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does using Gentoo increase power usage & hard drive failure?
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waynedpj
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:24 pm    Post subject: does using Gentoo increase power usage & hard drive fail Reply with quote

ahoy all,

i have a general question about Gentoo:

does using Gentoo and (most likely) compiling every installed package/update/etc.

  • increase the power consumption of the computer?
  • shorten the life of the hard drive?


i have done lots of research on how to minimize the hard drive usage during compilation with a RAM disk for portage tmp, ccache, etc. and they definitely help. and i have read about binary package support in portage, though have not used it yet, as it does not seem to provide many of the latest/greatest of the majority of packages. however, i am not an expert on energy usage, as well as still learning Gentoo, and thus would appreciate any other thoughts/opinions on this question of Gentoo's energy usage and hard drive wear & tear.

after having numerous Ubuntu/Debian systems get out of control with size and feature bloat, i switched to Gentoo a few years ago from APT-based distros for some more control over what does and more importantly does not get installed on my system, elimination of "dist-upgrades", as well as easier access (i.e. live ebuilds) to more bleeding edge software (i do audio and it is very useful to have latest versions for feature/fixes). overall i have been very very very happy with Gentoo, though i realize that it may not be for everyone. however, i have been wondering from the beginning if always compiling things would wear out the hard drive quicker and use more power, thus being less "eco-friendly" (of course, who knows how eco-friendly a computer can really be).

i assumed that Gentoo, with the customized binaries, would be more efficient (not necessarily better performing) and thus a bit less power/resource (in the environmental, not RAM/CPU, sense) intensive compared to the binary-based distros, thus helping to offset the increased resource usage of compiling. but my research seems to indicate that the savings are not as great as the resource usage needed to compile everything. finally, the increased hard drive failure would result in more e-waste being generated.

obviously from a simple resource point of view, having everyone share binaries compiled once makes much more sense. however, i would guess it is never that simple.

in my search for an answer i came across this article https://juliank.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/gentoo-destroying-earth/ which also talks about the increased power consumption used by compiling.

thanks in advance for the input.

peace
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myceliv
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion it's very difficult to generalize. It's certainly impossible to accurately answer those questions, except perhaps for your own Gentoo usage. There have been a few efforts toward gathering statistics about Gentoo usage patterns, but so far as I know there aren't any dbs to help answer your questions for Gentoo as a whole. Some people update daily, probably a bunch more somewhere in the 1 to 3 week range, or monthly or every quarter or... Most everyone I'd imagine, who runs a network doesn't compile everything on every machine. I'd imagine very few people have only a netbook, so they probably compile pkgs on other boxes to run on the netbook. After all Gentoo runs on tiny pico motherboards and plug computers....

Anyway, in my case with my little network, no matter what distro I used my power consumption would be the same. Since I contribute to Folding at Home, my boxen are all running 100% on all cores 24/7 (well not my laptop,) I update every three weeks, or sometimes earlier if some substantial change comes along. In the past on debian or ubuntu I'd compile about as often due to versions of software or packages I needed that weren't available.

To me, USE flags aren't the key advantage of Gentoo, unless you're developing for mobile devices or something. It's that you can run literally any software that works with a recent kernel, and manage it from within the package manager. And like debian, there's heaps available for several architectures. (You do have to have learned enough about ebuilds, overlays, and portage cave or whatever... so it's not necessarily an advantage for everyone.)

As far as hard drives, I don't really know what I'm talking about except my oldest hard drive (16G) is still going and it ran 5 years of FreeBSD with plenty of compiling, has been portdir and portage_tmpdir for another 4 years on a distcc helper, so also plenty of compiling... and who would want a 16G ancient IDE hard drive these days!? I guess I'm just saying you'll probably have upgraded your drives before they fail even updating world every few days. YMMV, especially if you have a grunge filled box with clogged fans and 90C harddrives. :wink:

So if I was feeling concerned about destroying the earth I'd borrow or buy a Kill-A-Watt and check out my particular power usage patterns, among all my appliances, then choose how to adjust them to make me less concerned. If it turns out Gentoo's got to go, then look at NixOS and Archlinux. They have some of the flavor of Gentoo, and are pretty flexible, while being primarily binary based. As in the "destroying the earth" blog Ubuntu's even getting more flexible. But for me personally they're heading in a direction pretty opposite of how I use computers.

Thanks for asking the questions. I bet there are other threads about this. There certainly are plenty over on the Folding at Home forums.
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aidanjt
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Gentoo punctures holes in the Ozone layer when installing/updating software. Although during normal usage, a leaner system will let CPU cores go into deeper sleep states, so it can balance itself out. I don't think I'd be too concerned about disk activity, compiling isn't all that hard on the HDD, most packages are quite small and stay in the system cache and may never be flushed to disk.

Basically, your mileage will vary.
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john.newman
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

given that you'll spend < 0.1 % of your uptime running emerge, I don't think it's worth being concerned about. if you use MAKEOPTS="pipe" you're not spamming the disk. I"ve also seen people setup the portage dirs under tmpfs or aufs, but IMO not worth doing, emerge -uDNpv world happens once a week for 10 minutes. With an SSD and an i7 950 @ 4ghz, 8gb ram, compile times are a piss in the wind. emerge -e world used to take overnight and then half a day on my e6300 with HD, now takes under 90m. :P it is stupid fast.
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genstorm
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

john.newman wrote:
I"ve also seen people setup the portage dirs under tmpfs or aufs, but IMO not worth doing

makes a huge difference :)
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keenblade
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

genstorm wrote:
john.newman wrote:
I"ve also seen people setup the portage dirs under tmpfs or aufs, but IMO not worth doing

makes a huge difference :)

+1
You can use tmpfs for compiling, emerging packages, so the hard disks are untouched for the purpose. Compiling will be in your ram. If you have enough ram, you can even compile libreoffice in ram.
I also use ccache and distcc which are greatly reducing the compile time.
I confess that I can't think a box without tmpfs, ccache and distcc, anymore.
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Ormaaj
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My video card sitting idle running xorg drivers at ~70C contributes VASTLY more to global warming than my i7 920 C0 @ 3.8 Ghz running BFS, ondemand cpufreq, with Cstates enabled. Ambient is currently 30C in this room and CPU is idling at 38C with chromium (~100 tabs) and KDE running. Granted it's water-cooled and the GPU isn't in the loop, but even so if I did emerge -ev @world @system every day on 2k packages w/o ccache my CPU (which never goes over 70) would still consume less power than most other components just sitting idle (memory temp is ~46C).

In an ordinary day's activities I would suspect the average Gentoo user compiles around 10 packages. Most days fewer - with an occasional KDE update now and then to compensate.

... That is to say... if Gentoo users were like ordinary users. I'm certainly not ordinary and compile more and probably so do most enthusiast hackers reading these forums so it's hard to say "average". If the whole world ran Gentoo, most of them wouldn't be like us.
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm personally not comfortable with any hardware reaching 70°C - I've got a script that keeps my radeon below 65 by changing the power profile every few minutes.
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Ormaaj
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Ant P. Yeah I use

Code:
clk(){
    echo 'temp: ' "$(< /sys/class/drm/card0/device/hwmon/hwmon0/temp1_input)" 'C'
    echo 'before: ' "$(< /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile)"
    echo "$1" > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile
    echo 'after: ' "$(< /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_profile)"
}


in .bashrc which I (occasionally remember to) run as "low" after booting which usually pushes it down to ~65. The flickering would be annoying if it were continuous since it heats up pretty quickly after setting it to default.
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Kollin
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

john.newman wrote:
if you use MAKEOPTS="pipe" you're not spamming the disk.


I can`t find any info about this "pipe" option what does it do. I know what does -jx do but "pipe" 8O
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Veldrin
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He probably meant CFLAGS="-pipe" which is active in the default settings.
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Kollin
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Veldrin wrote:
He probably meant CFLAGS="-pipe" which is active in the default settings.


That makes more sense to me, thank you :)
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tomk
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moved from Gentoo Chat to Duplicate Threads, please see these topics:

Gentoo wasting too much energy?
The Future of Gentoo
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