So I've recently come into some free hardware and I'm trying to put together the lowest power setup I can get, hoping you guys can help me decide what to use.
I've now got at my disposal:
an Asus AM2 mobo w/ an athlon 64 3500+ and 2GB of ddr2
an MSI AM2+ mobo w/ a phenom x4 9500 and 8GB of ddr2
an HP PCI-e x4 dual gigabit NIC - HP NC360T
My network entails a 100mbit cable connection, and we typically have 6-8 devices on the network at any one time.
I'm looking for the solution with the lowest power consumption, that can still handle this sort of network workload.
I can't find any real good data on power consumption between these two, but I suspect under clocking the phenom a bit would be the most efficient option.
Putting a newer CPU into the MSI board is also a possibility, as it has support for the newer Phenom II and Athlon II cpus, and it looks like I could pick up an Athlon II x2 240e for around $15 bucks off ebay.
What do you guys think my best option is?
I have an AM2+ Phenom II X4 pfsense box which uses around 80 watts. At a guess I'd say the athlon would use less power but it would be pretty close between the two.
Think the Athlon 3500+ would have enough horsepower for my workload?
3500 seems to be the lowest power depending on which version you have. And either option is more than enough power. My pfsense box runs a intel dual core celeron 1037U (17W) its more than enough to push 80Mbit, firewall, and other services. The only area where it may start to struggle is pushing a VPN off the pfsense box at 80mbit, though ive read not by much, ive not tested yet.
Okay thanks for the input guys.
Another related question, how important is PSU efficiency for a low power rig like this? I have a number of generic/OEM sub-300 watt units I could use, but none of them are 80+ certified. Would it be worth spending money on a high efficiency unit?
It depends what your going for, if you dont want to spend a lot of money and arent to bothered about noise or slightly increased electric usage, use what you have. I went for a quiet small build so got a quiet PSU.
The difference will be only a few watts so it's probably not worth it. A smaller wattage PSU will probably be more efficient than a higher wattage 80+ PSU for something with a low power draw anyway. If you do want to get one though seasonic have a generic 300 watt 80+ gold PSU which is really good and pretty cheap.
I run my router (which has 2-3 client devices and 15-20 small servers that are used off and on) using a 1.24GHz complete-piece-of-crap embedded VIA single core from who-even-knows-how-long ago. If mine runs just fine, you'll be plenty comfortable with an Athlon and 2GB of RAM.