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Lowering power consumption on PC

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droog
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PostPosted: 16:23 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Lowering power consumption on PC Reply with quote

Hi,

I want to lower the power consumption on an old HP workstation desktop pc, to this end I'm removing one of the two internal 500GB hard drives as it's no longer needed.

There are also a couple of cards installed which I no longer need;

firewire port card (X3 firewire ports)

RS232 port card (x2 RS232 ports)

I was wondering if these two cards are also drawing some power? And if so is it worth removing them as well?

Thanks for any advice.
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Paddy.
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PostPosted: 16:27 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely fucking minimal most likely Laughing
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stinkwheel
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PostPosted: 17:23 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

If something is hot, it's using a lot of power.
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Nobby the Bastard
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PostPosted: 17:28 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

No fucking chance. Better off buying new kit purchased with economy in mind.
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droog
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PostPosted: 17:56 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies - I'll just remove the redundant hard drive.
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xX-Alex-Xx
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PostPosted: 17:56 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobby the Bastard wrote:
No fucking chance. Better off buying new kit purchased with economy in mind.


Exactly this. Sounds like the computers of an age where a Raberry Pi 4 will provide more grunt and lower power consumption.
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droog
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PostPosted: 18:50 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

xX-Alex-Xx wrote:
Nobby the Bastard wrote:
No fucking chance. Better off buying new kit purchased with economy in mind.


Exactly this. Sounds like the computers of an age where a Raberry Pi 4 will provide more grunt and lower power consumption.


Yeah, this is true, but I'm just using it for basic business related computing stuff - no gaming or anything intensive - as long as I'm not wasting power on anything superfluous (like the extra drive) I think the power usage should be reasonable - it still has a lot of life in it and because it was a relatively powerful pc when it was built a decade ago (it came out of a professional digital video editing suite) I think it's still capable of running windows 10 etc and performing the stuff I need with no problems.
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Easy-X
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PostPosted: 18:58 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best thing to save power is turn it off Wink
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droog
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PostPosted: 21:40 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easy-X wrote:
Best thing to save power is turn it off Wink


This is the ultimate truth Very Happy
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Nobby the Bastard
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PostPosted: 22:02 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

A hdd that isn't spinning won't be drawing power.

It only spins whilst reading or writing so most of the time there is no draw.
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droog
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PostPosted: 22:08 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobby the Bastard wrote:
A hdd that isn't spinning won't be drawing power.

It only spins whilst reading or writing so most of the time there is no draw.


That's interesting - thanks - I wasn't sure what it was doing - so maybe just leave it in there?
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UncleBFester
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PostPosted: 22:15 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you've got is old inefficient shit and an old PSU with a mainboard / cpu combo that isn't efficient by design.

It's a turd, you can't polish it.
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droog
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PostPosted: 22:28 - 06 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

UncleBFester wrote:
What you've got is old inefficient shit and an old PSU with a mainboard / cpu combo that isn't efficient by design.

It's a turd, you can't polish it.


Yeah - compared to the latest kit it's an old behemoth.

I just tried it with a power monitor plug - it was using about 224 watts (with monitor, just idling - not reading/writing).
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WD Forte
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PostPosted: 00:00 - 07 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt the extra hdd will be taking much power, say 10 watts or so at most.
The cpu and graphics ( onboard or card)will probably have the highest power usage of the lot.
CPUs can use from say 75 to 125Watts
Graphics depends on spec but the higher spec they are and how much work they doing will affect how much power they will use.
3D design or video editing will use a lot more than writing a shopping list using Notepad for instance.
Fans a couple of watts or so
RS232 cards and firewire, feck all especially if not being used
USB doesn't use much for transferring data but might use more power if charging devices or powering a USB HDD or CDROM.
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droog
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PostPosted: 08:09 - 07 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

WD Forte wrote:
I doubt the extra hdd will be taking much power, say 10 watts or so at most.
The cpu and graphics ( onboard or card)will probably have the highest power usage of the lot.
CPUs can use from say 75 to 125Watts
Graphics depends on spec but the higher spec they are and how much work they doing will affect how much power they will use.
3D design or video editing will use a lot more than writing a shopping list using Notepad for instance.
Fans a couple of watts or so
RS232 cards and firewire, feck all especially if not being used
USB doesn't use much for transferring data but might use more power if charging devices or powering a USB HDD or CDROM.


Thanks WD Forte - that puts things in perspective. Very Happy

Reason I asked this question is that I was thinking I will get f*ck all for it if I sell it but it's got more than enough power and performance for the business stuff I'll be using it for, so rather than forking out a few hundred quid for something new, why not use it? On the other hand I was looking at it and it's a big old box full of fans and cards and I was thinking how much is this old tank gonna cost to run if it's on a few hours every day?

To get a bit of clarity on costs I went on one of those electricity cost calculators and came up with these figures based on the HP desktop's wattage I recorded using my power monitor plug. If these figures are accurate then it's gonna cost relatively f*ck all to run anyway even if it is using more power than the latest machines, so I might as well get some use out of it:

(Electricity costs haven't changed much since 2019)

https://i.ibb.co/zx58xzJ/electricity.png
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panrider_uk
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PostPosted: 10:30 - 07 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

If not using continuously for the whole 6 hours then use Windows' sleep function to put the pc to sleep when not in use.

That'll save you the most power and will come back to life in seconds.

Hard disc doesn't use much power but if you're keen you could replace with a SSD. That would save a bit of power and make the pc better than new in terms of performance.
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droog
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PostPosted: 11:14 - 07 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

panrider_uk wrote:
If not using continuously for the whole 6 hours then use Windows' sleep function to put the pc to sleep when not in use.

That'll save you the most power and will come back to life in seconds.

Hard disc doesn't use much power but if you're keen you could replace with a SSD. That would save a bit of power and make the pc better than new in terms of performance.


Thanks panrider_uk, some useful tips there, I'll definitely check out the SSD drives as a potential upgrade Smile
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WD Forte
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PostPosted: 17:02 - 07 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Screens can also use lot of power
my 30" get pretty warm due to the size and backlight so
that where the sleep/energy saving can have an effect on overall consumption
SSD Vs HDD energy use is negligible as it depends on use
but SSD speed is very much faster so a good option on an old PC.
I use my old HDDS as back ups or extra storage now and SSDs for
booting and running system files in my old PCs and lappys.
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droog
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PostPosted: 18:45 - 07 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

WD Forte wrote:
Screens can also use lot of power
my 30" get pretty warm due to the size and backlight so
that where the sleep/energy saving can have an effect on overall consumption
SSD Vs HDD energy use is negligible as it depends on use
but SSD speed is very much faster so a good option on an old PC.
I use my old HDDS as back ups or extra storage now and SSDs for
booting and running system files in my old PCs and lappys.


Yeah - I have a couple of large Samsung monitors - I sometimes use a dual monitor set up - be interesting to see how much extra power they are using via my power monitor.

Good call using the old HDDS as extra storage - if I upgrade the existing hard drives to SSD I'll buy a couple of enclosures and use the old ones for backup/storage as you have done.
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WD Forte
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PostPosted: 23:52 - 08 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incidentally
I use Speccy from time to time to get an idea what's going on
with my mobo and devices
https://www.ccleaner.com/speccy

It can give you a rough idea on what's using the most power
as you cant get heat without using power
This isnt exact science of course, just an indicator

Currently my graphics card is hottest at 63C
followed by the 4 core cpu at 46C
( the heat sink vanes and fan are looking a little manky and could do with a clean up I see, this would help make it run a bit cooler)
Mobo at 39C
Main/system file SSD at 34C
Storage HDD at 29C (only accessed for movies, tv shows, backups etc)
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droog
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PostPosted: 07:48 - 09 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

WD Forte wrote:
Incidentally
I use Speccy from time to time to get an idea what's going on
with my mobo and devices
https://www.ccleaner.com/speccy

It can give you a rough idea on what's using the most power
as you cant get heat without using power
This isnt exact science of course, just an indicator

Currently my graphics card is hottest at 63C
followed by the 4 core cpu at 46C
( the heat sink vanes and fan are looking a little manky and could do with a clean up I see, this would help make it run a bit cooler)
Mobo at 39C
Main/system file SSD at 34C
Storage HDD at 29C (only accessed for movies, tv shows, backups etc)


Cheers WD Forte - I'll check that out - fans been coming on a lot on my sh*tty old laptop - been thinking I might need to renew the thermal paste between the CPU and the heatsink among other possible things to take a look at - sound like this software could point me in the right direction - thanks Very Happy
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Im-a-Ridah
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PostPosted: 17:08 - 09 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

New PSU would probably make the biggest difference. I would say reduce the CPU clock speed but its probably locked.
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Nobby the Bastard
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PostPosted: 17:14 - 09 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Droog wrote:
WD Forte wrote:
Incidentally
I use Speccy from time to time to get an idea what's going on
with my mobo and devices
https://www.ccleaner.com/speccy

It can give you a rough idea on what's using the most power
as you cant get heat without using power
This isnt exact science of course, just an indicator

Currently my graphics card is hottest at 63C
followed by the 4 core cpu at 46C
( the heat sink vanes and fan are looking a little manky and could do with a clean up I see, this would help make it run a bit cooler)
Mobo at 39C
Main/system file SSD at 34C
Storage HDD at 29C (only accessed for movies, tv shows, backups etc)


Cheers WD Forte - I'll check that out - fans been coming on a lot on my sh*tty old laptop - been thinking I might need to renew the thermal paste between the CPU and the heatsink among other possible things to take a look at - sound like this software could point me in the right direction - thanks Very Happy


You could just take a hoover to the vent and suck out all the
accumulated dust.
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RhynoCZ
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PostPosted: 18:36 - 09 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im-a-Ridah wrote:
New PSU would probably make the biggest difference. I would say reduce the CPU clock speed but its probably locked.


You can always underclock an Intel CPU, the older it is less restrictive the bios and chip's microcode are.

Buying an modern efficient PSU? Well sure, higher efficiency = less power wasted in heat etc., but first do the math. The PSU efficiency only really comes into play when the load is significant = fully utilised server, gaming PC with the top tier HW running a demanding game, etc. When the load is low, the efficiency numbers do not matter much. Sure, modern PSUs run semi-passive cooling, when the load is low the fan does not spin, so you do save about 0.5W to 2W of power, depending on how fast the fan spins, when the computer does not require high wattage. So for your application, is it worth it to buy a new PSU while the old one is still working?

Also, you should check wether your workstation runs standardised consumer grade PSU before you even think about an upgrade. Some of those workstations run all sorts of proprietary PSUs that run only with specific proprietary motherboards.
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droog
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PostPosted: 18:49 - 09 May 2021    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im-a-Ridah wrote:
New PSU would probably make the biggest difference. I would say reduce the CPU clock speed but its probably locked.


Interesting suggestion, thanks.

Nobby the Bastard wrote:
You could just take a hoover to the vent and suck out all the accumulated dust.


Yeah - I got a similar issue with the HP workstation - i took the side cover off and the thing is full of dust - so I got this handheld blower thing which I'm gonna use to blow all the dust out of it.

RhynoCZ wrote:
You can always underclock an Intel CPU, the older it is less restrictive the bios and chip's microcode are.

Buying an modern efficient PSU? Well sure, higher efficiency = less power wasted in heat etc., but first do the math. The PSU efficiency only really comes into play when the load is significant = fully utilised server, gaming PC with the top tier HW running a demanding game, etc. When the load is low, the efficiency numbers do not matter much. Sure, modern PSUs run semi-passive cooling, when the load is low the fan does not spin, so you do save about 0.5W to 2W of power, depending on how fast the fan spins, when the computer does not require high wattage. So for your application, is it worth it to buy a new PSU while the old one is still working?

Also, you should check wether your workstation runs standardised consumer grade PSU before you even think about an upgrade. Some of those workstations run all sorts of proprietary PSUs that run only with specific proprietary motherboards.


Lot of interesting info to consider there, thanks RhynoCZ.
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