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Old 12-28-2007, 11:11 AM   #1
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low power computers

a few weeks ago I go a OLPC XO laptop in the mail, the One Laptop Per Child computer for devolping countries to use in school, they did a fund raiser by making them avalible to the public by a donation to the compeny.
Anyway, seeing as how this is a online forum about efficentcy, I thougth it fitting to bring this up, I've had a chance to plug it in to the kill-a-watt meter, it draws 20 watts for two hours to full charge the battery from 98% discharge, and once the battery is charge it draws 6-7 watts thru the charger to keep it running with a program running, and If you are outside, or in a well lit room you can turn the backlight off and the moniter goes to black and grey, drawing about 1 watt less.
As far as a laptop goes, this is very basic, web browser, word prosessing program, paint program, some games, in theory it can be used for music, video, photos, but I have not found an easy way to do these things.
It only has 1 gig of storage and 250mb of ram, and the only time so far that I had a problem with that was when loading a 500mb PDF file, it spent 20 minutes trying to load it, but never finished.
really, the only complante I have about it is the size of the key board, I have large finters, and the key board is 7 3/4" acrose, of course it was designed for kids, but it sounds like a large number of these were sold to adults, my other complante is the instructions for how to connect to a wireless network are online, and it's not obviuse as to how it works.
I figure at some point I'll get tired of the lack of avalible programs, and get something like the Asus Eee.

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Old 12-28-2007, 11:54 AM   #2
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Hey Im finally posting on this forum... not just trolling for ideas :-)

I saw a podcast a while back by "system" talking about power consumption of household electronics and they covered computers and laptops. They had tested a macbook pro which had pretty impressive numbers especially compared to desktops. I have been meaning to pick up a killawatt to search the house for unnecessary power loss and am really curious about what my computers are pulling. The numbers on that XO laptop are really impressive.

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Old 12-28-2007, 01:00 PM   #3
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belivie it or not wal-mart sells a really low power lunix compter for $199. I don't think I would buy it because it doesn't even come with a cd drive.

blog post:

Wal-mart link:
2008 EPA adjusted:

Distance traveled by bicycle in 2007= 1,830ish miles
Average commute speed=25mph (yes, that's in a car)
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:41 PM   #4
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Wow that Walmart tower is a deal and I build systems.
Ryland - that Linux laptop is pretty cool but as with any NON-Windows OS there will be compatibility issues the first being additional software. That was designed to talk to other laptops like itself and I think it would need a non-encripted wifi network to get on the internet and it may connect to others like it directly. Should be pretty easy but I have not seen one. Opening a 500meg PDF would have crashed most PC's - that is BIG!
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Old 12-28-2007, 03:00 PM   #5
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Ryland -

Pretty cool. I was looking at that offer of give one/get one, but I was also worried about compatibility issues. Does it work well in a coffee shop (aka free wifi environment)? That would be it's most portable/useful purpose for me to get one.

If it proliferates, I am guessing over time that it might become a stealth-standard because there will be so many people wanting to enhance it's functionality.

Here's are the specs :

Software Specifications
We are using components from Red Hat's Fedora Core 6 version of the Linux operating system; we are tracking the main kernel fairly closely.

We will support five programming environments on the laptop:

(1) Python, from which we have built our user interface and our activity model;
(2) Javascript for browser-based scripting;
(3) Csound, a programmable music and audio environment;
(4) Squeak, a version of Smalltalk embedded into a media-rich authoring environment; and
(5) Logo. We will also provide some support for Java and Flash.

Applications will include a web browser built on Xulrunner, the run-time environment used by the Firefox browser; a simple document viewer based upon Evince; the AbiWord wordprocessor, an RSS reader, an email client, chat client, VOIP client; a journal; a multimedia authoring and playback environment; a music composition toolkit, graphics toolkits, games, a shell, and a debugger.

Libraries and plugins used by OLPC include Xul, GTK+, Matchbox, Sugar, Pango, ATK, Cairo, X Window System, Avahi, and gstreamer.
Hardware Specifications
Physical dimensions:

    * Approximate dimensions: 242mm?228mm?32mm;
    * Approximate weight: 1.45KG with LiFeP battery; 1.58KG with NiMH battery;
    * Configuration: Convertible laptop with pivoting, reversible display; dirt- and moisture-resistant system enclosure; no fan.

Core electronics:

    * CPU: x86-compatible processor with 64KB each L1 I and D cache; at least 128KB L2 cache; AMD Geode LX-700@0.8W (datasheet);
    * CPU clock speed: 433 Mhz;
    * ISA compatibility: Support for both the MMX and 3DNow! x86 instruction-set extensions; Athlon instruction set (including MMX and 3DNow! Enhanced) with additional Geode-specific instructions;
    * Companion chips: PCI and memory interface integrated with CPU; North Bridge: PCI and Memory Interface integrated with Geode CPU; AMD CS5536 South Bridge (datasheet);
    * Graphics controller: Integrated with Geode CPU; unified memory architecture;
    * Embedded controller: ENE KB3700 or ENE KB3700B;
    * DRAM memory: 256 MiB dynamic RAM;
    * Data rate: Dual ? DDR333 ? 166 Mhz;
    * 1024KB SPI-interface flash ROM;
    * Mass storage: 1024 MiB SLC NAND flash, high-speed flash controller;
    * Drives: No rotating media;
    * CAFE ASIC (Camera, Flash Enabler chip, provides high-performance Camera, NAND FLASH and SD interfaces); Marvell 88ALP01: (CAFE specification).


    * Liquid-crystal display: 7.5? Dual-mode TFT display;
    * Viewing area: 152.4mm ? 114.3mm;
    * Resolution: 1200 (H) ? 900 (V) resolution (200 DPI);
    * Monochrome display: High-resolution, reflective sunlight-readable monochrome mode; Color display: Standard-resolution, Quincunx-sampled, transmissive color mode;
    * LCD power consumption: 0.1 Watt with backlight off; 0.2?1.0 Watt with backlight on;
    * The display-controller chip (DCON) with memory that enables the display to remain live with the processor suspended; the display and this chip are the basis of our extremely low power architecture; the display controller chip also enables deswizzling and anti-aliasing in color mode.

Integrated peripherals:

    * Keyboard: 80+ keys, 1.0mm stroke; sealed rubber-membrane key-switch assembly;
          o Keyboard layout details;
          o Keyboard layout pictures: international, Thai, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, West African, Urdu, Mongolian, Cyrillic, Amharic;
    * Gamepad: Two sets of four-direction cursor-control keys;
    * Touchpad: Dual capacitance/resistive touchpad; supports written-input mode; ALPS Electric Dual capacitive/resistive touchpad;
    * Audio: AC97-compatible audio audio subsystem; internal stereo speakers and amplifier; internal monophonic microphone; jacks for external headphones and microphone; Analog Devices AD1888 and Analog Devices SSM2211 for audio amplification;
    * Wireless networking: Integrated 802.11b/g (2.4GHz) interface; 802.11s (Mesh) networking supported; dual adjustable, rotating coaxial antennas; supports diversity reception; capable of mesh operation when CPU is powered down; Marvell Libertas 88W8388 controller and 88W8015 radio;
    * Status indicators: Power, battery, WiFi (2); visible when lid is open or closed; microphone in-use and camera in-use visible when lid is open;
    * Video camera: integrated color vision camera; 640?480 resolution at 30FPS; Omnivision OV7670.

External connectors:

    * DC power: 6mm (1.65mm center pin) connector; 11 to 18 V input usable, ?32 to 40 V input tolerated; power draw limited to 15 W;
    * Headphone output: Standard 3.5mm 3-pin switched stereo audio jack;
    * Microphone input: Standard 3.5mm 2-pin switched mono microphone jack; selectable 2V DC bias; selectable sensor-input mode (DC or AC coupled);
    * USB: Three Type-A USB-2.0 connectors; up to 1A power supplied (total);
    * Flash explansion: MMC/SD Card slot.


    * Pack type: 2 or 4 cells LiFePO4; or 5 cells NiMH, approximately 6V series configuration;
    * Capacity: 22.8 Watt-hours (LiFePO4); 16.5 Watt-hours (NiMH);
    * Fully-enclosed ?hard? case; user removable;
    * Electronics integrated with pack provide:
    * Identification;
    * Battery charge and capacity information;
    * Thermal and over-current sensors along with cutoff switch to protect battery;
    * Minimum 2,000 charge/discharge cycles (to 50% capacity of new);
    * Power management will be critical.


    * Open Firmware used to load the operating system.

Environmental specifications:

    * Temperature: UL certification planned to 45C in Q32007, pending 50C certification in mid-2008;
    * Humidity: UL certification planned to IP42 (perhaps higher) when closed, the unit should seal well enough that children walking to and from school need not fear rainstorms and dust;
    * Maximum altitude: ?15m to 3048m (14.7 to 10.1 PSIA) (operating), ?15m to 12192m (14.7 to 4.4 PSIA) (non-operating);
    * Shock 125g, 2ms, half-sine (operating) 200g, 2ms, half-sine (non-operating);
    * Random vibration: 0.75g zero-to-peak, 10Hz to 500Hz, 0.25 oct/min sweep rate (operating); 1.5g zero-to-peak, 10Hz to 500Hz, 0.5 oct/min sweep rate (nonoperating);
    * 2mm plastic walls (1.3mm is typical for most systems).

Regulatory requirements:

    * The usual US and EU EMI/EMC (Electromagnetic Interference and Compatibility) requirements will be met;
    * The laptop meets IEC 60950-1, EN 60950-1, and CSA/UL 60950-1 specifications. It also complies with UL 1310 and UL 498. In order to guarantee the safety of children using the laptop, it also passes ASTM F 963;
    * The external power adapter complies with IEC, EN, and CSA/UL 60950-1;
    * The removable battery pack complies with IEC, EN, and CSA/UL 60950-1 and UL 2054;
    * RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive ? EU) compliant.
Old School SW2 EPA ... New School Civic EPA :

What's your EPA MPG? http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculatorSelectYear.jsp
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Old 12-28-2007, 03:34 PM   #6
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It can run windows XP as well

Team GasMisers5 - #1 for first three rounds of the original GS Fuel Economy Challenge
Miles displaced by e-bike since 1 Jan 2008: 62.6 (0 kWh used)
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Old 12-28-2007, 03:40 PM   #7
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landspeed -

Originally Posted by landspeed View Post


It can run windows XP as well
Oh yeah, I saw one of those recently at a computer show. As low as $300 asking price and runs linux. I like that it has a solid-state hard disk, aka no worry about disk crashes on the road.


Old School SW2 EPA ... New School Civic EPA :

What's your EPA MPG? http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculatorSelectYear.jsp
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:53 PM   #8
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check out zonbu.com too much for me to explain about the product, but if i wasn't happy with my current system I would definitely purchase this one next, well the desktop neways.
It just came to me about blogging lol. Its like an orgasm a few good shots and the rest is dribbles lol!
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:29 AM   #9
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My laptop (Dell Inspiron 9300) sips power. It uses 25 watts while closed (kept running with torrents and other things), and 35 watts when actively being used while open. That is pretty good if you ask me. It also has a decent video card that allows me to play first person shooters. Not that I play FPSs anymore, but still, I could if I wanted to.

What to watch for is the new wave of Intel processors. Can't remember exactly which ones they were, but they use about 2 or 3 watts at idle. THAT is amazing!

I personally realized that I do need a desktop, as even though my laptop has a DVD-R and a 17" monitor, it still can't do everything that I want it to. So... I plan on getting a new desktop within a year or so... and it will probably use about the same amount of electricity as the laptop I am currently using!

Sorry for the thread-jack. I just couldn't help myself.
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Old 01-02-2008, 10:58 AM   #10
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I'm in a coffee shop right now with my XO, and it works great, other then the small key board, being able to use it for things like googlemaps is nice too, the other day I needed driving directions, so I pulled in to a parking lot, flipped up the antena ears, found a wireless network, found the dirrections and a map, turned the screen so I could fold it flat, and with the backlight off I could read my directions just fine, saving a it of paper and ink.

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