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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a sub-$200 build to replace a server I have. The current machine is a Pentium III 800 MHz with 384 MB of RAM running Windows XP Home. The current hardware is more than adequate for what I use it for (OpenVPN server for my use alone, TeamSpeak which may eventually need to support a couple dozen users) but I'd like to replace it with a physically smaller machine that uses less electricity while getting a stronger dual-core CPU. I've opted for an Intel Atom build since I know from benchmarking that my single-core Atom netbook is about 20% faster than the P3 system. A dual-core Atom should give me plenty of CPU headroom.

Here's the parts list:


And here are direct links to the parts:Some obvious stuff is missing from the list, but it will be a headless station (no monitor, keyboard, mouse) once it's set up. I'll be using an old Windows XP Home license and I also have a spare 2 GB stick of 800 MHz DDR2. I'll use TightVNC to access its desktop if I need to.

So what advice can you guys give on these parts? Mostly I'm concerned about the case, which is why there are two in the list. I'd prefer the In-Win one because it's smaller but I'm not sure about its PSU. 80 watts should be more than enough and it should be more efficient than the 250 watt Rosewill, but the In-Win doesn't list what connectors it has and I can't see a 24-pin mobo connector in the pictures. I need a 24-pin mobo, 4-pin CPU, and one SATA connector. The Rosewill has all those for sure.

I'm also curious if my storage solution will work. I opted to use an 8 GB CompactFlash card for primary storage because I know I can fit everything I need on there and I'd like to keep power consumption down and make it shock and vibration resistant since we have some mischievous cats. Is booting from CF even a good idea? I know it'll be slow on disk access but I don't think that will be an issue.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Why not a get a picoPSU + power block?

Make sure to disable all caching and logging on the CF card. The repeated writes will wear it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:


Originally Posted by DuckieHo
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Why not a get a picoPSU + power block?

What's a pico PSU and how would that help? I searched Newegg for it and didn't get any results.

Quote:


Originally Posted by DuckieHo
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Make sure to disable all caching and logging on the CF card. The repeated writes will wear it out.

I was thinking of formatting it using FAT32 since AFAIK that doesn't have all the logging and journaling that NTFS does. Anything to extend the card's life would be good.
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by mott555
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What's a pico PSU and how would that help? I searched Newegg for it and didn't get any results.

I was thinking of formatting it using FAT32 since AFAIK that doesn't have all the logging and journaling that NTFS does. Anything to extend the card's life would be good.


A picoPSU is a DC-DC convertor. You use a power brick to convert AC from the wall and output a single DC power. The picoPSU then converts that DC power into +12v, +5v, +3.3v, and -12v. It would help save space in the case but you would need a power brick.

Something like this: http://electronics.beanworthy.com/pi...B00316TM22.htm

Don't forget to disable the paging file and disable any application logs. If application logging is required, do so to a RAMDisk.
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by mott555
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So what advice can you guys give on these parts? Mostly I'm concerned about the case, which is why there are two in the list. I'd prefer the In-Win one because it's smaller but I'm not sure about its PSU. 80 watts should be more than enough and it should be more efficient than the 250 watt Rosewill, but the In-Win doesn't list what connectors it has and I can't see a 24-pin mobo connector in the pictures. I need a 24-pin mobo, 4-pin CPU, and one SATA connector. The Rosewill has all those for sure.

I have the BQ656, and yes, it has all those connectors. Here's my Newegg review:

Pros: It's very small while still supporting an optical drive. The case feels solid. Fairly inexpensive considering it already has a power supply included. The dual chamber design makes it easier to work with and seems to help keep components cool. Surprisingly, the 80W power supply was able to power a relatively conservative Wolfdale-based Mini-ITX build. It also seemed to be pretty efficient.

Cons: It was somewhat cramped and it was hard to route cables without obstructing airflow. However, given the size, that's to be expected. I don't think it had all rolled edges, but on the upside, I didn't injure myself working with the case. As another reviewer mentioned, the optical drive is upside down. I also have a slot load so it doesn't affect me much.

Other Thoughts: Zotac GF9300-G-E
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E6300 2.8GHz
Silverstone NT07-775
Kingston 2x2GB DDR2 800 CL6
Seagate Momentus 5400.5 320GB
Panasonic Slot Load DVD burner

I've actually replaced the Pentium E6300 with a Celeron E3300 now.

Quote:


Originally Posted by mott555
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I'm also curious if my storage solution will work. I opted to use an 8 GB CompactFlash card for primary storage because I know I can fit everything I need on there and I'd like to keep power consumption down and make it shock and vibration resistant since we have some mischievous cats. Is booting from CF even a good idea? I know it'll be slow on disk access but I don't think that will be an issue.

I'm not sure how you're planning to connect the Compact Flash to the motherboard. It really isn't the best case for IDE. Perhaps something like this might work for you?
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by rui-no-onna
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I'm not sure how you're planning to connect the Compact Flash to the motherboard. It really isn't the best case for IDE. Perhaps something like this might work for you?

You can get a 30GB OCZ Onyx for only a few dollars more....

Or just get a 2.5" HDD for $20-30.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by rui-no-onna;11912923
I'm not sure how you're planning to connect the Compact Flash to the motherboard. It really isn't the best case for IDE. Perhaps something like this might work for you?
That SSD looks good enough, it's only a few dollars more than the CF and the SATA-to-CF adapter.

Looks like I'll go with the In Win case and a Kingston SSD instead of the CF. Thanks for the help.
 
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