So in the latest episode of part installation in my progressive Home Server 2011 build, I received my power supply and the memory in the post today.
The memory is the same as that originally specified in my home server design: 4GB of Corsair 1333MHz DDR3 as two 2GB sticks so that I get the most from the dual channel memory controller. This isn’t XMS or Dominator or any of the special Corsair models of memory, but instead the standard Corsair memory. The reason for this is that the home server isn’t going to be running a large number of memory intensive processes and especially not one’s which require ultra-low CAS latency and timings or lots of paging in and out.
I’ve always used Corsair memory since I switched from unbranded about 4-5 years ago due to lots of back to back memory related issues. I’ve never had a single stick go bad, even the three 2GB sticks of Registered DDR2 in my current Dell PowerEdge SC1425 home server build (which has been up and running every day for the last three years). If a stick ever did go bad I know I have Corsairs lifetime warranty to back me up too which is nice.
The power supply has a three key requirements in this build. One is to be silent or as very near to silent as possible. Two is to provide enough SATA connectors to support the six SATA-II disks that will be going in the server, and lastly but not least is to be as energy efficient as possible even as low power draw levels.
Silence was a difficult one for me to find because all of the silent power supplies I was able to find didn’t support more than four SATA-II disks and I didn’t want to be using Molex to SATA converters in the build as it’s just another thing to go wrong or stop something working at 100% efficiency. As per the previous point, six disk support was hard to find. It was achievable but only on the higher end power supplies capable of delivering silly amounts of power up to 1200W in some cases. Whilst a power supply only uses the power is needs, they have power efficiency curves based on the demand. Typically, the lower the draw from the PSU’s peak or recommended continuous load rating, the worse the efficiency, and alas the final requirement.
I was mainly after a supply rated at 80 PLUS Bronze, however anything better was a plus. When I found the Corsair AX750 Professional Series Modular PSU, I was in power heaven. With a peak load of 750W, sleek black good looks, and a modular design supporting up to twelve SATAÃ¢â‚¬â€II disks, I would not only have enough SATA connectors to meet the needs of my current six disk design, but also capacity to extend to the full ten disk capacity of the case if I wanted to in the future, but thanks to the modular cabling I am able to maximize the air flow in the already airy case by only installing the cases I need to deliver power to the disks and motherboards.
The power supply is 80 PLUS Gold rated the supply delivers a massive 90% efficiency at 230V even when operating at below 20% load (I will probably be in the 6-7% region) which is something very rare for a power supply. The power supply does have a fan, which is rated at 35dB at full 750W load which is load, however when running below 20% load, the fan is disabled due to the lack of heat generation which means I meet the final criteria for silence.
The supply comes with a full seven year warranty from Corsair, and because I will be only running the power supply and extremely low load levels, none of the components are likely to ever be taxed to a level to cause them to fail which means this supply ticks all the boxes I had as minimum requirements, goes an extra ten miles with tonnes of extra features and nice touches but leaves me safe in the knowledge that it will outlast my projected storage utilization for this server (and most likely the shelf life of Windows Home Server 2011 too).
Lastly, I decided that as I not going to be using the rear case fans that I should remove them to give me a bit more through flow for the air and also to get the hanging Molex connectors out of the way. There is a shot of the case without these fans now and the extra ventilation it will give me. The front case fans are still installed as once the build is complete I am going to review the temperatures and make a decision as to whether the temperature warrants having some air movement and if the dB level from them is acceptable.