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Old 02-19-2021, 11:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Low power office computer?

I am looking for some suggestions on possible upgrades. My wife has an old quite inefficient computer setup that she has been using. It is an Athlon X3 455 which has a 95W TDP. The thing sucks down over 100W at idle and 200W loaded. It performs fine for her, but I am casually looking to upgrade it. There are now 10W TDP chips that are quite a bit faster haha. Increased speed isn't a huge priority, but power consumption is. I've been looking at some of the mini PCs that run the Celeron J4105 or J4125. These are both 10W processors. Even an Athlon 200GE would be a sizable upgrade with its 35W TDP.

So, I am looking for suggestions. I am quite comfortable building the computer. I'd actually prefer some older used hardware if possible like the Lenovo M93P which sports a I5-4570T 35W TDP, but that's not an absolute. I am also open to other solutions, but it has to run Windows 10 as that is what she is used to.

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Old 02-19-2021, 12:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've got an older Intel (i3 I think) mini tower I'm not using and would send it your way if you'd like. I need to power it up to get the specs because I've forgotten. I think it idled at 20w (I'll measure it).

My general recommendation is to run a laptop and just hook up external displays and keyboard/mouse because they are designed to be power efficient. I might have a spare laptop too that is about 5 years old.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I followed redpoint5's strategy until the laptop died. I don't suggest you follow my current strategy, but for a point of comparison....

A $70 Raspberry Pi 4 draws 3.4W at idle and 7.6W under load. It displays Youtube videos with no problems, some programs I'd like to run (Blender) require Python libraries not available on the default OS. Biggest knock is a system clock is an add-on board.

Quote:
How to run Windows on the Raspberry Pi - Howchoo
https://howchoo.com/pi/run-windows-raspberry-pi
At the end of the day, you'll be hard-pressed to run a full Windows operating system on the Raspberry Pi. If you're mainly after the look and feel of Windows, you can look for a Windows themed Linux skin. For example, this project on Gnome Look mimics the look and feel of Windows 10. 3.
I've seen mini-PCs with Windows 10 in the $150 price range, but I don't care enough to find an example. The key to low power is the ARM processor. My preferred solution is the Apple Mac Mini (with the ARM M-1). Yesterday I took $700 out of the credit union and went to the Apple store in the East University next to the Duck store. They're on back order for 4-6 weeks.

Amazon wants the business, but I need a brick and mortar solution, because I found a post from Malaysia that said they found Minis manufactured in Malaysia and in China. I'm Okay with the former but not the latter.
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Redpoint, shoot me a PM with the specs. I am interested.

The only issue with the ARM processors is its not x86 which doesn't allow it to run Windows natively and there is a decent performance hit to emulate it.

I do like the idea of the CHUWI Larkbox Pro and similar boxes. Seems like a great solution, but virtually no upgradability. Its an option.

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Old 02-19-2021, 02:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I sympathize with people who live in Microsoft's world. I spent years helping them, editing their registries over the phone to remove viruses that Norton Utilities couldn't.

I know you can live without a command line interface, but it doesn't make you your best person. (awkward phrasing. deal)

I think Linux is closer to Windows than is the Mac OS. Every time I want to copy or paste, I still hold down what should be the Command key and all it does is drop a menu in the menu bar. So I click off that and use Ctrl.

I've never given a dollar to Microsoft in all these years, just fine; but now Bill Gates wants to inject something directly into my body.
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Old 02-19-2021, 03:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Haha, I hear you about mr Gates... Alas, its hard to do business avoiding his systems.

The other option that I am really liking is the Asrock ITX boards with integrated Celeron chips. Their price is very reasonable and it would pop right into her case.

https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/J4105-ITX/

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Old 02-19-2021, 03:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I built a buddy a cheap PC using a Lenovo M93p...it orginally came with a tiny power supply - 100, 150, at most 200w. Was nice and quick with an SSD and 16gb of ram thrown in it, neither of which would cause more power draw. (The big ass video card was a whole other matter).

Have an 11" netbook/laptop with one of those 10w celerons in it...it's faster than my old Athlon x4 for everyday tasks.

I remember plugging my watt meter in to test my current rig...the processor and video card are rated at drawing a fair bit, but it averaged ~150w under typical, moderate use, and not much over 200 being punished. And that's with monitor and everything else plugged in to the same power bar. (Idling, monitor off, I think it was all of 50 watts).

I think the power brick for my wife's 6th or 7th gen i5 is only rated for 45 watts, and it's pretty darned quick for every day tasks.

Anyway, there are plenty of cheap options that will get a much better rig than an old Althlon x3, and almost all of them will be more efficient.
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Old 02-19-2021, 03:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I've probably bought MS Flight sim before, and perhaps some other games. I prefer their mice and had a sidewinder joystick.

I consider Windows to be roughly the halfway point between ease of use and open architecture, with Linux being very flexible and Mac being extremely inflexible.

Turns out my tower idles at about 35 watts. It has an i5-3570K quad core processor.

It has 8GB RAM, and I'd probably put my smaller 128GB SSD in it.

I've also got a Lenovo G410 I could probably part with. It was the last computer my grandfather bought before he died 3 years ago. It has an i5-420M CPU and 6GB RAM. It has a 120GB SSD. I keep thinking I need to fire up MIRC and see if anyone is wondering where he went... but it's been 3 years now.
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Old 02-19-2021, 05:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Powering down things and headed to freebeard's neck of the woods for a late night of work. I'll be back there again Monday morning.
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Should I put a candle in the window?

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