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Thinkin' Machines

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  • Thinkin' Machines

    Is there a good knowledge base for efficient computing machines? The info I'm finding is pretty scattered, figure I'm probably missing something. Some observations:

    Phones and tablets are usually maxed out for energy efficiency, but don't actually do anything well except addict people to artificial info streams. I think an external keyboard and mouse add functionality without much battery drain, a larger monitor will kill that some. The major operating systems (Android, iOS, WinOS[?]) are crap IMO. Open source OS solutions are in development, but not ready for prime time quite yet, at least not on the open source hardware I've found.

    How do laptops compare for overall energy consumption? I have some high end older ones that are falling apart in various ways, and the batteries don't last all that long. I also have a newer Pinebook Pro 'netbook'. It runs on an ARM chip, supposedly much more efficient than conventional processors. It uses a 10Ah battery, about 3 times the size of a regular phone, and runs all day on it in normal use, My Thinkpad has a 8.5Ah battery and the Pinebook goes maybe 3-4 times longer on a charge. I rarely miss the computing power of the Thinkpad when using the Pinebook, but the Pinebook keyboard is difficult to type on and the touchpad has precision problems. I also cracked the screen on the Pinebook without much provocation, replacement will be ~$50.

    At $220 brand new it is a bargain if you are comfortable with Linux. I'm willing to spring for something more robust and perhaps more powerful as an extra machine in case I want to do some GIS or graphics work, as long as it can be counted on to last. Looking for other ARM machines, I've only found one laptop supposedly ready for sale, the MNT Reform. It is about 7 times the price of the Pinebook, but has a real keyboard, trackball, and a case that promises to hold up to sideways glances. The battery is LFP instead of Lithium Polymer, which they claim offers less heat problems, battery balancing and replacement benefits, and greater charge cycles. It runs at 28V as opposed to the normal 5V, no idea what that implies beyond inability to charge via regular USB ports like the Pinebook.

    I have my old PC sitting around, might try to plug it into the inverter to see how it does. I think it has a 400W power supply, I'm guessing even with smart management firmware, it isn't going to draw close to as efficiently as the laptops unless I am trying to max them out with extremely heavy processing.

    Looking at Intel's efficient processor, Atom, seems like it has performed much worse than ARMs all around and is nearly extinct in implementations. Any other laptop experiences out there that fall into the power efficient realm worth examining?

    MOD NOTE: Including multiple links in your post will send it to moderation. Please refrain from adding those links in the future. They have been removed
    Last edited by SunEagle; 06-11-2022, 10:03 PM.

  • #2
    You can count on any battery operated appliance being far more
    energy efficient than plug in versions. For battery operation, the
    battery life is usually far more of a concern than tiny energy used.
    Bruce Roe

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Coydon View Post
      MOD NOTE: Including multiple links in your post will send it to moderation. Please refrain from adding those links in the future. They have been removed
      Is it okay to ask why? In forums I'm used to this is done to ensure the links are helping convey information in the post and not some form of spam marketing.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by bcroe View Post
        You can count on any battery operated appliance being far more
        energy efficient than plug in versions. For battery operation, the
        battery life is usually far more of a concern than tiny energy used.
        I'm finding with small vehicular/camping 12V systems that there is close to a 50% difference between smartphone/ARM computing and the normal Intel laptops I'm using. This greatly extends the amount of usage one gets out of a battery charge and, consequently, the time before the battery's life cycle is exhausted.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Coydon View Post
          Is it okay to ask why? In forums I'm used to this is done to ensure the links are helping convey information in the post and not some form of spam marketing.
          Multiple links seem to activate our anti Spam software so including them or making modifications to a post sometimes sends it to Moderation before it can be approved.

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