I am considering buying a Dell Poweredge 2800 Tower 2nd hand, while I have some experience with HP's competing server brand, the ProLiant Series, I am struggling to find out the server's realistic power usage (in watts).

The server spec sheet says that the power supply is a huge 900+ watts. However this document says that the 'maximum' energy consumption is only 320 watts. I was wondering if anybody here would be able to give me some more realistic real world results.

My only guess for the huge power supply intake is that you can have a lot of room for PCI-X and PCI-E cards, which I guess could drain a lot of power.

  • How many power supplies? – xeon Nov 17 '11 at 20:17
  • I'm only going to run one power supply, with 2 3.00 Ghz xenon processors, at first I plan on only having 1-3 hard drives installed and 4GB RAM (2 2GB) – Matt Nov 17 '11 at 20:21

The power supplies output 930 watts DC maximum, however the incoming power consumption AC does not exceed 320 watts with the server specs listed. The only way to trully know how much power your machine is going to use is to put a watt meter and run it. The power consumption depends on load as well. An idle server will not use as much as a server running 100% CPU and hard drives working hard.

Also make sure you are aware the 320.2 watt energy consumption was rated at 230V. 115V will be higher.

  • Thanks for replying so quickly! support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/pe2800/en/ug_en/… This is where I got the 930 watt info from, what do you think? – Matt Nov 17 '11 at 20:28
  • That's the output. That's typical power supply advertising. They usually list the maximum output. – xeon Nov 17 '11 at 20:34
  • Thanks! the 230V is fine, thats the standard in the UK, the server is for NAS and a few 32bit VM's, running subversion, FreeNAS etc, so I guess there will be quite a lot of idle cpu time. – Matt Nov 17 '11 at 20:48

just to add to this. on idle my TWO dell PowerEdge 2800 systems use around 40 - 60 watts, and when they're on only around 200 - 250. I was extremely surprised because the power supplies are 900 watt and there's two of them. no idea why a server that will only use up to 300 watt needs a 900-watt power supply.

  • 1
    I think you are confusing the words idle and standby. At idle these old beasts use ~200W. At full pelt each cpu uses 100W, each hard drive 10-15W. More ram uses more power. It adds up, but even fully loaded you would not expect it to use the full 900watt, that is headroom. A more modern system can run at full speed with laptop drives in under 150W. – JamesRyan Mar 29 '16 at 22:35

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