Chaosradio 100: Energy consumption of the IT industry
Today we again had our monthly chaosradio live show. The subject that we picked from the list of suggested topics, and it definitely was worth doing a 3 hour show on it.
Computers always get faster. The downside of this is that they always consume
more energy. From 1W of a 80386 to 15W of a Pentium I, we've now arrived at
more than 100W for the latest PC CPU generations. The PowerPC architecture was
quite promising for some time, but at least since the G5, power consumption is
almost equal with the Intel world. About the only promising figures come from
ARM based CPU designs at the moment - something that you will find in PDA's and embedded devices, but not in desktop machines.
Apart from the power consumption we're also talking a bit about the ecology in
general, like the amount of energy and raw materials required to build a new
PC. It is quite considerable, especially taking into account that most PC's
are not used for more than two to three years.
In case you're now interested (and understand German): A recording of the live is available for download.
My workstation is now liquid cooled
Actually I bought the machine including a liquid cooling system, since I've
become very sensitive towards noise over the years. However, I also wanted to
have a very specific (small) case, probably the smallest EATX case that exists.
Oh yes, btw, the workstation is a very decent dual Opteron 246 Machine, with
2GB of DDR400 RAM on a Tyan S2885 mainboard and three SATA drives (of which
usually one one is actualy spun up). The system was actually provided by Astaro, since I've complained about their
previous way-too-loud Sun v20z test machines that I used to have in my kitchen for some time ;)
Then something unexpected happened: The producer of the cooling system went out
of business, and I had to get another one from Alphacool. That system is different to the
previous one in that it uses a radiator with two 120mm low-rpm papst fans. The
intended original system would have had a totally passive system, no fans at all.
So in the end the system was shipped standard, with air-cooling, large zalman
CPU fans, etc. The Alphacool cooling system was DIY and would have never
fitted in the case that I chose.
Now, a few months later, I've finally managed to install the liquid cooling
system. It required quite some amount of 'case modding', since both the
radiator and the compensating reservoir had to be installed
externally,requiring some four 12mm holes to be drilled for the tubes, plus an
additional number of 20 mounting holes.
I'm very satisfied with the results. The only thing you can still hear is the
little noise emitted by the pump. The CPU's are running at 28 to 32 centigrade
under full load.