Low energy server

Is the Supermicro motherboard used in the video Learn Linux TV - YouTube 2 years ago still a good motherboard or is there a newer one to use? I am wanting to build a low power server for my home.


Welcome to the forum.

The link you shared does not point to a specific video. As far as low power servers go, it highly depends on your needs.

  • What are you going to run on it?
  • Do you already have a RAC?
  • Is ECC important to you?
  • Silence over performance or performance over noise?
  • What is the build plan and how does your network currently look like?
  • Do you plan to build a forbidden router, or split your devices based on purpose (a router, a NAS and a hypervisor)? Virtualizing everything is one way of doing it, although I’m personally against it

I can rant a little, if you’ll allow me to. I am into low power servers, most running ARM stuff at home, but I highly would not recommend them yet, unless you are ok with the early adopter’s obstacles. I got an Odroid N2+ and a RockPro64. I got them generally usable now, but it took a while and a lot of pain. However, I would highly recommend them as NASes, especially the rkpr64 with freebsd, but if you want something easier to manage, go with Open Media Vault.

As for the server itself, I would recommend the Odroid H3. It’s an x86 based NUC form factor board, that can run passively cooled. I use one as my desktop and it packs a punch. If you will use containers over virtual machines you will be able to run anything on it, really, as long as you have enough RAM, but it can handle a couple VMs. Proxmox would probably run well on this. Compiling stuff might take some time if you are into software building though, but for home lab services, it’s plenty of power in a really low wattage package (this thing requires a 15V 5A brick to operate, which amounts to about 65W - at a theoretical full load for the entire package).

If you need something beefier and want ECC, go with a Ryzen build, the Ryzen 5 7600 is hot right now, as it’s the low powered bretheren of the hungried 7600x. It has an internal GPU for the initial setup, which should be able to be deactivated later to save on power (although the consumption would be negligible).

I have three of these, two of which were the ones I did videos on. I absolutely adore them! But nowadays, I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find something cheaper. The main reason I bought the third is because the first two had already proven to be a good long-term investment and I already knew I liked it. But what ThatGuyB said should probably be explored first.

I am going to install Proxmox and run VM’s. Right now I am using an old i7 with 24GB’s of RAM and would like to have more memory. I wish this board had more than 4 SATA ports.

This is the board I am referring to. Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F.

Thanks for your input.

Depending on your needs, you could check out my homelab build.

If you think an Intel Atom motherboard would suit your needs, you could build something like I did - a 1U Supermicro rack case, with a Mini-ITX motherboard - I currently use this one: A2SDi-4C-HLN4F.

They available with up to 16 cores. There is also a newer generation coming soon - with 4 or 8 cores, and with or without SFP ports: A3SPI-4C-HLN4F.

This is about cutting it as close to the limit as you can, if you’re really serious about low energy consumption. The A2SDi-4C-HLN4F quad-core board uses ~15W, and my entire server uses around 15-20W with 4 SSD disks. Just bumping to the 8-core board increases power consumption by 10W, and using the next-gen A3SPI-4C-HLN4F board bumps usage another 10W to ~35W just for the mainboard.

In my opinion, a Mini-ITX Intel Atom server is a good compromise between a more powerful server, and something compareable to Raspberry Pi. Power-wise, it should be comparable to Odroid H3, which was also mentioned.

I’m running a bunch of Docker containers (including Grafana Dashboards), and since I switched to ECC memory, everything has been running smoothly with no issues at all. Also even with the small Noctua fans, everything is very silent.