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 Post subject: Recommendation for low-power computer
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:21 pm 
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Using the H1 Hotel PC from Aleutia (can't post links yet) as a somewhat good reference ; I am on the lookout for a low-powered, preferably fanless computer. I will be using it as my main computer for general light use, with some videoplayback and light gaming thrown into the mix.

I've contemplated with using a notebook with a external monitor, but since I'm only going to use it at home, I'm leaning towards a desktop solution once again.

Is there any good prebuilt alternatives out there? Or would you be much better off building your own?

I do quite like the one linked to above, but I get the feeling that there probably is alot better alternatives out there reading the reviews. I have looked towards Asus Revo and Eee box but is hesitant about the noise and performance.

Any help would be highly appreciated! Cheers


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:46 pm 
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Have you considered/compared the new MacMini?

Uses about half the power on idle (<10watts)
Has Core2Duo processor (so better performance than Atom processors).
Not fanless.
Hard drive rather than SSD.
May cost a bit more.

(I have no experience with either one - but have been shopping/looking at specs.)

If an atom system looks like it would supply your needs for the next 5+ years, then might be reasonable.

As noted in another thread http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... hp?t=59331
unless really tight on space or maximum power, atom systems
don't seem to make much sense at this point.
You can get not too different idle power (especially if you undervolt) with better performance for less $ from Core2Duo or i3 system, admittedly with a fan. Since much of energy use is in making the computer, I lean towards something that likely to meet needs for longer, be repairable/upgradable/etc.

edit: And of course getting a second hand Mac Mini, or other system would be even greener. (Older Mac Mini's used more power than the new ones, but still less than the H1, if memory serves.)

But a lot depends on your needs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:54 am 
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Thanks alot for the reply!

I have looked towards the new mac mini, and it seems to be a good build; but do not really agree with the pricetag.

With great risk of sounding like a idiot, as this is really kind of over my head to begin with; Idle watt is for when the computer just stands right? I'm not big on torrents/whatnot, and I usually just wind up shutting it down/unplugging when I'm not using it. So would I be correct in assuming that idle wattage might not be of greatest relevance for me; with instead looking at the voltage under regular intended use? (Browsing, flash video etc.)

Your point on Atom processors sound valid in this situation, especially as (small)size is not that big of a priority. I'm intrigued by the thought of having a totally fanless computer, but that in itself is not carved in stone either and I do mind that much as long as it ends up being quiet. The same goes with SSD, no absolut dogma.

Thanks again for your help. I really do appreciate it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:48 am 
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For almost any kind of desktop PC, idle is the most important state for overall power demand. Every poll/survey study of PC usage has shown that PCs generally stay in idle/low power mode 90% of the time. About the only exception is high performance gaming PCs, which tend to red-line the CPU and GPU when a game is being played. But even gamers don't use their PCs only for gaming, there are lots of times when their PC is on so they can websurf or email. Even when you are "using it" -- as I am in now, typing & reading -- the actual CPU/power usage is only marginally higher than completely idle.

So unless you're turning on only to redline the system then immediately turning off, idle power is indeed very important. Even when a system has higher maximum power draw, if its idle is lower, it can be more energy efficient than a similar system that has lower peak but higher idle power.

The key to remember is energy usage over time.

Having said all that, the Asus Eee Boxes are pretty good value and fit your requirements, imo. So are the all-in-one PCs in the same line. Ditto all-in-ones in general, especially the smaller ones that use lower power CPUs and onboard video. See our system reviews.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:20 pm 
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Thanks alot for chiming in Mike, appreciate you clearing that up.

I am looking further into the Eee-boxes and comparable systems, and at the moment googling around and looking up the Acer Revo R3610. Any further input and recommendations would ofcourse be very appreciated.

Cheers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:03 pm 
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This is the H1 you mentioned before? http://www.aleutia.com/products/h1

Looks pretty low end, really -- a single core Atom w/ nVidia chipset/video. It might do HD video OK... but we've had borderline results with single-core Atoms even with nVidia graphics. I hear the Revos are pretty good value but never got our hands on one, so no idea of noise -- which again is said to be OK. We know the Asus models are decent.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Yup, that's the one i was referring to in the OP.

The Revo seems quite nice to me from what I have gathered to this point; but still havn't found any specifics on the noise. The general tone in the reviews I have crossed thus far is that it's pretty damn quiet. The jury is still out on how that are to be interpreted from a POW when noise is really a priority. (Low voltage computers generally do not sound that "much" too people in general I guess.)

Also been pointed towards the Revo r3610 on some swedish forums which have pointed me towards a ebay seller who has good deals on these. (Atleast when compared to the swedish pricing.)

Any more in the same category of computers that you can point me towards from the top of your head?

Cheers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:00 pm 
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custinator wrote:
The Revo seems quite nice to me from what I have gathered to this point; but still havn't found any specifics on the noise. The general tone in the reviews I have crossed thus far is that it's pretty damn quiet. The jury is still out on how that are to be interpreted from a POW when noise is really a priority. (Low voltage computers generally do not sound that "much" too people in general I guess.)

I've only listened to the Revo inside a Fry's store so the noise floor is pretty high. I had to put my ear right next to the unit to hear it, but the same could be said of a person speaking next to you with all the noise. In a very quiet room, I think it's going to be audible especially if it's sitting on top of a desk close to you.

I'm more impressed by the Toshiba Idea Center Q110. Even with my ear next to it, I couldn't hear it at all which bodes well for the unit. Another plus is it looks a hell of a lot classier than the Revo.

There was also an ASUS EEE Box on display. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to be plugged-in.

Edit:
Big doh. It's Lenovo, not Toshiba. I have no idea why I thought it was Toshiba.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:47 am 
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Big thanks for that input.. First hand experience really counts for alot, especially coming from a SPR point of view.

I'm looking on at the Lenovo right now, seing that they have released a new one in the same series named Q150.. Going to look around and see if I can dig up any info surrounding voltage/noise levels.

Just to be clear, although a cheaper alternative is preferable and probably sufficient for my needs; I will definatley shell out a couple of 100$'s more if the quality and sound level justifies it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:42 am 
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A little update; browsing around at the mini-itx.com site at the moment, and a build from there looks as something that could fit my needs. Having not spend enough time searching through SPR for this provider; but seing as this thread is already up and running, and I have received such good input this far; I am going to go ahead and ask for your say on a Zotac Mag, on http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=58 , coupled with a SSD. (Just to name one of the options).

Thanks once again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:32 am 
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ilovejedd wrote:
I've only listened to the Revo inside a Fry's store so the noise floor is pretty high.


That isn't a noise floor - it's a ceiling. :shock: (at least if it is anything like the local Fry's)
They should issue hearing protectors at the door, I always bring my own.

SPCR should have a smiley that is wearing hearing protectors.

Sorry for the off topic, but I couldn't resist.

ilovejedd wrote:
I had to put my ear right next to the unit to hear it, but the same could be said of a person speaking next to you with all the noise.

I'm more impressed by the Lenovo Idea Center Q110. Even with my ear next to it, I couldn't hear it at all which bodes well for the unit. Another plus is it looks a hell of a lot classier than the Revo.


More info: http://www.silentpcreview.com/lenovo-q110


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:02 pm 
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Hmm, actually, I think it's probably the Q100 that was on display. I'm pretty sure it didn't have ION on it and it was sporting a $220 price tag. If it had been ION, I would've bought it right away. I was having a really hard time trying to decide between that Lenovo and the $200 Acer Aspire Revo R1600.


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