[nSLUG] Low Power

Jim Haliburton jim at on-site.ns.ca
Mon Aug 25 18:54:50 ADT 2008


Donald Teed wrote

" The Intel Atom procssor solution
seems geared purely towards embedded market, while I'm looking for
something that will mount in a standard tower system, hook up IDE
drives and CDROM.  So there seem to be two reasons to
go for the AMD path, at this time (ATX mainboard and lower power)."

First off, the idea of hooking up IDE drives probably should be abandoned 
by most users.  Seagate stopped producing them months ago.  Most other 
manufacturers will stop shortly if they have not already.  What IDE 
drives are available now are what is in the distribution pipeline.  They 
are as gone as sure as ST506 drives are gone. 

Intel's target for the processor is as an entry level computer or 'net-
top' computer.  The board I referenced is suitable for use as an embedded 
system.  However, it is as well, a full function board.  Yes you can have 
your 2 IDE devices, and yes you can have your two SATA devices.

The system with 2 SATA drives and a DVD burner, and multi memory card 
reader etc, all fits and runs delightfully well in a Mini-ITX case or in 
a standard Micro-ATX case or an ATX case.  Haven't checked the total 
power demand but with 2 SATA drives, a DVD burner etc may not quite work 
on a 60W or 80W P/S.  I know I would not want one at those output levels.

I have clients using these on a daily basis for their full time computung 
needs.  So the referenced motherboard, the D945GCLF is a low power 
consumption unit, maybe not as low as the AMD but it does work, it is 
available and it fits in standard case.

As I indicated the board runs CentOS 5.2 just fine.  Mirrored hard disks 
using software mirroring would work just fine.  As a low power 
alternative, as the original request was about, this is an option, 
certainly not the only option.  Maybe others are out there, but these are 
available here in Nova Scotia, now, at an attractive price point,and they 
support Linux.  To top it off they run pretty well.

When one looks at what was being used as Linux servers in the past, this 
one comparably is a rocket.  Think back to what pre-owned box may have 
been used 2 or 3 years ago as a Linux server.  P3 800 MHz at 166 FSB and 
maybe 64 or 128 mb RAM and it was a pretty good performer.

Now this with 2 GB RAM, 1.60 GHz at 533 FSB, and SATA 3.0, miniscule 
footprint, and relatively low power consumption and it is a viable option 
for the described use.  

Linux also detects this as a dual core processor because of the hyper 
threading.  I believe as well that the processor is the Atom 270 on the 
current production units compared to the Atom 230 discussed in Toms 
Hardware forum.

I do feel that Intel will probably migrate their Laptop chipset to this 
platform or form factor in the future.  This will make the power 
consumption fall even more.  Time will tell. 

Now as a server, the original query here,  the graphics usually don't 
matter.  However Intel is bringing new board verison to market in October 
which will have dual video ouputs.

Jim H

James A. Haliburton
On-Site Computer Services of Halifax
Suite 100, 25 Walton Drive
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada     B3N 1X6
Office/ Cell           : (902)499-5250
Home/After Hours : (902)477-8342
e-mail      : jim at on-site.ns.ca

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