(K)buntu mail server

David Fletcher dave at thefletchers.net
Thu Mar 13 14:05:52 UTC 2014

On Sun, 2014-03-09 at 18:57 +0100, Nils Kassube wrote:
> David Fletcher wrote:
> > And use the lowest power machine you can if it's just for yourself.
> > Consider getting a single 12V supply fanless motherboard instead of an
> > ATX job and doing a bit of a custom build because you won't get a
> > sensible capacity ATX power supply for what you want. Mine is no
> > longer available unfortunately but is similar to this:-
> > http://www.mini-itx.com/store/~JNF9C-2600
> > and has been running 24/7 for nearly 4 years now, with an
> > off-the-shelf open frame Aztec power supply, a 1TB Samsung hard drive
> > and a 60mm Papst fan for circulating some air.
> I think a Raspberry Pi (model B) could do the job as well if it is for 
> personal use. It needs only 3.5W (+ harddisk if the SD-card is not 
> sufficient for the job) and it doesn't need a fan.
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi>
> It doesn't run *Ubuntu but there are several other Linux distributions 
> available.
> Nils

In my experience, with a previous version of my server which had a board
that required an ATX power supply, even if you do have a "fanless"
board, if you build everything into a nice enclosure you still need some
air circulation to keep everything cool. Because the power supply was
sucking air in at the front of itself and blowing it out the back, there
was a large volume of stagnant air over the motherboard which overheated
and needed fans added. In my current version, I have provided the fan,
which blows air IN at the back of the case, partially hitting the AC
mains input end of the power supply, keeping it nice and cool, then
swirling around over the motherboard and hard drive too.

Thermal design is every bit as important as picking components to do the
job you need them to do.

The reason I like the type of motherboard I linked to above, is that

1) it runs bog standard i686 or AMD64 type distributions

2) it takes a single 12V DC power supply, AND provides the 12V DC and 5V
DC to power hard drives, which makes everything nice and simple, neat
and tidy to connect up.

Even if you set out with the intention of just building a mail server,
Linux being very versatile, the machine will, like mine, end up
performing other services. In my case it's also a file server that I can
get at from anywhere with WiFi, a print server and a backup drive. It
also runs jobs from a small selection of BOINC projects. So, it's just
as well IMHO to build something that's got a little more grunt than you
think you might initially need, but which is still energy efficient. An
Atom processor serves this purpose very well for me.


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