One big issue with our networked world is the power consumption of all of those electronic devices, including our own desktop computers. Much of the time (estimated at 70 - 95%), these devices are simply idling, and instead of being ultra energy-efficient, they tend to still continue to consume too much energy (considering that they aren't doing actual work).
In a bid to build a high-end computer offering maximum computer performance while using minimal power, a Dutch hardware hacker named Emile Nijssen (also known as Mux) has come up with a design which only draws 5.9 watts at idle, and just 74.5 watts at full load.
According to Extreme Tech, the average desktop computer is using about 30 watts at idle and 150 watts at full load, so Mux's machine is a huge step towards efficient computing.
Mux is no stranger to low-energy computing, having built a 50 watt computer in 2008, a 20 watt computer in 2010, then a 9.5-watt version last year, and now has his 5.9 watt build (nicknamed Fluffy2) documented for aspiring hardware hackers.
To begin with, Mux laid out what exactly he wanted to get from the computer, and then chose components based on those specs. But that's only part of the equation, as he also drills down into the specs of the actual components in the computer, including the chips on the motherboard, and then modifies those to get the best performance and energy usage from them:
"What do I do that makes my computers so power efficient? Apart from well thought-out specifications and of course a vested interest in low power computer components (which is something that simply requires a lot of reading and experience) I also look further than the component level in computers. I look at the components that make up PC components: the chips on the motherboard, the discrete components in a power supply. This type of information is usually not freely available, so the only way to get to know exactly how a motherboard or power supply is formed from its components is to probe and trace out everything on the boards." - Emile Nijssen
Is it the "world's most efficient" computer? Well, it's probably up for debate. But it certainly is competitive. Get the full scoop about this innovative computer at TweakBlogs: Fluffy2 - 5.9 Watt high-end desktop computer