Sunday, February 18, 2007

Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 and wattage

Well, joey-lyn (my home server) is happily running with her new Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 and GigaByte GA-945P-S3 motherboard. Kind of an amazing new thing ... with Windows running but no real activity and the case open, she idles at 67 degrees F (room temperature in my Minnesota basement) and the stock Intel fan even stops turning. First time I saw this I panicked thinking I must have gotten something caught in the fan blades & my new CPU was toast! But I guess the mobo's auto-temp control thinks 67 is cold enough not to need fan RPMs.

Of course she rarely is idle - when not busy for me she runs four BOINC projects ( ; folding proteins, indexing new proteins for patterns, predicting malaria outbreaks, and of course some SETI at home. Yet at 100% load on both CPU she runs between at between 100 to 104 degree F. This is with a stock Intel cooler and a media-player style case. That's a far cry from her first CPU - a 2.53Ghz Celeron D which easily hit 150 degree F at full load ... in the media-player style case with the TOP OPEN. I didn't dare close the case.

I am actually amazed at the power this CPU has - last night I was 15 minutes into viewing a AVI video file with VideoLAN before I realized I hadn't suspended the BOINCs jobs. With the old Celeron or even the A64 processor used last month, I would have KNOWN instantly that I forgot this because the video would run jerky and haltingly. But the Intel Core 2 Duo - even with both processors pegged at 100% by two (2) BOINC jobs - had no trouble running the video as well.

Server's current configuration:
  • LIAN LI PC-V800B black anodized alum case - really sweet case, but hard to install CD drives (need to remove power supply!) and you'll want an ATX mobo narrower than 8 inches or you end up with IDE or RAM sockets UNDER the back end of your CD drives!
  • ENERMAX Liberty ELT400AWT (400W) Power Supply - I have 3 of these now, wonderful semi-modular design allows removing unused drive cables
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz 2M shared L2 Cache Processor
  • GIGABYTE GA-945P-S3 LGA 775 ATX Motherboard - even with the stock heatsink, the chipset runs too hot to touch. Oddly, this mobo offers ONLY a CPU temperature sensor so I cannot even see what temperature the core Intel chipset is running at.
  • EVGA/NVidia 7100GS with 512MB GDDR2 PCI-Express - I wanted something with modest power for video and yet is FANLESS. (I prefer large 120mm case fans to the little jet turbines used by onboard video boards)
  • CORSAIR 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300)
  • My case has 3 low-RPM 120mm fans with filters - I mounted 2 of the fans by cutting holes in the top plate to blow down on the PCI cards and mobo chips. As much as I hate "door mounted fans", in all of my case mods I've found these can reduce chipset and video temperatures by 5 to 20 degress F. Overall she makes a satisfying, yet quiet purr.
  • 250GB SATA 3G WD drive - not big for a "server", but although I call Joey my "home server" I moved my file storage to a DNS323 NAS ("Network Appliance Server") running RAID 1 on dual SATA drives. This gives me more flexibility using Joey as a DVR or DVD/CD burner without risk of conflict between safe RAID files, network access, and the demands of video and DVD/CD burning.
  • HP Lightscribe DVD/CD burner (every modern format)
Power usage:
I encourage every computer or multi-media freak who runs systems 24 hours a day to obtain a good quality AC power monitor - I use one from You really need to know what that new qizmo is costing you. For example, I cringe every time someone suggest using an old 386 PC running Linux as a "cheap" alternative to a $39 LinkSys/DLink style router. An old PC like this running 24/7 likely drinks $5-6 of power PER MONTH, while the commercial box draws perhaps $0.50. I suppose that makes your PC a "cheap router" if you Mom and Dad pay the electric bills only! It also points out some odd realities - in California my Cox digital cable box consumes 24-watts when "ON" ... and 23-watts when "OFF"! So I guess turning it off just reduces the LED power usage :-)

Measured as AC input to just the computer case (no display etc), Joey the server uses:
  • draws 100-110 watts during boot up
  • idles down to 95 watts with no CPU load
  • running BOTH core at 100% pushes power usage to 125 watts or about 3.0kwh per day. I pay about 7 cents per kwh, so Joey costs me $6.30 per month to run full-time, with about $1.25 of that being the extra juice used to donate CPU cycles running BOINC jobs.

My DLink DNS-323 NAS has just dual 150GB Samsung SATA drives. They run pretty hot, and at present mainly function as backup for boot drives, My Doc-style files, and a collection of software tools. I may upgrade them to a pair of 500GB drives, or maybe not. Most of my multi-media goes onto drives in USB enclosures and burned to DVD/CD as "backup". The power the DNS-323 uses:

  • 9 watts when no files are being accessed and the 2 drives are power down - since it spends most of its time idle the NAS costs me about $0.50 per month to run.
  • 25 watts when fully active, such as during a file backup or copy

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