[ILUG] Mini ITX systems
rcunniff at stp.dias.ie
Mon Mar 28 13:06:27 IST 2005
On Sun, 27 Mar 2005, Ciaran Johnston wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I am looking at buying a mini itx system to stick under the stairs and was
> wondering if anyone had any experiences with these systems they'd like to
> share. It will of course be running Linux, and I envisage it acting as a
> file and print server and needs to be quiet, with low power consumption
> and stability, while holding a hard disk or two and a DVD writer. I'm
Your problems will be HD overheating and power supply.
In the Olden Days (i.e. 20-40GB ATA-66 @ 5400rpm), hard disks consumed
~0.5W on the 5V rail and ~0.4-0.5W on the 12V rail. Now these newfangled
"quiet" fluid bearings have pushed the 12V rail current up to ~1A. Short
version: power consumption went from 7-8W to 15W+.
The small cases have to be properly ventilated or the HDs overheat and
die. I had my nice "hidden in the cupboard with the switch" server,
except the hard disk was at 50+ degrees and is showing signs of failure
after 6 months or so. I've been contemplating sticking it to the side
wall of a wardrobe where it can provide moving air circulation. After
I've replacd the HD.
The small cases have small 55-65W powersupplies. No dogs or full size
CD/DVD devices allowed. One alternative would be a standard case with a
bigger PSU, but then you've PSU fan noise to deal with. How quiet is
Other aspects: the very oldest board (EPIA 5000) is a bit sluggish doing
ssh - basically it tops out at something like 2MB/s doing scp or
ssh/rsync over ethernet. It's also using PC133. Absolutely perfect for
firewall/squid boxes though. It also has a Trident Cyberblade i/1
graphics chip. I haven't come across a graphics chip that sucked like
this since the Cirrus Logic 4MB PCI cards from... quite a long time ago.
Basically, they have a low bandwidth ceiling, and top out at
1280x1024x24 at 60Hz, which is fine on an LCD, unwatchable on CRT. You can
up this by dropping to 16-bit colour though. At least some of the
later boards have better graphics chips.
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