What were the last/best low-power moboCPU's for home backup/media servers?

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by Nerva72, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. Nerva72

    Nerva72 n00b

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    Eight years ago I built a home backup/media/PVR server based around a Norco rackmount chassis and an ASUS E35M1-M Pro integrated motherboard/CPU, plus some SATA controllers. It's worked great (just 18W TDP, less than 100W for the entire 60+ TB server) backing up all the computers in the house, serving my bluray collection, recording up to 8 OTA channels at once, syncing to Google Music, Dropbox, etc., backing everything up to Backblaze, and other 24/7 processes. And it is still running today, but given the assumption that computer hardware always improves in performance-per-watt over time, and that the server is slower than I'd like when actively logged into it or having it "do something" that I have to wait for it to finish, I thought it was time to start looking around for the modern replacement for my moboCPU.

    And to my complete amazement, I discovered that entire niche had apparently disappeared from the market. Nobody seems to make ATX or MicroATX (i.e. boards with 3 or more PCI-E slots) mobos based on Intel Atom or AMD low-power APU's -- the low-power architectures seem to be exclusively for laptops, tablets, etc.

    So rather than build a new system around something like a 35W Celeron, I'm thinking the better thing is to figure out what the last, best low-power ATX/MicroATX motherboards were, so that I can keep an eye out for it on eBay. I'm looking for Intel Atom or AMD APU motherboards that have less than 18W TDP and more than 757 CPUMarks (https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=amd+e-350+apu), with at least 3 PCI-E slots and preferably a good number of SATA ports.
     
  2. Jandor

    Jandor Limp Gawd

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    There is no such thing as low power server. Any computer at idle is low power. It uses power if needed. You can build excellent and robust servers from not so high power desktop PC.
    You can use a Ryzen 2200G because it's cheap and 65W TDP on a mini-ITX motherboard like Asrock A320M-ITX (cheap too), plus 8GB RAM, Antec ISK 300-150+ 1 (normal) or 2 (raid1) 2.5 HD 1GB PMR + slim BDR+ Linux.
    You can also build more serious stuff. Ryzen 2600 (now it has become cheap) 65W TDP (+some silent cooler)+ Seasonic silent power 450W +Nvidia GT1030 30W TDP, Seasonic SG9 or 10 Box, 16GB RAM ECC Crucial 2666 Mhz (cool, for servers) Asus TUC B450M Plus or Pro micro-ATX board, 2 RAID 1 SSD as1 sata GB Crucial MX500+ 1 Samsung 970 m.2+ 2 sata HD 3.5 14TB PMR in RAID1 +BDR slim, Linux.
     
  3. Nerva72

    Nerva72 n00b

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    Yes.... and there is no such thing as a server at idle... it is always doing something, including the many functions I mentioned above. That's like saying all automobile engines consume no gas at idle, whether they be a 6.2 liter V8 or a 1.0 liter 3-cylinder. The server is analogous to cruising on the highway where maximum HP is not as important as gas mileage, and the big V8 does not get the same MPG as the small engine when cruising down the highway, but the car still needs to burn gas to keep cruising on the highway -- it is not parked.

    The whole POINT of the Atom and APU architectures was to optimize for performance-per-watt while accepting lower maximum performance -- it is also why they cram a lot of the motherboard stuff onto the CPU. The ARM SoC architecture for mobile devices is an even more extreme example of that.
     
  4. Jandor

    Jandor Limp Gawd

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    Problem is the old Atom series were bugged and would die after a couple of years of use, and the series after that finally did the same thing and now, the new series have another bug of the kind, but Intel declares (as they did before) that they solved and fixed it. So you definitely should look into low end Ryzen without APU who will bring ECC RAM and anything any server should have, then get a low cost GPU.
     
  5. Nerva72

    Nerva72 n00b

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    Get a separate video card for a server that, when I'm actually using the GUI, I'm doing it remotely 99.9% of the time?? Does the Ryzen not come with some sort of integrated graphics the way just about every Intel CPU does?
     
  6. jrobdog

    jrobdog Limp Gawd

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    Hey Nerva.

    If your pci lane needs are low I would strongly consider a Ryzen 3 series processor. Perhaps the 3600. These processors sip power even at full load. Tdp is higher at 65w but can be much lower most of the time.

    I switched myself from a threadripper setup to a Ryzen 3600 in my home server, supporting 12x4tb drives and it uses around 120w at load.

    With this solution you will need discrete gpu for setup unless you can somehow run headless, you will be hard pressed to find an ipmi supported motherboard.