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# Thermodynamics of Computers: Energy Analysis?

So I recall in a mid level electrical engineering course the professor said something along the lines of this:

All the energy that goes into the computer for processing, is converted into heat. This is excluding any lights, sounds, fans or moving parts, just the actual circuitry.

So if this is true, does that mean this process is simply increasing entropy?

Also, why then don't people use computers as a heater of sorts?

A bit random I know, but I was just thinking about it and curious, I certainly don't claim to know this topic very well.

Double check everything, I am usually wrong.

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I can vouch for the space heater. Even idling around 200W from the wall my room is averagely warmer than the rest of the house with no other source of heat. Nice and cozy during the winter months.

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1 minute ago, James Evens said:

I don't even understand what you're saying...

Double check everything, I am usually wrong.

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20 minutes ago, TeenTesla said:

I don't even understand what you're saying...

The part of the book you are interested in is thermodynamic. Particular statistical thermodynamics.

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17 minutes ago, TeenTesla said:

So I recall in a mid level electrical engineering course the professor said something along the lines of this:

All the energy that goes into the computer for processing, is converted into heat. This is excluding any lights, sounds, fans or moving parts, just the actual circuitry.

So if this is true, does that mean this process is simply increasing entropy?

Also, why then don't people use computers as a heater of sorts?

A bit random I know, but I was just thinking about it and curious, I certainly don't claim to know this topic very well.

Pretty much yeah. The actual precession uses tiny amounts of energy. It's the resistance of the wires and transistors and other things that convert the energy to heat. It's a limitation of the technology and its being improved all time.

The reason for not using them as heaters is you can buy a fan heater for \$10 or CPU, RAM, mobo etc for much more. Then you have to set it up. Or just plug a heater in turn it on.

As for using older CPUs it will all be more expensive and the performance won't be worth it.

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48 minutes ago, TeenTesla said:

So I recall in a mid level electrical engineering course the professor said something along the lines of this:

All the energy that goes into the computer for processing, is converted into heat. This is excluding any lights, sounds, fans or moving parts, just the actual circuitry.

So if this is true, does that mean this process is simply increasing entropy?

Also, why then don't people use computers as a heater of sorts?

A bit random I know, but I was just thinking about it and curious, I certainly don't claim to know this topic very well.

That is correct. A computer using 300 W is effectively the same as a 300 W space heater, with the added bonus of processing information. You could use this as a space heater, I think it just doesn't occur to most people, or it might just be too much trouble to set up, since you have to come up with something for the computer to process, and it feels like a waste unless you're doing something useful. Folding or mining are good ways of doing this though. But even if you use it as a space heater, if you want actual heat it's often still more efficient (in terms of dollars) to use the central heat in your home, depending on the prices of electricity vs gas or whatever, things like that. But I think mostly it's just not an idea people consider, since it's not a well-known or discussed "method" of heating. But I use it to heat my room at least

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41 minutes ago, r4tch3t said:

actual precession uses tiny amounts of energy.

"In physics, the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant, it is said to be conserved over time"

So, where does this tiny amount of energy go? Information is not energy. You can't turn information into energy, nor the other way around.

Edited by seon123
Something something

:)

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Pretty much. The actual movement of the electrons uses a tiny amount of energy, but otherwise most of the energy is converted to heat. And many of us do actually use our computers as heaters, just check out the mining and folding subforum.

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