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Very Low Power Home Server And ADSL Modem?


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#21 jsharris

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 11:01 AM

Interestingly, the Intel D525MW board I've just fitted was replacing a Via board that had been running 24/7 for around 5 or 6 years. I played around trying to fix the Via board, but couldn't find the problem, so picked up the dual Atom board for £17.50, including 1Gb of RAM. They are still available at that price, so I may buy a spare. Well worth doing as the old Via PSU ran on 19V (essentially it was a laptop PSU, I think) and has an old 60Gb 2.5" drive for the OS. That used to draw around 16W, whereas the much faster dual core Atom, with the OS running from a 120Gb SSD, rarely even gets to 12W, much of the time it's sitting at around 9 or 10 W, which isn't bad given all the ports the thing has (it even has a real RS232 port and a real LPT port!).

Powering from a battery does seem to make things a lot easier in many ways, not least of which is getting rid of all the plug in power supplies and only having a single plug. The only downside is the size of the battery and power management box, but that's easily tucked away in a corner.

Edited by jsharris, 04 April 2016 - 11:02 AM.


#22 Alphonsox

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 11:12 AM

Don't discount portable USB drives. My RPi + 2TB Samsung M3 portable drive combination takes around 5W when idle, which is most of the time.

#23 jsharris

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 11:23 AM

View PostAlphonsox, on 04 April 2016 - 11:12 AM, said:

Don't discount portable USB drives. My RPi + 2TB Samsung M3 portable drive combination takes around 5W when idle, which is most of the time.

My RAID 1 drive uses a couple of 2.5" laptop drives and only uses a few watts when it fires up, which isn't that often. 99% of the time that drive sits idling, drawing virtually no power. It's USB powered, normally from the Mini-ITX box that acts as the home server. Newer 2.5" drives seem to be pretty thrifty with power, but can't match the power or performance of the little SSD. when running flat out that needs about 1W, when idling it's around 0.2W, but it's a fair bit faster than a conventional drive. I have 64 bit Linux Mint running on it at the moment, as I'm using it as the main PC over at the new house, and that really does fire up very quickly indeed. I know that Linux always boots a LOT faster than Windows (my old Asus laptop is running Linux Mint on an i7 processor and has an SSD and that is much quicker to boot or resume than Windows, too). It seems the SSD really does make a fair difference, as the newly rebuilt Mini-ITX box boots a heck of a lot faster than it did when it was running the old Via motherboard and 2.5" HDD, yet that was running a cut-down basic Linux distro, with just enough to get it to work as a file server.

Edited by jsharris, 04 April 2016 - 11:24 AM.


#24 gravelld

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 11:27 AM

Assume that's some sort of server version of Linux Mint. I wouldn't bother with the graphical shell or desktop environment.

#25 jsharris

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 11:38 AM

Right now it's the full cream version of Mint, as I'm using the machine as a desktop. When it goes back to being used as a server it will be running a very cut down Linux distro, with just enough to run as a file server and do the web server and email server stuff I need. It looks easy enough to set up an email server, from what I've been reading, too, which is a pleasant surprise, as I thought it might be harder than it seems.

#26 TerryE

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 06:03 PM

View Postjsharris, on 04 April 2016 - 11:23 AM, said:

I know that Linux always boots a LOT faster than Windows.
Jeremy, but how often do you reboot Linux? I do it every couple of weeks or so -- usually when there's been a security patch to the kernel so I have to. <_<

#27 SteamyTea

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 07:33 PM

Or have to reboot Windows for that matter.

#28 jsharris

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 08:31 PM

View PostTerryE, on 04 April 2016 - 06:03 PM, said:

Jeremy, but how often do you reboot Linux? I do it every couple of weeks or so -- usually when there's been a security patch to the kernel so I have to. <_<

On this i7 laptop I've probably not booted Linux for several months, I just suspend and resume it. I love the way Linux does updates without constantly needing to reboot, as well as the performance and rock-solid stability. It's got to the stage where I get really frustrated by the slowness and general hassle whenever I have to use the Win 7 PC. If I could get AutoCad to run on Linux then I'd bin Windows altogether; that's the only bit of software I can't really live without.

#29 SteamyTea

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 08:43 PM

Have you tried out LibreCad, it is an AutoCad clone, even down to the horrible black background.

#30 jsharris

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 08:49 PM

I haven't, no. If it has the same arcane user interface, that takes 20 plus years to learn, then I should be right at home................

My problem is that I have well over 20 years invested in using AutoCad, so whenever I've tried to switch, say to Solidworks or Rhinoceros, I've had a real problem with adapting from my ingrained AutoCad way of working. It's the penalty of being an early adopter, I guess, as I started using Autocad back around 1989, running on MSDOS on the fastest 286 machine of the time.

#31 SteamyTea

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 08:58 PM

Download the portable version for Windows and you will know within a few minutes just what it is like.
I struggle with it as I am a TurboCad user, which is a bit like painting by numbers.

http://portableapps....brecad-portable

#32 jsharris

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 09:05 PM

Thanks, I'm going to give the Linux version a try, as I'm sitting here using it, and the Win 7 machine is off at the moment. Just waiting for the package manager to wake up (probably the slowest aspect of Linux in my experience, but I cannot be bothered to open a terminal window and do it by hand.................).

#33 jsharris

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 10:45 AM

View PostPeterW, on 03 April 2016 - 08:50 PM, said:

Jeremy - the TP Link stuff has ridiculously low power PSUs - they are normally in the single watts and I know the one I'm running (which seems to be better than the V***in M**ia rubbish) is low powered.

Seems to be the more ports they add, the higher the power.

http://www.tplink.co...el=TD-8817#spec

The 8817 is a 5v 1A unit, would be surprised if it was half of that.

You're right. The one I ordered (from ebay, delivered by Amazon, a bit weird) turned up this morning. Plugged in and connected it draws between 300mA and about 480mA, from 5V, so 2 W or so most of the time. That's massively better than the Netgear all-in-one ADSL modem, 5 port router, wireless access point and USB storage hub that I have here at the moment. That draws around 12W.

Next job is to change the settings on the spare D-Link ADSL modem/router/wireless access point so that it's just a wireless access point. That way I can turn it off when we don't need wireless to be running and yet maintain the ADSL connection and LAN router on the battery supply. I'm on target for a fairly fast and capable home server, web server, email server, ADSL connection etc that draws under 15 W and is more than fast enough to work as a media streaming box too, if I ever need that. We currently use a Humax HDR as our Freesat box, though, and that has a front USB port as well as a wired ethernet connection, so in all probability I'll go on using that for music and video.