Is it cheaper to burn DVDs or copy to a hard drive?

IF you have been paying attention to hard drive prices, then you already know that the price of hard drive storage is plummeting. As the hard drive companies such as Maxtor, Seagate and Western Digital make hard drives with ever-increasing capacity, the price for the actual hard drives often stayts the same. Currently, one of the cheapest hard drives gives you 7.69 GB per dollar. That’s right, a one terrabyte hard drive costs only 129.99 dollars. One has to ask themselves if it’s cheaper to copy movies using a DVD burner, or to simply buy a hard drive.

The cheapest hard drive will get you 7.692 GB / dollar

Currently, the cheapest single-layer DVD medium is about 18.80 GB / dollar

Currently, the cheapest dual-layer DVD medium is about 9.66 GB / dollar

Currently, the cheapest single-layer Blue Ray medium is about 3.47 GB / dollar

As you can see, no matter how you look at it, it’s cheaper to simply burn DVDs instead of buying hard drives to copy them. Sure CD cases cost money too, but not much. One interesting thing to note is that it is much cheaper to use single layer DVDs instead of dual layer DVDs. One solution you might want to consider is using free software such as DVD shrink in order to copy a movie from a dual layer disk to a single layer disc.

One last thing to consider is that if you want to compress a 4.7 GB movie into a movie file less than 1.9 GB, it will actually become cheaper to store the movie on your hard drive. Of course, you can expect some loss of visual or audio quality with such an aggresive shrink.

As you can see, the most expensive medium is the blue ray disk. It is actually cheaper to buy a new hard drive rather than copy blue ray movies to a blue ray disc. This is a serious reason why you should wait to buy blue ray.

Posted under Saving Money, Shopping, Technology

This post was written by admin on October 5, 2008

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Solar power is not the answer to your problems!

If you have high electricity bills every month, chances are you’ve thought about installing some sort of solar power solution for your home. There is a lot of buzz about renewable energy sources, but the cold hard truth is that it probably isn’t the best solution to your problems. First of all, a decent sized solar power solution for your home can cost several tens of thousands of dollars. The very notion that anyone would want to spend thirty thousand dollars just to reduce their electricity bill is borderline insane! Many websites are happy to tell you that you can sell your unused energy back to the electric company. In reality, this is only a half-truth. In actuality, whether you can sell your excess electricity or not is governed by your state and even county laws.

For example, if you live in California, you are only allowed to sell your excess electricity to the power company up until a certain point. If you produce more electricity than you use for any given month, all that extra energy is given to the electric company as a gift…and they’ll still charge you five dollars a month to come out and read your meters. That’s right, you read that correctly. It doesn’t matter if you give your power company $200 of excess electricity, you will never see that money. Instead, you’ll just be charged 5 dollars. The point that I’m trying to make here is that you have to carefully research the laws in your state. You can’t just assume you’ll be able to sell power and make money, because in some states like California, that’s impossible due to laws.

Okay, I’ve already established that solar power is expensive, and would probably take many years to pay itself off, if ever. So what is the solution to drive down your energy costs? As it turns out, there are a million things you can do to reduce your electricity consumption. These things include everything from turning down your air conditioner to lowering the temperature of your water heater. Honestly, if you’re paying a fortune every month for electricity, chances are great that you are wasting electricity. If you want to save money the right, and cheap way, it’s best to stop wasting electricity! For more information, please check out my section on how to save electricity.

Posted under Saving Electricity

This post was written by admin on September 1, 2008

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Leaving your router on costs you money

If you have high speed internet and more than one computer, chances are you have a router. If you use a laptop and access the internet with a wireless router, you almost certainly have a router…unless you’re leeching from a neighbor. Anyway, it turns out that leaving your router on can use a significant amount of electricity and therefore cost a significant amount of money. Now, if you’ve read my article about turning off your computer when you’re not using it, you already know that turning your computer off can save a huge amount of money. Assuming you turn off your computer when you’re not using it, it’s oh so easy to forget about the router!

Most wireless routers consume anywhere from 5 to 15 watts. You can estimate the power a router consumes by taking a look at the transformer (that little box you plug into an outlet.) Let’s assume that your router consumes about 10 watts of power, which is very typical. 10 watts may not sound like much, because it isn’t…but this can actually start costing you real money if you leave your router plugged in all day long. Let’s do a little experiment!

Suppose you use your computer 6 hours a day, but you have your router plugged in all day, every day. Now assume that electricity costs you $.0896 per kWh. Depending on where you live, you could be paying more, or less. We can now calculate how much power you save by unplugging your router when you’re not using it.

10 Watts * (24-6) h/day * $.0896/kWh * 365 days/year * 1 kW/1000W = $5.89 / year

Okay, you’re not going to get rich by unplugging your router when you’re not using it. But on the other hand, this is all money that can be saved without sacrificing anything. Simply unplug your router when you’re done using your computer, and you can expect to save five dollars per year. If you live in an area with more expensive electricity like California, leaving your router on could cost upwards of 10 dollars a year.

Before wrapping up this post, I just want to clarify what I mean by turning off your router. Instead of turning your router off, the best thing you can do is unplug it from the wall. Many people will tell you that leaving a transformer plugged in even though the device it’s supposed to power is off will not use any power. These people are dead wrong. Transformers are not lossless devices due to resistance in the electrical wires. To truly save the most amount of power, it’s best to unplug it. I have a power strip for my computer, monitors and router. This way, when I’m done using my computer, I can completely disconnect everything from the power grid with the flick of a switch!

For more tips on how to save electricity, check out this page.

Posted under Saving Electricity

This post was written by admin on August 7, 2008

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