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Re: low-MHz server

On Sunday 03 February 2008 21:18:50 Bob wrote:
> Douglas A. Tutty wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > I have an unusual situation and problem at which I've been chipping
> > away.  The base technology predates my IT experience.
> >
> > My wife is sensitive to what she describes as electromagnetic fields.
> > She gets headaches and other pains when exposed to equipment: the higher
> > the frequency, the worse her symptoms.  For example, a VT is better than
> > a regular CRT connected to even a P-II-233 MHZ while a 486DX4-100 is
> > better than the P-II.  Both are far better than my Athlon64 @3.5 GHz.
> > And any CRT is better than any LCD/plasma screen.  Even my Palm Zire (I
> > think 233 MHz) with its ~2"x~3" screen is unsuitable within about 30
> > feet of her.  She can't wear a digital watch.
> I'd get a modern ish server and underclock it, that way you'll be able
> to get more RAM and bigger hard drives, the Athlon XP was fairly easy to
> get down to 300 MHz with the FSB still @ 133, I never tried lower but I
> don't see why not, for comedy value see if you can get the CPU clocking
> lower than the RAM.

I've been following this discussion and you state that you want low-Mhz CPUs 
but then you don't say anything about the other parts. Underclocking 
a "modern-ish" computer would still give you faster bus speeds than an old 

Ditto for newer hard drives: you don't want a PATA-66, you want a PATA-33 - 
unless it's /only/ the CPU that matters. I'm sure it's possible, but I find 
it hard to convince myself that the CPU is the only part the matters - don't 
the drives and buses. cards and cables emit EMF too?

Also, somewhere in another post you mentioned that using a server case might 
help since it would have "fewer openings" (I assume you meant, as compared to 
a PC). I don't believe that air-space has much effect on the EMF, only the 
noise level. If a closed box fixes the problem, why don't you put the 
computer in a metal box? As someone else mentioned, you could also try a 
Faraday cage. Or maybe a lead container ;-)

The distance should have a radical effect too. If your wife says that it 
bothers her the same amount no matter where in the house the computer sits, I 
would say that either:

1. She's not telling the truth
2. It's not actually the EMF that's bothering her (maybe the noise frequencies 
3. Maybe it's causing an electrical disturbance in the household wiring 
throughout the whole house
4. You have an insanely tiny house :-)

Have you had your house checked out by an electrician for any weird effects? 
I've heard of people who had old or badly done wiring in their house that 
caused strange electric fields to the point where it messed with appliances, 
radios, and phones (cell and cordless). I'm sure it could mess with people 

Is your wife perfectly fine as long as the computer is off?

I have a friend who had to have the electric company come move the 
transformer/pole away from the house because it was effecting her. She really 
did start feeling better after it moved away. Have you taken your wife away - 
say on vacation to a cabin in the mountains where there is no electricity at 
all - to see if she feels much better away from it all?

Have you tried testing for magnetic or EMF fields yourself? Does a compass act 
weird in your house? I'm not an electric expert but I know there are tools 
that can pick up fields. Someone else mentioned an oscilloscope. 

An electrician came to my house one day when I was a boy to repair something. 
My mom mentioned that the florescent light in the dinning room seemed to be 
bothering her eyes (we'd never had a florescent before). The electrician 
started telling us how florescents put off tons of EMF (not to mention the 
flicker). He took an electrical multi-tester - I'm talking about the kind 
with two metal probes that you touch two metal parts with to see if you have 
a circuit, measure resistance, etc - and just held the two probes up into the 
air about 4 inches from the florescents  (not touching anything) and they it 
started to register electrical current out of the thin air! You can try it 

You've probably done all these things but I just thought I would ask.



System Administrator - Cedar Creek Software

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