Like most people, I enjoy having fairly up to date “technology supplies” like a good cellular phone, fast/functional laptop, and desktop/servers that can complete their assigned tasks with ease. Since I started using computers in the late 80′s it seems that my/most people’s concerns were that we wanted something faster and didn’t like waiting for things to load. The part that seems weird to me is, there never seemed to be any concern about power consumption of these devices in making them faster until the latest generation of CPU’s that are being put onto the market. Don’t worry, I am not going green hippie on you. But look at the following table of Intel devices.
Processor Speed (GHZ) Thermal Design Power (Watts) Year of Production
0.075 8 1993
0.333 20.6 1997
1 27.6 1999
3 65 2006
3.2 130 2009
1.83 6.5 2011 Intel Atom!
Looking at the table you can see there is a general increase in the clock speed of the processors which generally makes your computer seem faster, but with that the Thermal Design Power has also generally crept up. Why should I or you care about this at all? Many people seem to have these dinosaurs of computers sitting around that they would like to turn into media servers or whatever to put them to use. I would urge you to throw away (or recycle you hippie!) those things and get something better suited for the job. If you assume electricity costs $0.10 a watt (that’s what it is here in the Twin Cities) then roughly costs a quarter for every watt of power you decide you are going to have operating, half that if you are going to turn it off when you aren’t using it. Using a 1 GHZ processor from roughly the year 2000 will run you $50 a year or so in electrical costs. In addition to that, I haven’t seen one of these that looks nice or runs quietly. As an alternative for roughly $200 up front, you could purchase a new Atom desktop deal and end up paying $5 for a year of electricity. Sure, it would take you a few years to get your money back, but you’d ultimately have a faster, more stable, newer system.
Do you always have you have new technology when it comes out? Are you more concerned about the cost of electricity or about saving mother earth….. or keeping that should be scrap metal out of the landfill?