Industrial PCs part 2: Energy efficiency

Did part 1 of our current knowledge series about the industrial PC convince you? Then let's move on to the next article! The second part of our blog series about the robust computing systems is about the energy-efficient design of the systems. Why that is so important you ask? We clarify.

Energy-efficient industrial PCs are not only pleasant for ones purse

In part 1 of our blog series we talked about why metal housings are inevitable for industrial computers. We have learned that a robust shell is important for both ruggedness and heat build-in, combined with the waste heat of IPCs. The latter is a good reason and another important factor for the following property of industrial PCs: energy efficiency.
Therefore the reasons why IPCs should not consume vast amounts of energy are the following:

  1. Industrial PCs often run 24 hours a day, 360 days a year. The continuous operation of the computer is an essential distinguishing feature to the PC systems from the consumer league. If a computer uses less power, this will cost the operator less money. By the way, the industrial PC will also be more durable.

  2.  If a system is installed in a closed installation (such as cash dispensers, vehicles, or metering stations), it must be ensured that increased temperature development is due to waste heat released by the small computers that does not endanger the installation. But how can it be ensured that the systems only produces a minimum of heat? The key to low heat generation is the selection of so-called "low-power" hardware, that means PC components with low energy consumption. Using a processor (also: CPU) or a RAM bar with only a minimum of energy, in turn, less energy in the form of heat is released to the environment. Energy-efficient computers (in English: Low-Power Consumption) might at first sight only sound like a "nice to have". At second glance, this feature makes solid Mini-PCs to what they are.

Would you like to have an example? We have prepared something by chance:

Environmentally conscious and powerful: The BOX N4100

The passively cooled BOX N4100 is an ultra-compact industrial PC (also referred to as "Embedded-PC") with a volume of just 0.22 liters. Thanks to its dimensions of 115 x 76 x 25 millimeters, the IPC requires little space and fits into any small installation. But despite its tiny size, the Mini-PC is in no way inferior to its larger counterparts in terms of performance. Playing two times 3840 x 2160 pixels - say 4K - at a frequency of 60 Hertz is no problem for the small power package and makes it particularly interesting for digital signage applications. You may now think, "This is madness! It will certainly consume a lot of electricity". You could think so. In fact, the little power package consumes a maximum of 19 watts under full load. For comparison: Our KUMO IV already consumes 45 watts in the so-called "idle mode" (ie: sleep mode). In contrast, the BOX N4100 achieves maximum values ​​of 3 watts in idle mode. Overall this is an impressive cost-benefit ratio.

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