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Best Choice: AMD Athlon 64 X2 BE-2350

Do-It-Yourself Solar-Powered PC: Hardware

The Heart of our Solar PC: the AMD Athlon 64 X2 BE-2350

In choosing a CPU for our solar-powered PC, we put strong emphasis on two criteria: low power consumption and a dual core architecture.

To prepare for our selection we studied the energy consumption of various processors. We learned, for example that the AMD Sempron 64 uses very little power, but we didn't consider it for our system because it includes only a single CPU core.

Power consumption of CPUs when idle

In our solar-powered PC we have to worry about every watt drawn, because all of the necessary energy comes from our solar panels, not from a wall socket as with most modern PCs.

Power consumption of CPUs fully loaded

If you look at our measurements of power consumption at idle and under load, the AMD Athlon 64 X2 BE-2350 represents a good combination. It consumes only 8.49 W when idle, and 38.66 W when fully loaded. Intel's Core 2 processor with L2-stepping may use a little less power, but our measurements also showed us that the motherboards in which they must be housed use too much energy. On the one side you find the memory controller in the chipset, and on the other side you find the energy consumption from Intel and Nvidia chipsets generally higher. The lower power consumption of the Core 2 processor is negated by these higher numbers. That's why we selected an AMD processor for our solar-powered PC - namely, the Athlon 64 X2 BE-2350.

12 Volt Solar-PC-System
Component Idle Max load
PSU 5.00 W 14.20 W
CPU 8.49 W 38.66 W
Total: 61.23 W 115.60 W
max. 160 Watt Custom PSU
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