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Looking for help choosing silent/quiet mini-ITX server

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Greetings all.

My ancient ATX tower is well beyond obsolete. I have a new job, and it is long past time for an upgrade. I'm trying to find something, but the options are dizzying.

Here's what I need:

* Mini ITX (or another small form factor). I am tired of big.

* Passive processor cooling if possible. I don't need speed, and my girlfriend is tired of loud.

* At least 2 DIMM slots, and something that can handle at least 8 GB of RAM

* I want to kit it with two 2.5" drives for a daily backup run, so I need at least 2 SATA jacks on the board.

* It must not choke on Linux, and I would prefer not to have to compile a kernel, flash the BIOS, or any of that tomfoolery.

* Low-power operation and good power management would be lovely.

I don't need:

* Any sort of onboard wireless or bluetooth or any of that. This thing is going to be bolted to my desk, so Mom's old-fashioned Ethernet will be fine.

* USB 3. It would be nice, but USB 2 is fine.

* PCI whatever. If all the above criteria are met, I'll have no concern for what sort of PCI slot(s) it has.

* Advanced onboard graphics. Right now, I'm driving a 19" VGA flatscreen. I don't intend to buy a new monitor until this one croaks.

And did I mention CHEAP? Yes, I'm so damned green I left a lot of $$ on the table so that I could work from home. So I have to save my "other" green any way I can. If I can hit the aforementioned metrics with an obsolete or remaindered board on clearance, I'm fine with that, provided there's still a warranty. I don't mind building the system myself, or I'll gladly shell for a built one if it scratches all the aforementioned itches.

Basically, I want to use this as a file, print, and email server (Samba, CUPS, and IMAP). Eventually, I want to figure how to set up a VPN. I am not a gamer, and I don't intend to use this as a media server. I am not partial to/biased against any processor or board manufacturer. I just want to find a reliable platform to handle my life's back end, as I am too much of an untrusting old fart to leave it to the good corporations behind the cloud.

Your sagacious and learned commentary would be much appreciated. Thank you very much for any attention you can bring to bear on this.

--W
post #2 of 7
have you considered a netbook with a few usb drives?
post #3 of 7
Get these two things, you should be right with them:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811208039
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157247

The case comes with a 450W PSU (overkill, lol) and a KB+mouse, so all you would need is 1/2 sticks of DDR3 and your existing monitor smile.gif
 
HP Veer
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 ASUS P5G41T-M LX3 ATI Radeon HD4870X2 OCZ 4GB DDR3 Gold 1333MHz CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160GB Thermaltake Frio OCK Windows 7 Ultimate 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS MW221 Razer Arctosa Silverstone Strider Plus 600W Silverstone Sugo SG09 
MouseAudioAudioOther
Logitech Performance Mouse MX Roccat Kave ASUS Xonar DGX PCIe Silverstone AP181 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Qualcomm MSM7230 Proprietary HP Qualcomm Adreno 205 512MB LPDDR 
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8GB NAND HP WebOS 2.1.2 2.6" LCD Slide-out keyboard 
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910mAh Li-ion 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i5-3570K ASUS P8Z77-M PRO Radeon HD 6850 Intel HD 4000 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB LG generic SATA DVD writer Corsair H50 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Samsung 32" LCD TV Razer Black Widow Ultimate FSP Hexa Series 500W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Thermaltake Armor A30 Logitech Performance Mouse M950 Glass table. Problem? Roccat Kave 5.1 headset 
Other
5x system fans (1x 92mm, 2x 60mm, 1x 200mm, 1x ... 
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HP Veer
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 ASUS P5G41T-M LX3 ATI Radeon HD4870X2 OCZ 4GB DDR3 Gold 1333MHz CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160GB Thermaltake Frio OCK Windows 7 Ultimate 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS MW221 Razer Arctosa Silverstone Strider Plus 600W Silverstone Sugo SG09 
MouseAudioAudioOther
Logitech Performance Mouse MX Roccat Kave ASUS Xonar DGX PCIe Silverstone AP181 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Qualcomm MSM7230 Proprietary HP Qualcomm Adreno 205 512MB LPDDR 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
8GB NAND HP WebOS 2.1.2 2.6" LCD Slide-out keyboard 
Power
910mAh Li-ion 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i5-3570K ASUS P8Z77-M PRO Radeon HD 6850 Intel HD 4000 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB LG generic SATA DVD writer Corsair H50 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Samsung 32" LCD TV Razer Black Widow Ultimate FSP Hexa Series 500W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Thermaltake Armor A30 Logitech Performance Mouse M950 Glass table. Problem? Roccat Kave 5.1 headset 
Other
5x system fans (1x 92mm, 2x 60mm, 1x 200mm, 1x ... 
  hide details  
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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Psyclum: Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't given a netbook much thought because in my (admittedly quite limited) experience, they pare everything they can out of those gadgets, and I strongly suspect that the ability to drive any video larger than the tiny little netbook screen is likely a non-starter. Likewise, I would be concerned about running into problems trying to get Linux to run on one of those. My level of understanding is about as current as my old hardware, though, so I welcome your correction.

--W
post #5 of 7
Might I suggest that you look into the AMD E-350 line of motherboards.You can find them in the Open Box section for a few less dollars also.They meet all of your requirements,and then some.I personally ran a Amahi(test box) with the Asus Pro with not problems what so ever.

If your looking for more power go for a Celeron G530/40 or a Pentium 620/30 and a cheap mobo,value ram and your set.
 
Event Ryzen
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LG 29UM68-P & LG 23MP48HQ-P CODE 61(MX Clears) Evga SN 550w RaidMax Hyperion (Black & Silver) 
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Logitech G900 Hot Eagle XL mousepad Klipsch R-14M's Presonus audiobox usb. 
AudioAudioAudio
Akai Pro MPK Mini Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, Phillips SHP9500's MXL 990/991 
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Ryzen 1600x  ASROCK AB350M PRO Windows 10 Pro Fedora workstation 25 
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Event Ryzen
(18 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 6700k MSI Z170M Mortar  Sapphire RX470 8GB  Crucial Ballistix Sport (grey & black) 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
240GB Transcend SSD  512GB Transcend SSD Corsair H80i V2 Windows 10 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
LG 29UM68-P & LG 23MP48HQ-P CODE 61(MX Clears) Evga SN 550w RaidMax Hyperion (Black & Silver) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Logitech G900 Hot Eagle XL mousepad Klipsch R-14M's Presonus audiobox usb. 
AudioAudioAudio
Akai Pro MPK Mini Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, Phillips SHP9500's MXL 990/991 
CPUMotherboardOSOS
Ryzen 1600x  ASROCK AB350M PRO Windows 10 Pro Fedora workstation 25 
Case
???? Open Air-Haven't decided 
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by wabernat View Post

Psyclum: Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't given a netbook much thought because in my (admittedly quite limited) experience, they pare everything they can out of those gadgets, and I strongly suspect that the ability to drive any video larger than the tiny little netbook screen is likely a non-starter. Likewise, I would be concerned about running into problems trying to get Linux to run on one of those. My level of understanding is about as current as my old hardware, though, so I welcome your correction.
--W

well, I guess your primary problem would be linux compatibility biggrin.gif i'm not into linux so i can't tell you if there is a distro that will run on either a C50 chip or a E350 chip. pretty sure there would be one tho. linux is good like that biggrin.gif as far as gpu capability, afaik as long as it's a codec with hardware decode support, then the C50 should do fine for 1080p content. however if you are relying on software decoding, then you may have to get a E350 or better. again, i don't know if any of this is in linux... but knowing what i know about linux. someone's already got a working copy somewhere biggrin.gif who knows, they might have it running on a xbox by now biggrin.gif
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Funny you should mention it:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=400945

Yeah, they run linux on that. Back when I was an active nerd, I knew people at my LUG who'd try to run Linux on a toilet if they could just find a serial port on it.

I bit the bullet and bought a Foxconn barebones from NewEgg. It's Intel-based (the R50-H1, running an Intel H67) We'll see how it goes. I doubt I will be able to get it excited with the tame uses I have planned for it, but ya never know. I was down to that or a true fanless AMD board, but the 60 extra bucks and its gigabit Ethernet glitch under linux spooked me off. So I will close the door when I'm not using the Intel one.

Thanks for your suggestions, everyone who responded. It enabled me to focus my attention more closely on the problem. Barring an RMA, I think this is going to work out fine.

--W
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