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Old 11-09-2005, 10:21 AM   #1
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu 9.04/9.10 (64-bit)
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Power Saving (APM) on a Desktop?

Hi all.

I like to leave my computer on all of the time; however, I live in a small dorm and I would like to cut down on the noise. I've got an Athlon XP 2700+ CPU with an oversized fan, a 10,000 RPM system disk, a 7,200 RPM data disk, and another large case fan on top of all of that, so you can probably imagine why I want to cut down on the noise.

The monitors actually do go into powersaving mode after a while, which I like. What I'd also like is to at least have the hard drives spin down after "x" amount of non-use. Since my CPU fan says its variable speed (variable depending on CPU clock, I imagine), it'd also be nice to have my CPU clock scale down after a certain amount of time (thereby slowing the fan). I know you can do all of this on a laptop, but I'm not so sure on a desktop.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to kick it out of power-saving mode just by a keystroke or mouse movement.

I'm running Fedora Core 4.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Old 11-10-2005, 09:13 PM   #2
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Registered: Jan 2002
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Keep the hard drives going 100%. Never put them in stand-by or sleep mode because starting up and powering the drives down decreases their life span. You can mount them in a 5.25 inch bay by using Zalman's hard drive cooler/noise reducer.

If the kernel is compiled with ACPI, you can put the processor in power saving after time has past. You just have to echo a command to a certain file in the /proc directory. Daemons like syslog, cron and hotplug will have to be stopped.

I rather get fans that have a dB level of 30 or lower instead of putting the system in stand-by mode. Some people said use cork to decrease the rattling which is also a good way to reduce noise by the fan. I use Panasonic Panaflow fans in my case. They are quieter than the CPU fan and many other fans that I had in the past. Recently, I put Thermaltake Schooner on the VGA card. It decreased the temperature by 10 degrees C compared to the orignal heatsink with out using a fan. On my list is buying low noise power supply and CPU active heatsinks. Some people uses water cooling to minimize noise but they are messy, expensive, can overheat components that are dependent on the CPU fan, and can be noisy if the pump is placed on the case.
Old 11-16-2005, 01:57 PM   #3
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu 9.04/9.10 (64-bit)
Posts: 149

Original Poster
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Thanks for your response!

I had heard the bit about not powering hard drives off and on before. However, I ultimately discounted those claims because I know that, mechanically, non-moving/non-rotating parts must experience less wear than those that are moving/rotating (esp. at 10,000 RPM). If anything, the stress due to thermal expansion/contraction might factor in, but I'd still expect that it would net out to less wear in the end. The only "wear" that I know is unavoidable in power-up is that caused by the increased pull-up current necessary to accelerate the motor to its full speed. Even still, I would expect that the solid-state electronics have gotten to the point where they can handle this stress very well.

(Of course, this is just an engineering student speaking out of the knowledge he has on deck and not necessarily armed with specific data. I think I might research that wear issue if I can find the time.)

Based on what you said, it looks like my best bet is just buying some accoustic insulators for the hard drives. As it is, everything else in the system (with the exception of the GPU fan) is noise-reduced. It was really the hard drives that I wanted to quiet down, because I know they're responsible for most of the noise. I'll see what I can find.


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