Low power server


Oct 4, 2022
Hi, I would like to buy a low-power home server but unfortunately the market offers little at the moment
My needs are these
VM: Home Assistant - OMV - Debian xfce
LXC: MQTT - Jellyfin
1 NVME + 1 SSD + 1 3.5 HD + 32 GB RAM
I found a Dell Optiplex i5-9500 (not i5-9500T) and wanted advice on any consumption scenarios in relation to this configuration

Thank you for your time
Its usually not about the processor. TDP is only for dimensioning the cooling and is sometimes used as a guide on how much power the CPU can consume under max load. It doesn't tell you anything how much power it is used under idle or low load. What you probably care more about in a homelab is the idle consumption which isn't adversised anywhere. I can run a proper 4U server at 20W idle while a NUC-like might consume 100W under load.
What helps is to have as few features as possible. Low end chipset, as less mainboard features as possible, efficient low-voltage CPU doesn't hurt, no old hardware, as less disks as possible, no HDDs, a good efficient PSU that is not over or under dimensioned, no additional PCIe cards or USB stuff, no RGB.
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My 3 x 13th Gen NUCs (promox cluster with 5 VMs ) seem to be pulling between 18 to 29 (at least thats what my PDU is reporting)
My 3 x 10th Gen NUCs pull 10 to 11 watts (think hyper-v server and one or two VMs)

All NUCs are i7's, have one SSD and one NVME

Not suggesting you get NUCs, just giving you a baseline.
Just another random data point:
  • MinisForum HM80 + two SSD + M2.NVMe + 64 GiB Ram + both NICs connected + PVE idle (!) = 9 Watt
I've pushed it to consume up to 50 Watt with stress-ng and my personal usecase consumes ~25 Watt. Ymmv...
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I have very good candidate for low idle power consumption minimalistic, powerful home-server:

It has idle power consuption only ⚡ 2—3 W ‼️ :-O

MB: Asus Pro H610T D4-CSM
CPU: Intel i3-13100 (TDP 60W)
RAM: 1x Crucial 32GB DDR4-3200 SODIMM (CT32G4SFD832A) //max. is 2x32GB
SSD: 1x m.2 Samsung 980 Pro 2TB
PSU: 12V 150W from AKASA https://www.akasa.com.tw/update.php?tpl-product/product.detail.tpl.tpl&model-AK150-02K

OS: Debian 12 with DietPi, kernel 6.1.0-13-amd64 (upgrded to 6.5.0-10-amd64 and is ok too), keyboard and LCD unplugged (only LAN plugged with 1 active SSH session).

Power consumption is measured on DC side (12V, yes this board can be powered with 12V).

It’s fanless minimalistic build.

idle: 23 W
load: 5060W
(sit can be adjusted in BIOS to TDP 20W for example)

Here is measurement of power consumption on DC side:
- (only LAN plugged with 1 active SSH session. I don't have Proxmox yet).

All power saving features are enabled in BIOS (C-States, ASPM). In OS powertop was applied and script for enabling ASMP on PCIE devices.

I know, the mainboard is not extendable, no PCI slots, but for me is good enough.
I was able to buy MB+CPU under 180 Eur (which is price of new Odroid H3).

dietpi@pc:~$ neofetch
       _,met$$$$$gg.          dietpi@pc
    ,g$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$P.       ---------
  ,g$$P"     """Y$$.".        OS: Debian GNU/Linux trixie/sid x86_64
 ,$$P'              `$$$.     Kernel: 6.5.0-4-amd64
',$$P       ,ggs.     `$$b:   Uptime: 1 hour, 25 mins
`d$$'     ,$P"'   .    $$$    Packages: 249 (dpkg)
 $$P      d$'     ,    $$P    Shell: bash 5.2.15
 $$:      $$.   -    ,d$$'    Terminal: /dev/pts/0
 $$;      Y$b._   _,d$P'      CPU: 13th Gen Intel i3-13100 (8) @ 3.400GHz
 Y$$.    `.`"Y$$$$P"'         GPU: Intel Alder Lake-S GT1 [UHD Graphics 730]
 `$$b      "-.__              Memory: 191MiB / 31459MiB

powertop outputs (and other details):
and another power measurements:

Asus H610T power consumptio idle.jpg
! Note that photo and screenshot of Shelly were not taken in the same time! Power consumption was not constant number but jumping values in time.
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