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Build Advice Best Low Power PC solution

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Riser449, 22 Aug 2009.

  1. Riser449

    Riser449 What's a Dremel?

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    I want to have a storage PC hooked up to my wireless so that I can stream all my stuff from whatever pc/laptop I happen to be using at the time. This means it has to be always on, and therefore that it has to consume little power. Obviously it also needs a lot of storage. Is the best way to do this:

    a) Some sort of undervolted underclocked integrated gfx thingamabob PC. I have an ASUS mATX board with integrated gfx and sound, and an opteron 146 that I could stick in it and try to underclock.

    b) Sell all that stuff above and buy an oldish laptop and maybe a usb hard drive enclosure.

    c) Something else.

    What dya reckon?
     
  2. Moyo2k

    Moyo2k AMD Fanboy

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    You have 2 options:
    1.) Buy a network Storage Device
    2.) Build a very low power PC (I can help with this) and it can double up as a DVD player/media player/internet living room browser

    EDIT: The intel atom uses 8W, on load... doesn't matter how much you undervolt anything, you won't get close to that
     
    Last edited: 22 Aug 2009
  3. doggeh

    doggeh What's a Dremel?

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    Well I definitely wouldn't go for the laptop option cos they really don't like being left on 24/7 plus you'd (probably) need more external power for any USB drives you attach to it.

    If you've already got a mATX system with integrated GPU then I'd imagine that'd be perfect. Stick the opteron in it and underclock it as much as you can, tho this isn't as important as you'd expect. The key to a low power system is optimising the OS so that it does nothing except host the files you need, i.e. disable everything you don't need like scheduled tasks and unused system processes etc, basically anything that can start using resources that isn't necessary...

    Once you've done that go into your BIOS and disable any integrated hardware that you aren't using like the floppy and IDE controllers, any spread spectrum stuff, onboard audio and any intelligent fan control. You might even be able to disable the onboard gfx (via a jumper on the board?) once you've got it all set up then you can access it over remote desktop if at all necessary.
     
  4. Moyo2k

    Moyo2k AMD Fanboy

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    -Choice 1-
    Motherboard & CPU: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/167781
    RAM: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/82244
    HDD: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/164282
    Case: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/156186
    OS: Ubuntu Linux
    + USB Wireless adaptor (can be had for less than £10) or 2x http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152055
    Total price: ~ £185 or ~ £220
    The PC Will draw less than 50W at max load and I doubt it will draw near that, idle - your looking at less than 20W if near that

    -Choice 2-
    Storage - http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152055
    Extra: 2x http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152055
    Total Price: ~ £180

    It's up to you
     
  5. Riser449

    Riser449 What's a Dremel?

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    I didn't know they made things that were dedicated for the purpose I had in mind. Are those linkstations any good? What kind of power draw compared with the earlier mini itx/atom solution?
     
  6. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    +1 on a small Atom based box.

    Acer Aspire Revo or Asus Eee Box if you don't want to assemble it yourself.
     
  7. StooJ

    StooJ What's a Dremel?

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    Moyo2k - I'm looking into a low-powered server as well and that looks pretty bloomin' good. Your last three links all point to the same product though (Buffalo Linkstation).
     
  8. ShakeyJake

    ShakeyJake My name is actually 'Jack'.

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    A word of warning for people to be careful which USB wifi dongle they get. Wifi is not linux's strong point. Do some looking on the Ubuntu forums first, but by far the best solution is to wire it in to the router. That link in the chain needs to be as strong as possible.
     
  9. Moyo2k

    Moyo2k AMD Fanboy

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    Sorry for not replying for so long, couldn't get online, I will look for some links to some of these Media Servers and possibly attempt to point you in the direction of a cheap atom based machine for the job

    @ShakeyJake - if that is true then a Powerline adaptor cannot be recommended enough, you need 2, 1 for the router and 1 for the ethernet device, can be picked up for less than £50 for 2, I saw one for £30 for two the other day, I'll attempt to find

    EDIT: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/-Advent-Powerline-Ethernet-Adapter-85-Mbps_W0QQitemZ110425440438QQcmdZViewItem - found that on ebay - 85mbps £17.50 inc Posting x 2 = £35
     
  10. Moyo2k

    Moyo2k AMD Fanboy

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  11. jake9891

    jake9891 Loves Internet Shopping

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    Moyo2k I would buy one as well even tho i am not planing to build anything like that :p IT looks awesome :p
     
  12. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    If you're looking at low power consumption, you really should consider the Via C7 as pre-soldered onto the Epia ITX / nano ITX / pico ITX boards, also available at mini-itx.com - their 2ghz processors consume ~1w under operation.

    http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/processors/c7/

    Consider the Epia SN10000EG, with 4 SATA ports, a PCI slot for a PCI SATA card, plenty of USB2 ports for external hard drives, dual LAN, and a fanless 1ghz processor consuming 22w max, and typical ~1w idle as per the above quote, its very cool and only as loud as your hard drives!!
    http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=2#epiasn
     
  13. Riser449

    Riser449 What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for the advice all. I went incredibly cheapskatey I'm afraid - hoping it will get the job done. I bought a nehemiah C3-based system second hand. The 1Ghz one. By the time I've sold the bumf it comes with, I reckon it will have cost me about £40 including the 500GB hard disk I'm putting in it. Pretty sure it should run windows XP ok and keep up with my wireless network speed.
     
  14. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    I used to have a nehemiah C3 Epia and it worked very nicely. Don't expect Windows boot time to be incredible, or actual app performance to be great, but it'll boot, use naff all juice, and serve files :)
     

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