The Big Box Dilemma

Like most people, geeks, freaks, I have more than one computer. I don’t want to go into that right now. it’d be a longer post.  Over the last couple of years I’ve thinned the herd such that I now have only one ‘big box’. As I write, the details are here, but for the sake of click saving, it’s roughly this:

Athlon64 3700, DFI gaming mobo, 2GB RAM, 256MB nVidia6800GS.

I built it in December 2005 as an acceptable games rig. In the end, it got older, as did I, and thanks to family, an XBOX 360 and a PS3, I don’t really game on the PC at all now. About 18 months ago, this became my Linux server with a plug-in eSATA Windows drive for gaming. At some point in the meantime, I’ve lost that drive. The issue with home servers is that I need it quieter, and to use as little power as possible when it’s on (not 24/7), thus I did some quick power checks:

Functional rest at the desktop: ~80 Watts

Being used normally  on desktop: ~90-100 Watts

Peaks during high CPU/HDD use: ~115Watts.

This is all a lot lower than I expected, but it is still a little loud. The are two main fans which make the noise – a 120mm front fan and a 100mm rear fan, with the graphics card a little behind them.

I was thinking of getting an EeeBox or similar, but honestly, I think I can cure the noise for less than 10,000yen:

1) Replace the fans with new, slower turning quieter fans for about 6,000yen.

2) Replace the 6800GS with it’s Arctic Cooling fan with a passively cooled card for ~ 4,000yen.

I’ve already played with OS and BIOS settings, so all things being equal, I’m hoping this will make for a quieter, lower power server.

(Caveat: I know spending money on a 3.5yr machine is odd, but I think it does have a few years left. Also, the 6800GS is quite big – the newer card will be smaller, and thus maybe help heatflow also. It’s 25% the price of an Eeebox.)