is now in its fourth incarnation! It started as a massive old PII, which I eventually replaced with a tiny Koolu for 400$. I was excited about that because the new server used less than 10W of power, had no fans, but did everything I wanted.

Later I upgraded that to an Intel Atom based machine. I don’t remember what it cost but probably about the same. It had more RAM (2GB!) and a faster CPU but it had one fan and used slightly more power.

Recently I upgraded to Slackware 14.2, which came with the newest versions of Apache and MariaDB. Those chewed up my RAM in hours. I upgraded the ram to 3GB (the maximum this machine is capable of using, despite the advertised 4GB) but that also wasn’t enough. The script I wrote to catch running out of memory problems emailed me almost daily.

So I went shopping and this time instead of looking for the lowest possible power I just looked for a more reasonable balance. I ended up getting a 65W AMD A10 on a mini-ITX board with 16GB (yeah!) of 2400MHz RAM. I also bought a mini-ITX case, the size of which shocked me.. I guess I should have expected it when I saw the box (it’s the volume of a full tower) but whatever, I just had to move the UPS out of the shelf where the server lived. Here is the old one and new one next to each other:


The whole thing cost me 560$ with tax, all new except the power supply. Weird how I went from massive back to massive! The new machine has a CPU fan (obviously) but that really is very quiet as advertised. The SSD drive doesn’t make noise. The case came with one big fan and one massive fan (and room for two regular fans), but I only had one fan plug on the motherboard so that doesn’t make too much noise. And there’s the power supply fan. Sucks to have so many moving parts, but sadly that’s the price you have to pay for performance.

The upgrade wasn’t a waste of money as I worried it might be. My website now flies, I almost can’t believe it loads this fast over the internet. My bugzilla is actually usable now. I had no idea I had a bottleneck in my CPU but apparently I did. And the lot of RAM should last for a few years. This experience was the complete opposite of my workstation upgrade where I saw no improvement in performance despite doubling the CPU and RAM.