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Major Differences Among Hard Disks: WD Comes Out Best

Do-It-Yourself Solar-Powered PC: Hardware

When it comes to energy consumption from hard disks, there are major variations among makes and models, with a range of 3 to 10 watts.

Hard disk energy consumption at idle, and when copying files" /> As you'd expect, the hard disks with the lowest energy consumption are 2.5" notebook drives. We skipped those for our solar-powered PC, however, because we wanted to use standard desktop components throughout.

Among the 3.5" hard disks, the WD1600AAJS - built around a single disk platter - fares particularly well when the system is idle. Because most hard disks are idle most of the time, we chose this drive for that very reason. Its 160 GB capacity is fine for our solar-powered PC, but the 320 GB WD3200AAJS consumes the same amount of power when idle, so it could have just as easily been used instead.

We chose the WD1600AAJS
12 Volt Solar-PC-System
Component Idle Max load
PSU 5.00 W 14.20 W
CPU 8.49 W 38.66 W
Cooler 1.00 W 1.00W
Motherboard 7.78 W 19.71 W
RAM 6.06 W 6.23 W
HD 5.93 W 7.59 W
Total: 61.23 W 115.60 W
max. 160 Watt Custom PSU
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