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August 12, 2008

Building a home server

A have a bunch of computers in my house. They are noisy, hot and consume lots of power. I use them for work, play, controlling my house, answering my phone, lots of stuff. But I just keep thinking that this is not a very optimal configuration.

I remember reading some old scifi books years ago where people had a ‘house computer’ that would monitor their needs and talk to them, take their calls, make sure the house was ok. etc. Is anything like that possible for reasonable money today?

I’m toying with the idea of a trying to build this home server for my next machine. I’ve a number of ideas for it. But lets let the imagination run a bit wild for what this is supposed to do.

Free Association:

Imagine this machine. 24/7 availability. On all the time.

low power consumption. based on possibly the Intel Atom. Would be nice to have 20Watts of power or less. getting the most processing power for the watt. The atom 330 is the dual processor, 230 is the single.

Run Linux. Is free, has samba shares and VNC control. Can act as a domain controller for all other machines in the house ?

Runs house phone system via Magic Jack or Asterisk? Ideal that it would just be a cheap internet phone system. voice mail accessed via web browser.

Media server with 1TB of possibly RAID configured drives. 3*500GB drives? Must support 3.5 inch drives since 2.5 inch drives don’t come large enough. music plus video served to any player boxes in the house that ask.

Video capture or tuner card for incoming cable DVR? mp4 encoding in real time might be more processor power than this can handle ? tuner might be power hungry.

torrent client for file downloading from the net.

Truecrypt secure drive for crypt of all data.

Ideally its something that is a fully sealed fanless case. It should have 2 wires going in. Power + network. maybe video cable input ?

Bury this in my basement for thermal heat transfer into the ground.

Manage house security cameras/monitoring via network or wifi. Ideally the video stream is archived locally but pushed immediately to remote servers over the internet. i.e when someone breaks in and steals the home server the video of their act is not also stolen.

maybe take over functions of the router or cable modem. Act as a whole system smart firewall?

Basic web server ?

Results of Search for described machine:

I found a link to a like minded persons site:

It just doesnt look like the low power version of this is quite ready yet. At least not for reasonable money.

The Intel Atom 230 is a decent lower power cpu, but the 330 is better. They are both X86 compatible making software compatibility a non problem. The big problems is there isnt a good low power support chip set to go with it. Intel insists on bundling it with the total pig Intel 945GC. Making it totally pointless. (i.e. it still needs a fan) The NVIDIA ION platform might be a solution to this. But it doesn’t seem like any systems are quite ready yet. – Close to what i might want. – very close.

Filed under: News,Research — admin @ 10:56 am

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