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How much power does a computer *actually* take?

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  • How much power does a computer *actually* take?

    I've been trying to figure this out, and I haven't been able to find much at all, nevermind anything useful. I've seen many "well, a HD is 7-14W" and a few actual specs, but by and large I haven't got any actual "hey I just took an ammeter to my computer and here's what I got!" evidence. I don't know what else to do other than to do exactly that.

    Does anyone else know, with some degree of certainty, how much their components take and what type of power supply they have? I know everyone's is going to be different, but it will give a good basis. The other problem is that I see specs, and when I add them up the power supply shouldn't be able to handle the load, but it *does*, so something is obviously incorrect there.

    I think this is a pretty fundamental step to figuring out what type of power supply to build, and I don't think we've done it yet
    IN DEVELOPMENT -- '96 Mustang, lilliput with PII/450 laptop, custom DC-DC power supply, 60GB; Garmin GPS; 802.11g; compact keyboard, small graphical LCDs, OBDII.

  • #2
    My setup draws roughly 3.5A at 12V, so that's about 42 watts.
    Player: Pentium 166MMX, Amptron 598LMR MB w/onboard Sound, Video, LAN, 10.2 Gig Fujitsu Laptop HD, Arise 865 DC-DC Converter, Lexan Case, Custom Software w/Voice Interface, MS Access Based Playlists
    Car: 1986 Mazda RX-7 Turbo (highly modded), 1978 RX-7 Beater (Dead, parting out), 2001 Honda Insight
    "If one more body-kitted, cut-spring-lowered, farty-exhausted Civic revs on me at an intersection, I swear I'm going to get out of my car and cram their ridiculous double-decker aluminium wing firmly up their rump."

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    • #3
      Mine draws 3.5-4Amp with a laptop HDD, a DVD-ROM, a Celeron 800, Delorme Tripmate, X10 Mouse remote and an IR keyboard.

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      • #4
        Thanks guys, that helps!

        Anyone else?

        Also, does anyone know the *breakdown* of their components? I.e. how much on the 3.3V and 5.0V rails?
        IN DEVELOPMENT -- '96 Mustang, lilliput with PII/450 laptop, custom DC-DC power supply, 60GB; Garmin GPS; 802.11g; compact keyboard, small graphical LCDs, OBDII.

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        • #5
          hey telek mine pulls say 4amps max on the 12vrail ....

          Hope it helps you !

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          • #6
            Just whacked a multimeter on my main rails:

            +12V : 0.17A
            +5V : 3.2A
            3.3V : 1.4A

            Setup is as follows:

            BioStar M6TWC motherboard
            VIA C3 800Mhz processor
            2.5" 10gb laptop HDD
            192Mb RAM (128Mb + 64Mb)
            Built-in audo/video
            No CDROM
            No PCI cards

            Since the HDD runs purely on 5V, that explains the low 12v current required. Also, the C3 processor uses very little current compared to other processors at 800Mhz.

            Now I just need an ATX power supply to run this beast

            Spud.

            [ 12-03-2001: Message edited by: spud ]
            VIA C3 800Mhz, 192Mb RAM, 10Gb 2.5" HDD, built-in video & audio, 7" Redant widescreen LCD, Win98Lite, Girder, GPS & street maps of Sydney & Melbourne.
            Spud's Carputer 3PM

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            • #7
              My setup @ 12V inut peaks at about 5-6A. After bootup it stays at 3-4 amps. Amazing for all the stuff im powering..
              Shuttle FV24, Celeron 667, 128MB RAM,CPU fan, PSU fan, DVD ROM, 30gigHD 7200 rpm, serial pci card, and a MO 20X4 LCD.
              I would love to take measurements off each rail but that's a LOT of trouble. =)
              04 Acura TL w/ core2duo 2ghz laptop w/ 1gb RAM on a docking station.

              Fast car, fast PC. ;)

              http://www.arcdesigns.net/carpc/

              My TL CarPC ver2

              FSR Flash Skin w/ moving weather maps

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              • #8
                It was a lot of trouble to measure individual rails for me too =)

                Had to basically rewire the power connector to do it ...
                VIA C3 800Mhz, 192Mb RAM, 10Gb 2.5" HDD, built-in video & audio, 7" Redant widescreen LCD, Win98Lite, Girder, GPS & street maps of Sydney & Melbourne.
                Spud's Carputer 3PM

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                • #9
                  thanks a lot Spud, that's the type of info that I wanted. Too bad it's not for more standardized hardware

                  moahdib, that's your DC-DC supply so you mean on the input?
                  IN DEVELOPMENT -- '96 Mustang, lilliput with PII/450 laptop, custom DC-DC power supply, 60GB; Garmin GPS; 802.11g; compact keyboard, small graphical LCDs, OBDII.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Telek:
                    <STRONG>moahdib, that's your DC-DC supply so you mean on the input?</STRONG>
                    Yaa, that is the supply I made for him. Do you want one? :-)
                    MPEGBOX - Plexiglass Computer
                    www.mpegbox.com

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jeff Mucha:
                      <STRONG>

                      Yaa, that is the supply I made for him. Do you want one? :-)</STRONG>
                      I do :-) How much for the ATX version? Kit form is okay, or prebuilt.
                      VIA C3 800Mhz, 192Mb RAM, 10Gb 2.5" HDD, built-in video & audio, 7" Redant widescreen LCD, Win98Lite, Girder, GPS & street maps of Sydney & Melbourne.
                      Spud's Carputer 3PM

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by spud:
                        <STRONG>

                        I do :-) How much for the ATX version? Kit form is okay, or prebuilt.</STRONG>
                        I don't know what the way to do this is and I probably won't for a while.

                        Here are the options, I can build the whole thing up and sell it. I can build everything up minus the connectors and sell that or, I can sell the parts list, board, and schematic. I think ideally I would like to build the units minus the Atx/harddrive cables and have you put that on. But then there is more change of it getting fried, if you power it up not knowing which wires go where. Hmm, I don't have a 24 hour tech support line either. Arg. But, you could find one the length you need and have that freedom. It is really hard for me to sell a kit because I would have to put all the parts in little bags and that would be a pain in the ***! The design with the parts list I made, kinda requires the custom board and heatsink too. and not everone is good with working with aluminum and drilling holes to good tolerance. But hey, if the price is right, I'll do anything!
                        MPEGBOX - Plexiglass Computer
                        www.mpegbox.com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jeff Mucha:
                          <STRONG>

                          and schematic. I think ideally I would like to build the units minus the Atx/harddrive cables and have you put that on. But then there is more change of it getting fried, if you power it up not knowing which wires go where. Hmm, I don't have a 24 hour tech </STRONG>
                          We should probably take this offline, but others might like to know about it.

                          Since I don't run a standard power cable anyway, wiring my own is no problem.

                          So I'd be happy for you to build the board & heatsink and just supply something that I can wire up with input & output power.

                          Let me know how much - happy to take it offline from here if you wish.

                          Spud.
                          VIA C3 800Mhz, 192Mb RAM, 10Gb 2.5" HDD, built-in video & audio, 7" Redant widescreen LCD, Win98Lite, Girder, GPS & street maps of Sydney & Melbourne.
                          Spud's Carputer 3PM

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                          • #14
                            My whole system uses no power because I killed it a few hours ago..

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SkinnyBoy:
                              <STRONG>My whole system uses no power because I killed it a few hours ago.. </STRONG>
                              If you don't mind my asking, how did you kill it?


                              Rob

                              [ 12-05-2001: Message edited by: Rob Withey ]
                              Old Systems retired due to new car
                              New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

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