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Old 12-03-2008, 09:03 PM   #1
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New Computer Uses Less Than Half the Power

I just thought I would showcase the upgrade that I did this last month to cut my computer power use to less than half of what it was before.

The original system:

Athlon XP3000
Asus A7N8X Deluxe
512MB ddr
Dual Maxtor 160GB 7200rpm 8MB drives RAID-0
Panasonic DVD-R
GeForce4
Enermax 350W PS
17" LCD monitor


The new system:

Intel BOXD945GCLF2 Atom 330 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo
2GB DDR2 667
Single Seagate 250GB 7200rpm 16MB SATA 3.0
Panasonic DVD-R
Onboard Intel GMA 950 Graphics
Enermax 350W PS
17" LCD


The original system sucked down 175W just at idle and peaked at 220W under hard use. The new system goes from 82W at idle to just over 90W under heavy load including the monitor - and it's faster. Not by a longshot, but marginally. It certainly multi-tasks better with the dual cores, but much more noticeable is the improvement in hard drive performance. The new drive technology absolutely smokes what the previous RAID could do. And the GMA graphics seem to perform on par with the aged GeForce.

Clearly, the new machine is no gaming or number crunching powerhouse. It is however plenty fast for everything else that I do, noticeably faster in many ways, and more importantly, something I have far less guilt about leaving on all day for streaming radio or tv.

Other highlights are virtually instantaneous sleep mode response going in and coming out, and ultra low power use in that state, plus the entire motherboard is barely larger than a CD case and requires only one fan for the chipset. The CPU heatsink is fanless, and now I don't even run a case fan, letting the power supply handle airflow instead.

Essentially I have built what many are now marketing as a 'Nettop' computer. I think I built mine better for less money however, spending $169 on everything.

Oh, and in case people think I'm silly for swapping out of one computer for one that is barely faster in some respects, the Asus motherboard was becoming increasingly unreliable and needed to go. I should have ditched it 2 years ago when the onboard RAID controller crapped out (which I replaced with a PCI card), but now even the power regulator is in the midst of going as well.

I know I could have gotten more speed for the money, but that wasn't the goal.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:07 AM   #2
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What OS did you have, and what OS do you have now?

I think you'll find your speed has improved more than your first impressions show. If you're not doing gaming or heavy graphics rendering, CPU is less important than most people think; what is far more important is quantity of RAM, which you've quadrupled. Also important is hard drive speed, the improvement of which you've already mentioned.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:09 AM   #3
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Yup, it was and still is running XP-SP2 and I agree about the RAM. Half a gig just isn't enough for SP2 under normal use. Just going from 512 to 768k on our laptop made a huge difference under SP2.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:03 PM   #4
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My amd XM-M2000+ Averatec laptop draws 30 watts - my eeePC 22 watts.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:25 PM   #5
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But I can literally put a hamster wheel inside of mine. :P

I finally got a replacement Silenx fan for the noisy stock northbridge fan today, and now unless it is absolutely dead quiet in the house, I can't hear anything from it. It's even quieter than our laptop.
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:19 PM   #6
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Just out of curiosity, and because the cable/modem service was restored days before the power company restored the electric (service was out for 10 days, 12 hours!), I connected one laptop computer's power to a spare car battery (12 volts) with an inline fuse of 1 amp, pulled the laptop's on board battery and booted up. The 1 amp fuse lasted about 15 seconds before popping. I think the pcmcia wireless card was the last straw. I changed the dead fuse for a 1.5 amp and tried again with success. The current draw for that laptop, with wireless network card, is between 1 and 1.5 amperes. The car battery was actually 13.2 volts with no load. At 1.5 amperes that'd be 19.8 watts. So that laptop is somewhere under 20 watts.
Toshiba Satellite, 40GB, 96 MB, PIII, 133mhz. It's OK, I don't type fast enough to need more speed than that.
Oh! The OS is Win98SE, and that's only because the older OS don't support USB.
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:32 PM   #7
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I forgot to mention this earlier, but over the summer I bought a new Dell Inspiron laptop with a Core 2 Duo processor. It uses ~ 50 or 60 watts total. I stopped using my Pentium 4 desktop with a 22" CRT monitor. I think that system used 600 - 800 watts total. I'm using about 1/10th of the energy as I was before.

-Jay
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:30 PM   #8
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those laptops draw a heck of alot of amps, should read the output rating on some of the chargers/wall adapters sometime.(my dell latitude is 4.5 amps)
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:57 PM   #9
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My Dell power supply says 1.5 amps (60 or 65 watts max I think), which is far less than the P4 desktop with a 22" CRT monitor that I was using.

-Jay
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VetteOwner View Post
those laptops draw a heck of alot of amps, should read the output rating on some of the chargers/wall adapters sometime.(my dell latitude is 4.5 amps)
Output amps is at far lower voltage, though.

My HP:
Input - 1.7A@100-240V (200 watts at 115V)
Output - 3.5A@18.5V (65 watts)

It runs fine on a small inverter that I have which is something like 65 to 95 watts (definitely doesn't exceed 100 watts continuous output).
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