Friday, September 5, 2014

Saving Money Running a Home File Server

PC Power Supply

I converted an old HP desktop PC into a home file server using the NAS4FREE free software a while ago.  The server works well and I have made some modifications to it over time.  The cost savings in electricity surprised me.

First, I replaced the motherboard with a low power mini-ITX motherboard.  The original motherboard had a power hungry old AMD processor and I did not need all that computing power.  This decreased the power consumption from 150 watts to 75 watts, for a monthly saving of $6.21 or $75 per year (local cost of a kilowatt hour is $0.115).  I also sold the old motherboard and memory on Ebay so my net cost was about $25, for a 3 month payback.

Second, I replaced the HP power supply with a modern energy efficiency Bronze-certified power supply (Corsair CX430).  This further dropped the power consumption to 35 watts, saving $3.31 a month or $39.75 a year.  The power supply was on sale for $29.99 so the payback is about 9 months.  For those geeks among us, it also corrected the power factor from around 1.3 to 1.

Two things I noted:

  1. You can save money by getting more energy efficient devices, like this server that is on 24 hours a day.  Clearly, home PC's as sold by the manufacturers are not very energy efficient.
  2. Even a small power draw like 35 watts (a couple of CFL bulbs) adds up over time if the device is always on - $40 a year.

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