the perfect box - harware

William Harrington wwh20610 at
Thu Feb 9 05:43:46 PST 2006

On Feb 9, 2006, at 3:35 AM, <pca at> <pca at> wrote:

> hey folks,
> i think you all know it - the quest for the perfect hardware.
> modern hardware eats up enormous amounts of power, and for a box that
> runs nearly 24/7 this is really unsuitable. i need a nice, speedy,  
> cool
> and quiet (seems to sound a bit impossible, doesn't it?) hacking-box
> and not a monster ;)

Hmm lets see low power and fast.

For processors there are a few ideas out there. There are LV Intel  
Pentium III's that have thermal designs from 10.63 to 12.1 W ranging  
from 800 to 1GB at a 133MHz FSB. Also you'd be stuck with finding  
PC133 SDRAM for any board that would deal with that. An ideal  
motherboard that would be ideal with this cpu would have onboard  
video, and networking, and not necessarily sound.

I noticed hacking was an issue. Want speed? Grab a pentium-m  
processor with the 90nm process technology. The power consumption  
ranges from 10W to 27W ranging from 1.4GHz to 2.0GHz and the L2 cache  
is 2mb. the package is even 478uFC-PGA except for the 1.8 and 1.4GHz  
which is 479uFC-PGA. They also run at 400MHz to 533MHz FSB.

I don't know if you can find equivelant specs with any AMD processors  
but you might.

Like I said, get a motherboard with the minimum amount of options you  

With your drives, you might consider solid state drives rather than  
mechanical drives.

The more equipment that is plugged into the motherboard, the  more  
power and that includes add-on cards and ram modules.

Look for low power optical drives and hard drives (if you use the  
mechanical ones).
If you get lots of heat, you are wasting lots of power.

You should aim to calculate your computer's power consumption between  
100 and 150 Watts if possible.

I hope this helps you in your search. As far as motherboards out  
there for the aforementioned processors, I don't know much about those.

As far as the boxes I use, they are pretty much power hungry. I think  
the lowest powered box I have is the 486 which just has 64MB ram, the  
486DX66 and an old 1GB scsi drive using an old adaptec VLB floppy/ 
scsi controller. It also has an old vlb video controller and 3 isa  
network adapters.

The dual p3 500 2MB XEON box sucks power with its 2GB PC100 ECC ram,  
2 processors, a 10k 9GB lvd scsi drive, a Matrox G450, 3 optical  
drives, and gigabit, along with the server board.

The 486 and dual p3 xeon are on the same UPS and usually load it to  
37%. Together they do about 280W.

The p4 1.8 GHz machine with radeon 7000, gigabit, 5 full height scsi  
elite 47GB drives and a 4GB seagate barracuda drive with LSI Logic  
MegaRAID and an adaptec 2940W is using up to 360W.

The p4 3.2GHz desktop with 2GB ram, 18GB 10k lvd ultra160 scsi drive,  
36GB 10k raptor, sata plextor dvd writer, riviera sound card, adaptec  
29160 controller, and. XFX 6600GT is only running at about 264W while  
doing nothing crazy.

I think it is very possible for you to get a system that runs between  
100-150W! Especially with those pentium-m cpus. You'll get nice speed  
and low power consumption from those.

Also, my machines have a few fans so those will add to the power  



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