More resources on low-power computing

The Via Epia mini-ITX boards are some of the lowest power around. Epiacenter.com has a power simulator that’s good for comparing the differences in boards.

Although, I’ve noticed that the VB7001G board I’m using has inconsistent results on the calculator — 16.23 watts idle versus 13.92 in “network mode”. Take it for what it’s worth.

While I’m at it — first booted the Via VB7001G this evening. The sole purpose of this is for use as my main mail/web server as well as the mythtv backend. With a good power supply and a laptop HD for the primary (non-video) storage, I hope to have a box that idles at <30 watts. Then the power hog P4 system connected to the TV would only be booted as needed.

Using an el’cheepo power supply and an old Maxtor HDD pulled from the shelf, it’s currently idling along at 46 W. Not a bad start. I think there’s easily enough room for improvement to achieve the goal. Silent PC Review got their EN12000 board down to 17W at idle — mind you, they had a 5 W head start on me using a low-power variant of the C7 CPU¬† (not to mention 20% slower, and ~300% more expensive).

Here’s a good review of popular 2.5″ notebook hard drives.

Update: With a 90W Pico Power supply + the tuner card and 1.25 TB of disk on-line (2 disks, one 250MB laptop, and one 3.5″ 1.0 TB Western Digital Caviar Green Power drives), the box is idling at a grand total of 25 watts (AC wall power)! Mission Accomplished.

There’s still some room to tweak that down a bit. The 1TB drive does not need to be spun-up full time. That should drop the idle power down a few extra watts.

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