Intel i3 server below 30W

My PC has been acting rather strange lately (complaining about the CPU fan, not finding the boot drive, all kinds of weird problems), so I decided to do some hardware shuffling. I ordered components for a new server and when this new one is operational, I’m going to use my current server as PC and dismantle the current one.

Although I didn’t have much time and didn’t know when my PC would completely collapse, I had a good idea what it (the new hardware) should be made of, cause a few monthes ago I heard Maarten Damen say he had built a really cool server based on a Intel i3 that was consuming a wattage in the low 20’s. That sounded very reasonable to me, so I started off with an Intel i3 540 and selected the other necessary hardware around it, resulting in the following:

  • Intel i3 540 CPU @ 3.06 GHz
  • MSI H55-GD65 motherboard
  • 16 GB RAM (4 x KVR1066D3N7/4G)
  • OCZ Vertex 2 2.5″ 60 GB SSD
  • OCZ Vertex 2 3.5″ 240 GB SSD
  • Cooler Master Elite 333 case (no PSU)
  • Intel Gigabit Adapter

I still had a Seasonic SS12 II 380W PSU on the shelf, so I used that one. No DVD player, no graphics card (needed), cause those would only have a negative impact on power usage. I built in 2 x 120 mm cooling fans, but as I soon found out this was overkill and I disconnected 1 of them.

Looking at my Power Monitor Pro, this setup consumes 28W idle. Not bad. But I think this can be reduced even more, so I bought a PicoPSU 120W power supply kit. I’ll know the results with this PSU in a couple of days.

Of course, when I move my 5 VM’s from the current to this new server power usage will probably increase again, but for now I’m quite pleased with this sub-30W usage. My current server is using 70-75W, so a 50% reduction should be doable!

To be continued.


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4 Responses to Intel i3 server below 30W

  1. fc says:

    30w is real low
    in the specs this cpu has 73w thermal design power…
    If you don’t need the full cpu power you can underclock it to consume even less..
    i also thinking how to reduce my server power consumption
    now using intel q8200 cpu and vmware esxi .

  2. Kris Lee says:

    So your server is idling most of the time?

  3. Not anymore… now that there are 5 Virtual Machines running, it does have some things to do, as you can see here:
    Power usage went up to an average of 37W.

  4. Pingback: Fast, quiet server consuming 32W

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