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# inefficiency, thermodynamics, heating my house

to cut to the chase, I'm talking about heating my house with computers.

I know this topic has come up more than just a few times so i decided to break down the cost. This is a continuation of a thread i started about a year and a half ago
"where does all the heat go"
http://www.overclock.net/other-cooli...ml#post6678428

Looking at the first law of thermodynamics, "The law expresses that energy can be transformed, i.e. changed from one form to another, but cannot be created nor destroyed." A 100watt computer gives off 100w of heat. This heat can also be expressed in light IE: light coming off your monitor. SO, assuming we aren't loosing this heat through light literally going out your window, the heat for the most part remains in the room its in. My idea is to provide a good portion of my winter heating through computer processing but my math seems a little off. i used California prices of natural gas and electricity but im not 100% confident on the numbers.

1cubic foot natural gas = 1027 btu
1027btu = ~300watts
1000watts/hr = 3412 btu/hr = 3.32^3 ft/hr of gas
CA electricity price (kw/h) in 2003 = ~\$0.12
CA natural gas price \$9.43/1000^3ft = \$0.00943/ft = ~\$0.03/KW/h

still, generating 1kW/hr 24-7 comes out to about \$86/month in CA
from these numbers, gas is approx 1/4 the cost of electricity, so heating via a computers seems.... expensive! if you see any error in my math, please let me know.
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i am trying to follow you, how did you calculate,
"1000watts/hr = 3412 btu/hr = 3.32^3 ft/hr of gas"?
where did the 1000watts come in? are you just sampling for example purposes?

and also, are you comparing current gas prices to 7 year old electric prices?
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In the winter I turn off the heat to my room w/ my PC in it because the rig + 3 displays and an amplifier give off enough to bring the ambients into the 70s(F).

Doubt its saving me anything since im still heating the rest of the house, but if it was just for heating, the PC would be a very expensive heater @ \$0.21 per KWH
 always strapped v3 (16 items)
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...it depends, if you're looking only at the operating cost your reasoning is sound. You haven't mentioned if you already have a gas installation or not. Where I live now I don't have natural gas, so if I were to make say a 10 year investment I'd have to factor in the upfront cost & maintenance of the natural gas installation. A friend installed this type of installation and he paid for it as much as I'd pay for electricity in the next 5 years (heating included) - so for me it doesn't quite work.

Otherwise heating with electricity has its advantages: easy to maintain, easy to reconfigure - you just move the heater somewhere else (can't do that with gas pipes).

Heating with computers though also has a big disadvantage: I need for example ~800W of electric heating (purely resistive, PF=1) in the evening to keep a reasonable temperature in winter - evacuating 800W from the PC components would create quite some noise. The necessary amount of heating you require equals the energy losses that occur due to the inefficiency of the isolation and the temperature delta between "outside" and "inside". If one would not need huge amounts of energy it could be doable with PCs (an OCed folding Phenom w/ a GTX 460 could reach 350W).
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Is it really that inefficient if your also benefiting from daily PC use? I think you have to factor in opportunity costs and utility.
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by PeaceMaker i am trying to follow you, how did you calculate, "1000watts/hr = 3412 btu/hr = 3.32^3 ft/hr of gas"? where did the 1000watts come in? are you just sampling for example purposes? and also, are you comparing current gas prices to 7 year old electric prices?
i googled "average" prices in CA for 2009. I used 1KW as a round number to compare the 2 energy sources. im confident that these numbers are NOT 100% accurate but a relative number is better than no number.
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 dBag (9 items) yep... (10 items) air (8 items)
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
xeon e3-1230v2 supermicro mbd x9scm-0 KVR1333D3E9S/4G OCZ vertex3 60GB
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1u 80mm blower + passive cpu  proxmox 3.1 supermicro 300w 1u supermicro 1u
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2x intel pro1000 nics
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A8-3870K @ 3.7GHz GIGABYTE A75M-UD2H Power Cooler 7870 Team Group Inc
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3x OCZ Agility 3 60GB (RAID-0 on Rocket RAID 27... Corsair H-80 core win-7 Seagate 750 Gold
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some lian-li case... M-Audio AV40s + 10" Sony ___?
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
D525 @ 1.8GHz Supermicro onboard 2x2GB DDR1333
Hard DriveOSCaseOther
WD Green ubuntu 12 1u  3x40mm fans
A 1000w computer does not give off 1000w of heat though.... MOst of the power used in a pc is driving something else, the electronics, motors, lights, things of that nature... It probably gives off about 400-500w of heat.
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by PeaceMaker Is it really that inefficient if your also benefiting from daily PC use? I think you have to factor in opportunity costs and utility.
yeah, i agree with you are saying. A machine capable of 1kw isn't going to be near that during gaming or any other normal use.
 dBag (9 items) yep... (10 items) air (8 items)
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xeon e3-1230v2 supermicro mbd x9scm-0 KVR1333D3E9S/4G OCZ vertex3 60GB
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1u 80mm blower + passive cpu  proxmox 3.1 supermicro 300w 1u supermicro 1u
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some lian-li case... M-Audio AV40s + 10" Sony ___?
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WD Green ubuntu 12 1u  3x40mm fans
 dBag (9 items) yep... (10 items) air (8 items)
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xeon e3-1230v2 supermicro mbd x9scm-0 KVR1333D3E9S/4G OCZ vertex3 60GB
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1u 80mm blower + passive cpu  proxmox 3.1 supermicro 300w 1u supermicro 1u
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2x intel pro1000 nics
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A8-3870K @ 3.7GHz GIGABYTE A75M-UD2H Power Cooler 7870 Team Group Inc
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some lian-li case... M-Audio AV40s + 10" Sony ___?
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by hks85 A 100watt computer gives off 100w of heat.
wat

wat

wat
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by pbasil1 A 1000w computer does not give off 1000w of heat though.... MOst of the power used in a pc is driving something else, the electronics, motors, lights, things of that nature... It probably gives off about 400-500w of heat.
im not an engineer, I know more than most when it comes to electronics and thermodynamics but this is OC.net so im a dime a dozen. How much light is a computer running boinc really producing? 0.5-1watts worth of LEDs? as for motors, how many fans do you really have?

and the power supply, lets say its got a nice 85% efficiency. so your computer is pulling 1KW (heat, air movement etc.) after the power supply. That's an additional 150watts that your power supply is dumping out.
 dBag (9 items) yep... (10 items) air (8 items)
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
xeon e3-1230v2 supermicro mbd x9scm-0 KVR1333D3E9S/4G OCZ vertex3 60GB
CoolingOSPowerCase
1u 80mm blower + passive cpu  proxmox 3.1 supermicro 300w 1u supermicro 1u
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2x intel pro1000 nics
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A8-3870K @ 3.7GHz GIGABYTE A75M-UD2H Power Cooler 7870 Team Group Inc
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
3x OCZ Agility 3 60GB (RAID-0 on Rocket RAID 27... Corsair H-80 core win-7 Seagate 750 Gold
CaseAudio
some lian-li case... M-Audio AV40s + 10" Sony ___?
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
D525 @ 1.8GHz Supermicro onboard 2x2GB DDR1333
Hard DriveOSCaseOther
WD Green ubuntu 12 1u  3x40mm fans
 dBag (9 items) yep... (10 items) air (8 items)
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
xeon e3-1230v2 supermicro mbd x9scm-0 KVR1333D3E9S/4G OCZ vertex3 60GB
CoolingOSPowerCase
1u 80mm blower + passive cpu  proxmox 3.1 supermicro 300w 1u supermicro 1u
Other
2x intel pro1000 nics
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
A8-3870K @ 3.7GHz GIGABYTE A75M-UD2H Power Cooler 7870 Team Group Inc
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
3x OCZ Agility 3 60GB (RAID-0 on Rocket RAID 27... Corsair H-80 core win-7 Seagate 750 Gold
CaseAudio
some lian-li case... M-Audio AV40s + 10" Sony ___?
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
D525 @ 1.8GHz Supermicro onboard 2x2GB DDR1333
Hard DriveOSCaseOther
WD Green ubuntu 12 1u  3x40mm fans
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