Do-It-Yourself Solar-Powered PC: Hardware

Comparing DVD Drives: Samsung Wins With 3.5 Watts Consumed

We were determined to use a SATA-attached DVD drive in our solar-powered PC, because it represents the state of the current optical drive art. This didn't really leave us with a huge number of choices, so we went with the most popular among them - namely, the Samsung SH-D163 - because it's so widely available.

Samsung SH-D163 DVD drive

This drive offers SATA data and power connectors

Nevertheless, we tested the energy consumption of various optical drives. Here again, energy consumption among various makes and models varies widely. We found one drive that consumed only 0.47 watts at idle, whereas our SATA version consumed 3.7 Watts. An MSI IDE model consumed an astonishing 5.5 Watts when idle!

Energy Consumption of DVD drives at idle and full load

Among the drives that we examined, we picked the one that did best while in active use - namely, the Samsung unit.

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12 Volt Solar-PC-System
ComponentIdleMax load
PSU5.00 W14.20 W
CPU8.49 W38.66 W
Cooler1.00 W1.00W
Motherboard7.78 W19.71 W
RAM6.06 W6.23 W
HD5.93 W7.59 W
DVD3.68 W4.92 W
Total:61.23 W115.60 W
max. 160 Watt Custom PSU
Tom's Hardware News Team

Tom's Hardware's dedicated news crew consists of both freelancers and staff with decades of experience reporting on the latest developments in CPUs, GPUs, super computing, Raspberry Pis and more.

  • Raigedas
    i bought this M2-ATX PSU (actually to of them). but i was unable to start it.

    1. first quick question: is it possible to start (for testing purposes) the PSU without connecting it to the computer? is it enough to short circuit J8 only to start?

    2. docummentation is unclear about 10 (J6). it looks like J6 is purely for controlling stereo amplifier. but other place of the manual says "if J6 is cnnected to the motherboard". where to motherboard?

    3. how should PSU be connected?
    for testing i have taken 12V 7Ah lead acid battery fully charged.
    connected battery "-" to J4.
    battery "+" to J1.
    J3: tried to leave not connected and tried to connect battery "+".
    disconnected power switch cable from motherboard and connected it to J9.
    connected J8 with motheboard (using little cable included in the package) where power switch was originally connected.
    left J6 not connected.
    J10 not connected (P0 mode). also tried P1 mode.
    connected ATX and P4 (J2).
    pressed power on my pc but nothing happened and no voltage on MOLEX cable.

    could authors of the article (or maybe other owner of the PSU) describe how did they start the PSU?