Saturday, April 3, 2010

Energy-efficient LCD Monitors

Many of us live in areas where electrical power is at a premium, so one of the threads I follow in this blog is low-power computing. It’s amazing how far you can stretch your amps and watts these days without loosing much computing power.

I’ve recently bought a Fit-PC and have an order in for the Fit-PC2 model. These are very small “desktop” computers that run on only a few (6-8) watts, but do all the usual things you need a computer to do. In contrast, typical laptops run at 30-60 watts.
I haven’t had a chance to try out the Fit-PC yet, because I need a monitor. Since I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the last 7 months, I’ve just been using a laptop. Now that I’m getting ready to return to Nigeria in two months, though, I’m looking for an energy-efficient monitor.

One review of energy-efficient monitors covers four models, but only one is in the size range I want for carrying overseas: the Lenovo Thinkvision L1940P. It runs at 18 watts, is rated 5 (of 5) stars by one reviewer on Amazon, and costs $222. However, Amazon also sells the 19-inch ViewSonic VX1932wm-LED, which runs at only 15 watts, costs $167, and is rated 4.5 stars by 7 users. That's the one I plan to buy. With that monitor and the fit-PC, I'll be using barely 23 watts when using the computer at maximum capacity. That means I could run it for 24 hours straight on half the capacity of a 100 amp-hour 12V storage battery. Of course, the performance is nowhere near that of a “normal” desktop or even laptop, but it should be fine for most tasks (browsing, email, word-processing). I’ll let you know!

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