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310 posts

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#269888 13-Apr-2020 11:08
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A couple of years ago I bought a second hand HP desktop with Intel Core 2 Duo. I've been running it 24/7 and it's serving as e.g. PiHole DNS server and I'm running some cron jobs. I've never really considered the power usage, but I just did some calculations and it surprised me a lot how much power it would use.

 

This website mentions an idle power usage of 50w, and load power usage of 100w. Based on 95% idle, 5% load, I come to about 1200 kWh per year.

 

For a RPI 4b, the power usage is apparently 3w idle, 7w on load. Total power usage would be only 83kWh!

 

We currently pay about $0.30 + GST for power, so my current PC costs me $440 per year to run, and the RPI only $29?

 

Is my calculation correct or did I miss something? For that difference I can buy almost 3 new RPI's...


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  #2460403 13-Apr-2020 11:43
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Go for it - I helped @ZollyMonsta a couple of months back move a few of his websites (including The Cheese - https://thecheese.co.nz) to a Raspberry Pi 4 and have been incredibly impressed with what it has been able to handle.

I did write a blog post for anyone new to the platform to set up Wordpress: https://murfy.nz/2020/02/01/setting-up-a-basic-wordpress-server/

You could run PiHole, Apache etc all on the same Pi either using Docker, or assigning multiple IP addresses to the Pi, or simply running Apache (or your web server of choice) on a different port.







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  #2460405 13-Apr-2020 11:46
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Thanks @michaelmurfy that is useful. I'm pretty confident I can run everything on the RPI I need it to, but except for the power usage I don't see a need to upgrade. But if I can save ~$400 per year on power, it's an easy decision. Just still surprised that the power usage is so high?


 
 
 
 


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  #2460417 13-Apr-2020 11:53
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The Pi uses bugger all power and may actually be more powerful than your C2D. You’ll likely end up saving money on power over time especially if the C2D gets a bit loaded at times. The Pi is also tiny and fanless so can be tucked away. Personally I’d recommend it for your use.

They’re really neat little computers. I personally have one (an old Pi 2) running PiHole on my network and it has not skipped a beat in the 4 years it’s been my DNS server.




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  #2460418 13-Apr-2020 11:54
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Yeh it adds up pretty quickly, I'm about to look at doing the same. I did a rough idea calculation for mine and it was over $1/day to run it, considering the small value it provides me in terms of real world performance, I'm not sure it's worth it. 

 

I recently moved a Raspberry Pi running Home Assistant to an old Dell Optiplex 3010 SFF machine, looking at moving back. The only reason I moved it from a Pi to a full PC was because the PC can run Windows Server 2012 R2 (Which I have a legit license for before you ask), and I can simply run Home Assistant and some other tools in VMs. When I was running it on a Pi it would lockup once every week or 2, and I'd have to pull the power and reboot it. On the new setup I could restart the VM through RDP on my phone which is really nice to have. It's all about value at the end of the day, for some people $1/day is a bargain for what the machine will provide them/their home. For others like me it's not. 

 

I might look at other options, such as if someone has made a Pi type device but it can run a Windows OS.

 

Edit: Forgot to add, when I was running my Pi I had it hooked up to the USB port on my FritzBox, and since that FritzBox was always on, so was the Pi. One less plug to use, and the USB port is limited to 5v at 500mAh (as far as I can tell). 

 

This would use 2.5W/h, if running 24/7 all year, would be 21.84kWh. My provider charges 26.88c/kWh, so that would cost me $5.87/year to run the Pi


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  #2460420 13-Apr-2020 11:58
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Pi's murder SD cards. People say to get fancy ones that will last longer but they are not an off the shelf thing and seem to cost way too much  - Add a SSD if you're doing anything that involves writes. You can usually find old sata ones for cheap and the cable to USB 3.0 is also very cheap.

 

Use a decent power supply for it, not a phone charger and a cable you would use for data transfer. The real pi one is cheap and easily available from PB tech etc.

 

Those 2 changes have turned mine from a mess that would corrupt the SD card when updating retro pie and have problems with USB devices plugged into the pi, into something very reliable for retropie gaming on.





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  #2460430 13-Apr-2020 12:11
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@richms they murder SD cards since the default configuration writes logs to SD cards in real time. If you install log2ram you’ll find your SD cards will last forever.




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  #2460431 13-Apr-2020 12:14
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+1 for @richms point regarding Pis and SD cards. I had regular issues with Hass.io on a Pi. Shifted to a second hand NUC (thanks @xbmcnut!) and it hasn't skipped a beat since. Pis are cool development and testing tools, but running production stuff of SD cards is problematic.

 

Edit: typo


 
 
 
 


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  #2460432 13-Apr-2020 12:16
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I'm using some of my lockdown time to move virtualised systems from an ESXi box to dedicated computers, specifically to save power.

 

My recommendation is the PC Engines APU2. This is a neat and tidy solution that uses SATA instead of SD, has an amd64 processor (less of an advantage these days, but may be relevant in some cases), and doesn't have cables sticking out all over the place. Price and power usage are comparable to the Pi 4s. Only downside is they don't have video and you need to setup Linux (or FreeBSD in my case) using a serial cable, which isn't really a big deal.


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  #2460439 13-Apr-2020 12:22
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If you're not wedded to a Pi, consider an Odroid C2 and eMMC storage. Not that much more expensive, similar power usage and MUCH MUCH faster. (and gigabit ethernet that works as gigabit ethernet) There's a reason more than one ISP use them as test units for checking FibreMax performance.

 

Cheers - N

 

 





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Please note all comments are the product of my own brain and don't necessarily represent the position or opinions of my employer, previous employers, colleagues, friends or pets.


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  #2460441 13-Apr-2020 12:23
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michaelmurfy: @richms they murder SD cards since the default configuration writes logs to SD cards in real time. If you install log2ram you’ll find your SD cards will last forever.

 

I am running pihole and a couple of other things on a pi 3. 

 

If you get a good quality SD card its fine (I'm using aSamsung Evo+), always make a backup iso of your sd card and save it somewhere else. This way if the sd card ever fails its easy to just re-write the sd from the last backup.


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  #2460443 13-Apr-2020 12:30
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Talkiet:

 

If you're not wedded to a Pi, consider an Odroid C2 and eMMC storage. Not that much more expensive, similar power usage and MUCH MUCH faster. (and gigabit ethernet that works as gigabit ethernet) There's a reason more than one ISP use them as test units for checking FibreMax performance.

 

Cheers - N

 

 

In what way is the C2 faster? The quad A72 cores in the RPi 4 will be significantly faster than the quad A53 cores in the C2. RPi 4 even has proper gigabit ethernet now. The only real advantage the C2 offers is the eMMC, which will be negated if they ever finalise usb boot support for the RPi 4.


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  #2460482 13-Apr-2020 12:52
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I personally run a Odroid N2 for most of my stuff here now.. that thing has tons of power to boot. 

 

Only downside is it's ARM64 - no running COVID19 simulations on it :/

 

 

 

It knocks the socks off my Odroid C2, which serves basically the same purpose aswell at another location.





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Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.

 


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  #2460488 13-Apr-2020 12:56
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You should measure the power usage of your PC. My i7 2600K used 110W with CPU at 100% and five disks running. I don't remember the idle usage, but 50W maybe.

 

50W (0.05) * 24 h * 30 d * 12 = 432 watt hours * $0.3/kwh = $130/year. 


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  #2460539 13-Apr-2020 14:10
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Before jumping to conclusions about the power usage, get a plug in power meter from bunnings or wherever once they reopen and actually measure and calculate your usage on the machine. Although I did find my old core 2 quads were power hogs all the time, and the price of a new i3 + itx board and ram for them was paid for in under a year with the savings. Same for the SSD over a spinning rust drive, which I just moved old sata ones from machines I had upgraded to nvme into them. 13 watts idle now, and about 55 or so running folding at home on them.





Richard rich.ms



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Ultimate Geek


  #2463673 16-Apr-2020 18:16
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Thanks everyone, I've bought a RPI and can't be happier :) Turned off the old server after moving all apps.


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