A little power saving project.

This project began with a little device named a “kill a watt“. I bought it a few years ago and have used it to test the power consumption of different devices in my home. Most of the time it sits in a drawer unused, but today …. I used it to save some money.

There was another piece of tech hardware sitting in my desk drawer a little Asus EEE PC. This device was purchased with the hope of turning it into a “hack-n-tosh”. The little machine got a hard drive upgrade from 4 gigs to 16 gigs of space and a memory upgrade to 1 Gig of RAM. I was able to get OSX running on the machine, but the constant cat and mouse game with updates coming from Apple made the project difficult and I put Windows XP on it instead. With the “hack-n-tosh” project behind me I stopped using the EEE PC.

Out of the blue an idea came to me …. what if I could use the EEE PC to replace the older Pentium 4 Ubuntu Linux box under my desk?

The older Pentium 4 has done a great job of handling DHCP and DNS chores for my home, but it must be using a good bit of electricity.

So a plan was hatched, to build out the EEE PC with Ubuntu Linux 10.4 LTS and migrate all my settings over from the Pentium 4.

It took me a few days to build out the EEE PC, migrate the settings and test my configuration. There were a few items that had to be adjusted to make a netbook work like a server. Adjustments like making sure that the netbook didn’t turn off or hibernate when the lid was closed.

With the adjustments behind me I was able to finally test out the new system.

Here are the results:

The older full size PC was consuming 112 watts of power while at idle.
The EEE PC only consumes 12 watts of power while at idle!

For a total savings of 100 watts or about $85 per year.

It was a fun project to do and I encourage anyone to take a look at how much their computers are costing them to run.