Reducing power usage part 1

A good 7 years ago, I bought a Shuttle SX38P2 Pro which has been running pretty much 24/7 ever since. Recently the PSU fan has been struggling, but I can’t complain for the time it’s been in use. Over those 7ish years I’ve suffered a single drive failure.

# smartctl -a /dev/ada0 | grep Power_On_Hours
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 081 081 000 Old_age Always - 13972
# smartctl -a /dev/ada1 | grep Power_On_Hours
9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 015 015 000 Old_age Always - 62738

As the fan was struggling, I contacted Shuttle to ask about replacements but received no reply. That was disappointing, but I guess understandable as the model has been discontinued (I didn’t think the cooling was model-specific though).

Considering my options, I wondered how much it was costing to run this thing all day every day. I plugged the Shuttle in to the power socket via a TP Link smart plug.

Power consumption of Shuttle PC.
Power consumption of Shuttle PC – Approx. 2 kWh per day.

At the time of looking, the Shuttle was consuming 83.3 watts of power, averaging 2.01 kWh per day over 30 days. That feels…. high.

After doing some research, it appeared that Intel have a low-power CPU range (currently Apollo Lake) which consume just 10 watts. If I can reduce my power consumption by ~85% then I’m pretty happy.

I’ve dived in and ordered an ASRock J3355B-ITX. At less than £100, it’s worth a punt! Let’s see what happens with it arrives.

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