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Recommendations for low-power motherboard/CPU for home media/backup server?

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So, eight years ago I built my first dedicated home server, based on a Norco chassis, which has 20 hot-swappable drive bays at the front, another two internal 3.5" bays, and a slim optical drive bay.   I thought I could avoid the expense of SAS and just use a bunch of dirt-cheap SATA controllers, which had served me well in my previous server that was a repurposed tower PC.   I went with an ASUS E35M1-M Pro motherboard with integrated AMD E-350 APU (18W TDP), combined with a SYBA 4-port SATA PCI-E card and a SYBA/IOCrest 8-port PCI-E card.   Since I'm finally starting to max out the number of SATA ports I currently have, I just ordered another of the 8-port cards, which will replace the 4-port card.

Anyways, the E-350 based server has done its job pretty well for 8 years now, but obviously it was extremely slow to start with, and given its age, I was thinking I'd look around and see if there is a modern upgrade for it?   What has me scratching my head, though, is that from what I can tell, the Intel Atom and equivalent AMD APU's have essentially disappeared except for laptop platforms.   I see laptop Atoms that are x86-64 with better performance and lower TDP than the E-350, but they only seem to be made for mobile platforms.

I'm wondering if there are any good options these days for very low power home server motherboard/CPU's?

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I am wondering whether with the low consumption modern CPUs have when Idle, you might be better off with a regular CPU. You might get by with underclocking and undervolting, although it is a bit of a hassle to set up right. But no, I can not easily find a real server solution (i.e motherboard with PCIe slots) with, say, 15W TDP CPUs.

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I'm curious, perhaps the way to go is to buy a used mobo that was the last/best low-power architecture... I've bought used computer hardware from eBay before and had no problems.

I presume the two product lines to focus on were the Intel Atom and AMD APU -- does anyone know what the last/best mass-market versions of those were for home server applications?

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But what about an AMD Athlon 200GE? TDP of 35W but like 6 times more powerful than an E-350 and you can purchase a MB that allows for a lot of SATA or SAS cards and whatnot.

https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_athlon_200ge_review,5.html - Max consumption of 52W for system

https://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/amd-brazos-platform-tested-the-e350-apu-review,10.html - Max consumption of 46W for system

Granted, the test setups may not be entirely comparable but still. In IDLE it measures a difference of 9W to the advantage of the 200GE...

 

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Thanks for the suggestion.   The thing, though, is that while my home server is rarely running at max load, it is also rarely running at idle, since it does a lot of low-intensity tasks 24/7, such as bit torrent and PVR.

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As I understand it though, nowadays it does not make that much of a difference. Sure, a 35W TDP CPU may draw more power than a 15W TDP (although with Intel it will be way more if it uses turbo as the TDP is based on base clock speed, extremely confusing that), but it will do so for a shorter period of time. Effectively it won;t matter much. On the other hand, once you need/want that extra bit of oompf, it's there.

I *think* nowadays, the number of cores is more important as they all draw some in idle. So two powerful cores may be better than two weaker ones (even if the latter has a lower TDP), but a 4-core 35W TDP CPU will use more than a 2-core 35W TDP CPU as its idle power draw will be higher (that of course assumes equality for a significant number of properties of the CPUs).

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Also, if you want to maximize the number of drives, a SAS controller card may be best.  You can get a LSI SAS card for $100 or less anymore, and that supports 8 drives, with breakout cables.  You can support a lot more than that, with SAS Expanders and such.   With such a setup, a single controller card could power 40+ drives.  And yes, as long as you're using PCI-e 2.0 8x port, it will support the bandwidth needed. 

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