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Low Power, High Spec


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Hello All.


I have been following the many posts on self builds, and feel I am ready to have a crack myself.


I currently have a very powerful server, 2 x 1.8GHz (separate) Xeon processors, 3 x 400GB and 1 x80GB HDD, and the most noisiest fan in the world (sounds like a rocket taking off).


In my youth this noise was brilliant, but now I am a little older the girlfriend thinks its a little too noisy even though its located in the loft, So, its time to have a re-think


I have thought long and hard, and have come up the following requirements.


Good storage - although future HDD can be accessed via a NAS etc


Small, neat, smart case - to make sure the girlfriend accepts it.


Silent (or at least drowned out by the TV)


Ability to have enough processing/graphics power to use PS3 Media Server.


Very low power consumption.


Ready for VAIL


The last two points I seem to be struggling with, but to be honest I would like all the other points to be discussed as well.


Please feel free to point me to other posts I may have missed, I can't say I have read/understood all of them.


Thanks in advance guys and I look forward to all your replies

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Ditto. Having experienced server hardware at home myself, I understand the allure of running your own Xeon "powerhouse". But, typically, these solutions were designed for datacenters where noise is not an issue.


Most home server needs can be met with the i3 and 4GB of RAM. In addition to Gigabyte, Intel's retail boards are actually pretty decent and very stable. IMO, Asus has slumped in recent years, and I've been less enthusiastic about their products. The i3 is incredibly versatile and power efficient. If your needs grow, most boards that will support the i3 can be upgraded to a more powerful i5.


In case you're looking at Atom...don't. Atom is a fantastic platform for single-purpose builds (stand alone media center w/ Ion, WHS file sharing and backups, etc.) Nothing really matches the versatility of an i3 right now.

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Thanks for your initial posts, I have to say I was surprised you both recommended an i3, I read somewhere that the i3/5 was no good for rendendering video on the fly, which, I persumed would be doing when using PS3 Media Player to covert say a MKV file to a MP4 file so it plays on the PS3.


Is this incorrect?


thanks in advance

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Not sure where you heard that but I can tell you it transcode like a champ. I have two production core I3 servers and a core I3 utility system that manages transcoding, home automation, and several other tasks and they all work great, draw minimal power, and are super stable. I agree with the comments that mrossco made about the atom as I have one I may unload soon as it is just underpowered enough to not make it worthwhile.

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Great, so Processor sorted.


Will I need a graphics card, or will onboard do. I still thinking about the transcoding here prob, so sorry if thats a stupid question based on what you said about the I3 PCDoc


And, what PSU and Cooling for the Processor is the best for silent/near silent running.

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From the sounds of it, you won't necessarily need a graphics card. It will largely depend on what software you will be using for transcoding and whether or not it supports CUDA or DirectCompute. These are technologies that offload computations to the GPU. So, I'd plan on sticking with onboard graphics unless your software tells you different.


A lot of guys aroung here like the Corsair PSUs, and the stock cooling should work just fine unless you're overclocking.

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Awesome, Although PS3Player does "support" it, it seems not many people feel its necessary - I can always add it at a later date


Thanks for your help guys. -



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