In the beginning of this year, I had bought a VIA ARTiGO A2000 barebone PC.  I bought 2 GB of RAM for this PC, and I had a pair of WD Caviar Green 500 GB drives from another PC not in use which I installed in the A2000.  (There are other items you can buy with it, such as compact flash and a wireless module, but I didn’t need those.)

The past 8 months, it’s been working great as a home server.   It has a very compact size, and Gigabit Ethernet is supported. It has VGA output (integrated video) which works decently.  Also, a new BIOS update enables RAID support (for Windows only right now), although I haven’t used it since I want to be able to swap out drives, if needed.  (It’s not clear to me what this BIOS update does since I don’t think the A2000 has a real hardware RAID controller…)

There are two things that I especially like about this PC:

  • Energy efficient
  • VIA C7 Processor’s PadLock technology

Usually, the A2000 with the 2 Caviar Green drives only takes up 29 Watts.  If I have the CPU at 100% along with both drives active, it uses a maximum of 42 Watts.  Typically, however, if the A2000 is being used, I see about 33 Watts.  Just as a point of comparison, the workstation I use for analysis work takes up 310 W idle and more than 510 W performing calculations.  Needless to say, the VIA C7 processor is nowhere near as powerful as the cores on my workstation, so they are used for different purposes.  However, if you want a mail/web/ldap/sql server, along with a file server (NFS and Samba), the A2000 is nice because it doesn’t take up much power, so you can leave it on without feeling much guilt.

I’ll touch upon the PadLock technology in a separate post later.