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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.