low heat output server for closet?

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Nate
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low heat output server for closet?

Post by Nate » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:12 pm

I have a closet that doesn't get much airflow. A little, but not a lot. Currently I have an old server in there that gets quite warm. It is time to replace it, so I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions on CPU/mobo/PSU/GPU/etc that would work well in such an environment?

The machine is normally a server. It has in total 5 WD 250g 3.5" drives where I store music/pictures/documents/etc, so I guess the mobo needs RAID. It is connected to a 1080p TV, but I only get a chance maybe twice a month to watch a Bluray rip. Still, it needs a decent video card. Honestly, 99% of the time the machine will be idle, but I don't want it to overheat when it does get used.

I recently upgraded my main machine to an i7 920 CPU, Gigabyte EX58-UD4P mobo, and an X25-M SSD. This was a pleasure to put together and has had zero problems since. Unfortunately, they don't seem to make this mobo anymore, plus I'm not sure if this is the best CPU to use in my unique, low airflow closet.

I like Intel for the CPU and nVidia for the GPU if it is all the same, since my last build went so smoothly, but I'm not against AMD and ATI if it is best for me. The SSD in my last build is amazing, so I'll definitely get one of those. This will make 6 drives total! Maybe it would be smart to replace all the drives with 1 SSD and 2 1TB drives, mirrored? Would this generate less heat?

Once we've decided about CPU/GPU/HDDs/etc, what PSU do I need? Should I go for the minimum wattage for my equipment, or would a higher wattage PSU run cooler? I think I have a reasonable new, very nice 600w Corsair PSU in there currently.

The case I have for this is an Antec P180. It has an extra fan in the mobo compartment.

Thanks for any help you can provide!

Nate
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Post by Nate » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:03 pm

I've been looking at CPU specifications, at the TDP numbers. For Intel the 32nm i5 and i3 are pretty low at 73w. For AMD the Athlon 2 250, 245, and 240 are 65w. The AMD Phenom II X4 905e is also 65w.

bean1975
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Post by bean1975 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:13 am

As I posted in the system advice forum, I am planning similar and the AMD Athlon X4 605e is only 45W.

lm
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Post by lm » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:59 am

Would it make any sense to connect the TV to your workstation instead? Then the server wouldn't need any graphics at all, therefore producing less heat?

Nate
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Post by Nate » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:22 pm

Not really, there isn't a workstation near enough.

I ended up going for an i5 650. I felt bad about losing performance to reduce heat, I went back and forth a lot. In the end I'm hoping this will run cool enough. I got a Gigabyte H55-USB3 mobo so I can use the i5's GPU. This is nice because I don't have the added heat from a video card. Hopefully it is powerful enough to do what I need.

I'll come back and post how it turns out. My parts come tomorrow!

Jay_S
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Re: low heat output server for closet?

Post by Jay_S » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:43 am

Nate wrote:The machine is normally a server. It has in total 5 WD 250g 3.5" drives where I store music/pictures/documents/etc, so I guess the mobo needs RAID.
Don't bother with raid. Raid is for up-time (redundancy) and combining spindles for performance. Neither benefit is generally important in a home environment. Raid is no substitute for a proper backup. Get an external HDD, burn DVD's, whatever.

Smallnetbuilder: Smart SOHOs Don't Do RAID
Nate wrote:This will make 6 drives total! Maybe it would be smart to replace all the drives with 1 SSD and 2 1TB drives, mirrored? Would this generate less heat?
For sure it would be less heat & less power. But I wouldn't go SSD in a server ever. If you're concerned about power, just usa a 2.5" notebook drive. This is for the OS / applications? The SSD is way overkill. The cost savings will nearly pay for one of those TB drives. Again, I wouldn't bother with mirroring. Use one of the TB drives externally as a backup.
Nate wrote:I ended up going for an i5 650. I felt bad about losing performance to reduce heat, I went back and forth a lot. In the end I'm hoping this will run cool enough. I got a Gigabyte H55-USB3 mobo so I can use the i5's GPU. This is nice because I don't have the added heat from a video card. Hopefully it is powerful enough to do what I need.
Lynnfield and Clarkdale CPU's are some of the lowest power consuming CPU's on the planet right now. Intel's HD graphics should be perfect for your HDTV. But why didn't you go with the Core i3 530? Do you need i5's turbo and VT support? I'm not saying those aren't desirable features - just curious.
it's the only jib I got, baby

Nate
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Post by Nate » Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:07 pm

I know I posted a reply yesterday, but I don't see it now!? :(

I hear you about RAID and backups. Problem is, I rarely get around to doing the real backup. I ended up going with 2x500gb mirrored, since I already had 1 of these drives, and 1TB regular for media and stuff. This is nice because I can backup the mirror to my 620gb USB external drive.

I love the SSD speed. I'm used to it on my main machine, but I still get a smile when something happens ridiculously fast. :) It was a bit of a splurge, but it is sweet. Yes, it is for the OS and apps.

Went with the i5 because, well, 5 is greater than 3! ;) I didn't look hard at the i3, since the i5 was faster. I see now the speed difference wasn't much, so I could have probably saved a couple bucks.

It is working out well. Got the new server up and running. Haven't watched any HD yet, but I got my drives all worked out and my data on there. CPU temps were about 25C to 30C in the room where I built the machine and setup the software. After moving it into the closet, I see idle temps of 42C on one core and and 36C on the other. I think this is acceptable, though I need to look at load temps expect it to rise a bit in the summer. The old machine idled at ~55C!

The "closet" isn't really a closet. It houses the hot water heat for my house. I have radiant heat, where the hot water is pumped through radiators in the walls throughout the house. So out of the hot water heater come a dozen rubber tubes leading to the radiators. These tubes get quite warm and raise the temp of the closet quite a bit. There are two vents to the outside in the closet, one high, one low, because the hot water heater is gas and needs fresh air to burn. Because the closet is cramped, the only place to put a computer is near the ceiling. I have two 120mm fans in the upper vent, near the computer, but running them pumps a lot of heat outdoors and is wasteful. The temps above for the new machine are with the fans off. I may have to turn them on for part of the summer, but so far it is working out great.

darkb
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Post by darkb » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:50 am

Nate wrote:I got a Gigabyte H55-USB3 mobo
You do realise that the H55 chipset can't do RAID, right ?

Nate
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Post by Nate » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:54 am

The Gigabyte H55-USB3 has a JMicron JMB363 (aka "Gigabyte SATA2"). :)

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