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Motherboard with low power consumption.

GigaPlus asked
Last Modified: 2013-12-10
My objective is to have a several Servers run on 12V power. (Maybe for several days from battery during power failure)
I have found a few 12V PC power supplies at about 60W

I have found 1-2Gb Flash IDE drives which will suit my application. (Fast, low power and reliable but small capacity)

I am aware of the VIA motherboards but you seem to be paying a premium to have them small and all those multimedia outputs. (maybe a simpler motherboard would take less power)

The VIA C3 Processor has a maximum power consumption of around 18 watts at 1.2GHz so the processor seems fine.
This is the VIA C3 motherboard compatability list. http://www.via.com.tw/en/viac3/vml.jsp
I am checking if anyone has measured the Watts (or amps) taken by these motherboard? (The manufacturers don't seem to publish this)
Does anyone recognise their motherboard in this list. Let me know if it has just basic video LAN and sound. (and is still produced)

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Glen A.IT Project Manager

Just an fyi, you'll have a really hard time running any system of any kind off 60W.  Most motherboards, even smaller boards with onboard anything still have an average power-consumption rating of 25W.

When you consider most of todays laptops run with 70W power supplies or more, I think you'll find yourself hard pressed to have a server or desktop of any kind, even small-form-factor, using 60W power supplies...


A 25W motherboard plus 1W IDE Flash drive will be well under 60W. (there will be no other compents e.g CD,Floppy...)

None of the motherboard specs I looked at specified power consumption.
If you are sure about the 25W average for motherboards then that will save me making a special PC  pwr supply connector to connect my multimeter into?

Ideally I would like to know the amps for each voltage.
Glen A.IT Project Manager

Well, if you're set on going ultra-low power consumption, get the VIA EPIA Motherboards if you can find one.

In it's ultra-micro-atx form factor I'm sure it's very low in power consumption, especially since via touts it as being low-power. . .

I can't find any specs on amperage/wattage on this unit, but I know most motherboards today are 25w or so, older boards with less onboard devices were in the 20w neighbourhood.

>>Just an fyi, you'll have a really hard time running any system of any kind off 60W

not at all.
Via micro atx with integrated video
256M PC133
30G 7200 IDE HDD
Realtek 100M LAN card
56k winmodem card

56W measured operating power draw

>>Just an fyi, you'll have a really hard time running any system of any kind off 60W

not at all.
Via cipset micro atx with integrated video
600MHz duron
256M PC133
30G 7200 IDE HDD
Realtek 100M LAN card
56k winmodem card

56W measured operating power draw

forgot the cpu
Glen A.IT Project Manager

public, where you getting those figures?  Durons typically have a max. draw of 25W alone.  so do 30GB HDD's...

Your well over 100W requirement with what you suggested, above.

Keep in mind that although operating (at idle) is minimum draw, booting is maximum for all devices.  A typical PC draws 3x as much at boot than during minimal operation.

Remember as well that a keyboard and mouse (ps/2) will also draw about 3W as well.

measured on an actual system with a sampling AC wattmeter.
kbd and mouse and monitor were not connected.
At startup the HD draws about 10W more.



Was that a 3.5" HDD that added 10W at startup?

Is that 10W on top of the 56W previously quoted?

Confirming you used a AMD Duron on a VIA motherboard not a VIA CPU?

Were in the circuit was the Wattmeter inserted?  ( Did you get Watts/Amps for each voltage circuit? )

i got an old 486DX you can use <vbeg>

Where do you live that warrants such 'Off mains' intervals?


I  have fairly stable mains power. But the a 10 year flood cycle threatens to leave no power for several days. So planning in advance.

Unfortunately most code is compiled for Pentium class or greater now.(So you can keep your 486DX)
Anyhow I will be running .NET Framework on NT2000 Workstation for this app.
To make my server more reliebale I want to use no moving parts no Hard Disk,Fanless CPU... which is convenient for lower power operation as well.

There are some nice 12V PCs out there such as http://www.mini-box.com/
But if some of the common mother boards listed by VIA as C3 CPU compatable (See list. http://www.via.com.tw/en/viac3/vml.jsp ) are low enough power then I will use one of those. ( I can't believe motherboard manufactures don't list there motherboard power requirement. )
Flooding eh? Water rising or passing by? if the latter, solves yer power problem. Set up a little genny
This one is on us!
(Get your first solution completely free - no credit card required)

I also ocnstructed two boxes based on the Epia 800 motherboard.
Each had a 7200 rpm hdd, DVD reader, and a wireless card.
As I recal the total power was a little under 50W.

mini-box.com has a power simulator for the older EPIA solutions.  EPIA has integrated CPU, so all you can get is CPU+MB power usage, but then again, that's all that you'd need.

The oldest EPIA, the EPIA 5000, with a single compactflash drive, is listed as 14.4W.  This is estimated draw from outlet, to the best of my knowledge.


If you're cost constrained, my suggestion is to try to scrounge up an old laptop, perhaps a pentium-MMX vintage.

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