[K12OSN] Anyone quantified savings using LTSP?

Rob Owens rob.owens at biochemfluidics.com
Fri Feb 8 12:23:23 UTC 2008

Terrell Prude' Jr. wrote:
> Rob Owens wrote:
>> Terrell Prudé Jr. wrote:
>>> James P. Kinney III wrote:
>>>>> Of course, it's not that hard to come up with donated PCs, so that's a
>>>>> bigger savings.
>>>> Old PC's are the way to get the thin client process _started_. The are
>>>> large, hot, heavy and often come with the old CRT monitor. All power
>>>> hogs.
>>> I have to disagree somewhat here.  Old PC's actually don't use much 
>>> juice at all if you just pull the hard disks (the power cable to the 
>>> HD is sufficient) and use LCD screens with them.  CRT's are going to 
>>> suck power whether you hook them up to a new Northtec-style thin 
>>> client or an old PC.
>>> We once got a bunch of donated 15" LCD screens at one school, and 
>>> they got put into a lab full of Dell OptiPlex GX1's.   Once I flashed 
>>> the BIOSes to the latest revision (took 5 minutes per box), things 
>>> went smoothly as wet ice...and saved a nice wad of cash, too.
>> I recently did some power measurements of various types of computer 
>> equipment.  I'm attaching an ods spreadsheet, but I'm not sure if the 
>> list will block it or not.  I found that old P2 or P3 machines used 
>> about 30 Watts or so (idle) when used as a thin client.
>> -Rob
> Looks like it came through OK.
> Good, thorough analysis, Rob.  Your measurements are similar to mine for 
> old PC's.  I got 29W usage with a Dell OptiPlex GX1, with (IIRC) a 
> Pentium II-266MHz, HD disconnected.  That is compared to my Athlon 2GHz 

My P2 had about 4 PCI cards installed, so that might make the difference.

>  which will suck up as much as 150W if I run it full-tilt (I had the HD
> doing a lot of work, too).  I hadn't tried a thin client, since I don't 
> own one, but the power usage figures that you're showing for those are 
> impressive.
> I guess it comes down to a cost-benefit analysis of power saved over the 
> expected remaining life of the old PC's whether you go w/ new thin 
> clients or old PC's.
Don't forget that it can also come down to appearance!  I've found that 
people are typically more impressed with a tiny thin client than an old 
P2 acting as a thin client.  I guess for some people judging something 
visually comes more naturally than judging by performance...

For one of my installations it came down to space constraints.  I needed 
thins client that would mount on the back of an LCD monitor because 
there was nowhere else to put them.


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