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Building a 24/7 office system


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#1 donisonleague

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 04:54 PM

Hi and thank you once again for the help i've always found here at bleepingcomputers.

I'm looking to build a system which will be running most of the time 24/7, and since this is some kind of new challenge for me, i'm looking for some help and some suggestions.

First, let me explain what i'm looking for.

 

The build needs to have a low power consumption. This is probably the most important feature, the lower the better.

Possibly it shouldn't make much noise when running, so i guess i would need to invest in some good fan or alternative cooling system (but the consumption would skyrocket in this last case i guess). I guess some attention in the case selection is needed too, a case with bad intakes and outakes would take more fans, which would led to more power consumption and more noise.

Also, the less expensive the better, since i'm a bit on budget and although this is something i need for work, i cannot invest very much resources in this. An upgradable system could be the solution if my budget restriction would be too much, so that i make the system scales step by step.

 

Coming to system requirements, it doesn't need to be an high-end gaming rig.

The PC will do some intensive browser activity, but that's it.

The only things i need - but correct me if i'm wrong - are:

  • CPU: a decent CPU (currently i had to test the operations on a Intel Core i7 3632QM @ 2.20GHz, which is doing quite the job, although at 70-85° - but it's in a laptop). My guess is a dual core 2.50GHz-ISH would be fine;
  • RAM: at least 4 GB RAM (i could actually use some ram i've already got to bring down the price, but it's DDR2 so i should adjust motherboard - and therefore CPU - picks, and i'm not sure it would be worth to spare... 50$? But i'm totally in the dark here, so i'm open to suggestions);
  • STORAGE: a very small SSD or a standard HDD, which comes for less, since it would only need to store OS and some stuff. Probably i wouldn't even use 128 GB.
  • CASE: a good case and fans.
  • GPU: imo i should be fine with integrated graphics
  • WIRELESS CARD: already got
  • MONITOR: already got
  • PSU: already got (?)
  • OS: already got
  • UPS: already got
  • MOBO: clueless here.

 

Some scrap i've already got (but don't know if useful):

 

It seems to have considered everything, but if i'm losing something, please feel free to tell me, as i said i'm pretty new to this kind of build

 

Country: Italy - so i should be able to shop within every EU country

 

EDIT: I've also considered a raspberry for some times, which obviously would be pure gold for power consumption, budget and silence, but my understanding is that it wouldn't be enough neither for CPU nor for RAM.

I've recently tried to use free Amazon AWS EC2 services (similar specs) and 1 GB RAM wasn't enough, but more importantly, CPU was always running at 100%.


Edited by donisonleague, 03 July 2018 - 05:06 PM.


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#2 Drillingmachine

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 12:10 PM

I suggest totally new build because those LGA775 CPU's are pretty slow because they lack integrated memory controller.

 

Also power consumption may be bit high on low load. PSU is bad. Cases look like "usable" but not silent. How much you could invest? This system only needs case and fans:

 

PCPartPicker part list: https://it.pcpartpicker.com/list/y8sKhy
Price breakdown by merchant: https://it.pcpartpicker.com/list/y8sKhy/by_merchant/

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 3 1200 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor  (€78.66 @ Amazon Italia)
Motherboard: MSI - A320M PRO-VD PLUS Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard  (€39.60 @ Amazon Italia)
Memory: Crucial - 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR4-2400 Memory  (€42.99 @ Amazon Italia)
Storage: ADATA - Ultimate SU650 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  (€39.99 @ Amazon Italia)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - ECO 430W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply  (€55.90 @ Amazon Italia)
Total: €257.14
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-07-04 19:08 CEST+0200

 

So around €300 you could get new system that should run 24/7 better than anything you can build using those old parts. Motherboard depends on monitor connections etc but that gives something.


Edited by Drillingmachine, 04 July 2018 - 12:11 PM.


#3 donisonleague

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 04:54 PM

It seems very nice to me, and i could probably invest 300€.

What about the PSU? It's brand new (bought a few years ago but then i made a change in the build and couldn't return it anymore), don't you think i could get the price down of those 55€ and spend them on the case + fans?

 

I'm quite skeptical about the emachines case, since it's not that easy to find a motherboard that could fit the screw supports in it... for example, my acer aspire mobo doesn't fit in any of them except for one.

I guess you were referring to that case and not to the acer aspire one...

Meanwhile, i'll investigate a bit on getting that case cooler, i guess it won't be easy either to get fans mounted... i could - maybe - keep the case open but i guess there would be far more noise and dust.

 

Also, one last thing, it says on PCpartpicker that the Ryzen 3 hasn't got an integrated graphics... i would need a GPU i guess, in that case, don't i?

 

Thank you for your help - as always.

 

EDIT: what would you say about going toward the SBC route?
I've found interesting alternatives to Raspberries (which have too low RAM and CPU),

Like: 

UDOO X86 - https://shop.udoo.org/eu/x86.html?___from_store=other&popup=no

ROCK64 - https://www.pine64.org/?product=rock64-media-board-computer

ODROID - https://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G143452239825 (maybe 2 GB of ram is too low though)

 

Especially the ROCK64 seems very interesting, considering it would cost me 50€, shipping included, but i guess i'd spend some more money on accessories to make it run...

I've very attracted by SBC since they've 0 noise and close to 0 power consumption, but i've 0 past experience, so i really don't know how to judge them

 

For example, for 102$ (80€) i could get:

ROCK64 MBC

Enclosure

2 Heatsinks

64 GB SD

Wireless Module

A/C

+ Shipping

 

These are the specs: RK3328 Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor and support up to 4GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 memory. It provides eMMC module socket, MicroSD Card slot, Pi-2 Bus, Pi-P5+ Bus, USB 3.0 and many others peripheral devices interface for makers to integrate with sensors and devices. Various Operating System (OS) are made available by open source community such Android 7.1, Debian, Yocto and many more to come.

 

I don't know about the CPU, could it handle my tasks?


Edited by donisonleague, 04 July 2018 - 05:48 PM.


#4 Drillingmachine

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 03:36 AM

Perhaps PSU will do with that machine but for 24/7 use I would take something better.

 

That Acer case looks something but if motherboard mount is non-standard, then it's quite difficult.

 

Right, Ryzen 3 without G has not integrated graphics but this one has https://it.pcpartpicker.com/product/RkJtt6/amd-ryzen-3-2200g-35ghz-quad-core-processor-yd2200c5fbbox

 

I somehow looked you had GPU already and then thought that Ryzen without GPU is OK but then looked at motherboard video outputs...

 

ODROID and ROCK64 has ARM CPU that does not support x86 ("Windows") software. UDOO x86 solutions have slow CPU. Perhaps enough for office system but still slow.



#5 donisonleague

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 03:43 AM

 

ODROID and ROCK64 has ARM CPU that does not support x86 ("Windows") software. UDOO x86 solutions have slow CPU. Perhaps enough for office system but still slow.

 

Yeah, i've been told that ARM CPU won't work with flash, which would be basically the only use of this system, so it's not viable, unless there is some workaround like for the raspberry.

I'll investigate some more, but i guess i should go for the PC solution.

 

About the Ryzen, it sounds pretty good.

I'm receiving this error from PCPartPicker though: 

  • Some AMD A320 chipset motherboards may need a BIOS update prior to using Raven Ridge CPUs. Upgrading the BIOS may require a different CPU that is supported by older BIOS revisions.

I've got no different CPU compatible, so it may be a problem i guess..

 

Yes, i could use my old GPU, but is it worth the additional power consumption?



#6 Drillingmachine

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 10:24 AM

Yes, it may be possible that BIOS update is required, depends on BIOS installed on motherboard. You can perhaps buy that service from shop or order AMD boot kit to update BIOS.



#7 donisonleague

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 11:12 AM

order AMD boot kit to update BIOS.

 

Very interesting, i didn't even know about this.

Thank you for your help. I'll investigate some more about the existance of a workaround and then make a decision.



#8 donisonleague

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 05:16 PM

What if i go for something like this?

https://www.amazon.it/s/ref=sr_nr_p_36_1?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A425916031%2Cn%3A460188031%2Ck%3Amini+pc%2Cp_n_operating_system_browse-bin%3A14644406031%2Cp_36%3A1631634031&sort=price-asc-rank&keywords=mini+pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1530828899&rnid=1631630031

 

Or this with 4GB: https://www.amazon.it/Processore-x5-z8350-32-Bluetooth-Computer/dp/B07C5BS54Y/ref=cm_wl_huc_item


Edited by donisonleague, 05 July 2018 - 05:25 PM.


#9 Drillingmachine

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 12:54 AM

Both are slow but again, for light use they might be OK. However fanless computer is probably not the best idea for 24/7 use...



#10 donisonleague

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 02:29 AM

Because of overheating risks, right? What if i add an external cooler, like the ones for laptops, which i already have?

The only reason why i'm trying to seek alternatives to the build we thought about is power consumption (together with silence): a mini pc, stick pc or SBC would undoubtedly save me money on the long run.

I've got some doubts about the Atom CPU which seems bad enough.



#11 Drillingmachine

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 04:04 AM

Overheating and durability of components. Low price + components that can handle heat usually does not match.

 

Probably you still save money even if that breakds down after couple of years.



#12 donisonleague

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 04:23 AM

Yeah, at the present status i'm using a Lenovo Z500 for those tasks, which is quite a power sucker. It was just a temporary solution after i've received this task, but since it's me the one who pays the bills, the sooner i can get my hands on something cheaper in terms of power consumption the better.

 

In your opinion, would the Atom CPU be able to handle browsing + flash player 24/7?

I would still have physical access to the machine, so i could reboot it sometimes, at least to clear ram usage



#13 Drillingmachine

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 06:19 AM

I think Atom will be enough for those but not much more.



#14 donisonleague

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 07:12 PM

The system is finally running. Temps at the moment are around 80C for CPU, which is not quite reassuring but it could have been worse aswell. I'm going to let it run for one night and see what happens.
Any suggestions about keeping a fanless PC cool?

 

EDIT: I've placed under the rear an alluminium plate from an older case and the temps are now in the low 70C which should be fine for an Atom.

It made it through the night, although it is (quite obviously i guess) slower than the Z500 i was using before of about 30%.

Since my energy consumption savings are around 80% i think it has been a good deal. We'll see how much it lasts.


Edited by donisonleague, 13 July 2018 - 03:45 AM.


#15 Drillingmachine

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:46 AM

Sounds quite hot but not surprising as passive cooled PC's are generally hot.

 

Laptop cooling pad with fans is also worth to try.






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