Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend of geekiness

I finally got around to upgrading the security camera computer. I was really leaning toward a dual core computer upgrade. Then our power bill came. We hit 1725 kWh used in one month resulting in our first ever $300+ power bill. I then began thinking of building a more "green" computer as well as automating the turning on and off of the existing computers.

Fry's had a $59 motherboard and CPU special on sale this weekend. The CPU is an AMD Athlon LE-1620. The CPU is a single core and just 45watts of power used. There are some CPUs that use just 35 watts. The CPU used in the security computer was a Sempron 2500+ using 62 watts. While at Fry's I bought 2 gigabytes of DDR2 RAM for $19 (after $20 mail in rebate). The RAM is actually faster than the RAM in my main computer...I might swap them. RAM prices have fallen over the past two years. I paid $160 for 2 gigabytes of "fast" RAM January 2007.

From my storage closet, I had a brand new case I bought after a "free after rebate" deal from Frys sometime last year. I grabbed that and a "free after rebate" high quality power supply and a PCI-express video card. I then assembled the computer. I used spare hard drive and then loaded up the operating system. The computer runs pretty cool and quiet. Total cost? $80!!! Well the hard drive should be thrown in at $60. Still $140 for a pretty nice computer that will do little more than record video all day.

After that was done I converted the old security computer into a bed side computer. This invovled mostly removing the security camera software and extra cooling fans.

I bought Windows Home Server after trying it out for a few months. I figured I could just throw in the CD and upgrade it from Windows. That didn't work. I then began getting random reboots so I decided to just back up the important data and reinstall everything link new. I still really like Windows Home Server. The software is super easy to use and requires very little in the way of user intervention. To save power I shifted all backups to be done between 9PM and 1AM. The server will then turn itself off at 1:10AM and turn back on at 7AM. My main office computer which spent several months turned on 24X7 will now only be used when I am actually sitting infront of it. I mostly use it for email and gaming. I get the same email on my phone anyways.

I'm hoping the computer changes as well as other power reductions done around the house will lower the power bill below 1500 watts use this month.

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