Low-en­ergy, fab!

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I am try­ing to find a low-en­ergy so­lu­tion for a good per­for­mance ma­chine I can use for my weather satel­lite mon­i­tor­ing and my weather sta­tions. My ma­chines run 24/7, so I am try­ing to re­duce the num­ber of watts I use, and hence my elec­tric­ity bill.

I have been a Gen­too en­thu­si­ast since prob­a­bly 1999, and a reg­u­lar sub­scriber to Lin­ux­For­mat for many years. My present ma­chine runs Cen­tOS 7, with In­tel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 2.40GHz, it has 16GB of mem­ory and two NICS bonded, be­cause I need plenty of Eth­er­net speed for mov­ing the weather satel­lite im­ages around. It has two 500GB drives with RAID 1 and one 1TB with­out. The VGA is Nvidia Cor­po­ra­tion GT200 GeForce GTX 260 du­al­head for two mon­i­tors. Yup, lots of real es­tate, so quite a bit of power needed. Is there any ad­vice you can give me?

Fran­cis,WestCork

Neil says: Yikes! That old Q6600 in it­self will con­sume lots of power – its TDP is 105W. A mod­ern desk­top pro­ces­sor will likely halve this (tak­ing into ac­count lower-power DDR4 and moth­er­board chipset) and pro­vide triple the CPU power, com­bined with in­te­grated graph­ics able to run three dis­plays and a moth­er­board with dual NICs.

The six-core AMD Ryzen 5 1600 is a good all-round choice – but you will need a graph­ics card on top – to build from scratch. On the In­tel side, for sim­i­lar speed, you’d want a Core i7 7700K, but it’s £100 more just for the chip, though it does have in­te­grated graph­ics. Do let us know how you got on!

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