Re: [OxLUG] What would make the biggest difference to my pro…

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Author: Jamie Lokier
To: Oxfordshire Linux User Group Discussion List
Old-Topics: Re: [OxLUG] What would make the biggest difference to my processing speed?
Subject: Re: [OxLUG] What would make the biggest difference to my processing speed?
Paul Mobbs wrote:
> On Tuesday, August 09, 2011 12:47:44 am Peter Green wrote:
> > I'm thinking that it's not very energy efficient running all those boxes
> > though, or space saving, but it does re-use older machines that would
> > other wise be thrown away perhaps.
> The machine that runs 24/7 running Internet-related stuff is a 1.6GHz laptop --
> mostly pulls between 15W (average -- about the same as an energ efficient bulb)
> and 80W (when encoding video). Using an old laptop as a server is by far the
> most efficient way of running torrents/spiders, and for running services for the
> household network.

For processing jobs, like transcoding video, don't forget to multiply
the power by the slowness factor... I.e. it's joules that count. If
it takes 30 times longer to transcode on the 1.6GHz laptop than on the
big box with GPGPU and 8 core Nehalem (i.e. like an Amazon GPU
instance), 80W on the laptop is equivalent to 2400W on the big box.
The big box is probably cheaper to run for this job.

For mostly idle jobs, like an online presence and torrents, probably
the lowest power thing you can find that has enough memory is
best. 15W seems unnecessarily high for that. An old programmable
router or phone would run cheaper.

If it's as good as they say it will be, a Raspberry Pi would be good
for both jobs ;-) (They say it consumes 1W while playing 1080P H.264
video real time, and can encode and decode 1080P simultaneously. But
it's not available yet.)

> On the other hand, when it gets cold in my office in the Winter I
> look forward to turning on the whole menagerie because to keeps the
> room warm.

I recently found out, much to my surprise, that some kinds of heating
are more power efficient than others. Previously I'd casually though
heat out == power in and not given it any more thought.

With some kinds of directional infra-red, it's possible to bask in
lovely warmth while the room, air, objects, walls etc. are colder than
you and remain so. That uses less power than heating the whole room,
and it's quicker to warm you up as well.

Unfortunately at the moment such heaters seem to be either expensive
industrial units, or cheap ones that break easily.

-- Jamie