02
Apr
2018

The 2018 Router – Power Consumption

So then – the build is done. There are a few questions that need to be answered though, and today we will go into the power consumption of this router.

Of course, this is a custom build based on a PC architecture – it’s not going to be at the levels of a typical router that you would get from your ISP. But… just how low is it?

Firstly, let’s address what tames the 230VAC to a much more manageable 12VDC:

Now, I’ve got to admit I went a bit over the top with this bit. This is a 150W adapter that will output 12.5A of 12V DC. I can safely be assured that my new router won’t even approach a tenth of that… but it is an FSP unit with solid build quality and efficiency. I had some ideas for the future to build a 12V UPS using a battery and some circuit modules – things like the router and modem could run off the 12V battery for a decent length of time, and this chunky 12V power brick would be good for charging up the battery.

So this get’s 12V into the system. Obviously PC’s don’t just use 12V – there are all these pesky other voltages like 5V and 3.3V. Some motherboards have onboard power conversion but mine doesn’t – so I need something to convert it to all the voltages I need.

Step in the picoPSU-150-XT. This is a very small adapter that plugs into the 24-pin ATX connector and supplies all the other voltages the system needs. A main 12V DC feed comes in and 12V, 5V, 3.3V etc come out, with extra connectors for things like the CPU header, Molex and SATA drives.

I figured I had a 150W power brick, so why not get a 150W picoPSU as well? The nice thing is, that if it manages to last a decent amount of time – I would consider getting these parts again for the 2016 NAS if the PSU in that decided to pack it in. It’s got plenty of capacity to run my entire NAS 24/7 with decent efficiency. For now though, it’s going in the router.

Something to be careful of – eBay is a great source for these items (I got this kit) but there are a lot of knockoff items floating about that may ruin your day. I spent a bit extra getting the “good stuff” since this router is the most critical part of my network – nothing works without this working at 100%.

The picoPSU is installed in the case as shown above – the kit I got came with an adapter for the FSP PSU that also fits the case perfectly. The extra connector with Molex and SATA attached is not needed so I have detached it and stored it away.

That’s the power delivery – now let’s see how well it works!

43.5W is our baseline reading on the power meter. This is just the NAS, switch and printer connected – lets plug in and boot the router to see what it uses:

43.5W to 53.6W – that’s 10.1W of power usage. For the average electricity price in the UK, that’s around £10-£11 per year. Not quite as low as a router you would get from your ISP, but then again it’s not bad! I wouldn’t be surprised actually if routers do exist with similar or higher power consumption.

For the control and performance you get, 10W is very respectable when you consider that it’s a quad core router! My internet connection is a 80/20 VDSL link – it handles it with ease and could probably manage much, much larger connections.

Speaking of performance – stay tuned!

The 2018 Router - The Motherboard
Ryzen: DDR4-2933 Finally Working

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