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post #1 of 88 Old 07-14-2013, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Well its time for me to begin a new project for my home theater. This project will include both a server and one client system. I may build additional clients down the road, but for, it'll just be one.

So to start this off, I'm looking for suggestions regarding hardware, software, etc, to reach my goals. I already have some ideas based on the systems I've already put together, but I'm not up to date on all the requirements needed to properly serve and handle all of my media. So any help is appreciated. Sorry for the long post, but there is a lot I need to cover.



First, my goals for this project:

1. Build a server that can store all of my video, audio, and picture media. This server needs to have a bit of expansion room for growing in to.

2. Build a small client pc that meets the minimum requirements to properly playback any of my media.



I have been taking stock of my media, and I have some rough guesses on how much space I will need. I'm looking at 20-30tb of space needed to accommodate my collection of ~600 blurays, ~300 dvds, and ~450 cds.

I would like the server to handle the heavy lifting processing the media I rip, so it needs to be able to handle 1080p Bluray and 3D transcoding (for playback on other devices). I also want to choose hardware that can handle 4k playback. Part of this project includes replacing my tv with a 4k model, so I want a little future proofing for when i need to playback such content. This setup won't handle live tv/dvr stuff since I have a satelite setup with DirectTV.

As far as the client, I'm thinking about something small like one of the Intel boxes or a mini-itx box. This box will be the one to go in my theater room. If I need to use a larger case to accommodate hardware for features like MadVR, then I'm open to that. There will also be other devices that access content on the server. That will range from tablets to other pcs and consoles in other rooms.

As for software, I have a copy of WHS 2011 and Win 8 Pro available, so I'm thinking one of those two. I'm not sure which is better equipped for server needs, so any suggestions there would be helpful. I'll be using the MediaBrowser 3 for the server software. For the client pc, I'm leaning towards Win 8. I've been experimenting with 8 and there are some cool things I can leverage such as the start screen for easy access to all of my media sources (remote control is workable as well). I plan on using MB3 once its out of beta for playback, so my start screen will only have tiles to MB, IE, and then my streaming sources like Netflix and Amazon Prime.


My first issue is with the server build. Looking at the number of drives I will need, I'll need a fairly tall tower or go with a rackmount case as I've seen used here by many people. I was hoping to go with a tower due to the place I had to keep it, but I may have to rethink that based on my storage needs. I saw some cube style cases that might work though, giving me plenty of room for drives, like one from Lian Li. I see a lot of advantages to a rackmount case though, I would just need to figure out where to put it.

My next issue is minimum hardware required for both pcs. I would think that even though both the server and htpc need to be able to playback all media, the server would need more power since its having to transcode media for devices. Then I have to figure out whether I need to build the htpc with the power to handle MadVR and SVP. Ive been following the progress of both, but I haven't tried to use either one on my current htpcs. So first, can someone lay out the reasons/scenarios that warrant using those two, and then what are the minimum hardware needs to allow each to be used in a meaningful way?

I'm also thinking about how I should make use of raid with the server. Flexraid looks like a good option, but there are many options to choose from. I assume most are going to say that using raid is a must for this setup, so I'm checking out the options.

There is also the question of networking. I would love to run ethernet to my HT room for the htpc, but I may not have that choice. If I can relocated my modem and router to the HT room, then I'll be fine, but if not, I'm considering a HomePlugAV2 kit. The new HomePlug spec seems to fit my needs and reviews seem to back that up, so I would try it out.

I'll post up my hardware ideas and see what you guys think, but I wanted to go ahead and get this started to get suggestions.
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post #2 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, after a lot of reading and comparing, I wanted to post up my hardware ideas for both the HTPC and the server. I'd appreciate any recommendations on hardware or software.


So first, the HTPC. I'm aiming this build to being strong enough to handle MadVR and SVP at max levels for 1080p output. I'm also planning on upgrading the video card when the new hdmi 2.0 parts are available, so I chose a case large enough to accommodate that but not so big to not be kept with my other theater components. I'd love to find part alternatives that save money but can still accomplish my goal though.


HTPC:

Case: Silverstone Sugo SG08 with 600W power supply
Motherboard: ASRock Z87E-ITX
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K Haswell 3.4GHz
Ram: G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 (PC3 19200) F3-2400C11D-8GXM
Video Card: SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100358VXL
SSD: Crucial m4 128GB
OS: Windows 8 Pro

Extra: Rosewill RHRC-11002 IR Remote Controller + Small USB Dongle (I just need the usb dongle)


I think the most obvious areas to save money on this build are the motherboard and video card. There aren't many H87/Z87 mini-itx boards, but there are cheaper ones (this board is about 165). My problem is that this is the cheapest board that support the ram speed of DDR3 2400. Asrock has a board that is nearly half the price but its only rated for up to DDR3 1600. The faster ram is recommended in order to maximize MadVR/SVP performance.

Alternative motherboards would be:

ASRock B85M-ITX @ $86
Asus H87I-PLUS @ $118
GIGABYTE GA-Z87N-WIFI @ $139


I chose that particular video card because I saw it recommended for how quiet it runs. I need at least a 7770/7790, but there are cheaper models (this one is about 140).

Alternative cards would include:

MSI R7770-PMD1GD5 Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB @ $99
MSI R7790-1GD5/OC Radeon HD 7790 1GB @ $130
ASUS HD7790-DC2OC-1GD5 Radeon HD7790 1GB @ $145

The MSI 7770 sounds like a great deal, but I wasn't sure how it stacked up against the Sapphire. Remember, I'm not planning on doing any gaming. The video card is only there for video functions.
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post #3 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, next is the Server build.

So the goal here is a server that will accommodate a large amount of data, but also powerful enough to transcode all of my media to devices like tablets or other non-pc devices. So that means transcoding up to 1080p and even 4k content. I know there is no such content right now, but it could be within a couple years, so I'd like to try and be prepared now. Heck, there is already 4k content posted to youtube. I tested transcoding of a 4k test clip on another pc which is using a Intel G860 to a tablet and while it was buffering every so often with the cpu pegged at 100%, it showed me that even 4k transcoding shouldn't require tons of cpu power.

So here is my current idea hardware wise:

Case: NORCO RPC-4220 4U 20-bay
Power Supply: SeaSonic SSR-650RM 650W 80+ Gold or SeaSonic G-750 SSR-750RM 80+ Gold
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K Haswell 3.4GHz
Ram: G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 (PC3 19200) F3-2400C11D-8GXM
SSD: Crucial m4 128GB
OS: WHS 2011

1 x IBM M1015 flashed with LSI firmware (will add a second as needed later)
2 x Four SATA to SFF-8087 Mini SAS Reverse breakout cable (the motherboard I chose has 8 Sata ports with one being used for the SSD and the rest can be used by the Norco bays)
2 x Mini SAS 36pin (SFF-8087) Male to Mini SAS 36pin (SFF-8087) Male Cable

120mm fan wall bracket for RPC-4220
80mm fans to replace the ones in the back

The board I chose also is using an Intel NIC, so I don't need an extra one. Since I need a board with at least two pci-e slots capable of running at 8x for the IBM cards, this one seemed to be the best deal.

So here are my questions:

1. Do I need to go Haswell or is it worth going with an Ivy Bridge cpu/mobo combo instead? The Haswell i3 is not due for several months, so would it be worth saving the money to go with an Ivy Bridge i3 and mobo? I'm not sure what Haswell offers that means anything for the server build.

2. I was thinking of using the 6 SATA 3 ports provided by the Intel chipset on the motherboard with the Norco case, and then leave the 2 SATA 3 ports provided by the Marvell chip for the OS SSD. I don't plan to install an optical drive, so I'm not sure what the last port will be used for. I suppose I could use it for the parity drive to be used with FlexRaid. Anything wrong with that configuration?

3. Is 650 or 750W on the power supply enough? Any better recommendations as far as model? Those Seasonic models seem like decent deals ($99 for the 650 and $125 for the 750). I've had great experiences with them over the years.


I haven't settled on the hard drives to get for this build, but right now the leading candidates are:

WD Red 3 TB
Seagate 4 TB (ST4000DM000)

I know this can be a 'lively' subject, but I'm trying to narrow down my choices for HDD. Depending on prices, I may decide to go with 3TB drives, but I'd rather start with 4tb drives. Considering I need almost 30tb, 4tb drives would make a difference.



Otherwise any tips or recommendations are welcome.
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post #4 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 06:01 PM
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Definitely go with 4TB HDDs for a large storage server like this. You may want to consider the Seagate ST4000VN000 HDDs. They cost slightly more than the DM's, but they have 3 year warranties (I will not buy an HDD with less than a 3 year warranty) and are specifically rated for 24/7 use.

I'd also consider an RPC-4224 instead of a 4220. No reason to waste the space for four more HDDs. You never know what might be useful in the future.

For the PSU, I'd go with one of the Seasonic Platinum modular series. For example, the SS-760XP2. Being completely modular makes it easy to swap the PSU if you need to, and you may as well buy a platinum-rated model if you are buying a new PSU.
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post #5 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 06:08 PM
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3) I run SeaSonics in two computers (gaming and HTPC/Server) and they have been rock solid for me for many years. Silent too (Believe fan only turns on under heavy load). If you are running flexraid in Auto-Folder-Priority, then you won't be accessing many harddrives at once so, no major HDD pull (consistently, at least). Anandtech has that Haswell at ~ 100 watts under average use.. Tom's has all the HDDs you'd consider at <=10 watts under load With 20 drives, you are at 200 watts, so a 650 watt PSU should be plenty as far as I can tell.

As for drives, I hunted a lot, and the seagate you listed is highly regarded (check out the Tom's link for full review). the Reds have mixed reviews and are a fair bit more $/TB (keep an eye on sales for both). The SG was available for about $160 recently and no doubt that and the WD will go down even lower as the 5-6 TB drives come out in the next quarter or two.
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post #6 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 06:46 PM
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I would aim for about 50% usage when you are completely up and running as that's where PSUs are the most efficient. For example, if you calculate a 300w load on the PSU I would look at getting a 500-600w PSU.

Anything 80+ or above and well built will do, imo. You are going to have to use your server for a long time to recoup the money of a platinum PSU (they are usually only about 5% more efficient than a 80+ at typical HTPC loads but carry a premium price tag) and I have yet to see any actual data where a Platinum PSU is more reliable than a "lesser" rated PSU.
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post #7 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 07:10 PM
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200W for that system seems like a really good guess, maybe even less since most of the time the CPU will be doing nothing so idling probably under 30W. A 400W PSU should be perfectly fine.

Seasonic makes the insides of this 400W modular PSU: http://www.pcpower.com/products/description/Silencer_Mk_III_400W/ which I've built in several system and all are running great. It seems like it might be a bit hard to find now but it's worth a look.

 

 

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post #8 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 07:44 PM
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If you eventually will have 20 - 24 HDDs, your PSU should be able to source about 2A per HDD on the 12V rail during HDD spinup, which can come to 576W on the 12V rail alone, unless you have staggered spinup.

To be conservative, I never use less than a 650W PSU for a 24 HDD server, and I prefer 750W. And even then, it is a good idea to check that the PSU can supply at least 48A on the 12V rail (some cannot).
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post #9 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I would aim for about 50% usage when you are completely up and running as that's where PSUs are the most efficient.

It is not necessary to be anywhere near that exact. Aiming for 20% to 80% the maximum rating is fine, since the efficiencies are relatively flat in that range. And it is best to be at the lower end of that range, since the larger PSUs have better heat dissipation (larger heatsinks), which will result in the fan running slower or not at all at the lower power levels. Also, the higher efficiency PSUs (platinum) dissipate less heat and therefore do not require the fans to run as much.
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post #10 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

It is not necessary to be anywhere near that exact. Aiming for 20% to 80% the maximum rating is fine, since the efficiencies are relatively flat in that range. And it is best to be at the lower end of that range, since the larger PSUs have better heat dissipation (larger heatsinks), which will result in the fan running slower or not at all at the lower power levels. Also, the higher efficiency PSUs (platinum) dissipate less heat and therefore do not require the fans to run as much.

50% is in the middle of 20-80% fwiw. We are essentially saying the same thing.

Again, for HTPC or a HTPC server I am not sure that the larger heatsink or rating above 80+ make a bit of difference in heat dissipation and/or noise. My server uses less than 70w so whether I used a 80+, 80+ Gold, 80+ Platinum, etc really isn't going to matter. The PSU is extremely quiet and the internal components including heatsinks are plenty to get the job done. Of all the components in any of my PCs or Server that I have built the PSU has never been the loudest component. That distinction goes to the CPU fan or Case fan.

In my view a Platinum rated PSU in this setting is a waste of money that can be used for more storage, a better CPU, a better (and quieter) CPU fan, quieter case fans, etc.

To each his own. But don't think for a second that a 80+ rated Seasonic (or similar) isn't perfectly capable of being an incredible PSU for the OP's needs.
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post #11 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
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My server uses less than 70w ...

Which is obviously completely irrelevant to the server this poster is building.
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post #12 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

Which is obviously completely irrelevant to the server this poster is building.

Sure it is relevant. The point is that the OP doesn't have to have a "Platinum" PSU to have a quiet, cool and efficient server or HTPC. Using a PSU calculator to figure out his needs and then recommending a good quality PSU (at least 80+ but not necessarily Platinum) in the 20-80% range (or 50% as I pointed out as a target) would have the same effect and likely save him some cash which he can use on something else in his build.

I think that is very relevant and helpful to the OP's request. Telling him that he "may as well" buy a Platinum PSU doesn't really seem to me that its great advice when its often double or triple the cost for a very marginal increase in efficiency.

To each their own I guess.
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post #13 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

Which is obviously completely irrelevant to the server this poster is building.
it could be. HDD # is likely the biggest difference between the OP's and A's and from a power perspective, unless all the drives are spinning at once for extended periods (very unlikely), they are likely to be similar.
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post #14 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
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it could be. HDD # is likely the biggest difference between the OP's and A's and from a power perspective, unless all the drives are spinning at once for extended periods (very unlikely), they are likely to be similar.

Once the server is fully populated with 20 (or 24) HDDs, it will be consuming significantly more than 70W unless the CPU is asleep and all the HDDs are spun down. If the CPU is in use and the drives are spun up (and mostly idle), the power usage will probably be well over 200W.

But as I already said, the highest power draw occurs when the HDDs spin up. That can exceed 500W for the HDDs alone.
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The OP indicated Flexraid which means that for typical use, most drives of the 20 (or 24) will be spun down during most of the server On-Time. The drives mentioned have typical operating powers usage of <10 watts for load usage. Only during spin up do they draw ~ 24 watts (2A@12V) and spinning up has rapidly depreciating current draw curve.

All that said, the key thing here isn't actually total power at the worst condition, but rather current. if all 24 drives spin up at the same time (and I forget if they do at computer startup), that is 24*2A on the 12V rail. I'm not sure if PSU max current ratings are peak or sustained and if peak, that would likely be the limiting factor.
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post #16 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

Once the server is fully populated with 20 (or 24) HDDs, it will be consuming significantly more than 70W unless the CPU is asleep and all the HDDs are spun down. If the CPU is in use and the drives are spun up (and mostly idle), the power usage will probably be well over 200W.

But as I already said, the highest power draw occurs when the HDDs spin up. That can exceed 500W for the HDDs alone.

I wasn't trying to compare my wattage usage to his. I was stating that the thought process is the same. Your assumption is that a 80+ PSU is inefficient or incapable of dissipating heat in a 20 hard drive server. My rationale is the same with my 70w (at idle and serving client PCs) server, or your 500w at startup server. The fact is that you really don't need an expensive platinum PSU no matter what your wattage if you know how to properly pick a PSU size and model in the first place.
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post #17 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
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Your assumption is that a 80+ PSU is inefficient or incapable of dissipating heat in a 20 hard drive server.

Do not make things up and attribute them to me. I never said anything about a PSU being incapable of dissipating heat. That is absurd.

The point that I made is that it is better to be in the lower end of the 20% to 80% range because then the PSU will be able to dissipate the heat with lower (or zero) fan speed. Also, a higher-efficiency PSU has less heat to dissipate, so again, less fan speed.

If you do not care about fan noise (and wasted power to run the fan), and you have staggered spinup of your HDDs, then you can certainly choose a lower power PSU. But even then, I would not skimp too much. It is almost always better in this situation to overspec a system.
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post #18 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
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It is almost always better in this situation to overspec a system.

Sure, if money were no object then I agree. Overspecing a system can also lead to wasted cash that could be used elsewhere. But as I have stated most PSUs are not anywhere near close to being the loudest component in a HTPC server (multiple hard drives, CPU fan and Case fan are all much louder). You seem to be saying that a Platinum PSU can dissipate heat better than a 80+ PSU and this in turn equates to lower noise from the PSU. Having used both I would say, again, that the PSU fan noise in any quality 80+, Gold, etc PSU is not louder than most CPU fans, multiple hard drives in use, or even case fans. So I am not sure where using a Platinum PSU in a server really benefits your from a noise/heat standpoint.

And as I stated it would likely take him a long time to recoup the money spent on the Platinum label with no real gain in reliability, noise level, or heat dissipation for a HTPC server PSU assuming that he chooses the correct size and quality.

This is one of those threads where we are both trying to help the OP and we are now just chasing each other in circles. I have said my take and you have said yours. So now the OP can use this thread and many other articles written on the "80+ PSU" subject that are all over the internet from very reputable sites.

Good luck with your build OP.
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post #19 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the comments.

Regarding the case choice, I am considering the Norco 4224. I guess $70 more isn't so big considering the total build cost, but that is basically what has kept me from just choosing it.

Regarding the power supply choice. I'm not so sure that Platinum is a must here, but I am worried about the possible draw from 20 or 24 hard drives on boot up.

If it is say 48A for 24 hard drives at boot, then I need to be careful with my choice. I definitely want to use a staggered startup option if possible. I assume that has to be supported in the bios, so does anyone know if that Gigabyte board supports staggered startup?


I have come up with a new list of power supply contenders:

COOLER MASTER V700 RS700-AFBAG1-US 700W @ $110
-80+ Gold
-Fully Modular
-58A on the +12 rail

Seasonic SS-660XP2 660W @ $140
-80+ Platinum
-Fully Modular
-55A on the +12 rail

CORSAIR AX760 760W @ $160
-80+ Platinum
-Fully Modular
-63.3A on the +12 rail


The CoolerMaster looks like the best deal in its class. The Corsair hits a higher level, but I have a hard time seeing the $50 difference. The Seasonic SS-760XP2 760W is even tougher to accept at $200. I just don't see Platinum being $90 better then a highly regarded Gold model. Gold seems to be sweet spot pricing wise. Gold models are pretty close in price to Bronze($5-$10), but Platinum is much higher than Gold ($50-$90).
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post #20 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
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You seem to be saying that a Platinum PSU can dissipate heat better than a 80+ PSU

I don't know how you come up with these ridiculous statements. rolleyes.gif Do you have so little understanding of the basics of how electronics work?

The efficiency of a PSU has almost nothing to do with how well it can dissipate heat, and of course I said nothing of the sort.

What I did say (and quite clearly, I thought) is that a Platinum PSU will have less heat to dissipate. That is what higher efficiency means. A higher efficiency PSU produces less waste heat.

I also said that the higher power PSUs dissipate heat better than lower power PSUs (because the higher power PSUs usually have bigger heatsinks). But that obviously has nothing to do with the efficiency of the PSU. In fact, a more efficient PSU, all other things being equal, would not need to dissipate heat as well as a lower efficiency PSU.
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post #21 of 88 Old 07-22-2013, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
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Regarding the power supply choice. I'm not so sure that Platinum is a must here, but I am worried about the possible draw from 20 or 24 hard drives on boot up.

If it is say 48A for 24 hard drives at boot, then I need to be careful with my choice.

I'm not sure if that was a non sequitur, or if you think there is some connection between efficiency (gold, platinum, etc.) and how much current the 12V rail can supply. Anyway, there is no connection. If you prefer gold over platinum, that is fine as long as the 12V rail has enough current to supply all your HDDs during spinup.

If you are looking to save a few bucks below the Platinum supplies, the Seasonic X650 is a nice PSU with 54A on the 12V rail. It is gold efficiency, and fully modular. A lot of the "modular" supplies are not really fully modular, but the Seasonic ones are fully modular -- no cables at all permanently attached.
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I'm not sure if that was a non sequitur, or if you think there is some connection between efficiency (gold, platinum, etc.) and how much current the 12V rail can supply. Anyway, there is no connection. If you prefer gold over platinum, that is fine as long as the 12V rail has enough current to supply all your HDDs during spinup.

If you are looking to save a few bucks below the Platinum supplies, the Seasonic X650 is a nice PSU with 54A on the 12V rail. It is gold efficiency, and fully modular. A lot of the "modular" supplies are not really fully modular, but the Seasonic ones are fully modular -- no cables at all permanently attached.


Sorry, I wasn't clear there. I didn't mean that there was a connection, just that I wanted to make sure I got a psu capable of handling the drives.

The X650 is certainly a good choice, but @ $150, its more expensive than the Seasonic SS-660XP2 right now, so its not really a cheaper option.
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The X650 is certainly a good choice, but @ $150, its more expensive than the Seasonic SS-660XP2 right now, so its not really a cheaper option.

It is $120 at newegg.

But the other PSUs you listed look like decent options as well, so whatever is least expensive from your list at your preferred store.
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There's no reason to get an oversized or overrated (literally) psu for a htpc or htpc server.
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It is $120 at newegg.

But the other PSUs you listed look like decent options as well, so whatever is least expensive from your list at your preferred store.


That's true, but since Newegg charges tax and shipping on that, I was looking at Amazon. Thanks for the tip.
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Pick a PSU size that you think will be about double your final usage (a 50% target or 20-80% as mentioned above) using a calculator if needed. Pick a well built PSU make and model with the features you need at a price point that you feel comfortable with.

Ignore the efficiency ratings if they are at least 80+ or above.

That should serve you well and will likely save you a fair bit of money.

Here are a few good links for you if you are interested...
Very Good PSU Calculator (I usually set CPU utilization at 50% for HTPC although even at 90% with most Intel CPUs it only increases a few dozens watts)
Why 80Plus is Irrelevant to You When Buying a PSU

Edit: Changed first sentence for clarity
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This is a really good primer on 80+: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_Plus

Also take a look at the FSP Aurum power supplies. They are a good deal and highly rated. I would also take a look at what power supplies are recommended for UnRAID since while you might not be using UnRAID, you're trying to solve the same basic problem with regards to the power supply.

http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=12219.0

There's also a Norco thread around here somewhere and you can find PSU suggestions there.

I would ignore the cruft around levels of 80+ and go with user experience.

Also, if you do decide on a PSU, look at some reviews to learn who the manufacturer really is. A lot of PSUs are rebadges from just a few manufacturers (like most electronics).

 

 

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Thanks for the info Assassin and StardogChampion, I'm definitely going to read through those links for some clarity on it.

Over the years, I've built my fair share of pcs and I always try not to skimp on the power supply. Since the start of the 80+ rating schemes, I have found that as the ratings have risen, the difference between lower levels gets smaller and smaller. So Bronze units usually had a noticeable better build than standard 80+, then Gold came along and improved efficiencies even more, but not quite a smuch as moving form 80+ to Bronze. Now Platinum is here and it raises efficiency even more, but at a much smaller level then before.

Basically, I feel that while Platinum ratings can mean very high quality power supplies, pricing has to be considered and right now the numbers don't add up to me. You can find very well built power supplies that are Bronze rated and at much cheaper prices. I'm leaning towards a Gold rated model simply because pricing is not much different and its been positively reviewed from many sources.



Alright, so beyond the power supply question, does anyone have opinions on cpu heatsink/fan combos and case fans? I'm trying to minimize noise on the htpc, so I am looking for a replacement for the stock intel cooler. Same goes for the server, but I also need to buy replacement fans for the server case (120mm fans for internal use and 80 mm fans for the rear fans). I've been digging through tons of reviews and sites and it can get quite overwhelming when trying to narrow down choices. SilentPCReview is a great site for such reviews, but its still not always clear.


So Im looking for the following:

1. Replacement cpu heatsink/fan for the htpc build (maximum height for a cooler in the case listed is 117mm)

2. Replacement cpu heatsink/fan for the server build

3. Replacement case fans for the server (120mm and 80mm)
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Thanks for the info Assassin and StardogChampion, I'm definitely going to read through those links for some clarity on it.

Over the years, I've built my fair share of pcs and I always try not to skimp on the power supply. Since the start of the 80+ rating schemes, I have found that as the ratings have risen, the difference between lower levels gets smaller and smaller. So Bronze units usually had a noticeable better build than standard 80+, then Gold came along and improved efficiencies even more, but not quite a smuch as moving form 80+ to Bronze. Now Platinum is here and it raises efficiency even more, but at a much smaller level then before.

Basically, I feel that while Platinum ratings can mean very high quality power supplies, pricing has to be considered and right now the numbers don't add up to me. You can find very well built power supplies that are Bronze rated and at much cheaper prices. I'm leaning towards a Gold rated model simply because pricing is not much different and its been positively reviewed from many sources.



Alright, so beyond the power supply question, does anyone have opinions on cpu heatsink/fan combos and case fans? I'm trying to minimize noise on the htpc, so I am looking for a replacement for the stock intel cooler. Same goes for the server, but I also need to buy replacement fans for the server case (120mm fans for internal use and 80 mm fans for the rear fans). I've been digging through tons of reviews and sites and it can get quite overwhelming when trying to narrow down choices. SilentPCReview is a great site for such reviews, but its still not always clear.


So Im looking for the following:

1. Replacement cpu heatsink/fan for the htpc build (maximum height for a cooler in the case listed is 117mm)

2. Replacement cpu heatsink/fan for the server build

3. Replacement case fans for the server (120mm and 80mm)

Glad we could help.

For the server these are my all time favorite 120mm fans for the money. Noctua makes a great fan as well but they are twice as expensive and not any quieter, imo.

For the CPU cooler I would keep it simple and get something inexpensive like this or this

The HTPC will take a little searching to find something compatible. BTW - I use stock CPU coolers in most of my machines unless I am using them for more than a simple playback or server device.
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Glad we could help.

For the server these are my all time favorite 120mm fans for the money. Noctua makes a great fan as well but they are twice as expensive and not any quieter, imo.

I used SilentX fans at half the price in my server (Norco 4220) and it's dead silent. I've owned both and there is no appreciable difference.

@ OP,

Check my server build for pictures and links I changed the 80mm on the back of my Norco and also upgraded to 120mm fan blade. biggrin.gif



Did you get a PSU yet? Check out the sale on the Rosewill Capstone series- really nice for the money. I'd check out a 550watt version or like.
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Originally Posted by trooper11 View Post

Sorry, I wasn't clear there. I didn't mean that there was a connection, just that I wanted to make sure I got a psu capable of handling the drives.

The X650 is certainly a good choice, but @ $150, its more expensive than the Seasonic SS-660XP2 right now, so its not really a cheaper option.

Seasonic is overpriced, or the lower line is lower in quality. I've build in the NORCO with both, check my server thread. I like the Rosewill Capstone series (OEM is SUPERFLOWER)

Superflower is a high end european PSU MFG of quality PSU, and they have an exclusive agreement with Newegg to MFG a few product lines including the Capstone and the Lightning Series. Under this exclusivity superflower does not distribute it's own brand in the USA.

Every bit as good as Seasonic, and in a few ways it is superior - often at a lower cost to you wink.gif

If you want to know more I will be happy to give you some links and reviews. Having put both a Seasonic and a Capstone into a Norco build I can't say that Seasonic is special in any meaningful way. The cable sleeves are crappier on the cheap Seasonic's and you won't get 80+ GOLD rating. Reliability is good across all quality PSU, and superflower is rated more reliable than Seasonic on behardware.com last time I looked. No hate on seasonic, but it's over rated sometimes.

Usually if you use the coupon code you can get the Capstone without modular for $59 biggrin.gif

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