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Thread: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

  1. #11
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

    EVGA has a lower power 9600GT:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130485

    Also with Powermizer, NVIDIA cards run at lower speeds when idle (2D) anyways.

    And one comment: I wouldn't quite agree that the Acer monitor likes Ubuntu. I mean it uses an odd resolution that you couldn't even get.

  2. #12
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

    Quote Originally Posted by anonymous_user View Post

    And one comment: I wouldn't quite agree that the Acer monitor likes Ubuntu. I mean it uses an odd resolution that you couldn't even get.
    Yes, but I think I mention in an update there that I bought two of the same monitors for my wife and I, plugged them in and ... they were automagically set at 1360-768! Go figure.

    Funny, I am actually sitting at that very same GreenMachine right now and people have started posting on this thread for the first time in ages. I have been over in Melbourne for a week tweaking it for the in-laws and generally getting it to purr and giving them some tips. The machine and Ubuntu themselves are going well, it is mostly hardware issues they have been having (read incompatible purchases from before my mother-in-law went Ubuntu).

  3. #13
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

    Nice guide, thanks

  4. #14
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

    I note that your primary consideration is electricity consumption while you are using the computer. You do not appear to consider the energy consumed during manufacture - which could be considerable. It is vital to consider the lifecycle environmental effects rather than the immediately visible effects.

    Furthermore, for me in New Zealand, the majority of the electricity I use is generated through hydro, so is eco-friendly. But the majority of the electricity used to manufacture a computer in China or other countries is likely to be from coal. This exacerbates the effect even more.

    The best way of having an eco-friendly computer is NOT to make a new computer at all - because the manufacture of all those new "eco-friendly" components for you is not particularly eco-friendly.

    For example, an LCD screen may use less electricity. But because it has used a large amount of electricity and other resources to produce, if you want to have the minimum resource consumption you'd probably be better off actually using a second-hand CRT.

    The same logic goes for all other consumer products - for example, you are far better off "recycling" a second-hand car for another 10 years than buying a new hybrid - sure your fuel consumption will be lower with the hybrid, but the total lifetime resource use will be much higher. You won't look like a cool "greenie" with a snazzy hybrid, but the reality is you are probably far more eco-friendly than the hybrid driver.

    The big environmental benefit of Linux is therefore that it can keep older machines running for longer.

    The net result of all this is that the cheapest option is usually the most eco-friendly. This is because the cost of something is roughly a measure of the resources used to produce it. A new computer (or car) is expensive to pay for the resources used to produce it - all the electricity, raw materials, labour etc. A second-hand computer is cheap because the previous owner paid for all that and you are getting it without causing any further consumption of resources.

    Therefore the cheapest option (a second-hand computer or car) is far more eco-friendly than the more expensive "green" option (a new computer or car using snazzy efficient components) - despite the old computer being noisy and using more electricity, and the old car maybe producing a bit of smoke now and then.
    IBM ThinkCentre 8142 - Ubuntu 10.04
    Acer emachines D620 - Ubuntu 9.04

  5. #15
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

    Samden:

    Hmm, I quote from the HOWTO. You might like to go to these websites and re-read them:

    I look for an RoHS stamp, a UK initiative which aims to limit the amount of toxic materials used in the manufacture of electrical equipment:

    http://www.rohs.gov.uk/

    TCO'03:


    I make it absolutely clear that if you can't use your old components yourself there is always someone that can and you should attempt to give any operational hardware a good home. If you look it is easy to find folks that can use it. I agree, recycling is what you might call a 'last resort'. Why do people upgrade at all if their components are still working? Well, they do, and if they do they should attempt to do so responsibly (IMHO).

    I just yesterday dropped back a machine to a family of five kids. It was blue screening in XP, doing odd things. They were going to throw it away and I said, "Give me three days with it." Turns out only needed new battery and re-install. Now dual-booting XP and 9.04 with all Edubuntu packages. An old Compaq EVO 51S; 80Gb drive, 512mb RAM, little flat-screen. Works a treat and is absolutely perfect for what they need.

    I've been thinking of getting some kind of club together where we make operational machines out of everyone's unwanted obsolete bits, whack on a flavour of Ubuntu and hand 'em out to those that needs 'em for eductation, employment skills, whatever!

    Hydro-power? Half your luck. I'm all for hydrogen myself.


    Chang_m33:

    Yes, I have built quite a few now! Dive in and give it a try, and as wisely reiterated previously, work out what bits you can use, what bits no longer work and what you can give away or sell of your old rig before buying stuff. Good luck.


    Thanks all for you comments.
    Last edited by Bucky Ball; August 13th, 2009 at 10:37 AM.

  6. #16
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

    If you need a new machine, then by all means go for it and build to your specifications. It may well be more eco-friendly than some other new ones - but I thought I'd point out that an old one is even better. Glad you appreciate this already!

    Hydrogen is not a way of generating power, only of STORING electrical energy (you need electricity to make hydrogen). You still come back to hydro vs coal vs nuclear vs wind etc. Then you can consider hydrogen vs batteries to store it. Hydro-power and hydrogen are two completely separate issues.

    I've been thinking of getting some kind of club together where we make operational machines out of everyone's unwanted obsolete bits, whack on a flavour of Ubuntu and hand 'em out to those that needs 'em for eductation, employment skills, whatever!
    I've been thinking the same idea, but considering how I could make a sideline business out of it (donating some profits back to FOSS projects of course!). The margins would be pretty small though. Maybe your voluntary idea would fly more.
    IBM ThinkCentre 8142 - Ubuntu 10.04
    Acer emachines D620 - Ubuntu 9.04

  7. #17
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

    Nice topic.
    I have actually built up a similar machine, though with a different antec case, a gigabyte board, a scythe ninja cpu cooler (which can be cooled passively) and a samsung hdd.
    In order to really get the system quiet I switched the antec fan against a scythe.

    I had initially wanted to hook up my 2 monitors to the onboard card but this caused problems (the gigabyte I have has an ati) so I got a cheep passive geforce 7600 from ebay.

    It is running cool and quiet with just two fans (psu and case).

  8. #18
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

    I built myself a nice new machine last week, while I didn't follow this guide as I just found it but I think it's quite energy efficient, I'm not sure about the PSU though. I bought a mini-ITX Zotac 9300 wifi (not the Zotac ION because I wanted a bit more processing power than the intel atom) with integrated nVidia graphics (VDPAU capable!), an Intel Pentium Dual core 5200, WD Green SATA HD, Sony Optiarc SATA DVD+/-RW, and a Morex 668 case with 200W PSU (cheapest mini-itx case I could find), 4 GB DDR2 Corsair Memory (2x2Gb for dual channel mode).

    It's the first PC I've ever built but it has turned out great. Oh I also got a Acer X233H, I think it's the same as yours just larger (23inch), I'm going to use this as an desktop/HTPC. Ubuntu installed on it flawlessly except for the wifi, but I quickly found a fix for that and had the wifi up and running in about 30 minutes so it wasn't any trouble, there's an open source driver for the card it just hasn't been included into ubuntu yet, but I found a deb for in online quite quickly. My old laptop which I've now sold was very inefficient energywise. An Hp dv9000, it was constanly running at very high heat (sometimes peaking at 90C!) had a battery life of about an hour, even undervolting didn't help much with the overheating. This new PC runs very cool and quiet I am very please =)

  9. #19
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu box

    Nice job! There is nothing quite like sitting at and using a computer you put together yourself. Your story is proof that if you do a bit of pre-planning, read carefully, take your time and be careful, it is a pretty easy job at the end of the day and brings a lot more satisfaction than grabbing a box off the shelf which is usually not quite what you were looking for but close enough ... (not to mention you have a custom computer and usually save a bit of cash on the build).

    Now you are ready to help your friends when they are after an upgrade or just want to re-configure their hardware. Nice job.

  10. #20
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    Re: HOWTO: Build an energy-efficient Ubuntu computer

    Thanks for the guide. By the way, what sort of issues did you experience with the printer? We are thinking of getting a CP-1210 for colour printing. While I heard that HP is very linux friendly, this post is the only relevant post on this particular printer. Been using a Brother MFC7440n for b&w printing/scanning/faxing with great results. We just keep it off since we don't print often, but we print in huge batches.
    A note on energy consumption. For home/SOHO use, you really don't print much, so the high energy consumption of a laser is not much of an issue. The benefits of it being more ink-efficient outweighs th minor increase in energy usage.

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