Environmental protection is a major topic of discussion today. I'm here to give you some pointers on making you're machines
more energy efficient and cut down on pollution (including noise pollution).
1. Use an LCD monitor.
There are two types of monitors that most people have, CRT and LCD. CRT monitors are traditional monitors.
They're big and probably weigh more than your computer. Get rid of them! LCD monitors use a lot less energy to run and
takes up a lot less space. Plus, the prices have gone down hundreds of dollars in the past few years. They also weigh about
5 lbs. and most give off stunning picture quality.
2. Check your Power source.
Your power source unit, or PSU, is what powers your computer. If you were to open the side panel of
your computer, you would see a big ol' box in the corner of the machine where all the wires are coming from. Check the wattage
output of the machine, most will say it on the label. A good number to have for non-gaming computers is about 350watt-500watt.
I actually prefer to stay around 450watt, that way if I were to update my machine, I'll have some extra juice to keep it going.
As for gaming machines, you should have about 600watt-750watt, and most of that depends on what your videocard is. If you're
running two videocards in SLi mode (Two Nvidia videocards running at the same time to one monitor) than you should have no
more than 800watt. Forget about the 1kw PSUs that are out now. Unless you are using all high-end parts and have $5000 to spare,
go for it, but there really is no point in a PSU that large.
You should also be aware of the "80 plus" program (www.80plus.com) which is a certification for PSUs that use only as much
power that they need. Those that aren't "80 plus" certified, which is a majority of PSUs, use their total amount of power
which will drive up your electric bill. "80 plus" certified PSUs, as it was explained to me via extremetech.com, basically
means that if a computer needs 10% of a 500watt PSU, than the PSU will put out 100watts. Only when the computer requires all
the power to run, will the PSU put out all 500watts.
3. Fans and airflow
One of the biggest problems I encounter is a hardware cutting out for some reason or the computer restarting
suddenly. 80% of the time, this is caused by overheating hardware. Airflow is key, and to improve it will cost you less than
$50 and it'll save you loads or problems down the road. First off, make sure you're fans are working. Every computer has exhaust
fans. They are in the case to make sure that your hardware (i.e. processor, harddrive, videocards, etc.) is properly cooled.
Most cases use air cooling, though some people go for water cooling, which is a pain in the neck. You should have fans sending
cool air into the case from the front and it should be sent out by other fans in the rear. Fans come in two standard
sizes, 80mm and 120mm. The 80mm fans are common, but more cases are putting in more slots for 120mm fans. I suggest that you
use 120mm fans instead because they have a wider span and move slower to push more air. So in a way, they actually reduce
noise pollution as well.
Another way to improve airflow is to get rid of the IDE cables (commonly known as ribbon cables),
and replace them with rounded IDE cables. They aren't flat, which stops airflow. Instead they are rounded and allow the air
to move around the wires.
One more little thing that you should do is take some zip ties and keep the wires together. Place labels on them, such
as "Harddrive" or "Mobo Power" (Mobo short for motherboard). This will help improve your airflow by not having all these wires
in the way, it'll help organize the inside of your case and it can prevent any wires from getting lodged in a case fan or
your processor fan.
4. Green Components
Often times, the newest and more powerful components are the greenest. Processors, which are the
most important component in your machine, often are the least power consuming as time goes on. Intel's new Core 2 Duo and
Core 2 Quad processors, duel core and quad core respectively, are one of the most power-effiencent processors. Not only do
they use much less power than they did during the Pentium 4 era, including the dreaded Prescott processor which ran at high
temperatures and high power levels, they also perform better than any other processor on the market right now. Intel announced
that they will be shipping processors with 45nm based chipsets, expect these to run at with less power. To put it in perspective,
the Pentium 4 and AMD's processors are based off 90nm chipsets, the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad run at 65nm chipsets and the
upcoming Intel processors, due out in 2008, will run on 45nm chipsets.