Need to reduce heat and power consumption

Hello everyone.

A couple of years ago I put together a server based on JDMs Lego Build posted on r/plex. It is still serving me well however i am tiring of the heat and the cost to run it 24/7. Below is my build specs copied from my original build post:

Build Components

Type Item Price (AUD)
Case Coolermaster N400 from KOGAN (AU) $84.83
Motherboard Supermicro X8DTL-IF ATX Dual LGA1366 $123.80
CPU Cooler 2 x Arctic 33 CO 120mm PWM $77.20
PSU EVGA 450W B $36.78
EPS Splitter 8 Pin to Dual 8 Pin EPS Splitter $9.38
CPU 2 x Intel X5667 4C/8T $36.83
RAM 4 x 4GB DDR3 ECC REG $37.49
SAS HBA LSI-9210-8i SAS2 (Add 8 SATA 3 ports) $62.53
2 port SATA 3 card for boot SSD $16.62
Cable 2-pack SAS breakout cable $17.50
Cable 12-Pack Sata Cables $10
Cable Coax Cables and splitters $37.07
Cable 2 Pack Cable Matters Sata to 4x SATA Power Splitter $15.01
HDD 3x 3TB Hitachis $198.80
SSD Samsung 850 Evo 250GB $112.5
Total $924.55

on top of that i now have 2 8TB WD reds and another 250gb SSD.

My server runs windows 10 with the following programs and VMs
ubuntu 18 LTS VM: organizr, tautulli, ombi, bunch of docker containers
Home Assistant OS VM: Home assistant, frigate (for object detection of camera feeds [coral AI on order])

I have 3 primary goals.

  1. Reduce heat (right now it is 26 deg C outside but 31C in the bedroom with the server)
  2. Reduce power consumption (costing me $30 a month currently + aircon costs)
  3. move all to unraid

I have never seen more than 4 users on plex at once and more often it is just 2. Transcodes do happen more often than not as i do not have great upload bandwidth. I’m thinking intel quicksync might be ideal for lowering power needs? I have noticed with the VMs 20GB of RAM has been on the low end. maybe windows related also

I am expecting to need to upgrade the motherboard, cpu/s, PSU and RAM but completely open to your thoughts and considerations.
I am also open to turning my N400 into a DAS and having a SFF or similar as the server instead if it is viable.

In Australia, IT gear is far more expensive than the US so price may be a consideration.

Do not worry about how i would move my media from windows with drivepool to unraid (i have other computers and storage available as a short term holding ground while drives get wiped.

Thank you kindly.

Guess which room the server is in… 24 Hour chart.


A couple of years ago I got motivated after using a Kill-O-Watt on my server to see the amount of electric it was using. I migrated to a Ryzen 7 1700 and replaced 8 4TB with 4 4TB drives and the energy used went down by 1/2 and the performance went way up. Win - Win. Even though our electric rates are quite cheap here I think the break even was about 2-3 years.

Thanks I’ve not looked at AMD options just yet but probably need to. I’m so overwhelmed by the Intel possibilities and honestly thought quick sync relied on it being Intel anyway?

Did you misspeak or did you actually give up half your storage?

I’ve currently got 3x3tb, 1x4tb and 2x8tb hdd but just purchased an 18tb one as I’m running low on space.

I’m considering maybe an Hp prodesk 600 G3 with an i5 7500. Would need to upgrade the ram and then turn my existing n400 box into a simple das for the HDDs.

Alternatively I replace my mobo CPU and Ram but not sure where to start with that.

oops a one got dropped. I meant 14TB drives. I went AMD because with a AM4 motherboard and the lowest Ryzen 7 chip left me so many upgrade options in the future without replacing the board again. I can move up 5 generations of chips with a bios upgrade so far. I obviously do not have quick sync, but I purchased a used Nvdia Quatro P400 card very cheap and does just fine for my needs. I bought most of the components used off eBay. Also I just installed tdarr (Space invader 1 video) and saved 8TB re-encoding my media to x.265.

Thanks for explaining.

Yesterday I lowballed an Hp prodesk G5 on eBay and he actually accepted today. So now I’m committed to a 2 box pathway I guess. Have to decide if I go with a DAS build or a lower powered NAS build to compliment the i5 8500 in the HP.

I assume the DAS build will be lower power consumption but I’d need to run all my containers on the HP meaning I’ll need to fork out for 32gb ram which isn’t cheap.

Is your Prodesk the 400? If so, it looks like it could be a standard ATX motherboard and fit in a different case that you could fit the drives. The other option is re-selling it ( I have gone to a thrift and bought a monitor and keyboard for $20, loaded Windows and put it up on FB, Craigs, etc). Then buying standard parts off eBay and putting the machine you really want together. I very rarely buy proprietary computers.

It’s not even close to standard ATX.

Hey JDM.

In relation to my OP, I’ve been doing a lot of monitoring the past week and have concluded the heat issue is more to do with airflow in the room that anything else. The system itself runs at reasonable temps (drives ~40 deg C).

So with power usage being the main goal now I’d love to hear your thoughts being that I’ve unexpectedly got this HP 400 on the way.

Will the i5 8500 handle everything if I make it run everything or is it a step down in performance from the dual xeons? (Edit: I would make my n400 a DAS build for the drives in this scenario)

Plex, *arr suite, organizr, home assistant. Guessing HA is the biggest resource user out of everything else once I throw in frigate (object detection in camera feeds).

Nas Killer 4.0 / 5.0 + separate QuickSync Plex box sounds like the move for you.

Yes this is what I am now considering.

I now have the following setup after converting to unraid this week.

Asus Chromebox running Home assistant OS on bare metal. Power draw 10w

HP prodesk running Ubuntu (plex quick sync box). Have not checked power draw yet.

Lego build from OP running unraid. 7HDDs and 2 SSDs. Runs sabnzbd and associated apps as well as organise and swag for ReverSe proxying my website. Power draw is 170w or so

What kind of power draw are people getting from a nas killer 4? Will check that thread also.

I’m curious if the HP would be able to run everything and just make my n400 a DAS enclosure. Would save 130w easily I would think.