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I want to build a home server and I plan to run windows server 2012 essentials. I want to use it for storage, file sharing, dlna to my tv, host a couple of websites (not much traffic if any at all) and maybe run a minecraft server on it (but not essential obviously).

I'm concerned that having a computer running 24/7 is going to blow out my electricity bill so is there a way to minimize power usage? What sort of wattage should I expect a server to use? What hardware component uses the most power?

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migrated from serverfault.com Jul 31 '12 at 23:12

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If you are building something that small you can get by with an intel atom or an AMD Fusion board. I have one at home and I think it pulls about 34 watt.

CPU and graphics cards are the biggest power hoggers.

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Focus on CPU/Mobo. GFX cards won't make much of a difference in the 24/7 profile. They consume a lot of power under load but are quite efficient when just doing regular stuff or if they turn off monitor output. I measure this to be under 2 watts of a different (with and without a midrange ATI card). – DeepSpace101 Jun 22 at 1:44

Go headless (no monitor, you can RDP in) , and go with an low-power CPU, like an Atom or Fusion, as recommended by Lucas. Its the hardware and how heavily it's utilized that determines electricity costs.

There's a fairly big niche market these days in low-power servers, so you should look into that (use the Google). A lot of them are meant to run Linux, but some are compatible with Windows, or can have Windows installed as an option. If you get a plug server or a similar small machine designed to minimize power use, you can run it for literally pennies a day.

I've got a couple around the house somewhere and they cost less to run than my desktop... which really isn't all that much, when you do the math. Say, 850W (which would be the maximum draw of my desktop PSU) *$0.13*24 == $20.40 a day, if my computer was running at full power draw 24/7. It actually draws around 5% on average, so it costs me about $350 a year to keep my desktop on full time. A home server, with a similar expected utilization would cost about the same, unless you have wildly different prices for electricity. One of my actual enterprise-grade servers (A Dell NX3100) only runs me about $500 a year in electricity, or less than $10 a week, so you really shouldn't expect a server by itself to blow out your electric bill.

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