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Cash for Clunkers for your Computer?

Posted by J Powers at 10:12 AM on August 28, 2009

A couple weeks ago I changed out my computer to a new Quad Core machine. I won’t go into details because I talked about it in a previous post called Changing out to a new computer. Nonetheless, I have been impressed with the new functionality and possible energy savings that I am getting. It does get me to wondering – should your computer be part of this “Cash for Clunkers” program?

The US did a C4C on automobiles that ended last week. Now the government is talking about allowing you rebates to change out appliances. Your refridgerator, washer, dryer and even heating – A/C units could be affected to rebates. Run on a slightly different system, you buy the appliance, then send in paperwork for the rebate. Disposal – I would guess – is your responsability.

I started thinking about the computer; It’s been sometimes referred to as an appliance. The old P166 takes a lot of power to run. Therefore, should a personal computer be a C4C?

The new machine I got was an AMD Phenom II – a Quad core machine. The Motherboard touts 140 Watt usage. Add hard drives and other items, you would want a power supply of about 450 Watts, even though usage may never take you to that amount of power. If I was to run 4 machines with that same power, they would hit about200-300 Watts each – depending on what I have installed in them. Then we have the heat factor: Let’s just say I might as well paint the wall blue and fill the room with sand because that room will be as warm as a Island day.

I have replaced 3 computers with 1. The power consumption is going to be a lot lower than before. I turn off my machines, but I know that a lot of people leave their machines running and hope that power save mode kicks in. Still, I like the idea of consolodating the machines down and saving power. By the way – I still have 2 other machines I use.

I have an old Apple G4. This machine has the PowerPC chip inside. When Apple moved to Intel, they touted that power and heat issues were part of the reasons why. Therefore, if you use a PowerPC G5 or Dual G5 to run your business, you might be really paying for a new machine just to keep that current computer running.

While we probably wont see a program for computers, you might want to consider upgrading that old machine in the basement. You might find that within a couple years that computer will pay for itself.And yes, the CRT should be replaced, too. You can find a 15″ or 17″ flat panel for as low as $30-$50 if you don’t want to buy new. I just bought a 15″ LCD monitor a few weeks ago at a garage sale for $5.

4 Comments

  1. From Robert at 4:29 pm on August 28, 2009

    Our kids and grandkids will being paying for our cars and computers. sigh

  2. From Jeffrey Powers at 3:14 pm on August 29, 2009

    lol. I think if we work on it we can reverse any “Carbon footprint”

  3. From Mark at 8:12 am on August 30, 2009

    I have to say Robert put it correctly, the insane amount of spending in Washington right now is a disgrace. I’m not sure carbon footprint scam is relevant to the issue. If you care lobby for more nuclear power and we could shut down all the coal fired plants and actually change that easily.
    I do think it should be easier to recycle old computers, I give mine to the under funded schools or kids in the area who don’t have one.
    The cash for clunkers was just another part of the government largess now infesting the country.

  4. From Cash for Clunkers PC Program at 12:03 pm on September 10, 2009

    Hey man, you make some really great points here. A computer is another appliance like any other in the house. When you think about it, your refrigerator uses roughly 750 watts to operate while newer PCs can have anywhere from 500w to 1000w power supplies or more installed in them.

    The company I work for put together a “Cash for Clunkers Computer Program” based on the idea behind the C4C car program. To replace old units that are made from slightly toxic energy wasting hardware, with new models that are ROHS compliant and have far less energy consumption. Old computers do use a lot more power than newer energy efficient systems. I would estimate roughly 3 times as much.

    It sounds like your choice in components was pretty well thought out. Right now the AMD Phenoms and Core 3 Duos seem to be some of the most energy efficient chips out there. Very interesting article!