[clug-talk] Slightly OT Power usage

Niels Voll nvoll at voho.com
Fri Nov 19 15:36:15 PST 2004

I totally agree with Kevin - running, but sparsely used (CPU, disk, 
etc.) computers are a very small power drag compared to light bulbs. And 
I have the same experience as Kev with the new generation of compact 
fluorescent light bulbs. So far, they are simply fabulous.

I don't know what the exact numbers would be, and they would be 
different for every system, but there is a trade-off between booting x 
times per day, and just leaving the machine on. i.e. one boot sequence 
equates to x minutes/hours of the computer idling.

CRT Monitors can be a relatively large power drag, while they are on. So 
it is very worthwhile to use the power save features on them.

A last comment about electricity costs in Calgary. Since de-regulation / 
unbundling of those services, the bills have become much more complex, 
but they are much more transparent about component costs (transportation 
system costs vs. energy charges, etc.). If you look at your power bill, 
you'll find that a significant portion of the total bill are fixed 
charges. For example, they charge separately for the lines to your house 
and the amount of electricity you use. So if you cut 20% of your total 
power consumption, it does not mean that you will save 20% of your 
electrical bill. Makes some sense, too, since the wiring to your house 
is the same regardless of consumption and needs to be paid for, too.


Kevin Anderson wrote:

>Here's my take on it...
>It costs very little.
>My older machines have generally got smaller than a 200 watt power supply in 
>them.  That power supply would be capable of running them along with several 
>CDRoms, and HDDS all spinning at the same time.  My IPcop box has 1 hdd, and 
>isn't overly used except for caching (which COULD be turned off).  I would be 
>quite suprised if that system was using more than 50 watts, which is a pretty 
>dim light bulb.
>My server is a Celeron ~800, with 2 hdds.  But it's newer, and more inteligent 
>power wise.  If you want to see more efficiency, I'd consolidate your 
>servers.  Depending on how you use them, this may be an opportunity to use 
>the User Mode Linux stuff.  ( http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/uml.xml )  Most 
>people have WAY too much power in their servers for what they actually need.  
>I run us (at work) on a P3 xeon 733 with 2 Gigs of RAM, and it rarely works 
>at all.  I'm sure that if I shut down Jabber, I'd have a utilization of less 
>than .01%  Jabber seems to be a pig.  At home, I'd be surprised if the server 
>was using 125 watts.  Obviously, that will go up when I compile or something, 
>but averaged over time, I can't see the two of them using 200 watts.  
>Does that add up to something?  Probably.  But not much.  Maybe $10 a month, 
>maybe?  I swapped out our 12 most used light bulbs for compact florescent 
>ones, and saw a $20/month savings.  There are easier and better places to 
>save money, generally.  Windows and doors rank high on that list.  I found 
>that florescent bulbs to rank VERY high on that list, and frankly, I really 
>like the fact that they don't really seem to be florescent.  They last 
>forever, and they're really easy to change to.  Best of all, they don't 
>flicker like the ones most larger buildings have in their ceilings.  That 
>would be a deal breaker for me, personally.
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