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Old 09-11-2010, 08:34 PM
David Fletcher
 
Default Low power computing - was Any suggestions, please?

On Saturday 11 Sep 2010, Basil Chupin wrote:
> On 11/09/2010 02:49, David Fletcher wrote:
>
> Most interesting, David. Thanks for this post and pic. I'll keep in mind.
My pleasure, Basil. The picture might not be on there for ever so keep a copy
for reference it you like.

>
> You are referring to your "server". But what do you use as your "client"?
I'm using the Athlon dual core that I built a couple of years or so ago. I've
now edited my MX record so that my messages get squirted by the Internet
directly into this server. Postfix sorts out the messages with an aliases
table, then I'm now using dovecot-imapd to access my mail using kmail,
thunderbird, whatever I want from the Athlon. Port 993 is forwarded by the
router to the server so that I can use it from my laptop when I'm away.
Pretty standard stuff so I believe but it's the first time I've set it up
like this.

Also the printer is now plugged into the server, so we can use it from either
PC or the laptop, and I've got cron jobs set up to back up the large
directory of music etc. files from the desktop to the server a couple of
times a day, also the /home/ from the server to the desktop although I
probably ought to arrange a weekly/monthly routine for this.

>
> And just following on from the above, one can have a setup using a car
> battery, and kept up to charge via a charger, plus a bit more fiddly
> bits, to run your computer and therefore without the need for a PSU and
> which would not only give you a stable power supply but also be immune
> to power fluctuations or power failures (the latter in the short term of
> course).
Sounds a bit like I heard Google is now doing with their servers -
distributing DC rather than mains AC and having batteries scattered around
the racks. I wouldn't connect a trickle charging car battery directly to this
motherboard though - they tend to develop more than 12V under this condition.

What I have is an APC 1500VA UPS sitting under the desk that supplies
everything, fed via a Belkin Gold Series distribution block that also has
surge protectors for the phone line and the TV cable (my broadband is
delivered via the TV cable). Where I live, though, the mains power is pretty
reliable but it only takes one hit from an induced surge....

>
> There is an article on how to achieve this but I would need to go
> searching for it in my archives (seeing as how my friend, who has since
> deaded himself by having a heart-attack and now cannot provide the info,
> was using this process).
Shit happens, mate. My wife had MND, leading to the same end result. Let's
just say it wasn't the most pleasant night I've ever passed.

At some stage most of us have to go from AC mains to low voltage DC. With the
previous arrangement in this server I had a board that needed an ATX PSU. You
just can't get these in a sensible power rating matching the requirements of
low power machines like mine. The lowest rated unit I could get was 180W. I
suspect the PSU was wasting nearly as much energy as the electronics was
using, plus the cooling fan exhausted from the back of the case with the PSU
air intake near the front of the case, resulting in a stagnant, overheating
area over the motherboard. So I had to add fans to the "fanless" motherboard
to stir the air around it.

Plus, I no longer have any redundant cables inside the case, so there's
nothing to look untidy or impede air flow. The picture is of the fully
completed machine. My son said it looks good so I used a sheet of 3mm acrylic
instead of metal for the top cover.

With the new version, the PSU is rated at 40W, ideal for what I need. Plus the
fan blows air IN at the back of the case, hitting the back of the PSU and
creating a nice bit of turbulence over the processor heat sink, at least
that's my theory and the machine appears to be perfectly cool and happy. I
used a fairly expensive 60mm, 12V Papst fan which should run more or less for
ever. At first it was blowing almost a hurricane through the case and making
a lot of noise in the process. I cut the 12V line and inserted a zener diode
to reduce the fan voltage->RPM->audible noise. When I consulted lmsensors it
reckoned the processor core was running at about 30degC.

WARNING - PLEASE READ
I chose to use an open frame switcher inside the server case partly because I
already had more than enough space in there, partly because I hate external
in-the-middle-of-the-cable power supplies and wall warts. I am qualified and
experienced in electronics, so I know how to read and understand the data
sheet on installing the open frame switcher. It MUST be mounted with
appropriate clearances, and it MUST be properly earthed. Plus if you touch
the wrong end of it IT WILL BITE! So, if you're not absolutely confident that
you know how to safely install one of these, don't even try. It's not worth
the risk. The motherboard has a DC inlet on the back panel that can perfectly
safely be used with a wall wart.


>
> BC
>
Dave


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Old 09-11-2010, 09:20 PM
Michael Haney
 
Default Low power computing - was Any suggestions, please?

As for low-power consuming PCs you can build a half-way decent Ubuntu
system using an Intel Atom motherboard and low-wattage PSU. I believe
mobos with the new dual core Atoms should be available now.

Commodore USA is readying a new keyboard PC that is low-power using an
Intel Atom CPU. They also have the Phoenix, a pretty decent Core 2
Dual/Quad keyboard PC with some decent specs. All of Commodore USA's
computers come with Ubuntu installed. ;-)

There's also their plan to resurrect the Amiga brand using the AROS
desktop OS which is an open-source variant of the Amiga OS.

--
Michael "TheZorch" Haney
"The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking
of morality by religion." ~ Arthur C. Clarke
"The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and
politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place
for it in the endeavor of science. " ~ Carl Sagan

Visit My Site:* http://sites.google.com/site/thezorch/home-1
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:48 PM
David Fletcher
 
Default Low power computing - was Any suggestions, please?

On Saturday 11 Sep 2010, Michael Haney wrote:
> As for low-power consuming PCs you can build a half-way decent Ubuntu
> system using an Intel Atom motherboard and low-wattage PSU. I believe
> mobos with the new dual core Atoms should be available now.
An Atom board is what's in the photo.

I've seen a lower power system than mine being assembled (YouTube video
recording perhaps) but I think the few watts he saved over mine was probably
achieved by using an SSD instead of the 3.5 inch hard drive that I chose.
Unfortunately you can't yet get a 1TB SSD at the price of about GBP37 (yes
that was a special offer) that I paid for my HDD.

Dave

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Old 09-11-2010, 10:27 PM
Michael Haney
 
Default Low power computing - was Any suggestions, please?

On Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 5:48 PM, David Fletcher <dave@thefletchers.net> wrote:
> On Saturday 11 Sep 2010, Michael Haney wrote:
>> As for low-power consuming PCs you can build a half-way decent Ubuntu
>> system using an Intel Atom motherboard and low-wattage PSU. *I believe
>> mobos with the new dual core Atoms should be available now.
> An Atom board is what's in the photo.
>
> I've seen a lower power system than mine being assembled (YouTube video
> recording perhaps) but I think the few watts he saved over mine was probably
> achieved by using an SSD instead of the 3.5 inch hard drive that I chose.
> Unfortunately you can't yet get a 1TB SSD at the price of about GBP37 (yes
> that was a special offer) that I paid for my HDD.
>

SSDs are pretty expensive, but given time they'll drop in price. You
know how it is, most new technologies start up expensive then
eventually drop down in price over time.

--
Michael "TheZorch" Haney
"The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking
of morality by religion." ~ Arthur C. Clarke
"The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and
politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place
for it in the endeavor of science. " ~ Carl Sagan

Visit My Site:* http://sites.google.com/site/thezorch/home-1
To Contact Me:
http://sites.google.com/site/thezorch/home-1/zorch-central---contacts

Free Your PC from the Bondage of Windows http://www.ubuntu.com

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Old 09-11-2010, 10:44 PM
Derek Maciel
 
Default Low power computing - was Any suggestions, please?

Right, on Newegg you can get a few miniITX barebones that use a VERY
low amount of power, and combined with a low-power CPU and only
integrated graphics, it doesn't really generate a lot of heat either.

On 11 September 2010 17:20, Michael Haney <thezorch@gmail.com> wrote:
> As for low-power consuming PCs you can build a half-way decent Ubuntu
> system using an Intel Atom motherboard and low-wattage PSU. *I believe
> mobos with the new dual core Atoms should be available now.
>
> Commodore USA is readying a new keyboard PC that is low-power using an
> Intel Atom CPU. *They also have the Phoenix, a pretty decent Core 2
> Dual/Quad keyboard PC with some decent specs. *All of Commodore USA's
> computers come with Ubuntu installed. ;-)
>
> There's also their plan to resurrect the Amiga brand using the AROS
> desktop OS which is an open-source variant of the Amiga OS.
>
> --
> Michael "TheZorch" Haney
> "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking
> of morality by religion." ~ Arthur C. Clarke
> "The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and
> politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place
> for it in the endeavor of science. " ~ Carl Sagan
>
> Visit My Site:* http://sites.google.com/site/thezorch/home-1
> To Contact Me:
> http://sites.google.com/site/thezorch/home-1/zorch-central---contacts
>
> Free Your PC from the Bondage of Windows http://www.ubuntu.com
>
> --
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> ubuntu-users@lists.ubuntu.com
> Modify settings or unsubscribe at: https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-users
>

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Old 09-11-2010, 11:00 PM
Michael Haney
 
Default Low power computing - was Any suggestions, please?

On Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 6:44 PM, Derek Maciel <ishidableach@gmail.com> wrote:
> Right, on Newegg you can get a few miniITX barebones that use a VERY
> low amount of power, and combined with a low-power CPU and only
> integrated graphics, it doesn't really generate a lot of heat either.
>

The Atom has a higher MIPS per voltage ratio than CPUs like say the
Core 2 Dual or Core iX CPUs. They're designed to higher performance
with less electricity. ARM is the same way, which is why you can have
the Unreal 3.0 and Doom 3 engines run on them and the CPU doesn't even
sweat.

ExtremeTech did a piece once on how to build an Ubuntu PC for about
$200. They recommended a miniATX motherboard + CPU combo using the
Intel Atom processor which had an Intel x3100 GPU on-board, USB 2.0,
SATA, and a PCI slot (not PCIe though). They didn't include an
optical drive, but those are really cheap nowadays. The MicroCenter
in Rockville, MD was selling a ton of IDE DVD-RW internal drives for
like $25-$30.

--
Michael "TheZorch" Haney
"The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking
of morality by religion." ~ Arthur C. Clarke
"The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and
politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place
for it in the endeavor of science. " ~ Carl Sagan

Visit My Site:* http://sites.google.com/site/thezorch/home-1
To Contact Me:
http://sites.google.com/site/thezorch/home-1/zorch-central---contacts

Free Your PC from the Bondage of Windows http://www.ubuntu.com

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Old 09-11-2010, 11:08 PM
Derek Maciel
 
Default Low power computing - was Any suggestions, please?

I'd even recommend getting a USB external drive because when it's not
in use, you can unplug it and therefore save power (like, those
commercials that say "Oh, your phone charger is not plugged into your
phone, but it's still using power".)

On 11 September 2010 19:00, Michael Haney <thezorch@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 6:44 PM, Derek Maciel <ishidableach@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Right, on Newegg you can get a few miniITX barebones that use a VERY
>> low amount of power, and combined with a low-power CPU and only
>> integrated graphics, it doesn't really generate a lot of heat either.
>>
>
> The Atom has a higher MIPS per voltage ratio than CPUs like say the
> Core 2 Dual or Core iX CPUs. *They're designed to higher performance
> with less electricity. *ARM is the same way, which is why you can have
> the Unreal 3.0 and Doom 3 engines run on them and the CPU doesn't even
> sweat.
>
> ExtremeTech did a piece once on how to build an Ubuntu PC for about
> $200. *They recommended a miniATX motherboard + CPU combo using the
> Intel Atom processor which had an Intel x3100 GPU on-board, USB 2.0,
> SATA, and a PCI slot (not PCIe though). *They didn't include an
> optical drive, but those are really cheap nowadays. *The MicroCenter
> in Rockville, MD was selling a ton of IDE DVD-RW internal drives for
> like $25-$30.
>
> --
> Michael "TheZorch" Haney
> "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking
> of morality by religion." ~ Arthur C. Clarke
> "The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and
> politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place
> for it in the endeavor of science. " ~ Carl Sagan
>
> Visit My Site:* http://sites.google.com/site/thezorch/home-1
> To Contact Me:
> http://sites.google.com/site/thezorch/home-1/zorch-central---contacts
>
> Free Your PC from the Bondage of Windows http://www.ubuntu.com
>
> --
> ubuntu-users mailing list
> ubuntu-users@lists.ubuntu.com
> Modify settings or unsubscribe at: https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-users
>

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