Power consumption of a PC

Hey guys,

Lately my Mum has be getting on my back about much I leave this PC on. This PC is my own build I use for gaming, e-mail, Internet ect. I tend to leave it on when I’m not using it 'cos it seems pointless keep turning it on and off over again. When its left on its ussally not doing much, but somtimes a download or a defrag. So I wanner ask, is my PC ‘wasting’ that much power being left on? My PC specs are in my sig if you need to know them for any reason.


Do what I started doing to my mom, just hand her $1 every time she starts in on it, and tell her that should cover today, and then some. I bet your computer draws less than 300w even at full load. My machine draws about that full load, and yours doesn’t have as power hungry of a CPU. That powersupply is a POS though, so it might be pretty inefficient. I think you don’t have it loaded down hard enough to make it’s efficiency drop though. I had this same arguement with my mom, she kept complaining about the electric bill, but she could run her stupid electric heater that draws a kilowatt!!! If you have a CRT, it will draw a little more than double what the same size LCD does. An LCD actually saves a LOT of power. Idle, your puter probably doesn’r draw much, maybe 1.5a @ the most + accesories. Doing a defrag, it might draw 2a, downloading stuff will be close to idle. As long as you have it set to turn the monitor off, it shouldn’t be an issue. Really, it probably eats less than $.50 a day (24 hours), if that, unless you have it running full load all the time. It does add up, I actually bought a seasonic power angel to settle this arguement with my mom. She kept telling me there’s no way her leaving the oven on (electric oven), running the 1kw (actually 1250w) heater, and running the furace/air conditioning when the house is only a couple degrees off didn’t run the bill up!!! Trying to explain that to her was like talking to a brick, she blamed it all on my computer. So, I bought the power angel, and showed her EXACTLY how much my puter consumes. It was a HELLUVA lot less than her heater, or anything else for that matter! She still wouldn’t shut up, even though she knew what was responsible for the big bills. So, I handed her $1, and said that should cover it for the night. She got P!$$3D, and threw it back at me (like she usually does). I even offered to measure the average power consumption of my whole desk for a couple months, and pay that much extra into the electric bill. She just gor more P!$$3D, and told me to shut up, because it MIGHT work out to be $15-$20/month!!! I wish she’d just drop it, it’s OBNOXIOUS, and it’s not like it’s justified. I could see if I had some phase change cooler eating 10a with a big old compressor in it. Or 500w worth of peltiers, or some sort of extremely wasteful cooling on it. It’s just a plain old air cooled computer, and doesn’t even stay on all day. It is on about 16 hours per day though, so it does add up. It’s about the same ammount of power as her kitchen lights that she leaves on all night. God forbid I point out how much power she uses, she just starts yelling! :rolleyes: I dunno why women think that computers use so much power, and their stuff doesn’t use anything. It’s pretty much a universal thing, they can bitch about your computer, but don’t SAY A WORD about the hair dryer. Or how about the oven she turned on to heat up a roll (ONE STINKING ROLL!!!), and left on for 3 hours because she forgot. Or the lights she left on in the garage, because she though she heard something. I dunno, not much you can do but try to point out the math involved (good luck with that). The computer will ALWAYS magically eat all the wasted electricity that shows up on the bill! :doh:

If your mother doesn’t know anything about computers (like mine) just turn off the monitor, and as long as you have a silent PC, she’ll never notice.

My mother knows nothing about computers, she can’t even log on to windows or go to mapquest and print a map without calling us to do it for her.
Mind you she only checks her email once every 2 months.

My advice is to build a silent PC.
Of course, If your mom has knowledge about computers, then it may not work.

If you don’t have money for a silent PC, you can always move your computer next to another noisy equipment.
Is that your computer on? No, it’s the fish tank mom. :clap:

Another advice is to put your computer somewhere else other than the living/dining room.
My main one is in my room, and the other is downstairs.
She rarely goes downstairs, and she only comes to my room to wake me up if she wants me to do something.

The number one power saving priority, is to put the monitor into sleep mode after a reasonable amount of inactivity.

Check this out http://cpu.rightmark.org/products/rmclock.shtml - and see if any worthwhile voltage/clock reduction is available for the CPU.

I’m not generally in favour of allowing hard disks to power down, unless there is a pattern of use that enables them to only spin down when truly idle, and to stay spun down for a long time - the way things log and run in the background, I doubt that any prolonged drive inactivity could be guaranteed.

Does everyone live with their mother?? :bigsmile:

Hahahah! Not everyone :bigsmile:

Ya, your tower doesn’t eat all that much power like deer slayer said. At idle, it’s probably using about the same as 2-3 lightbulbs, depending on the wattage of the bulbs. One thing you gotta understand, I hate to sound like a parent, cause I’m not lol, yet. But bills add up, this much I know, and every bit counts. It’s easy to not see this when it’s not you paying them, teenagers seem to think it’s no big deal wasting money. Some people who don’t have any bills don’t understand how much living costs, house bill, car bills, insurance, utilities, phone bill, cable bill, etc etc etc it goes on and on, and just getting by isn’t cheap.

Tell her you’ll turn off your monitor (esp. if you have a crt) cause that will save alot of juice. Explain that your computer only uses as much as a couple lightbulbs, depending on how she feels about it though, that might not help lol. If you want, tell her it only uses as much as one bulb :slight_smile: but that’s probably lowballing it a little. Good luck :slight_smile:

You must save power, as the oil is going to run out.

http://www.peakoil.net/ - The rate of consumption is increasing, while the rate of new discoveries is decreasing.

There is no question of IF we will hit the peak, the only question is WHEN… 20 years, 10, 5, or are we already there?


Nuclear has mauch the same problem as oil - it’s essentially a fossil resource, difficult and dangerous to extract, and unless fast breeder reactors are used to eke out the fuel (and more importantly, reactors designed which can run efficiently and safely on breeder-enhanced fuel), then relying on nuclear to fill the gap will only delay the problem.

Of course, if they ever crack fusion, using trace deuterium extracted from seawater, then all our energy problems are over, but it was 50 years away, 50 years ago, and is probably still 50 years away!

I’m on a university campus 8 months of the year during the school semesters and 2 months during summer.

The most I stay with her is about month during summer…maybe 2 months at most if you include the holidays: 2 weeks christmas break, 1 week spring break, labor day weekend, and any other reason for me coming home.

I don’t bring my computer home during holidays…Just laptop.

Don’t listen to this rubbish. (No offense intended Matth). I remember when, 30 years ago, there was a crisis and scare over world Oil supplies which were forcast to run out in 2010. It was all doom and gloom and petrol rationing.That’s obviously not going to happen. For some reason, at present, it is agian fashionable to try and scare us all witless with forcasts of global warming and lack of Oil etc etc. I’ve heard it all before. In any event turning off your PC is not going to make a blind bit of difference and there is nothing you and I can do about it. Energy will always be abundant. The fact is that the human race will always find a solution and those that revel in this pessimism usually have a vested interest or are wealthy and secure. You have a bright future to look forward to. Better than at any time in our history. Use your PC and enjoy it as you see fit.

If camels are going to roam the deserts of Somerset so be it.

I’m with Matth about energy usage.

With the US using 25% of the world oil consumption & China starting to boom then the oil reserves are going to disappear at an ever increasing rate.

Trouble is that everbody needs to do something so to say that switching your PC off isn’t going to make any difference globally is probably true. But it might keep your Mum quiet.

And then of course there’s global warming but I’m not going there.

But if, as you say (TimC), oil is running out, what difference does it make whether supplies last 20, 50 or 100 years? It’s still going to run out. What are we saving oil for?

I agree that someday oil is going to run out. But the thing about the oil companies is they’re ultra greedy bastards. I’ll bet you anything they’ll start to say it’s running out a little ways before it really is. That way they can jack up the prices and make a sheeeeeetload of money when they still will actually have plenty left. Then one day, they’ll go “oh, we found some more teeeeheeeheeee” They’re scheming caniving sons a bitches.

Look at what they already do. They look for excuses to charge more, I guess the billions and billions they already make isn’t enough for them. They’ve raised the price of gasoline in the past for some pretty rediculous reasons IMO. If karma is real, there’s alot of oil company execs that are gonna burn in hell for sure. :bigsmile:

Just get an Athlon64 and install that Cool’n’quiet driver. Or better: some low voltage/ultra low voltage CPU (Opteron, Pentium M etc, Via C3 :p). And… get used to using the hybernation mode. Oh before I forget, also throw out any fancy VGA cards and get a basic one. That should save quiete some power.

A standard PC (while idle) draws over 100W easily. Considering the current (Dutch) prices, that’s not that cheap…

Welcome to the club.
My dad used to bitch at me all the time about leaving the computer on overnight to download. And to think I have a Centrino notebook, which is expressly made for power efficiency…
When he overdid it (yelilng at me at 2 in the morning gets me really pissed) I finally measured the power my computer needed to run, then found out the local energy pricing and showed him the results. I told him if it bothered so much that my overnight downloading added €1 to the power bill every three days or so perhaps he should stop falling asleep in front of the TV leaving it on all night, as that surely had a larger impact.
That shut him up.

On the subject, I recommend reading this and this.