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Looking for the lowest-power laptop possible, for use off grid powered by a very small solar array. My Yoga 2 11 draws 14 watts at idle (or what I would call idle, anyway). Five watts would be better. Four would be better still. Etc.

Should be a real laptop (not tablet) with a real keyboard (not chiclet). I watch videos on it, but other than that no heavy lifting. I have looked at the EnergyStar listings, found them difficult to use, and am unsure how to compare their numbers with my real-life experience.

Specific recommendations are welcome. So are general principles, e.g. which types of components are most energy efficient. I assume that SSDs are better than spinning disks, and passive cooling better than fans. Beyond that I have no idea--e.g., which types of display, memory, power supply, etc. are best.

Many thanks.

  • Do you have a budget or a preferred screen size, or is the only thing that matters is the wattage? Would you mind a laptop that had a slightly higher wattage, but had better life? – Cfinley Jan 28 '16 at 19:56
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    Why can't it be a tablet with a keyboard? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 28 '16 at 20:17
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    How about a Chromebook? The ARM SoCs are very low power. Or is your real requirement "has windows" instead of "not a tablet". – timuzhti Jan 30 '16 at 12:14
  • Will second others--what are you requirements for a "laptop"? Does it need to run Windows? If you're okay with something that runs ARM, you'll be able to get much lower power than anything that runs x86. (There's a reason Intel never broke into the mobile phone market...) – Wowfunhappy Sep 16 '17 at 21:51
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The Liberty Computer is a small, credit card sized computer that is designed to use minimal power as well as offer the highest standard of privacy. In this reviewer video and interview with the developer the reviewer reports under 3 W idle usage.

In this Crowd Supply page the computer is called the EOMA68 Micro-Desktop computer. The cost is 65 dollars pre-order but is projected to drop to 30 dollars on the market.

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I'm interested in this as well. So far I have found a few promising mini PCs that are somewhat popular, such as as the Gigabyte Brix.

Anandtech's review of a Bay Trail Gigabyte Brix shows a power consumption of 5.79 W at idle and 17.28 W under load. The ECS Liva looks even better, with a Techspot review claiming the ECS goes from 4 watts at idle to 10 watts at full load

I'm not sure if that will satisfy your needs, and there may be drawbacks if your display has a overly high resolution.

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