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Author Topic: Attempting to roll my own I3 passive cooling/lowpower  (Read 383 times)

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Offline sparkman123

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Attempting to roll my own I3 passive cooling/lowpower
« on: December 05, 2017, 10:35:51 am »
Greetings,

I am trying to build my own box that will be running pfsense. My goal is to maximize throughput (OpenVPN, etc) while minimizing the total power consumed. However, I have some questions about the viability of passive cooling as well as the total power consumed.

Specifically, I have chosen the following processor and motherboard: I3-7100T with an ASRock H270M -

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=2HK-000X-00017

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16813157737

I chose the 7100T over the regular 7100 since it is supposed to use less power. I will also install a generic 2.5 SSD as well as some memory (probably pillage my own PC for that).

I have yet to choose a case/motherboard because I am trying to understand, if I can do passive cooling with this processor? If so, does anyone have any recommendations as to a case?

Additionally, what will be the power consumption of the box be? Using a generic PSU calculator, the total wattage usually comes out to be 70W+ as seen in the following link:
 
https://outervision.com/b/4QFqzv

However in the following build, this company claims its rig will only draw 25 to 40W, which is less than half of what the PSU calculation sites claim:

https://www.pondesk.com/product/7th-Gen-Intel-Core-i37100T-Kaby-Lake-34GHz-HD-Mini-PC_MNHO-053

My question is, which site is right, and what will my total wattage draw be?

Thanks.



Offline johnkeates

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Re: Attempting to roll my own I3 passive cooling/lowpower
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2017, 05:21:54 pm »
Idle will be around 10W, no site can give you the true value since there are differences between components.
Regarding passive cooling: this is possible if you disable turbo stuff and if you have enough local natural airflow. It also requires a large heatsink.

One problem is the motherboard, it is not designed for passive cooling. As long as the watts used by the CPU are low, that's not too much of an issue, but the VRM's and PCH are not cooled and usually depend on case airflow or auxiliary CPU fan airflow.

Check the Qotom and MiniSys boxes, their design show how a passive cooling setup might work well. While those use U-series and mobile-series CPUs/SoCs/PCHs, and hare on-board DC-DC VRMs that are designed to not need airflow or convection, something comparable should be possible with your setup.

Depending on what you measure, it might take some removal of unused devices (like extra audio chips those boards have, possibly useless PCI bridges or unused HBAs).

Running it in a small case won't be possible, keep that in mind. Minimum size would be micro ATX I guess.

Offline sparkman123

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Re: Attempting to roll my own I3 passive cooling/lowpower
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 11:16:00 am »
Thanks. So if I'm looking at motherboards, how would I know if is designed for passive cooling? I stumbled on this article from Tom's Hardware talking about different passively cooled boards, however, when looking at the specs from ASrock's website, I couldn't see anything mentioning passively cooled.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/asrock-apollo-lake-motherboard-intel,32840.html

Also, if I decided to go for the H270M, do I need both a CPU fan in addition to a case fan? I've seen a lot of people use noctura fans:

http://noctua.at/en/products/fan

Offline johnkeates

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Re: Attempting to roll my own I3 passive cooling/lowpower
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 04:13:02 pm »
Thanks. So if I'm looking at motherboards, how would I know if is designed for passive cooling? I stumbled on this article from Tom's Hardware talking about different passively cooled boards, however, when looking at the specs from ASrock's website, I couldn't see anything mentioning passively cooled.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/asrock-apollo-lake-motherboard-intel,32840.html

Also, if I decided to go for the H270M, do I need both a CPU fan in addition to a case fan? I've seen a lot of people use noctura fans:

http://noctua.at/en/products/fan

As stated by that site:

Quote
As we mentioned above, ASRock uses passive cooling with all of the SoCs. The cooling solution should be sufficient for these low-power processors, but it may limit performance somewhat as the CPU will throttle once it reaches a certain temperature.

Keep in mind that that site only refers to the J-series SoCs, and not Core i3. I don't think Core i3 comes passively-cooled for custom built systems, only with CPU-on-board models, and those mostly use the mobile series combo packages.

Offline Gil

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Re: Attempting to roll my own I3 passive cooling/lowpower
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2017, 04:02:51 am »
Do you definitely require an I3 ?

The main objects seem to be:
- Maximize throughput (OpenVPN, etc)
- while minimizing the total power consumed

The question is how much of each do you need?

The low power solution (& low capital cost) would be an APU2 - if the throughput is enough. (4 cores with AES-NI).
Power drain: around 400mA @ 12 volts = 5 watts.

All for under US$140 - including the case.

Bomb proof in my experience - I've had them in un-ventilated boxes in ambient temps above 60 degC (140 F)


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Offline johnkeates

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Re: Attempting to roll my own I3 passive cooling/lowpower
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2017, 06:10:49 pm »
It does indeed depend on both normal bandwidth and needed VPN bandwidth. If you're not going to need super fast VPN, the APU will do just fine. Keep in mind that the APU's total price depends on where you are, in many non-US countries, the Qotom and MiniSys boxes are the same price or cheaper with better performance.

Offline jafoca

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Re: Attempting to roll my own I3 passive cooling/lowpower
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 04:16:05 pm »
Do you definitely require an I3 ?

The main objects seem to be:
- Maximize throughput (OpenVPN, etc)
- while minimizing the total power consumed

The question is how much of each do you need?

The low power solution (& low capital cost) would be an APU2 - if the throughput is enough. (4 cores with AES-NI).
Power drain: around 400mA @ 12 volts = 5 watts.

All for under US$140 - including the case.

Bomb proof in my experience - I've had them in un-ventilated boxes in ambient temps above 60 degC (140 F)

What kind of throughput can you get from an APU2? I want to make sure I can maximize my 150M down cable connection. Some traffic will route via VPN, some in the clear.

Offline Gil

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Re: Attempting to roll my own I3 passive cooling/lowpower
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 11:38:30 pm »
For my network, speed is not crucial (unusually)

Seems to be quite a few opinions on APU2 throughput out there - eg:
https://forum.opnsense.org/index.php?topic=2139.0

Config dependent; I would think it should easily do what you are asking...

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