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2010/06/18 3rd Upgrade for gargamel, my main home server, going for lower power
π 2010-06-18 00:00 in Linux
My first Gargamel started around year 2000, it was a dual P3 Xeon with the huge cartriges, with a Marlin Spike Intel motherboard (MS440GX) with 6 SCSI busses and 26 drives at its peak (a whopping 2TB of hard disk space back then).
I don't have watt usage numbers on it back then, but I'm sure it was quite high (>400W with all the drives).

My original gargamel server
My original gargamel server

This server worked a good 6 years or so, and I eventually replaced it in 2006 with a dual P4 Xeon server board I got from my new then work. Drives also got bigger, so I removed SCSI and the 3 external disk arrays, switched to SATA with port multipliers, and settled with 12 internal drives (2 boot drives, 5x250GB and 5x500GB) for a total usable space of 3TB with a "much lower" power usage. Typical power was now in the 280-300W range for the entire server closet.
Note that my base usage in the closet with computer off is still 70W (UPS is 23W by itself, cable modem and 24 port switch is another 30W, and the other random stuff brings it to 70W).

Gargamel V2 with Sata and PMP
Gargamel V2 with Sata and PMP

Eventually, another 5 years later, I was tired of debugging a couple of issues with the server that was sometimes low on memory that was hard/expensive to find vs bigger DDR3 dims. I also wanted to reduce the power consumption of that power hungry P4 Xeon Server board. One thing I did that helped a while ago was to write some software to make sure all the drives suspended (spun off), which explains the big spikes in power (drives spinning or spun down). See my Spinning down WD20EADS Drives and fixing load cycle page.
Thanks to help from coworkers who followed PC trends, I went for an Intel Sandy Bridge MB (it was hard to find one with a serial port for serial console booting, and onboard IDE, and 2 PCI slots, but eventually I think I got the last one available :) ). I paid a few dollars extra for an Intel i3 2100T dual core CPU, which is only 2.53Ghz, but that's more than plenty and it only uses 35W, which is awesome.

As a result, I came down to about 270W average for the computer closet (200W for the computer) to about 210W average (140W for the computer). It will now full idle at 180W (110W for the computer). Sure, one might say 110W is still a lot, but for a server with 10 drives, I/O cards, around 16 USB devices connected, dual ethernet, and dual sound (5 + 7 channels), that's not so bad. In the end, the power graph looks better, so that's good enough for me :)

The hole is where I changed the server
The hole is where I changed the server

The here Christened Gargamel V3!
The here Christened Gargamel V3!

all wired up
all wired up


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