[plug] low-power server: mini-itx or old laptop

Bernd Felsche bernie at innovative.iinet.net.au
Thu Feb 21 13:38:19 WST 2008

Gavin Chester <gavin.chester at gmail.com> wrote:

>With my new broadband plan I have a complimentary fixed IP. Am
>considering using this to host all of my domains at home (I have
>>10 parked elsewhere atm). Considering that I'm expecting near-zero
>>traffic atm I am hoping to just have a silent (fanless) and
>>headless appliance sitting in the corner of the loungeroom near
>>the adsl socket. Now question is, what sort of hardware would suit
>>best at minimal cost (< $100) and low power consumption (<20W) for
>>'always on'? 

>I was looking mini-itx, of course, and don't need one with much grunt to
>serve up some small pages and run apache, postfix, imap, or similar.
>Trouble is, I've not seen any lately on ebay that are truly fanless
>(most are using the 'C3' cpu). I was thinking to marry solid state
>drive/storage to this and run DSLinux - needing no more than a gig in
>total for OS and files. 

>Competing with that idea is the notion of pressing an older laptop into
>service. I already have a suitable one so no outlay there. I realise
>that it also is not fanless, but the cpu is low-power
>(400MHzCel/6Gb/192Mb) so the fan hardly comes on - not forgetting it
>will be idle most of the time. What sort of current would such a laptop
>draw, btw? 

>Diversity of highly opinionated experimenters welcome ;-)

>BTW: I realise there are numerous off-site hosting options, but a guy
>wants to play, ok ;-)

Consider an ASUS eeePC with external USB drive. New, they're between
$400 and $500. A bit out of your preferred price range. But it's
just about ready to fulfill all your needs; out of the box.

Power consumption below 22W, cool and tiny ... but it has a screen.
And in-built "UPS". :-)

Even smaller stuff like a Linksys "slug" NSLU2 (with e.g. CF HDD)
can be made to do wonderful stuff but that takes time... You can
build a "DC UPS" by trickle-charging a lead acid battery of
appropriate voltage.

Given enough effort, you can even hack a Linksys ADSL modem
(ADSL2MUE - cheap on eBay), fit internal storage ... it already has
network and USB connections. There's Linux-based open router
software available for tweaking on that platform and the slug's.
/"\ Bernd Felsche - Innovative Reckoning, Perth, Western Australia
\ /  ASCII ribbon campaign | Great minds discuss ideas;
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