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 Post subject: energy efficient pc, best bang for the watt?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:32 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 12:49 am
Posts: 18
My latest PC:

Intel Allendale 1.8ghz dual core.
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L (P35, ICH9)
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 2600XT (100208L)
Abit Airpace PCI-E 802.11g
Creative X-Fi platinum
SeaSonic SUPER SILENCER-350W (you can't buy this anymore but it is rated 80+ efficient)
Maxtor 320gb 7200rpm (really a rebadged Seagate 7200.10)

Stuff that is pretty minor in terms of power:
1 dvdrw attached
2x2gb Adata ddr2 800
Vista premium
1x80mm case fan
stock intel heatsink


System Idle power at the plug: 79watts
Load: I don't know and I don't care. I've seen it jump to around 110watts but I haven't tried playing a 3d game yet.

Vista rating:
Processor 4.8
RAM 4.8
Graphics 5.9
Gaming 5.4
Disk 5.8
(Base 4.8 )


Special settings: None. Nearly everything is enabled in the BIOS except the serial, parallel, and floppy. CPU is not overclocked or underclocked but EIST is enabled. Vista is set to maximum power savings with 100% cpu maximum clock.



I could probably shave a lot more if I start throwing more stuff out and swap the hard disk with a better one (WD green comes to mind). I think I could easily hack off a good 10watts just by removing the X-Fi, swapping the hard drive, disconnecting the optical drive (run on external when needed), and throwing out the extra case fan.

But the whole point of this system was to have the capability of doing processing intensive things (a game, video encoding, audio editing) yet still be efficient when doing stupid things (browsing web, typing text).

I'm pretty satisfied with the system. I think I've come pretty close with easy to get hardware. Dell systems are capable of 60ish watts idle, and I've built a 47watt idle athlon64 system before. But Dells come pretty feature limited and for the athlon system I had basically no 3d or number crunch potential (single core).

A side effect of going to efficiency rather than anything else is the system is pretty quiet without me even trying. Components that understand how to clock themselves down automatically are quieter :). Now if only SSDs would drop in price so I wouldn't have to listen to this annoying clicking from the hard drive as well as shaving off another 7 watts.

A majority of the noise is actually coming from the case fan. But I want to keep it because I attached a filter to it. So as long as there is air pressure inside, the components should stay dust free for a longer period of time.



If you've tried going down the same path as I, I am interested in seeing your builds and your watts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:47 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 127
Location: NY
I had the same goal as you, with more emphasis on quiet and a little less on power.

The machine in my sig used 70 watts idle. That was before I replaced the 120mm s-flex with a 92mm nexus and swapped in an Accelero S1, but I'm sure that power difference is negligible. CPU load brings it up to 100 watts (without undervolting, it goes up to 115), and I'm sure that GPU load will bring the power usage way up.

I also don't have wi-fi.

Are there advantages to getting an add-on sound card? The on-board sound seems to be pretty good these days.

Vista rating: cpu 5.7, everything else 5.9

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GA-P35-DS3P rev 2.0 | E8400 @ 3GHz 1.0375v w/Ultima-90, mb-controlled 1200rpm SFlex | 996587 2 x 2GB Mushkin PC6400 | Radeon HD3870 w/Accelero S1 | Antec Solo w/ SlipStream 1200@7v, mb-controlled Nexus 92 | Corsair vx450 | Hitachi 500gb P7K500 | Asus DRW-2014L1T | Vista Ultimate 64


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:56 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4786
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Did you turn Aero off? Otherwise, Vista will make your video card run in 3D mode when idling/looking at email, etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 12:49 am
Posts: 18
Conroy wrote:
Are there advantages to getting an add-on sound card? The on-board sound seems to be pretty good these days.


I play guitar and sometimes record into the computer. The 5.25" bay jacks on the X-Fi platinum were convenient for my use. But there is actually better audio equipment for musicians and just as pricey. The output of the X Fi is pretty good on an analog basis, but with everything going digital that may not matter much in the future. The only other trait of the X-Fi line that may be of use is audio performance during games; there was a benchmark a while back using the 'gaming' speced X-Fis with additional ram on the sound card to speed up playing audio which did impact the fps by 5 to 10 frames. Fairly negligible in my opinion for what you're actually getting.

So no, there isn't much advantage to add-on sound boards for the prices available.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 12:49 am
Posts: 18
CA_Steve wrote:
Did you turn Aero off? Otherwise, Vista will make your video card run in 3D mode when idling/looking at email, etc.


Just tried that. Didn't make any difference in idle power. In fact dragging a window while in the windows standard theme used more power than with aero.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:55 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 127
Location: NY
CA_Steve wrote:
Did you turn Aero off? Otherwise, Vista will make your video card run in 3D mode when idling/looking at email, etc.


It didn't seem to affect my temperatures at all. I'll have to check what it does to the power usage

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GA-P35-DS3P rev 2.0 | E8400 @ 3GHz 1.0375v w/Ultima-90, mb-controlled 1200rpm SFlex | 996587 2 x 2GB Mushkin PC6400 | Radeon HD3870 w/Accelero S1 | Antec Solo w/ SlipStream 1200@7v, mb-controlled Nexus 92 | Corsair vx450 | Hitachi 500gb P7K500 | Asus DRW-2014L1T | Vista Ultimate 64


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