.



Excellent points!


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:05 pm 
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notebookcheck just reviewed the Lenovo X130e. http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Len ... 597.0.html
Apparently, if you dim the screen off, it draws only 4.2 watts at idle, or up to 7.7 watts idle with the screen on.
It tested quieter than the Sony VAIO Y (YB) and costs about the same.


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 Post subject: Re: low power netbook/notebook to use as server?
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 6:41 pm 
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toronado455 wrote:
Thinking about the Sony VAIO Y (YB) netbook. ... And Sony has updated this to the E-450.


Just wanted to follow up on this for anyone who is interested... notebookcheck just reviewed the updated Sony VIAO YB with the E450:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Son ... 489.0.html
It seems to actually fair worse than the previous model. Though noise and power consumption are down ever so slightly.


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