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WHS Power – Pennys Or Pounds?

September 25, 2009

I have been pondering how to do this entry for a while now because it is difficult to describe and come to a scenario that meets everybody’s needs.

I am talking about the trade off from processing power and power consumption in a Home Server.

HPSS300x400As you may be aware I run a Windows Home Server 24/7 for its sheer convenience. It’s used for backups at night, it streams video and music through the day and night, and it stores and protects all my data not to mention I can access anything I want via any web browser!

My server is a 1.8GHZ Semptron which is a single core processor and on the whole it does a not bad job of handling everything on the server but I must admit if it’s busy sometimes it can overcome the processor and the system will choke.

HP then moved from the Semptron to a 2.2 GHz Celeron to help with performance and to cope with some software updates, I also understand that they have once again upgraded the system based around either a 2 cores Pentium or Core 2 duo to address the loads put on the system.

I understand that some hardware suppliers are moving towards the Intel Atom a low power dual core processor to combat this issue but they are using lower clocked chips to help with the power consumption issues. This is where I have difficulty is finding the balance between costs and sheer horse power let me try to explain with for example the new atoms they cope with everything that is built into the server but if you wish to extend the functionality of your server it won’t be to long before the loading on these low power CPU’s are more than they can cope with and the system will choke,

intel-core2-quad-q6600At the moment I have several drives on the system so already the system is working with a chunk of storage that does require CPU cycles add the issue of indexing drive extender defragging and media serving already we are using a lot of CPU power with not a lot of breathing space.

Now here is the point that I am trying to make, what if I also want to use a TV tuner and have my Server record TV rather than have a second PC running (which costs money) or use it to do on the fly encoding for any movie or music I am currently viewing or say I wish to encode music or video I would rather have one machine running doing this i.e. my Server during free cycles than having to run a PC just to do these additional tasks.

With this in mind I am aware that a more powerful server will cost more over its life span but the flexibility and functionality must offer more benefits, for example let’s say you use a core 2 duo at 2.2 GHz with 3-6 Gb ram, you could configure the cores along these lines

  • Core 1 – the basic OS sub systems
  • Core 2 – Firewall & Anti Virus & system tools (i.e. Perfect disk and other applications in this category)
  • Core 3 & 4 for Applications (i.e. Encoding Applications, TV Applications, Server Applications)

Now again this is only a suggestion but the point is you would need to be pushing the system dam hard to get the server to choke even with spec’s like that. The key to brining this type of resources to a Server while making it affordable is better power management be it through hardware or software surely it can be possible to make a server that can bring more power to the table as and when required.

sterlThis is where the likes of Intel and AMD and Microsoft should be pursuing improvements because at the end of the day as the digital home becomes more and more main stream there is going to be more demanded of the devices and I do not believe the low power solution that seem to be the darlings of the industry are going to cut it.

I would love to hear your comments


2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2010 2:39 am

    Cool story, I didn’t thought reading it would be so cool when I saw your title.


  1. A Green HP Media Smart Upgrade? « Captain Jim Furie – USS Soapbox!

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