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Low wattage Computer and Desktop

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posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 08:25 PM
With an interest in solar energy I thought it be wiser to first minimise energy wastage before investing in solar panels. So first on my hit list was my trusty computer. An Intel i7 3770k that was wasting 50 watts (not including monitor) idling at a blank desktop and jumping to 75w when browsing. With my computer on 10 hours a day it was turning over 500 watts of energy into heat.

So I ordered a UDOO INTEL CELERON N3160 Board from here for USD149 (power supply cost extra) and a Hynix 128GB SSD M.2 Solid State Drive for storage at US60

I then installed one of the lightest operating systems on it, Linux Mint Xfce 64 bit, which can be viewed here. In installing Linux Mint I had to set the disks manually because the auto install failed on the UDOO. But I am impressed with the functionality and speed of Linux Mint Xfce.

Interestingly, I haven't notice a great deal of difference in the operating speed of the GUI on UDOO when compared to my GUI (Linux cinnamon) on the I7 when browsing or watching video's. I will still keep my old I7 machine when I need the stronger processor for heavier work (development etc), but for just browsing, the UDOO does everything asked of it.

The UDOO idles at about 6w. And typically only uses a few watts more when browsing or watching video's. It has 12v input so I will be able to run directly from batteries.

By using the UDOO I am saving over 450 watts a day. Not a breathtaking saving by any means but every little bit helps. As a side benefit the little computer is totally silent and looks cute in its acrylic case. There are a number of alternatives including the Intel Celeron N3050 NUC which might prove just as good. I ordered the UDOO X86 because it can also run android 7 if I want to migrate down that path.

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 08:33 PM
That is awesome!

I too have been looking at some lower-wattage options, and have settled on an Intel NUC for those low-wattage duties. I am not quite at a place where I can dispose of my desktop yet, but when I am, the NUC will go to full-time use.

I'm curious, have you found a case for that, or what will you be using to protect it??

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 08:34 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for posting. In a low-wattage environment (like a sailboat or a power outage w/ only a generator) that could come in quite useful. I've converted to all LED bulbs, but I haven't conquered the heat issue yet, which is a killer.

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 08:40 PM
a reply to: dnvnltljhn

I am surprised at the performance but satisfaction will depend on the operating system you select.

Yes I order an acrylic case for it at $7.90. Its really just two acrylic sheets that covers the top and bottom of the board with a hole at top where the heatsink pops out. I like its nerdy looks but NUC case offers greater protection.
edit on 13-7-2017 by glend because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 08:54 PM
a reply to: glend

That looks like a promising solution for you, and others. I wrote a dissertation back at university about using stand alone solar grids to power portable, consumer grade devices for sustained periods.. in the 30 watt range... and on a day with poor

Back then solar panels were expensive, not sure what you're set up will be like but using a storage solution like an ultra-capacitor paired with a solar panel (maybe some power management too), you could run that UDOO for long periods and have a fully green solution that will last you for 25 years no problems.

That's a lot of money saved over time, especially as the technology gets better, meaning you'll rely less and less on desktop counterparts.

edit on 13-7-2017 by ISeekTruth101 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 09:02 PM
Slightly off-topic, but I am so proud of my cousin. He installed solar panels on his roof and bought a Tesla. We are waiting for figures, but it is looking good and he may be entirely off the grid. He's 82 years old!

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 09:19 PM
a reply to: ISeekTruth101

Yes agree, if managed carefully, solar can offer savings. In Australia they allow grid tied systems but charge 30c kilowatt for usage and payback at something like 5-10c kilowatt so its really not that beneficial. I have been toying with the idea of getting a smaller battery system that will be charged by solar panels when the sun is shining and by mains on cloudy days when the battery voltage drops below say 12.5v by buying a suitable 240/120v to 13.5v transformer. So I won't need a huge bank of batteries to cover days of clouds. That will allow me to use all the solar energy that I generate. With the exception of deficiencies in transformers etc when the batteries are being charged by the mains.

So I am planning to setup the computer and monitor on small solar/battery/mains system to see how it fares out.

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 09:21 PM
a reply to: schuyler

Good for him. Think it be great to have one less dependency on Government services regardless if it works out cheaper or not.

posted on Jul, 14 2017 @ 12:53 AM
I was forced to build backup power source for furnace. It showed as a lucky move: now I have one phase 230V in switch board fully backed up and 12V and 5V lines in core of the house. I replaced 10 faulty Made in China power sources with 2 solid invertors 12->12 and 12->5. I generally avoid 9 and 7.5V boxes. 12V LED lights are also connected. Now I have 3h backup for everything I need. Lot of electronics and IT infrastructure runs on 12V internally even if they have AC inlet. I will start with my rackmount switch and connect it directly to my central 12V line. Then I can get rid of standard UPS where 230V is converted to 24V to be converted to 230V (powerfailure) to be converted to 12V for final appliance.

Warning: low voltage equals to higher current, higher current equals to higher current density equals to more heat equals to risk of really nasty fire - especially with large automotive batteries. Use fuses and fat enough wires. Even acid/lead batteries may explode - just two weeks ago it happened in one of our remote server rooms. Acid from 2 460Ah batteries was sprayed everywhere.

posted on Jul, 14 2017 @ 07:24 AM
Or when not using your computer, you can just put it in sleep mode? I'll stick with my i5 4690K. I rather have hot rod performance whenever I need it XD
edit on 7/14/2017 by eXia7 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 14 2017 @ 01:00 PM
a reply to: eXia7

Same CPU I feel it is reaching the end of its life though lol

posted on Sep, 7 2017 @ 02:07 PM
a reply to: glend

My computer was also running on 12V battery, and it consumed a lot of power. It drained a 65 A car battery in 4 hours. I used it mainly for gaming. It had a 1 GHz Pentium III, and a 17 " LCD monitor.

Now I would prefer notebook computer in this case, that consumes the less power. A car adapter 12/24V would be the best idea. And you can take it anywhere.

posted on Sep, 7 2017 @ 02:14 PM
a reply to: JanAmosComenius

How do you guarantee to your system that 12 V= 12.000V, 5V= 5.000V? An ATX PFC is surely guaranteed even if the 12 V UPS is running out of energy .

Or is it a trick within an ATX supply? Is there a 12 V input that transforms up a 10V DC battery power if it is low? I saw an ATX that has a 12 V battery inside and serves as an UPS too.

posted on Sep, 7 2017 @ 02:21 PM
a reply to: spidermastermind

You should look at newer tech, honestly.

The CPU in the OP uses something like a fifth of the power as that PIII and will deliver much, MUCH better performance. Incomparably better, arguably.


I really love the lower power options in portable platforms. Its incredible what kind of battery life can be achieved with stellar performance. I'm really interested in the next couple of years of advancement.

Getting 10+ hours of use out of a laptop nowadays has become more commonplace than ever. I just think that is really cool.

posted on Sep, 7 2017 @ 02:50 PM
a reply to: Serdgiam

I agree that. Unfortunately if the Windows is illegal or if it is on blacklist, the PC will drain the power even if it is the best one. It is my experience, I fix some PCs and laptops here. All of them has illegal operating system, and it heats up dramatically, and the fan noise is too disturbing. In one occasion this situation was caused by an internet virus, and AVG solved it. In Win 7 I needed a little reserch how to speed up Win 7, but it wasn't the best.

So if someone wants to use a high-end PC or notebook that relies on battery power, must not be on a blacklist.
edit on 7-9-2017 by spidermastermind because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 8 2017 @ 06:37 PM
a reply to: spidermastermind

Pentium III wasn't a bad cpu, the latter pentium III (Tualatin family 1 GHz) had a tdp of 27.6W so was one of the more efficient cpu's of the time. So if you use an efficient transformer to run the pc directly from 12v (like picoPSU from it still is a viable option. Problem remains the power consumption from the lcd monitor When using a power meter to check the wattage of my monitor I noticed if I turned down the brightness a notch it used 5-10 watts less power. SO it wouldn't surprize if you could squeeze 10 or more hours out of the same battery by minimising all inefficiencies.

Agree laptop is the easiest solution for most.

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