back to article Dell develops ultra-efficient server power supplies

Dell is fussing over itself again for being such a brilliant shade of eco-friendly green. No surprise. We dare say Michael Dell himself weeps a single tear of amber when you drop a paper coffee cup into the trash. But today, the vendor's nonstop stream of envirogratification is worthy of note: Dell says it's developed the …

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Greenest?

Dell must have one seriously disturbing definition of "green" if they consider themselves "the 'greenest' technology company on the planet". The fact that they may be offering efficient power supplies means nothing. In its big push for sales and profit, Dell pushes low-quality machines at both residential and business customers. These machines either break down just before or just after the warranty expires, or they need to be replaced within one or two years because they're so under-powered they can't even run a web browser and Solitaire at the same time. So what happens? All those under-powered machines are thrown into the trash, and everyone buys a new machine. That's great for Dell's bottom line, but it's horrible for the environment. It most certainly cannot even remotely be considered "green" unless you're using the old definition of "green", as in "seeing green" = "greedy". But using that definition, I'd say Microsoft, Apple, and Google are all more "green" than Dell (though not by much).

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Coat

If It's To Help Save The Environment, Will The PSU...

...Fit anything other than a Dell system designed for that PSU?

...Work for a long enough time to make it worthwhile?

...Be sold at a low price to generate a true environmental effect?

Will it hell.

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Flame

@ Chris C

"All those under-powered machines are thrown into the trash, and everyone buys a new machine."

As part of the WEEE directive, all old items need to be taken to a recycling plant when being replaced with a new item, thus they are not "thrown in the trash".

LOLZ @ "Microsoft, Apple, and Google are all more "green" than Dell (though not by much)" - have you seen the Greenometer thats published by a company (can't remember who) - Apple are the WORST!

Argument deflated. :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Who needs PSUs?

What happened to the idea of using DC throughout a data centre to do away with having huge numbers of these inefficient devices reversing the work of the datacentre UPS?

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I'm greener than Dell

Dell make crappy little machines that need chucking away every few years. You can't really upgrade them without a load of fuss, because all the cases are custom built to be as annoying as possible. Oh, you want a better processor in that machine? Well, you'll need a bigger heatsink than the barely-coping PoS we put on there then, won't you? Oh wait, you can't have one, because the PSU swings in over the CPU slot and we use our own custom wind-tunnel device to feed air to the CPU, so anything else won't fit! (I have actually seen this.)

Because you're chucking away your machines, there's no way you can offset that amount of waste + the energy required to make them by simply buying a more efficient PSU. The best way to stay green in the computing industry is to quit chucking stuff away and start upgrading. Kudos for creating a high-efficiency PSU, but when the rest of your business depends on the wasteful discarding of still useful machines, it's a bit toady to call yourselves "green."

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@Anonymous Coward

AC said: "As part of the WEEE directive, all old items need to be taken to a recycling plant when being replaced with a new item, thus they are not "thrown in the trash"."

The bulk of those machines you send to a recycling "plant" end up in a Chinese landfill - very green that, shipping them halfway round the world. And since when has a shipping container in a yard been a "plant"? I've actually been to several of these so called recycling facilities, and from what I've seen that's all they amount to, a trans-shipment point to somewhere in the far East where they have fewer qualms about burying them.

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Paris Hilton

@Who needs PSUs?

Hear, hear!

I didn't know there was such a plan, but that was my thought as well.

Why not build PSUs for a whole rack or - better yet - for a whole facility? Should solve some heat problems too!

Paris, because she understands economy of scale

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Why all the Dell bashing?

So does this mean that all the sites deploying Dell clusters (which goes beyond their having 5% of the top 500) are blithely ignoring product longevity and the experience of other cluster builders? I mean, to read these comments they must be replacing a dozen machines a day right? Actually, Dell should've gone out of business already replacing all these warranteed machines, right? Not likely. Dell's come a long way since their startup and they actually make a decent product. For those that want a performance boost every few years by just upgrading a proc - get real. Memory, PSU requirements, interconnects all change way to quickly for that to be a realistic scenario (unless you're deploying Sun gear maybe).

@The DC people - yeah DC is better, but not everyone has the luxury of being in a data center they designed from the ground up - some of us are stuck with legacy AC power.

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How to run a server off DC

Take a look at the combined thickness of the power cables on the low voltage side of the PSU. Copper is expensive, so they did not make them that thick for fun. You could decrease the thickness by increasing the voltage - but that is what is happening already. You could decrease the thickness by making the cable shorter, but it is already barely long enough to get out of the box - let alone all the way to the UPS. You could decrease the thickness by accepting more of the power will be wasted by the increased resistance - but the whole idea is to reduce the power consumption.

You could have a sensible thickness by using liquid nitrogen cooled super-conducting cables. As a by-product this delivers boiling nitrogen to your server, which is handy for keeping it cool but can cause problems with condensation, brittle fracture and frostbitten asphyxiated techies.

A quick web search resulting in 0 suppliers of superconduction cables, but lots of patents. Perhaps there will be something in twenty years when the patents expire.

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Chris F

Looking at the Large Hadron Collider site their elegant high tech high effiiciecny AC to DC power systems are indeed available (at a price).

We will have to let the bean counters figure the cost benifit ratio, I guess.

Yes DC is more efficient than AC reticulation (resistive losses only), way to go...

Reminds me of the Telephone Exchange I worked in some 35 years ago, DC bus bars down the equipment racks powered via the battery room.

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Pretty happy with Dell

Don't know what some of you are getting in the UK, but in the US, Dell ships a pretty decent desktop pc. Consumer Reports, for instance, consistently ranks Dell in the top three for fewest repairs and best service (Apple, Dell, IBM/Lenovo).

My business PC experience starts in 1983, and I've been placing Dells exclusively since the Pentium 3. I've had no reason to look elsewhere. If you're talking broken PCs sitting in the trash, it wouldn't be Dell I'd be pointing a finger at.

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@AC

"As part of the WEEE directive, all old items need to be taken to a recycling plant when being replaced with a new item, thus they are not 'thrown in the trash'."

You do see the pitfall of that statement, right? If not, let me use your logic to show you -- as part of the Ten Commandments (for the religious among you) and the laws of most countries, murder is illegal. Now do you see the problem with your statement? Just because there are rules or laws doesn't mean they are followed. People are murdered every day despite laws against it. And people and companies throw computers, monitors, batteries, etc into the trash every day even though there are laws against it.

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Gold standard

Somebody should check what the limits for gold are on the climate saver website !

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Happy

noise pollution

now if only they would measure their noise output - these 1 and 2Us are making me go deaf.

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