Hey all, it's been a while since I've posted here, but I've been up to some interesting projects, and the biggest one belongs right here.
Working at a computer shop has given me a chance to play around with current systems that I put together for consumers, and recently we've started to do work for businesses. We have a new client who has a 10 year old inventory and invoicing system that they're looking to replace. Well, clearly they came to the right shop.
They now have a "starter" server, which sports a 45W Xeon CPU and 8GB of RAM, with two RAID 1 setups, one pair of 250GB Velociraptors for Windows Server 2008 R2, and another pair of 1TB Black drives for their data storage. Because the Xeon we used didn't have integrated graphics, they have a generic low end PCI-Express card. Both RAID arrays are managed by the Supermicro motherboard I chose, amazingly enough to me. I wasn't sure if the integrated controller would manage two arrays, but it works very well. It's topped off by a 450W Antec High Current Gamer power supply so I could maximize the efficiency of the computer. I could get away with putting a passive 300W in it, however this is not kept in a server room, and it's not in a particularly well air conditioned warehouse, with an office built into one corner. The Xeon is cooled by a Scythe Katana 4, managed by the motherboard. There are two internal 120mm 12v case fans which are Silverstone fans, pulled from PS07B cases when I did builds that didn't need so many fans. Each RAID setup uses color coordinated SATA cables so you never pull the wrong drive out, and all cables are routed around the outside of the case, or bundled very close to the power supply for lots of breathability. Everything will be permanently installed in a Startech 12U closed rack, with 4 sided easy access via removeable panels, and foam channels for running cables outside or into the rack unit.
The server pulls 76W idle, and under an average load that they'll see, 112W. Peanuts compared to the $5000 Dell systems they were originally looking at, in both power consumption, and price.
Additionally, they're using a 16 port switch that doesn't power on ethernet ports unless they're in use. Finally, feeding their internet is a Watchguard hardware based firewall, which pulls 10W. Their entire new system pulls the same power as their old server alone, with better functionality, and easier access.
I picked a 4U Rosewill server case, however if I repeated this build, I would opt for a different case. The Rosewill was wonderful to work in, giving me easy access to everything I needed, however I would prefer a smaller build, mATX case or similar, using a Cooler master 4in3 for the hard drives. Even the new Velociraptors are not very warm, so you could easily get away with it.
For home users, current builds are done with mATX and mITX boards, ranging from Atoms to Pentium series computers, with the most intense computers being i3's, or if needed, i5 processors. Some AMD computers are built using integrated CPUs on boards from ECS for very light work, but we seem to prefer Intel at the shop, a 180* flip from building almost exclusively AMD machines a couple years ago (only one came back with a bad case fan earlier this spring).
It's hard to convince customers what hardware they're really going to utilize, and I feel like that's the problem with Green Computing. People want the fastest available, not something that might feel a little slower, use less power, or even be cheaper. Slowly but surely, one build at a time, it could be slowly solved in the world.
Edit: Exact Server Specs
Intel Xeon L3426
WD Velociraptor 250GB (HHTZ)
WD 1TB Black (FAEX)
Scythe Katana 4
-Black, Yellow and Orage SATA cables (RAID arrays + ODD)
-Silverstone 120mm fans
|Dual Intel Xeon E5-2620-Xigmatek SD1283 DK-II|Asus Z9PA-D8-HR-05 IFX|WD 250gb Velociraptor SATA3|16gb DDR3-1600 ECC RDIMM|WD Blue 640GB SATA2 x2|Logitech K750|Logitech Wireless Mouse|nVidia GTX660ti 2GB|Antec HCG-750|NZXT Source 210 Elite|M-Audio ProFire 2626|Art TubeOpto8 with Smooth Plate Tube Swap|Avid Artist Mix x2|
A 9500GT with 1GB of RAM is the most pointless thing since NASCAR.