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Author Topic: mac mini as a server, only .3 amps  (Read 9099 times)
nutballs
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« on: December 23, 2008, 01:26:37 PM »

So in my quest to learn things linux, and to explore the idea of colo, and other things, I discovered the mac mini only uses about .3 amps at peak. At least assuming bootup is peak.

getnet, which is local, charges $300 for 10U, with 4amps.
if you stack the minis sideways, you can fit 8 across with a little breathing room between (assuming a 19" rack).
and you could do 2 rows with a shelf between since a mac mini is 3.7U wide, assume 4U with a shelf.
still leaving you 2U for a patch panel and router...

of course thats now 16 mac minis when there is only enough amps for 12, and the heat would be retarded.
But technically... if you ramp it up to a full rack... thats a big ass server farm in 1 rack.

anyone want to start a hosting company? lol
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2008, 01:36:57 PM »

oh and then I just thought of the rediculousness of building a drawer to slot mac minis into at an angle to help with heat flow, and use all the available depth into the rack... maybe like 20 minis per 4U...
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vsloathe
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2008, 09:08:14 PM »

cluster them. Doing the traditional shared hosting thing is not the way to go unless you have a server beefy enough to be split into lots of virtual hosts. Mac Minis wouldn't be ideal for that. They'd be good as a cluster though. Really good.
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2008, 10:45:05 PM »

yea i been thinking a grid type solution. like one big ass computer.
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2008, 10:54:38 PM »

@Nuts ... dude, ... you ain't right.

And I TOTALLY dig that about you!  Go man, go!   

Just let me know where to point my browser when it's up!
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2008, 08:23:46 AM »

@nuts: I like the way you think...heres my idea

put a deep cycle motorcycle battery + apc on it and solar panels
on a blimp to hover over a wi fi spot (of course you may need a
gerbil feeder , a wheel and the alternator to a moped or something
so he can charge it battery back up himself at night when hes running
so pedantically like they do at night when there is no solar power hell be running and spinng that alternator trickle charging that battery back up.....this way you could host torrents anonymously...  Grin


 of course there would have to be a remote control servo to ignite a spark and
architect an ide->Ied contraption to explode the evidence... hover
them over free wifi spots all over the world and get skynet going...

I worked in a 'wonder woman style' mainframe room with smelly
prehistoric COBOL programmers... you couldn't be in without a
sweater, the floors were densely packed with vents , powered by a gigantic air conditioner system and they were still slow as shit and the big magnetic reel to reel tapes still broke periodically ..... talk about job hoarding cobol programmers.... last i hear they are still there changing those tapes and beating the delphi guys in productivity.

I wonder if you could hack apart a refrigerator with a thermostat on
it and make a "COOL" server box...  Idea...
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 08:29:51 AM by mampy » Logged
jairez
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2008, 08:40:23 AM »

Quote
last i hear they are still there...

... with red staplers threatening to "burn it to the ground"   ROFLMAO ROFLMAO
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vsloathe
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2008, 08:43:38 AM »

I wonder if you could hack apart a refrigerator with a thermostat on
it and make a "COOL" server box...  Idea...

Not really a need. Back when I was in college, I built my overclocked gaming PC using a water-cooled peltier (heatpump) system. I went to walmart and bought a gallon rubbermaid container, went to home depot and got some clear plastic tubing and threaded/barbed brass fittings, went to petsmart and bought a fish tank pump (don't recall the CFM, but it was mid-range flow). I created the peltier and cooler using a copper water block and solid copper heat spreading block, put 1/4" thick neoprene all around the block, inside the socket hole (was an FCPGA socket, so the air inside could have condensed) and insulated the back of the motherboard (yeah, it got THAT cold).

Ran under full load at ~ -10 degrees celsius. Idled around -27 degrees. I got a 700mhz celeron running stable over 1.3Ghz.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and to cool the water I went to a junk yard and yanked the transmission cooler out of an old Saab 900. I attached two 120mm fans to it and used an extra external switched power supply with a relay to power the contraption.
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« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2008, 09:32:53 AM »

the main problem with servers in racks is actually how they are mounted.
being flat, all the heat tries to go straight up, so the fans have to "alter gravity" and blow the heat/air out horizontally.
If you put the server at an angle, or even ass-end-up, you don't need as much forced air. However, the room temperature is still the problem.

but i am starting to wonder if 10 minis would put out as much heat as a 2u dell 4quad opteron with an handful of ram in it. I think they wouldnt. Thems bastards is hot. not even sure 15 would.

actually i could do the math i think. watts should directly equate to heat. I just don't know the idle and peak numbers of a 4 quad opt with some ram and drives.
the mini right now is eating 17 watts at idle... LOL
im gonna take a wag and say a 4quad will eat a massive amount more that that. 10 times? 20 times?
and then the cost...
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« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2008, 10:11:51 AM »

The mini sucks air from the bottom and exhausts out the back. I think you'd mess with them on edge. I'd go stacks of 3 per shelf (then 3 or 4 across) and make a sort of sealed container at the face with fans pulling air out of the existing vents on the back of the minis, forcing air to move through them. I think a cluster of them would work brilliantly - especially since the rumor mill says they'll be quads themselves in a couple months.

But even as a standalone, they're plenty capable OAMP machines - actually, the bang for buck is damn good.
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vsloathe
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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2008, 10:45:09 AM »

Actually wattage does not directly correlate to heat.

Theoretically, computers get so hot because the excess energy needs to go somewhere. If you have a logic gate, any logic gate really but let's use an OR in this scenario.

If you have one high signal at +5V, the OR outputs a high signal on the other side at +5V. What happens when you have 2 high signals at +5V? Well, the OR gate still outputs one +5V high on the other end. Where does the energy of the other high signal go? It's magic. Not really, it gets dissipated as heat. Multiply that by several million times and you're generating a lot of heat. It's mostly about processor architecture when you're talking about how much heat is generated. I have no stats to back it up but simply because the macs will have a consumer .95nm process chip in them vs. the opteron server cores, the macs will generate more heat.
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« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2008, 10:57:04 AM »

@perk
actually the technical docs say not to stack because. though it is speculated its mostly for the wifi and something else on top of the unit under the plastic shell. However, I think the heat stacking effect would be a problem for the guy on top. However, it does say you can stand on edge. I say stand on the front, and that way the exhaust vent is up, which "should" make it more efficient.

@v
Your "sort of right".
All the wattage has to convert to some form of energy, either heat, light, or the same watts. It's close enough to say that almost all of it converts to heat. For example, an LED converts the electrical energy to light. see LEDs measured in load and millicandella (light output), and it is a ratio of the 2. more watts=more light for the same LED. A space heater is another example, though the elements glow red, that is very little of the energy and most is heat. So yes, you are technically right, but a vast majority of the wattage is converted to heat. some more, some less, but probably minor differences.
assuming 100% heat conversion, 1Kcal = 1.163 watthours
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perkiset
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« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2008, 11:00:21 AM »

But first off, the processor is not the only thing that generates heat. A server-grade dual power supply Opteron box will put out a metric shitload of heat... I know this not from math, but by putting my hands on one of the dozen in my cage vs. the minis I have running as well. Quite simply, the mini is cooler.

But second, if you take a full amp and put it into a box or put .3 amps and put it into a box, then the .3 box simply won't have the energy capability to create as much heat as the full amp box (all things being equal). Or am I missing something here?
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perkiset
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« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2008, 11:02:34 AM »

<Damn nuts! Got in just before me on my last post>

@perk
actually the technical docs say not to stack because. though it is speculated its mostly for the wifi and something else on top of the unit under the plastic shell. However, I think the heat stacking effect would be a problem for the guy on top. However, it does say you can stand on edge. I say stand on the front, and that way the exhaust vent is up, which "should" make it more efficient.

Ah, I get it. So we stick them ass upwards... but the same thing would apply - the guy on top would be the recipient of all the heat from below him, unless you segregate the airflow from each shelf.

Meh. More air conditioning and let my ISP work it out Wink
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« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2008, 11:17:36 AM »

yep. I am thinking an angled shelf underside to guide the airflow to the back. Seriously, I think you could stack like 20 on 1 shelf this way.
How deep is a standard rack? 40 inches? minus a few for cables and stuff.
10 deep, 2 rows, 6U high for cables and shelf structure.
of course, this would probably push the weight limit on the rack... lol
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