Cheap Hardware for Home Network

Scott Mitchell scott+lists.freebsd at
Sun Oct 9 10:02:16 PDT 2005

On Sun, Oct 09, 2005 at 01:56:52PM +0100, RW wrote:
> On Sunday 09 October 2005 10:18, Live-Wire wrote:
> > I'm building a new box specifically do take care of a lot of things on
> > my home network; dns, qmail,
> > apache, sftp, printer server, a fileserver, etc. Some of the services,
> > like apache, will also be exposed to
> > the internet, but only for the use of friends and family. And most
> > important, I'm doing this all on the cheap -
> > I'm hellbent on AMD, and the Sempron 3100+ (754) is looking pretty
> > sharp. I have a GeForce4 Ti 4600 lying
> >
> > So again, this is a nice opportunity to buy hardware specifically
> > tailored for what I am using it for - I have zero
> > concern for expandability. What is the best fit?
> The system you mention seems to be completly out of step  with what you want 
> from it. 
> If you want a server that's on most or all  of the day and runs such an 
> undemanding load, you would be better off checking out some cheap, slow , 
> low-power machines. With a desktop machine such as you specify, the electrity 
> may well be a major part of the total cost over several years. Low power cpus 
> also run much quieter, with little or no fan noise.
> I don't see why you need graphics at all.


I have a machine based around a VIA ME6000 Mini-ITX board serving NFS,
Samba, printing, DNS, DHCP, NIS, HTTP, SMTP, IMAP, etc. for my home network
and a few outside users.  This board has a 600MHz VIA Eden CPU (fanless -
completely silent) and even this is way overkill for what I'm using it
for.  The only thing that uses any real CPU bandwidth is SpamAssassin.

A friend has a 200MHz Pentium Pro machine doing much the same job.  This
too is more than adequate, although it could use a bit more RAM.

Both of these machines are running headless - no need for graphics.

A cheap used laptop is also a possibility for this kind of thing.

IMHO your top priority should be reliability - this is a machine that will
be on all the time, you'll come to rely on it, so it will be a complete
pain when it falls over, especially if you're not physically there to
reboot it.  You might want to think about running mirrored disks, so you
don't lose the whole machine when a disk dies, as it inevitably will.



Scott Mitchell           | PGP Key ID | "Eagles may soar, but weasels
Cambridge, England       | 0x54B171B9 |  don't get sucked into jet engines"
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