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Power Saving Upgrade for 24/7 machine - What parts should I replace?

I was considering getting a NAS or building a home server, but I decided just to use my current Desktop and turn it into a 24/7 media server (while keeping its main desktop uses). I currently use it for media and occasionally running handbrake.

My computer currently uses around 90-95 watts idle, and I'm hoping to cut that down by quite a bit, because running 24/7 costs around $1 per watt per year.

Currently my upgrade thoughts are to do some combination of the following:
1) Turning off some of the fans - since i rarely run my machine at a high load, i probably don't need that many fans running all the time- 4 case fans, 1 CPU fan, 1 GPU fan, PSU fan. Maybe I don't need 2 of the case fans?
2) Upgrading the power supply to an 80 Plus Platinum, possibly this one: Rosewill TACHYON-550 550W
3) Upgrading my Motherboard; I've read recently about ASUS and their Dual Intelligent processing + FPU + EPU boards, such as the ASUS M5A97. It also could make sense to get a motherboard with built in graphics (my guess is that would save power), but I haven't seen an ASUS FPU/EPU motherboard that has built in graphics. Are there any other motherboards that are known for being very energy efficient?

This is my current System (that was built in 2010):

Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion
PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W
HDD (OS): SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128B/WW 2.5" 128GB
HDD (Storage): Seagate Barracuda 3 TB HDD and 2x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3
CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
Memory:G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB)
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100295HDMI Radeon HD 4670
Plus two optical drives.

Any thoughts on what would be the best use of my money for upgrading?
3 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    If you're just using it for a home server, you could get rid of the graphics card. You might even be able to clock the processor down if you really want to.

    The power supply might cut a little bit of power also.
  2. So I still plan to use it as a HTPC (I have a monitor attached) so I will still use it for media applications, so I do need a graphics card, i just don't need anything high power. I hadn't thought about clocking the processor down, but that is a good idea.
  3. Newer graphics cards draw a lot less power at idle. The Radeon 7000 series was the first to really get this right (~10 watts as opposed to ~30, I think), so I'd suggest getting a new graphics card.

    Other than that, intel cpus draw less power.
    For storage drives, consider 5400 rpm drives over 7200.
    Your optical drives probably also consume a little bit of power, if you don't use them often, consider a usb optical drive instead.
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