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I installed Xubuntu 11.04 AMD64 on an 'old' PC I have lying around. I quite like how Xfce has come along, but alas, this box will become headless shortly.

Specs:

Clearly this is way overboard for a simple file server. How do I best go about reducing power consumption of the CPU? GPU?

Is BIOS my best option? Will Linux take care of itself?

Thanks.

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Just to add a detail about my new 30 dollars ultra low consumption file server: raspberrypi.org –  Pitto Dec 14 '12 at 15:35
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4 Answers

An headless server JUST used for file server functionality should just have packages to handle that function. You could perform a minimal install and then add just samba and ssh and get rid of everything else. Bios suggestions from Rory Alsop are a good idea. Do you have a vga on the motherboard so you can use that instead of the nvidia? That would be another idea. You can also see if Openfiler can suit your needs (it has a cool web interface and it's great for fileservers imho)

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+1 - I wanted to see if Xubuntu 11.04 was actually usable as a desktop (it is - I wasn't impressed with Ubuntu 11.04) so I installed a full desktop. Now that's said and done, should I bother uninstalling certain packages? I could always do a fresh install I guess. Regrettably the mobo doesn't have onboard graphics. Thanks for the openfiler suggestion. I'll check it out now. –  boehj Jul 11 '11 at 12:37
    
If you plan to prepare a hyperminimal system you can also check Debian Minimal Installation. Done that just add on the top of it single applications and services you need. Don't be afraid of terminal: push yourself to learn. Then you'll find yourself doing administrative tasks from your mobile phone and a flaky connection with freedom and satisfaction :) –  Pitto Jul 11 '11 at 13:26
    
I clocked the E8200 down to 2.00 GHz. I could go lower of course but it's a nice even number and I want a little bit of grunt if I choose to do some transcoding or what have you. In any case, she's purring along nicely now. –  boehj Jul 13 '11 at 16:21
    
lol! :D glad to hear that :) Amahi is also interesting? –  Pitto Jul 13 '11 at 16:25
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Take a look at the powernap package, which is designed to do exactly this.

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OK, I'll check it out. Thanks. –  boehj Jul 13 '11 at 16:21
    
wow... What will this buddy do? –  Pitto Jul 13 '11 at 16:24
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You can underclock the E8200 in the BIOS, which will reduce your power when the machine is under load. The powersave features built in to Linux should keep power consumption relatively low anyway.

You can use nvclock to lower the clock speed on your video card which will also save power - not a huge amount. You may get a better power saving by using a 2D only environment - disable all 3D features, including 3D or graphic intensive screensavers - ideally use a blank screen with monitor powersave.

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+1 - Thanks for these. I'll try them out. –  boehj Jul 11 '11 at 12:34
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@boehj - added a link to nvclock for you. –  Rory Alsop Jul 11 '11 at 12:39
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This udev rule enables the most aggressive power saving settings.

/etc/udev/rules.d/10-local-powersave.rules

# PCI runtime power management
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="pci", ATTR{power/control}="auto"

# USB autosuspend
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{power/control}="auto"
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="usb", TEST=="power/autosuspend" ATTR{power/autosuspend}="60"

# SATA active link power management
SUBSYSTEM=="scsi_host", KERNEL=="host*", ATTR{link_power_management_policy}="min_power"

# Wlan power save
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="net", KERNEL=="wlan*" RUN+="/usr/sbin/iw dev %k set power_save on"

# Disable bluetooth
SUBSYSTEM=="rfkill", ATTR{type}=="bluetooth", ATTR{state}="0"

# Disable wake-on-LAN
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="net", KERNEL=="eth*" RUN+="/usr/sbin/ethtool -s %k wol d"
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