How to Build a Green Instant-On PC

  • By

    Frank Ohlhorst

    | Posted 2008-08-22
CHANNEL INSIDER LABS: How to Build a Green Instant-On PC

CPU, CPU Cooler and RAM

With performance as one of our main goals, we selected an AMD 9950 Phenom X4 Black Edition as our CPU. The 9950 sports four cores running at 2.6GHz and 4MB of cache, and plugs into an AM2+ socket. In previous tests, the 9950 has proven to be a great performer that is very economical with a street price of around $230. The 9950 features an unlocked multiplier, which makes it a candidate for overclocking, while Advanced Micro Devices' Cool'n'Quiet Technology automatically controls the speed and voltage of each core to reduce energy use and heat. To keep the CPU cool (and to reduce system noise), an Asus Triton 85 CPU cooler fit the bill. With a street price of about $55, the Triton 85 proves to much less expensive than fancy liquid cooling systems, yet still dissipates enough heat to work well in overclocking situations. The unit features a 120-millimeter fan, which is virtually silent. The packaging includes thermal grease, along with all needed mounting hardware for mainstream AMD and Intel CPUs. We all know that heat is the No. 1 enemy of electronics, so anything that can be done to keep components cool is a big plus. We applied that same logic when it came to selecting RAM and played it safe by selecting Corsair Dominator DDR2 modules. The Dominator series incorporates extruded aluminum heat sinks, which are excellent at dissipating heat and allow the chips to function at 1066MHz with no problems. We used two 2GB modules, with a street price of around $300. Of course, system builders can shave a few bucks off the cost of the system by selecting a lower-speed CPU, different RAM and a more pedestrian CPU cooler.


Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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