Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Desktop used HOW much power last year?

Well it shouldn't come as a surprise, but I left a power monitor attached to my primary computer (a high-end quad core beast, with a large 26 inch LCD display). I remembered to check the meter today and discovered I had been logging power use for 9,500 hours (which is almost exactly 13 months). The figures worked out like this:
  • 9,500 hours of monitoring
  • 1,440 KWH of power consumed
  • $262 expended
  • Average of 152 watts/hour
So this one PC, that sometimes might go for weeks at a time without being turned on, was responsible for about $242 in charges per year -- a bit more than I pay for an average month. Now the sad thing is this PC is off more than it is on, but two other machines that are used for my work, run pretty much 24/7.

So why do I bring this up? Pretty much to make the point that PCs need to be turned off when not in use -- especially high-end desktops, which consume huge amounts of power. It also makes me ponder the viability of a desktops in the first place.

My new MacBook Pro consumes less than 85 watts of power when it is on, and has pretty impressive graphic performance (good enough for all but the leading-edge games). If I were to simply dock that to a large monitor I would have a computing experience that was almost identical at a fraction of the power (probably 1/5). So that would be $190 a year in my pocket in terms of power savings.

Now the power consumption I am reporting is for the Monitor and Desktop itself. I did NOT measure the power consumed by the UPS, which as I have mentioned before, depending on model, can be quite inefficient -- especially on stand-by. Another advantage of a laptop is that a UPS is no longer required (the battery in the laptop performs that roll). So the laptop avoids the first cost of purchase of a UPS and saves just about another $50 a year.

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