[nSLUG] Atom server

Daniel MacKay daniel at bonmot.ca
Sun Apr 18 09:35:49 ADT 2010

One of the reasons people have been excited about the Atom is their low power usage. So I measured mine yesterday.

I had mounted the board in a case from a dead Sony Vaio - sort of like this: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AW96TTCML.jpg  .. it has a physically small -- about the size of my fist -- and fairly quiet power supply, and room for two hard disks (and a CD/DVD dize drive, and a floppy drive.)

I powered the unit with my Motomaster Eliminator 1200 inverter -- I don't think Canadian Tire sells them any more, it looks like this:


... and my biiiig marine battery - the inverter + battery + battery charger forms a kind of home-brew online uninterruptible power supply; the battery is about 55 amp-hours.

My main complaint with it is that the Eliminator series is set to shut off when the input voltage goes below (as I recall) 11.0 volts, so you can't really get all the amps out of the battery.  However, you can see that it does have a little display on it; it can either display
* input voltage
* output watts
* output voltage

It displays W in 10W increments.  

While doing the POST, it read 30W; while sitting at the GRUB screen, 20W; while booting, 50W; and while idling with the OS up with no CPU load, back to 20W.

Next week I may borrow a friend's Kill-A-Watt to get a more precise measurement, and run something on it to put it under load during the test - maybe compile gcc or something.

Daniel MacKay
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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