Dean

Building a Low Power Ubuntu Home Server - Part 1

The server I currently have is quite power hungry. The current specs are as follows:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
  • 4Gb DDR2 RAM
  • 2 x 2TB Western Digital Green SATA drives in mdadm RAID 1
  • 40GB IDE drive for OS
  • 650W Corsair PSU
  • 4 Port PCI SATA Card

I did have the Synology DS411J, but after a month, it lost all my data. I turned it on one day and it started beeping. I was like ‘shit’. Especially when it was [half full]. Logging into the web interface it said one of the drives had failed. I removed the drive and plugged it into another machine and it worked… Because I didn’t trust it, I sent off for a return. Amazon collected it and gave me a full refund which is great. I had a spare case (the Antec 300) lying around from my first PC build, so I thought I’d get a motherboard as I already had 2GB RAM and a crappy CPU and I would stick Ubuntu on it.

As you may see, it is over the top for what it is doing, which is serving files across the network. I won the CPU from an auction on eBay. The reason why I purchased that CPU is because I was going to use the machine to test my Ruby on Rails websites and run ‘Continous Integration’ tests on them. Because I was going to buy the iMac which, if you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me tweeting about purchasing the 27” iMac from a guy called George on Twitter.

Looking online and through experience, the Intel Atom processors are very good on power.

Screenshot

Image from Anandtech.

I have purchased a Energenie Energy Saving Power Meter. When it arrives I will see how much power my current server is using. Once I know, I will sell the motherboard and CPU on eBay and purchase the Intel D525MW ITX Motherboard. It comes equipped with the Intel Atom D525 which is a Dual Core CPU, with 4 threads. It’s quite amazing what these CPUs can do these days. Also, the power usage is very low! This is why I looked at the Intel Atom CPUs, because of the brilliant power usage. The max W on the CPU is about 12… That’s pretty impressive!

It has 2 x SODIMM DDR3 slots, which is great because I have 2 spare 1GB DDR3 strips of RAM to install into it. I already have 2 x 2TB WD Green hard drives that will be connected to it anyway so that’s not a problem. The board has a Mini PCIe connector which is neat as I could plug in a Mini PCIe SSD and install Ubuntu Server on that. My original server has a 40GB IDE drive which isn’t used much and the new boards don’t come with IDE any more, which is great. The SSD is quite cheap, about £39 for the 16GB version. I would get the 8GB but it’s not much cheaper and the 16GB would give me more room in the future.

The SSD hasn’t got brilliant specs, 66MB/s Read and Sustained Write up to 30MB/s, but it’s not going to be heavily used. Only to load the operating system up really.

I shall order the Intel D525MW motherboard along with the 16Gb SSD and will blog about the build, setup and configuration of the server.

Copyright 2011-2021 Dean (deanpcmad)

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