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Thread: Advice on low power / 2nd PC purchase

  1. #1
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    Sep 2008
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    Advice on low power / 2nd PC purchase

    Greetings everyone,

    I was hoping to get some advice on the purchase of a 2nd PC, once upon a time we had several in the house, however now we only have one, which even when idle would appear to use 10 times more power than my old laptop.

    As the machine is only used 30-40% of the time for gaming I would like to invest £300-400 ( the lower the better ) in a second machine to use with simple tasks such as using the net, ms office and photography etc.

    I have all our data stored on a NAS and so do not need a large drive ( just to point out )

    Thus far I have seen 2 possible solutions

    A DIY build of an X2 245e desktop ( would need recommendations on actual parts if going with this option ), I have a spare 19” Samsung monitor somewhere which is 34w consumption.

    Or a cheap laptop, have seen an Acer i3 4GB machine on sale for £375 which indicates power consumption of less than 50w, which would appear to be much less than the above option once a monitor is taken into account.

    I don’t have a target power usage, our current machine according to a PSU calculator uses 530-580w at 50% TDP settings so would like to find a machine 125w or less to make it worth the £300-400 spend to make the saving back ( and some ) over a period of 3 years.

    I have read several reviews this morning of several Nettops and Netbooks and do not think the power of an atom system would suffice as at least when I’m browsing the web at times I can have 2-3 instances of firefox open with 10+ tabs in each plus MS Word and or Excel going as well and I don’t want it to feel slow while doing all that.

    Many thanks for any advice or words of wisdom and a happy new year to one and all.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    144 times in 133 posts
    • smargh's system
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    Re: Advice on low power / 2nd PC purchase

    A HP MicroServer uses about 22 watts. Can be got for £130 with the £100 cashback. I can get them for £108 from Insight with our company+employee discount. Comes with one 160GB 3.5" drive, and the same drive (for Raid 1) costs £27 from CCL and will only add a few watts. They are very quiet. Only has 1GB ECC memory (in 1 of 2 slots) as standard, but it can be replaced with regular non-ECC DDR3.

    Note that the PCI-E slot can only offer up to 25 watts of power for any add-on graphics card if you need DVI etc.

    Edit: I just re-read your post again - "... 2-3 instances of firefox open with 10+ tabs in each plus MS Word and or Excel" - perhaps an SSD would be good for you, but probably more memory is better, to make up for the slower CPU. It's still dual-core though and would probably be fine.
    Last edited by smargh; 28-12-2010 at 02:23 PM.

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