Specifying/configuring a media server

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cwest
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Specifying/configuring a media server

Post by cwest » Sun May 20, 2007 1:50 pm

I suspect that most people (including me) who want to spec (and build) a media server are overwhelmed with choices and decisions—or the hype and BS. There are some good comparison sites such as www.tomshardware.com, but they're not too useful in terms of specifying the best matching components one needs to build a media server. For example, which CPU/heatsink/fanless is the best performer for transcoding—which disk has the fastest write with the least noise. That sort of thing.

I've started this thread with the hope that there will be objective discussion and responses that'll drive a specification not restrained by any one manufacturer's offering or a tight budget. Here are some of the issues I and presumably a number of other people are facing for which I'd greatly appreciate comment.

· Motherboard and CPU. As there isn't an economical case to NOT buy x64 hardware these days, will BTV run under XP PRO 32 bit installed thereon? Are there other concerns if doing this? From which CPU can one get the most performance with the least amount of noise—no fan? What components should or shouldn't be onboard—graphics, audio, interfaces, etc.

· Storage. Which disks offer the best performance-quiet-cool mix? Is it more sensible to use NAS which is placed in another room rather than placing disks in a server, which is presumably in the same room as the screen or TV?

· Audio, Video and Capture. Should audio be delivered from a server via an external device or from a sound card? What is considered to be the best value graphics card that doesn't use a fan? Are 2 TV in's on 1 card better? Is there a HD/SD capture card? What about video-scalers to output 720p/1080p?

· Server case and Power Supply. Apart from visual appeal, which cases offer a good mix of quietness, size, air-flow that can accommodate preferred components.

That's probably enough to get the thread rolling. Suggestions with reasonable argument will be most helpful. Perhaps the ultimate media server with the highest performance-quietness quotient will evolve :)

nightmorph
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Post by nightmorph » Sun May 20, 2007 4:19 pm

Just so you know, Tom's is not what you'd call unbiased, so take their advice with a mountain-sized grain of salt. Check around here for some insight on their reviews etc.

Anyway, if you're looking for a passively-cooled CPU, a lower-end AMD Athlon64 should work; no need for the high-end variants. Something like a single-core 3000+ should do the job. Given your intended usage, dual-core CPUs seem like they'd be considerable overkill, not to mention trickier to cool passively.

Regarding cases, what kind of look did you have in mind, if any? Are you looking for a horizontal case to blend into your A/V rack, or something different? What are your space constraints?

As far as PSUs go, anything from Seasonic will do nicely.

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Sun May 20, 2007 8:34 pm

cwest, you need to go into a lot more detail about what you are trying to do. It seems like you are looking for more than a server -- server implies that some other device does the actual playing of the files. Are you actually after a HTPC, or am I misunderstanding? You need to explain what files types you expect to be working with, what you need to do with them, and what types of A/V equipment you will connecting to.

cwest
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Post by cwest » Mon May 21, 2007 5:36 am

Point taken about tomshardware—some of the comments struck me as less than objective.

I intend to use my media server for transcoding. Removing DRM, wma to aac or mp3, mpeg2 to mpeg4, etc. I tried some of this on my PC and it just about makes it unusable until it's finished. The need to transcode while streaming to 2-3 other TVs implies to me that a C2D processor would be a sensible choice. However, I expect passive cooling it to be a challenge unless there is a fan option that's extremely quiet.

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Mon May 21, 2007 8:17 pm

C2D certainly has AMD X2 outgunned for transcoding, but X2 does have the advantage of lower power consumption at idle. Given that you are talking about a server that is likely going to be running 24/7 but not doing much most of the time, idle power consumption is something to consider. Still, unless electricity gets a lot more expensive in the next 5 years, you are probably only looking at single digit $/year savings by going with AMD.

Transcoding is very CPU intensive, but streaming is not. In your described application of transcoding while streaming multiple programs, the CPU is not your only (and maybe not the most important) bottleneck. You also need to worry about network interface and drive controllers. Springing for something beyond on-board Ethernet may be worthwhile. As for storage, something involving striping may be helpful -- like RAID 1+0, 5, or 10 (ordered based on appropriateness for increasingly larger storage requirements).

cwest
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Post by cwest » Mon May 21, 2007 8:43 pm

I intend to have 2xTV in (Hauppauge 500) that'll run 24/7, saving the last 24 hours in MPEG2, and making the files available to 2-3 client PCs in close to real-time. TVs are connected to client PCs. Transcoding and/or editing of the MPEG2 files, using Remote Desktop to the server, won’t be in real-time or done when or if it affects streaming.

I'm not too keen on striping. My understanding is that there's no chance of recovery if a disk fails. Is that right? I will be selectively backing up though. I was also hoping that 2x100 Ethernet connections would be adequate—1 onboard plus a NIC.

cwest
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Post by cwest » Mon May 21, 2007 9:15 pm

I intend to have 2xTV in (Hauppauge 500) that'll run 24/7, saving the last 24 hours in MPEG2, and making the files available to 2-3 client PCs in close to real-time. TVs are connected to the client PCs. Transcoding and/or editing of the MPEG2 files, using Remote Desktop to the server, won’t be in real-time or done when or if it affects streaming.

I'm not too keen on striping. My understanding is that there's no chance of recovery if a disk fails. Is that right? I was also hoping that 2x100 Ethernet connections would be adequate—1 onboard plus a NIC.

I've been reading about hardware for 2 days. This is what I've spec'd so far. I can't identify a suitable mobo or audio card yet, and I suspect I haven't optimally chosen or matched the CPU with RAM. Appreciate some guidance.

Image

autoboy
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Post by autoboy » Mon May 21, 2007 11:15 pm

Someone on missing remote posted the question what would be the perfect media server. The thread can be found here

Here is what I wrote when everyone was posting extreme builds that didn't seem appropriate:

I'll come in with another option for the server. You guys must all be made of $ because these systems all cost a ton of money.

Low end Dual Core cpu -- I don't find I use much processor on my server. I don't do comskip or transcoding very often. When I do transcode, I just start it and come back the next day so processor speed is not that important to me. I would go for low power here. A 65nm AM2 3600+ undervolted to 1.1V or lower would hardly use any power and would suit me just fine. A server on 24/7 can use a lot of power and cost you $ [edit -- you might want a bit more cpu but honestly, why do you ever need to transcode when harddrives are so damn cheap? I mean, maybe if you wanted to play it on your ipod or razr, but I would never waste time transcoding shows I recorded and wanted to watch on my TV]

Onboard Graphics. No need for advanced graphics unless this doubles as a client.

Inexpensive full ATX motherboard. I like the Full ATX nvidia 6100 boards that have 4 pci slots for plenty of expansion, 2 pci-e x1 for more gigabit or raid, gigabit ethernet, onboard sound and video, and 4 sata ports supporting raid 0,1,0+1,5.

2 harddrives in raid 1. These are for my important data like pictures, music, programs, archived shows etc. Your size may vary depending on needs.

1 or 2 300-500GB drives for TV shows recorded. I don't need backup here but i'm not sure I would use raid. SageTV allows me to span recording drives. If I lose them I'll be slightly upset but it is nothing that torrent can't fix for the few shows I really lost and wanted to see. I have 3 200s now for 600GB and find it is plenty of storage. I am slowly moving these to whatever is cheapest. I just switched a bad 200 for a $80 320GB. I also use any leftover space on client PCs as recording drives but they are really just iceing on the cake. No raid 5 because of speed problems, cost, processor cycles, and setup time.

1 dual tuner analog card or 2 singles if you aren't buying new.
1 HDhomerun (comes with 2 digital tuners) This is a great tuner allowing QAM HD. These 4 tuners allow me to record anything I want without conflicts. I use a $2 fast ethernet card to connect the HDhomerun directly to the server so it does not clog the pipes.

Onboard sound. If this is a client also you might want better sound but the HD codecs are pretty good and spdif is the same no matter what card you get.

Full tower case. I like the P180, Antec 900, or CM stacker.

1GB of ram. This seems to be enough for me. 512 was not cutting it.

For clients I really want the new HD extender for SageTV. That would save me so much money and time setting up all my clients. They never all work the same and every change I make I have to add it to all of them. I just want to sell em or give them to my parents/family for office computers.
Last edited by autoboy on Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SoopahMan
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Post by SoopahMan » Tue May 22, 2007 12:18 am

TomsHardware.com is one of the worst hardware review sites online. Stop wasting your time there, it will help you a lot. I've read reviews of theirs on hardware I've had in my system and the details they miss or dwell on are ridiculous, and often just factually incorrect.

For hard drives look at StorageReview.com and for most hardware Anandtech is pretty good - other sites like FiringSquad do alright too. Just don't go to TomsHardware... what a mess.

As for motherboard, I highly recommend the nForce boards - they'll solve your audio problem too, the audio on my machine is quite nice and comes from an nForce4 board. My particular nForce board includes an audio "riser" which sits away from the rest of the board to eliminate any possibility of electrical noise, and it is in fact the cleanest audio I've had from any PC, including those driven by a Creative Labs card.

There is also a motherboard that's been very popular for low-heat (efficiency) on recent reviews of graphics cards but I can't find the name right now, I believe it's an Intel-based chipset however. Unfortunately I'm going to have to leave that to you and Google but I've seen a few reviews notice that this particular new chipset gets as much as a 20% reduction in system power usage even at load.

nightmorph
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Post by nightmorph » Tue May 22, 2007 1:34 am

@cwest:

That CPU you listed is way, way, way too much overkill. Cooling it will be a PITA too; you can forget about passive cooling. Stick with a lower end dual-core, like an Athlon X2 3800 or C2D E6300. That will be more than enough.

You don't need to buy a P150 and a separate PSU. The P150 comes with its own Antec 450W PSU. Realistically, your power usage is going to be <300W maxed out. If you decide you still want the P150 chassis, then get the Antec Solo in all black or the brand new white version (just like the P150; it even has the stealth drive doors). You won't need Acoustipak either; the P150/Solo come with their own acoustic dampening built into the case panels. It's really quite nifty.

As far as PSUs go, you really are better off with, say, a Seasonic 330W or 380W. I'd choose the latter because even though it's also overkill, its heatsinks are beefier and more capable than the 330W, so its fan will ramp up less under load simply because the heatsinks are doing a better job of removing heat.

You won't need a chipset cooler as long as you get a motherboard with decent passive cooling, and most 'boards with passive cooling work just fine as-is.

Your RAM is overkill; you don't need DDR2 800, quite simply, unless you were planning to overclock the hell out of a >=$500 CPU of some kind. Stick with 533 or 667 at the most, unless there's really only $1 or $2 price difference.

While the 7600GS isn't a bad choice, make sure it's a passively cooled version unless you don't care about noise. Also, check around for benchmarks at places like http://www.techreport.com -- a GS with 512MB memory? It's wasted. A 256MB 7600GT will beat it every time. Actually, go with a GT if you're looking at 7600s anyway. Don't bother with more than 256MB memory in a GS. :)

andyb
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Post by andyb » Tue May 22, 2007 1:47 am

I just used my old PC, its sweet.

Sonata MK.1
MSI K8N NEO S754
3200+
2x 512MB Kingston DDR-400
Ancient PCI Graphics card
Seagate 5400.3 80GB Suspended
4x Samsung T133 500GB HDD's RAID-5 Software

I need to get some more soft silicone mounts for the HDD's as 2 of them really rattle.


Andy
Main PC, P180, CM Silent Pro 500M, i5 3570k @ 4.2Ghz, 8-GB @ 2,400MHz, 512GB 850 EVO, 500 Extreme II, 2x 2.5" drives, MSI 660Ti Twin Frozr.
Server, under reconstruction, 380W Enermax Pro82+, positive pressure only.

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Tue May 22, 2007 1:14 pm

cwest, what's the graphics card for? Is this server also going to be a head end connected to one of the TVs? Whatever it's for, as long as it's not gaming, there is no need for much memory -- 512 MB is super overkill for video. As for your concerns about HD striping: it's only RAID 0 that offers no disk failure recovery. All of the RAIDs I mentioned can survive the lose of one or more drives. The big downside of RAID (other than 0) is that your effective storage is often significantly less than the raw storage of the drives. Still, striping (if well executed) can vastly improve performance with lots of simultaneous drive access from multiple processes.

cwest
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Post by cwest » Tue May 22, 2007 7:54 pm

The server will double as a client, although its main function is serving 2-3 clients over a LAN. Because transcoding is so resource intensive, which I'll be doing a lot, I've decided to back-off on the CPU somewhat. In addition to this server I'll seek help in another thread for what I'll call a Network Attached Transcoding Engine (NATE—yet another acronym :)).

Although I intend to offload transcoding later on, I still need a C2D processor that can be passively cooled. I'm concerned about creating too much noise, which is why I'm trying to avoid a fan cooling a heatsink that fits in a Solo case. What about this combination I read in an spcr review (http://www.silentpcreview.com/article698-page4.html). It seems that a C2D6400 and a Scythe Ninja CPU heatsink is acceptably quiet even with a fan—around 20db@1m. Is this about the best one can expect?

I'm still at a loss as to which motherboard to select. I read about the nforce boards, but the reviews I read implied less than the best choice. I can't find a board that integrates high-end graphics and audio.

Not finding acceptable onboard graphics, I'm going follow nighmorph's suggestion and settle with a GIGABYTE GV-NX76T256D-RH GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video which is passively cooled.

I'm also revising my PSU to a SeaSonic S12-380 ATX12V 380W

I don’t know enough to match RAM and CPU. At $97, 2GB of DDR2 800 seems pretty good value. Did I miss something? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820145034. Will a C2D6400 make use of this speed?

I read about RAID today. Striping with redundancy would clearly improve serving/streaming. If demand necessitates more I/O, I'd implement RAID 1+0 using 4 x 500GB drives.

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Tue May 22, 2007 9:24 pm

cwest wrote:The server will double as a client, although its main function is serving 2-3 clients over a LAN. Because transcoding is so resource intensive, which I'll be doing a lot, I've decided to back-off on the CPU somewhat. In addition to this server I'll seek help in another thread for what I'll call a Network Attached Transcoding Engine (NATE—yet another acronym :)).
C2D, even overclocked to around 3GHz, is not that hard to cool. Avoiding the use of high end graphics cards will do a lot to keep the overall cooling manageable/quiet. If there is no gaming required, I'd consider going with an even lower end graphics card or even on-board video -- the new AMD 690 chipset is very solid for video under Windows.
cwest wrote:Although I intend to offload transcoding later on, I still need a C2D processor that can be passively cooled. I'm concerned about creating too much noise, which is why I'm trying to avoid a fan cooling a heatsink that fits in a Solo case. What about this combination I read in an spcr review (http://www.silentpcreview.com/article698-page4.html). It seems that a C2D6400 and a Scythe Ninja CPU heatsink is acceptably quiet even with a fan—around 20db@1m. Is this about the best one can expect?
I think a Thermalright HR-01 is just what you are looking for. Using the included case fan duct, there is no need for a fan on the heatsink. The HR-01 is almost 1/2" taller than the Ninja but I'm pretty sure the Solo is plenty deep enough. Also, 20 dBA is damn near inaudible. If your CPU cooling solution is that quiet, it will doubtless be quieter than the HD and PSU (unless it is a fanless PSU).
cwest wrote:Not finding acceptable onboard graphics, I'm going follow nighmorph's suggestion and settle with a GIGABYTE GV-NX76T256D-RH GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video which is passively cooled.
What do you mean by acceptable? Please note that on-board graphics are generally only considered unacceptable for gaming. The Mac Minis that many use as HTPCs only use the lowly Intel GMA950 and the Apple TV's discrete solution is only a Nvidia 7300 with 64 MB. While higher end cards brag MPEG4 acceleration, this task is often better accomplished in software using CPUs far less powerful than any C2D. In my mind, for A/V use, the only reason to get discrete graphics much better than today's on-board solutions is if you want to use a fairly weak CPU (AMD 3200 or below).
cwest wrote:I don’t know enough to match RAM and CPU. At $97, 2GB of DDR2 800 seems pretty good value. Did I miss something? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820145034. Will a C2D6400 make use of this speed?
For a C2D6400 to require DDR2 800, you'd have to overclock to beyond 2.8 GHz (this would be a 350 MHz FSB which is starting to push things for 667 RAM. Unless you are going to really overclock, high end 667 RAM with very low timings will do better for you than low end 800 RAM with higher timings. By the way, both the C2D4400 and C2D6420 are much better choices than the C2D6400. If you are going to overclock, I'd even go with the C2D4300 over the C2D6400. The only downside of C2D4xxx is no hardware virtualization support, but that is probably not an issue in this application.
cwest wrote:I read about RAID today. Striping with redundancy would clearly improve serving/streaming. If demand necessitates more I/O, I'd implement RAID 1+0 using 4 x 500GB drives.
I thought you only needed 500 GB total? I'd probably go with a 3X RAID 5 array over a 4X RAID 1+0/0+1 array , for the greater efficiency.

lanceuppercut
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Post by lanceuppercut » Wed May 23, 2007 12:17 am

autoboy wrote:2 harddrives in raid 0. These are for my important data like pictures, music, programs, archived shows etc.
i think raid1 is what you're thinking of. important data on a raid0 array = not best thing ever..

nick705
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Post by nick705 » Wed May 23, 2007 1:26 am

cwest wrote: Not finding acceptable onboard graphics, I'm going follow nighmorph's suggestion and settle with a GIGABYTE GV-NX76T256D-RH GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video which is passively cooled.
You might be better off getting a passive 8500GT or 8600GT/GTS - they're no more expensive than the equivalent 7600s, and they have full hardware acceleration for h.264 video (which can be hard work even for a powerful CPU).

cwest
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Post by cwest » Wed May 23, 2007 3:11 pm

Following posted recommendations I've searched quite a bit. This ASUS board seems to be a suitable choice—ATI 1250 graphics, 8 channel Audio, HDMI and DVI out, but I can't seem to find anything mentioned about sound capability. I think HDMI is limited to 5.1 and there doesn’t seem to be any better audio output.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131174.

However I'm still stuck in the selection process. If this ASUS board is a good choice, what memory and CPU matches it in terms of best performance and only needs a heatsink—no fan? If I choose a CPU by price—about $100—which of these is better?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... +dual-core

I'm slowly learning, I hope. Appreciate the help.

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Thu May 24, 2007 3:36 am

cwest wrote:Following posted recommendations I've searched quite a bit. This ASUS board seems to be a suitable choice—ATI 1250 graphics, 8 channel Audio, HDMI and DVI out, but I can't seem to find anything mentioned about sound capability.
If it is getting hooked up to a receiver that can handle 7.1 surround, I'd go with this sound card as it inexpensive yet has Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES passthrough on its TOS-link connector.

By the way, you know you can get a similar motherboard that supports C2D, right? A moderately overclocked C2D4300 or C2D4400 would seriously kick the ass of a similarly priced X2.
cwest wrote:However I'm still stuck in the selection process. If this ASUS board is a good choice, what memory and CPU matches it in terms of best performance and only needs a heatsink—no fan?
If you go AMD, you want the fastest memory speed available at a reasonable price. As for fanless cooling, the issue is not so much which CPU (as long as we're talking desktop C2D and X2) as which case. If your case has good overall airflow design, a 120mm or bigger fan, and room for a Ninja, HR-01, or other big heatsink that is known to work well fanless, you are good to go.

cwest
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Post by cwest » Thu May 24, 2007 3:57 pm

For similarly priced processors am I right to conclude that overclocked C2D's offer much better value than AMD's, and C2D's can be passively cooled and remain stable in a Solo case, provided that overclocking isn't extreme? If yes, choosing a C2D4300, overclocking it to say 2.5 MHz and using a Thermalright HR-01, with the ABIT motherboard you referred to and using DDR2 667 memory ought to do it. Just one thing though, the ABIT motherboard has a high-failure rate. Is there another similarly featured motherboard that you you'd suggest?

cwest
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Post by cwest » Thu May 24, 2007 4:16 pm

Browsing the memory choices at newegg, it isn't obvious why one would choose 240 pin over the others, if at all. For the unit I want to have built, which is the better choice 667 and is a heat spreader a worthwhile feature?

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Thu May 24, 2007 10:11 pm

cwest wrote:For similarly priced processors am I right to conclude that overclocked C2D's offer much better value than AMD's, and C2D's can be passively cooled and remain stable in a Solo case, provided that overclocking isn't extreme?
Yes.
cwest wrote:If yes, choosing a C2D4300, overclocking it to say 2.5 MHz and using a Thermalright HR-01, with the ABIT motherboard you referred to and using DDR2 667 memory ought to do it. Just one thing though, the ABIT motherboard has a high-failure rate. Is there another similarly featured motherboard that you you'd suggest?
Does it really, or does NewEgg just have a very high moron rate? When reading NewEgg comments, I give the greatest weight to average score and judge each review on its own merits -- some are just leagues more creditable than others.

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Thu May 24, 2007 10:19 pm

cwest wrote:Browsing the memory choices at newegg, it isn't obvious why one would choose 240 pin over the others, if at all. For the unit I want to have built, which is the better choice 667 and is a heat spreader a worthwhile feature?
All DDR2 is 240-pin, 184-pin is DDR. I'm pretty sure the only way to get speeds as high as 667 is with DDR2. What you want to be looking for is the best timings, something like 4-4-4-12 or lower.
In theory head spreaders are good. In reality it is a question of fit and finish. A poorly attached spreader is worse than no spreader at all. That said, I'd opt for the spreader if all else was equal (price, brand reputation, timings, speed).

cwest
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Post by cwest » Sat May 26, 2007 1:01 pm

@jessekopelman
Thanks for all the help. Much appreciated. I've ordered the bits. Let you know how it turns out in 2-3 weeks.

Flandry
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Post by Flandry » Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:10 pm

I want to hear how it turned out. :)

I'm in the process of jettisoning a hopelessly obsolete desktop in favor of my laptop, and considering putting together a smaller, more efficient htpc/sff computer to be an always-on media server, TV capture box, and home automation server. It would also be a TV client and i'd like to use it on occasion for gaming (games my laptop can't handle), but at the same time not sacrifice energy efficiency and quiet running.

With my Centrino laptop (Dothan 1.7GHz), i use Notebook Hardware Control (man i love that program) to substantially reduce operating wattage by cutting the VCore for each multiplier and reducing the maximum multiplier of the CPU, as well as clocking down the ATI graphics adapter when i don't need top graphics performance. I am not familiar enough with the contemporary AMD and Intel chipsets and processors to know if something similar is possible-or to what extent.

I read a lot of different advice here, but am lost as to which applies to the latest chips and which is obsolete. So my question is, is it realistic to hope to put together a very quiet and power efficient media server by undervolting/clocking a decent CPU and graphics adapter that can also be cranked up for good performance, or should i just put together a separate purpose-built gaming rig to boot up for gaming? Also, what is the best idle power consumption achievable by a media-server capable system? Any suggestions about specific systems to look at would be appreciated, as well. I have a PCI WinFast TV 200 XP card for capture, and another PCI card to communicate with X-10 devices, but otherwise will be starting from scratch.

In terms of gaming, my eye is on Supreme Commander, for the moment. ;)

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Post by autoboy » Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:42 pm

This is an old thread. You might consider a new thread for your questions. Also, what do you mean by performance? I consider my HTPC perfomance, because it can handle anything I can possibly ask it to do as a media box. I don't use it for gaming. With a 2400pro and a single core 3200+ I can play all HD media ever created :) That is performance to me. Media boxes can be put together with old hardware and you really shouldn't buy new equipment if you already have good stuff laying around. Any power improvements will be offset by the cost of the system.

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Post by Flandry » Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:26 am

Well i posted here because i got to the end of the thread and the suspense was killing me, but i did end up creating a new thread in system advice, so you make a good point.

Your advice about using an old system is duly noted. There are two reasons for not using my old dual PIII/DDR/AGP system:
First, it's not quite fast enough for Supreme Commander (digression: actually, it being a multi-threaded game, i'm really curious if the system could handle it :lol:-- but it would require me to completely replace the old RAM and the 4200 Ti with something much more capable).

Second, it's based on a larger ATX mobo in a larger and noisier case than i'd like. The case is old enough that it only has 80mm fans and is difficult to run silently.

By the time i tweak out the PIII for the purpose, i could have spent a few hundred more for a leaner, more power mATX system fully capable or easily upgradeable to everything i need for the next five years.

I'll think about it. Anyway, i hope cwest posts about his results. I'll take my questions to a new thread. :)

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