So, my current server is getting a bit long in the tooth - it has served me since December 2007, with a few harddrive replacements in the time between.
The current specs:
Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 420 @ 1.60GHz (singlecore, runs merrily with a big Scythe with the fan disabled - nice noise-wise).
ASUS P5B-MX, 2x1 gigabyte of whatever ram.
No-name, inefficient 350W PSU
1xWD3200BUDT 2.5" 320GB WD AV, system + miscdata disk
2xWD6401AALS - WD Caviar Black 640gig, raid-mirror important stuff.
Everything is AES-256 encrypted, which is the major slowness factor, but it's also not powerful enough for the minecraft sprees I do with my friends every now and then (rendering the out-of-game worldmaps is WAY slow). The AES is heavy enough that I'm pretty far from maxing out disk speed.
Server runs Debian, and copying is done by a Win7 box pulling across the gigabit LAN, served by Samba (3.5.6). Haven't done a lot of smb nor proc/net tweaking.
Some power usage statistics:
~7.3W shut down (shut down, not standby - most older systems are like this)
~82W copying, ~33MB/s, ~65% CPU (50 kcryptd, 15 smbd)
Pretty interesting that it claims only ~65% CPU usage, btw, since it's clearly the CPU that's maxed out - doing anything on the box is s-l-o-w while copying.
I transplanted the disks to my testbox, a Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E6550 @ 2.33GHz, different motherboard obviously, with CPU-fan and no case-fan, but same PSU. The stats there:
~82W copying, ~45MB/s, ~50% CPU (kcryptd, nothing else above 0.x% :-))
That's almost fast enough not to buy a new server but...
1) I'd still like to be able to saturate my disks (and this box is clearly CPU limited as well, kernel crypto-loop doesn't multithread, at least not for one device).
2) I do need a testbox every now and then, and the current server is a bit too slow for some of the things I do... plus, I'd like to donate it to my brother, instead of the insanely slow P4-celeron I've been postponing fixing up for him for a couple of years ;-)
3) I'm certain I can get even lower power consumption.
4) I like fiddling with hardware :$
So, I've been pondering a bit as to what I need to get my grubby little hands on. Considering that my current slightly beasty desktop (i7-3770, 16gigs of ram, and a GTX460 graphics card) runs at... what is it, ~65-70W idle... I expect I can go somewhat lower for a server build.
But which CPU? I kinda want an i5, since those have the AES-NI instruction set, and then I'm guaranteed AES won't be a bottleneck. I guess just about any i3 will be able to saturate disk without AES-NI, but probably at higher power consumption.
And I have no clue what i3 vs. i5 is like with regards to power consumption - the Watt amount listed on Intel's site is TDP, which I understand to be more related to max heat than directly to power consumption... and at any rate, the current CPUs are damn efficient at power reduction when idle (which the box will be *most* of the time). Anybody got some realistic estimates what power consumption is with Ivy Bridge line of i3 and i5, idle as well as load?
Are there large differences in power consumption on various motherboards? Any particular boards that are good? (I don't need a crapload of features - decent gigabit NIC that works with linux, at least four SATA ports. 6-8 would be nice, but not a *requirement*, and while I don't need 6gbps sata it's probably best to go for that, if the new server is going to last 5+ years).
And what about heat? It's pretty nice that the old celeron can handle passive cooling, even under load - the server is in my living room, and my apartment is pretty small, so... noise is an issue.
I've slightly considered getting a Xeon, but have no idea whatsoever wrt. their power consumption - and it does seem a bit expensive to get a xeon + server motherboard, with the main reasoning being ECC support for the RAM. I'll probably be going for 2x4GB ram - a bit overkill, but then at least my demands for the next 5+ years should be met.
Oh, and I do want on-board graphics. Anything goes (80x50 textmode ;P), as long as it doesn't suck too much power. I'm obviously thinking on-cpu intel HD graphics.
So, that was the CPU muscle + power consumption bit. Next up: case and harddrive stuff. I do need a new case, since the current minitower is a bit too cramped - and it's too flimsy to properly absorb harddrive vibration.
Not sure what to go for; I don't need a super big tower, but I want something heavy&solid to dampen drives, and enough room that working with the box isn't cramped. I've also been considering some kind of hot-swap bay, but have no idea what brands too look for. I'd rather have something without bays where I can just pull out a drive, like this
?, but I want the thing to be solid... and not add too much noise. Oh, and not fsck up things totally heat-wise. Also, what's Linux SATA hotswap support like these days? Like, doable on a standard motherboard without fancy controllers?
And I guess most decent cases come without PSUs - also a bit unsure what to look for, there. I want something power efficient and silent, and preferably with modular cabling (but not a deal-breaker if it doesn't have it). I've got a Corsair tx550m in my workstation, which is pretty nice - but 550W is overkill even for that machine. I wonder if it makes sense going for something with a lower Watt rating, since the server box is going to be *way* below that? There don't seem to be a lot of modular PSUs available below that power level, though, and especially not here in .dk. Also, a definite plus for the tx550m is that it provides very stable voltage levels.
I think that's it for now - dunno if I forgot something