Low power home server build

Low power home server build

Low power home server build

3 Comments on Low power home server build

After using my trusted raspberry pi for a little over 2 years, I was in need of an upgrade. In the beginning my goal was just to make a home firewall/server using PFsense, but then I added an extra requirement, it had to use as little energy as possible.  My top priority was getting a system that used about the same electricity as my raspberry pi, or at least as close to equivalent watt per performance.
Finding the perfect system have been hard with so many good products on the market. Have found 3 systems that fits my requirements for making a low power home server build, but it’s very hard to make a decision. My plan is to install ClearOs or PFsense (still up for debate).  While ClearOS don’t have a ARM support yet, it seems that PFsense are working towards supporting ARMv7 instruction sets. A quote from Chris Buechler at Pfsense:

April 14th, 2015:

Freetomfr and others who are interested: we may see experimental ARM support for a small number of platforms before too long. Stay tuned.

This means that we might see PFsense on ARM platforms in the future! I have also included a list with many Multicore ARM board’s that a guy on Reddit made. You’ll find it near the end of this post (unfortunately I have misplaced the username to give credit)


  • At least 2x NIC
  • Low power

Nice to have:

  • AES-NI

These 3 systems are all very interesting and all boards have support for x86-64 which gives a bit more flexibility when choosing OS:

Mini/Nano – ITX Jetway Intel Celeron N2930 Dual LAN Fanless NUC
Specs: Celeron N2930 Quad Core and 2x NIC
Comment: Almost same performance as the A4 Micro-6400T but with a bit higher power consumption. Availability is great since you can buy this directly from amazon

CAPA842, fanless embedded board
Specs: J1900 (quad core) or N2807 (dual core) embedded board and support for up to 8GB DDR3L-1333 SO-DIMM
Comment: Seems very nice, seems hard to come by in Europe.

fitlet-X – 4 GbE LAN
Specs: AMD A4 Micro-6400T SoC which supports SSE (1, 2, 3, 3S, 4.1, 4.2, 4A), x86-64, AES, AVX and uses Single-Channel DDR3L-1333a blocks.
Comment: The use of AMD A4, appeals to me a lot. With a TDP of 4.5W

Honorable mention

ASRock Beebox
AsRock BeeBox (1 NIC, but USB C)

Multicore ARM dev boards list: 

Other resources:

Upcomming soc and CPU’s: http://www.maximumpc.com/intel-quietly-rolls-out-new-braswell-socs-and-broadwell-cpus-2015/
Great forum post about low power systems: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1849149

Martin Jørgensen

Martin Jørgensen

Got my degree from EAL in 2012 as an IT-Technologist with specialty in network. I enjoy living in a century where I can earn a living doing my hobby. Material I publish here are often part of my small projects.
Martin Jørgensen

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  • You could save some money and choose j1800 cpu instead and save some money!
    I am running Pfsense with Openvpn [Server and client], Squid [Transparrent – Cache] and Snort [IDS/IPS] and i have never seen my cpu usage over 22% on my 20/20 connection.

    • Interesting with the J1800, been reading a bit about this CPU now, and seems like a good candidate. Properly gonna wait til next month before I make my final decision.

      With a max TDP of 10 watt, it will be hard to keep the entire system below my requirement when idle, but if the bang offered here is better I might consider it more.

      • well the only downside is that the j1800 only supports Pcie-e x1 so i had to use a Pci-e x1 -> x16 riser to connect my intel pro dual nic, but it work flawless and without problem, the x1 has enough speed to max out the intel pro dual nic GB.

        Martin if you can wait 2-3 month then i can sell you a cheap mb with an j1800 or j1900?
        i think they are about little over a half year old.

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