Low power pc

Will fess up now, this has nothing to do with ST but as users here will mostly be technically savvy I am hopping to get a few helpful comments

In some parts of the world energy is cheap so this thread may be irrelevant but here in the UK energy is very very expensive

So I am looking for advice on a low power, cheap to run PC

My old HTpc was brought to life to serve videos, pictures, music on my home network and for me to backup phone photos however with the addition of a power sense plug it shows it is drawing up to 130watts, wayy too much for the useage I need

I also have no desire to mess with a Pi anything, I’m looking for plug in and use

Has anyone got any thoughts?

You may want to look into a commercial NAS device, as they are often designed to minimize power usage.


Thanks ogie, interesting article which actually led me on another path… HD replacement, my old drives need investigation on power useage but no doubt they are old heavy users, it might be worth me looking into HD replacement for SSD drives as a starting point

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I’m not sure if you are only measuring the PC or the monitor that goes with it, but a newer monitor can reduce power consumption by about ~30 W (22" size) from my experience.

The NAS comment below sounds like a good one, albeit a bit more effort than a PC, as it is essentially a server- but is well suited for the tasks you describe. Also, I know the QNAP NAS (I’ve not measured power consumption) has IFTTT capability, so it could be used to drive and or respond to ST actions- although I’ve not found a good controls fit for my needs yet.

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Iftt is now paid and tbh I have no use for it, the screen attached to my machine is a basic screen that is small, it is just a head end and non essential and is mostly off

I guess it makes no sense to purchase a new device until I have fully looked into minimising power consumption on the existing machine which has 2 old spindle drives

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And to think, I barely missed the ‘punch card’ era of computing and thought I was HIGH SPEED when the first PC I bought with my own money had 4 WHOLE MEGABYTES of RAM.

Old spindle drives… Just chuck em out back with the MFM drives and the CDROMs…

I missed the zx days and came in on an Amstrad 1640 (640kb memory), 20Mb HD using GEM and Xtree as the o/s

Very few hear will understand the magic of sound coming out of a PC for the first time, it was literally incredible even at 8bit
I and other oldies have been lucky enough to see it all, all the tech changes, today’s tech is freekin awesome… mostly (raises eyebrow at ST front end)


Any of AWOW’s celeron based mini pc’s should run pretty light, but check with the manufacturer for exact specs. They have a lot of different models.

I find it interesting that the sellers of all these mini Pcs do not include any power specifications, under load, idling nothing, surely in the modern age it is a significant selling point

On a side not I have mine down to 88watts when running and serving, I don’t even remember what graphics board it has but if it has one it’s coming out and il just go back to onboard

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As with the Synology mentioned above, yesterday I confirmed my QNAP NAS is using ~20 Watts, which is inline with published info. My entire UPS load is around 92 W with old PC, server, new monitor, fairly new Wifi, ST, and power supply for blinds and Zooz relay input- so there should be room to get much less from a server alone. While the mini pcs may not have power ratings (I’d agree strange too). In the US, Energy Star lists many computing products that have lower power consumption.

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20watts !! That is excellent, is that under any sort of load ??

I have my old quad core PC now down to 70ish watts under no load and I can see no way to lower it further, turns out it has a single spindle hdd WD caviar green which I have read uses minimal power, all other cards are gone and it is now using on board everything

Compared to 20 watts I’m now not happy

I think one reason the mini pcs don’t list power consumption is that configurations vary so widely.

The celeron CPU itself is very light, typically around 12W. The fan will be another 4 or 5 when it’s running, but how often it runs depends on what else is happening. Streaming video (in or out) takes a lot of power and will also run the fan more often.

Here’s a good recent article with basic guidelines:

I’m serving with Plex rather than HDMI out, the PC I guess will have to transcode on the fly for reproduction on a TV running Plex unless the recieving Plex transcodes the input

Now how that compares to HDMI out and the power required for transcoding on a graphics card I’m not sure

With today’s modern media streaming devices and smart TV’s running the Plex Client, there is usually no requirement for transcoding on the Plex server for local LAN playback. In fact, I intentionally configure my Plex clients to not request transcoding. The only time I use Transcoding is when I am using a smart phone when away from home to watch something on my home Plex server (which is very rare for me, it YMMV of course.)

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It didn’t seem to make much difference (perhaps 2 watts) when streaming Audio, along with whatever server tasks it was doing, so under my normal load 20-25 W.


Do you mind me asking which qnap nas you have ?? And do ssd drives come pre installed ??

Qnap is TS-215B. It is a few years old, so there may be more powerful/efficient ones available. QNAP requires that you buy the drives separately. Not SSD- I’m not sure if SSD would work with this unit or not, but they would likely be faster/more efficient. Note SSD used to have limitations on number of write cycles, which may limit their use in a RAID configuration (which I have)-I’m not sure if this is still an issue as they are much more prevalent than they used to be.

Also, I forgot to mention, I can configure the unit to turn itself off at times when not needed and back on when I wake. One more way to reduce energy usage if you don’t stream from it 24/7.

Thanks @homeagain I did do a bit of research on qnap nas but kind of lost the will to live in the end as the there is loads of tech talk on them which for me got confusing especially with reviewers saying some are not powerful enough to run all the software qnap offer ?? Photo backups, music backups, serving plex videos

So it’s great to hear a real world opinion

I use my NAS for backing up my PC (Aconis on my PC, not QNAP app), streaming audio via plex, and access to pictures. For these applications, QNAP seems adequately powered and serves my needs well. The only issue is that PLEX seems to disconnect from Sonos. From the comments I’ve seen, this appears to be a communications/plex issue, and not the NAS- but I have streamed audio in multiple places and it handles it well. What I do not do is stream video, so you’ll need others input on that. You could also consider a new laptop, that probably uses low power, but honestly, the NAS is better suited to these tasks than a PC running standard windows. Also, if you plan to serve anything for ST, a server is suited to do this.

Just had a read through which servers are suited to plex streaming of video, whilst I’m still looking through the list and trying to research prices on the net, it does seem a wrong decision could be costly, I had no idea it could be such a minefield

This is the list of NAS devices plex have put together
I’m starting to think my old PC is not a bad choice