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Any advice about how to build a cheap and fanless server? It's main uses would be web and file servering, but it could be a day when I'd like to add some streaming and mailing capabilities as well.

OS of choice: GNU/Linux

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Take a look at Atom powered devices. Atom N330 should be powerful enough to do most of the home server duties, and it is relatively cheap and consume just a bit of power. Not to mention that it doesn't take much space either.

I'd look especially at Acer Revo R3610 but there are completely fanless models available.

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I thought about Atom, and it seems the best choice at the moment, but the Acer Revo (although it's VERY COOL!) it's a little over my budjet expectation. Anyway thanks for the Atom advice: I'll look over it! – dag729 May 2 '10 at 17:49
ASRock ION 330 is slightly cheaper but just as cool. Although it comes without HDD. BTW, you can check out old outdated versions of Atom platform, they not as fast but still should be fast enough. I used to have Celeron 800MHz as a server and they can easily beat that. And Revo 3600 (old model) costs just above $200. – vava May 2 '10 at 19:05
Same here: one of the servers I used two years ago was a 800MHz as well, and it was doing very good! But, alas, it was energy hungry too...that's why I'm looking for some micro/nano/pico/fanless system. – dag729 May 2 '10 at 22:55
+1 Good idea, but don't expect it to, say, stream video and back up a comp[uter at the same time... – RCIX May 5 '10 at 9:39
@RCIX, Linux is quite good with IO performance. It might be able to do those two jobs. Also N330 have two cores (4 threads), which is more than enough if you ask me. – vava May 5 '10 at 11:13

You can see many references at Silent PC Review. They're more concerned with eliminating noise, not minimizing cost, but you can pick and choose from what's available.

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WHOAH! That's a great resource! Thanks a lot! I'm looking at it right now. – dag729 May 2 '10 at 17:47

I don't know your definition of cheap, but a Pogoplug may just fit the bill.

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Thanks for the advice, but it seems too much strict: what if I want to put a Drupal installation on it? From what I understand by the website, it seems I couldn't. Please correct me if I'm wrong. – dag729 May 2 '10 at 17:44
You're probably right. This thread mentions someone running Drupal on a LAMP stack on a plug: I can't tell whether it's a SheevaPlug or a GuruPlug. – moioci May 3 '10 at 20:37

I have an Intel D410pt motherboard (bearing a D410 "dual core" atom processor at 1.6 GHz), hooked up with 2 GB of RAM and a 160 GB 2.5" hard disk, for about 130 EUR, which isn't much. It can run fanless, but because of the location I'm using it in, I had to put in a fan sadly.

It's running on Arch Linux 64 Bit, hosting an IceCast streaming server, a network storage file system, FTP and HTTP without any problems!

Looking into Atom based devices might be a good idea :)

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130 € is an amount I could afford: did you paid that for the whole system, or some parts of it? – dag729 May 2 '10 at 21:21
I got all those parts and assembled them myself, saving some costs. I had RAM flying around here. The MoBo cost about 50 EUR, the Hard Disk about 50 EUR, too. The rest was put into a nice mini ITX case. :) Because of Linux as the primary OS, I coud cut the RAM needed in half. So the worst case price would have been about 140 - 150 EUR for me. – Sadface May 2 '10 at 21:25

Easily build a comprehensive server with free integrated software applications incl email, streaming etc. Very well described at

Try this hardware bundle

The motherboard has onboard SATA RAID facility as well as two IDE connectors. NB: no FDD connection so use USB floppy if required.
Make sure they send the NEW PCI Wi-Fi Card (prob not needed for this project, but useful). Motherboard Documentation from manuf site.

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