Most energy efficient (home) setup

george hill gh at
Thu Feb 23 03:54:22 UTC 2012

On 02/22/12 21:13, Jeroen van Aart wrote:
> I felt inclined to ask who has attempted to make a really energy
> efficient setup?

My current always-on home server is:
 - 3U rackmount box, Supermicro H8SGL, 450 watt '80-plus platinum' PSU
 - 8-core Opteron 6128 _underclocked_ to 800Mhz
 - 16 GB of ECC DDR2
 - 8x 2TB SATA 'green' drives from assorted manufacturers
 - all fans replaced with near-silent Noctua models
 - 2 additional gigE ports (4 total)

I run a few VMs on it to compartmentalize things a bit; the host and
most VMs run gentoo-amd64-hardened, virtualized with Qemu-KVM.  Host OS
routes/firewalls.  One VM is boot and NFS-root server for a couple
diskless workstations around the house.  Another VM runs ntpd, local
DNS, HTTP forward proxy, shell, dev tools, etc.  Another boots FreeBSD
and runs only Postrgres.  The box is also my home music & movie system,
runs motion-detection software to record video from a security camera,
and logs weather and other sensor data.

The server burns 170 to 190 watts in normal use, up to about 280 peak
(movie or music playing + diskless workstations running + compiling
stuff + video recording + backing up laptop).  This is certainly not low
absolute energy consumption compared to some of the other things
mentioned in this thread, but it also does a lot more, so it might be
more efficient, depending on situation.  Consider also that the diskless
workstations only use around 35 W each (including monitor), and these
are the primary personal computers in my home.

In 2011 measured annual energy consumption for the server was 1635
kW*hour, 186 W average.  I estimate the diskless workstations use
another 270 kW*hour or so annually.


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