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  1. #1
    Non-Member DaveMichaels's Avatar
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    How much power does a computer use?

    Does anybody know how much power a computer uses? I have an AMD 3000+ with 4 hard drives (one is external USB) and a 19" CRT (powered by ATI 9800). I'm just curious what percentage of my utility bill is my computer, and if using settings like standby and hibernate (or even shutting off the whole thing) would have much effect. I leave the thing on 24/7 currently.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot CatsEyeDesigns's Avatar
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    I have no evidence to back this up, but the cost of powering a computer (at least in my area) is negligible.... maybe a dollar or two a month. I've got 3 computers, 3 monitors, 2 printers and numerous other small peripherals and none of them are turned off on a regular basis.

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    SitePoint Wizard realestate's Avatar
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    I would expect it to be much less than power used by tv. Most energy is transferred into heat and computer usually doesn't get hot quickly.

  4. #4
    Non-Member DaveMichaels's Avatar
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    I'd expect a computer to use more power than a TV. CRT TV ~= CRT monitor, but maybe monitors are more efficient - Energy Star, etc. But add in the CPU, hard drives, etc.

  5. #5
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    My television is an Energy Star television.

    According to my bills, it costs $10.00 per month to run a PC in electricity. Could be more if you have older equipment and don't shut them down. Mine are shut down at night now. All of my monitors are CRTs with Energy Star labeling, two are 17" and one is a 19". All three computers run AMD processors, single 80 GB drives, 2 fans, 450 watt PSU and powered speakers. There are four printers, all in sleep mode (3 don't have power switches), a Linksys router, and DSL modem on the network currently as well.

    Even shut down (in Windows), the PC's draw power though. Only way to truly turn off a PC these days is to unplug it from the wall, just like a television or any remote controlled device.
    Wayne Luke
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    SitePoint Wizard TheRedDevil's Avatar
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    Back when I went to high school, we did a project regarding this in electronics. Too bad I cant remember the numbers we operated with. Though the result we came up with was that it would cost around 1000 NKr (around $150, as the dollar is very low these days) to keep a computer running 24/7/365.

    I also think todays cost to run a normal computer is less compared to the value we got, since its like 6 years ago we did that calculation.

    The issue here is that it all depends on the price pr KW, and on what your computer specs is. Its fairly simple to find out the max cost your computer can have, as that is the max output of W your psu can have multiplied with hours/days. However not every computer use what their psu can output, so to get a accurate calculation you need to read product specifications on every hdd, pci card etc in your comptuer and do the calculation on the amount of W you end up with.

  7. #7
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    I will post more exact info in a few days. I bought a nifty device off ebay, it goes inline with anything pluged it, it will mesure how much wattage you are using / monitor it. I was amazed at how much juice my fish tanks are using, over 100 kwh in 3 months. the device was like $15, and has been a good investment as I can check pretty much everything in the house.

    Dan

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard Defender1's Avatar
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    Your monitor will use the most electricity, while the computer itself uses much less than your monitor and/or your TV.
    Defender's Designs
    I'm Getting Married!

    Not-so-patiently awaiting Harry Potter Book 7 *sigh*

  9. #9
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webnx
    I was amazed at how much juice my fish tanks are using, over 100 kwh in 3 months.
    Yeah aquariums and climate controlled terrariums can suck up the juice. We have one of each in my house. The terrarium has 2 forty watt fluorescent bulbs (one is a special "sunlight bulb" that costs around $40.00) and an 80 watt incandescent heat lamp that are on for 12-14 hours straight every day. The aquarium has two 300 GPH canister filters, infrared filter and a submersible heater as well as an 80 watt incandescent bulb to allow the turtles something to bask in.

    I estimate the two of these things account for 1/3 of our winter electricity use.
    Wayne Luke
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  10. #10
    Non-Member DaveMichaels's Avatar
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    Well, I tried out hibernate on Windows XP and it sucked bad. Today, my computer was still running (well at least the fan was) so I turned on the monitor, which displayed nothing. Neither the mouse nor the keyboard brought the computer back to life, so I turned it off then back on. Windows started up but didn't resume where it was before it "hibernated". Lost everything that was open (mostly a bunch of Firefox tabs). I don't think Windows even saved a memory dump (can't find one in the root of any drives or the Windows or System32 folders). Thanks Microsoft! It's no wonder I have so little faith in you.

    Hibernate works on my laptop though. Maybe there's a hardware setup issue.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard Defender1's Avatar
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    You try hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del?
    I think only sleep wakes up on any inputl.
    Defender's Designs
    I'm Getting Married!

    Not-so-patiently awaiting Harry Potter Book 7 *sigh*

  12. #12
    Non-Member DaveMichaels's Avatar
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    Nah, don't think that's it. When my laptop hibernates it totally turns off. When I push the power button it starts up, loads Windows, and restores from hibernation.

  13. #13
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Most desktop motherboards don't have the BIOS Control for Hibernate to work properly. That is primarily a Laptop feature. For your desktop, you have ACP and Standby controls.
    Wayne Luke
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  14. #14
    Non-Member DaveMichaels's Avatar
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    What does ACP do?

  15. #15
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    It is BIOS settings that shut down the monitor, hard drives, and slow down the CPU when you are not using it. At least that is what it used to be initialed. I think they might have changed that but can't recall the new terminology.
    Wayne Luke
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Defender1
    Your monitor will use the most electricity, while the computer itself uses much less than your monitor and/or your TV.

    not if your using a LCD they are very light on energy usage. Did anyone know Plasma TV's suck ungodly amounts of juice? I saw one of them uses over 400 watts!

    Dan

  17. #17
    Non-Member DaveMichaels's Avatar
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    What's the difference between "standby" and "hibernate". I disabled hibernate buy not standby and my computer did the exact same thing as before (i.e. required a restart and didn't restore anything).

    I looked in my BIOS and didn't see any APC settings. Thought I remembered seeing some before. There are some settings - like wake on S3 (don't know what that is), power down HDD's (max 15 mins - wtf?).


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