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The power consumption of PC & notebook - the wattage in sight!

The new electricity bill has arrived and you have almost fallen off your chair because of the amount of the additional payment you have to make. You absolutely cannot explain why you suddenly have such a high bill. But then it occurs to you that you've been sitting at your PC for hours very frequently in the past few months, gambling. Could that account for the higher consumption? Absolutely! Find out how much electricity a Computer consumes and also how you can reduce electricity costs.

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How many watts does my computer use on average?

That depends on which components are installed. A simple office PC consumes less than a gaming Computer that is equipped with many powerful extra components. If you want to find out how many watts the computer consumes, you can use the installed power supply as a reference. A power supply with 300 watts can provide a maximum of 300 watts. This means that the consumption is below 300 watts in normal use, in many cases even far below that. A computer that is equipped with a modern multi-core processor, for example from Intel, and has a dedicated graphics card, consumes about 135 watts per hour. Of course, the consumption of the monitor and all other devices that might be connected to the PC have to be added to this. The Average values for an office PC are 135 to 200 watts per hour, a gaming PC can easily consume up to 350 watts per hour.


Where can I see the power consumption?

There is a tool that was developed by Microsoft. This tool, called Joulemeter, makes it possible to determine the power consumption of the hardware installed. To determine the power consumption, the tool simply needs to be downloaded and installed. After starting Joulemeter, the current settings are selected in the first tab. Then click on "Perform Calibration" and wait for the process to be completed. The information about how much power the computer consumes can be found in the "Power Usage" tab after the process is complete.

voltmeter

How do I calculate the power consumption for my computer?

To detect the power requirements of the PC, the power of all components installed in the computer must be known. For the calculation, the power of all components is added up and multiplied by the duration of use. The result ist the computer's energy requirement. Alternatively, there is also the possibility of using consumption calculators, which are available online on various sites. All you have to do is enter the required data there. It is usually also possible to enter the daily usage time, so that the costs are also extrapolated for the year. Alternatively, you can simply use a measuring device.


How much does a computer consume?

With a computer, it depends on which components are used when it comes to power consumption. Two sample calculations can be used to show how different the power consumption can be.

Office PC: Example calculation for power consumption

To calculate the power consumption of an office PC, a device with a power of 150 watts and an average usage time of 4 hours per day is used as an example. The power consumption is calculated like this:

150 watts per hour x 4 hours per day x 356 days = 219 kWh per year

To calculate the costs incurred per year, the kilowatt hours are multiplied by the price per kilowatt hour. For the example, a price of 35 cents per kilowatt hour is used (35 cents ist a german average). This means in this case:

219 kWh x 0,35 € = 76,65 € (in Germany)

219 kWh x 0,25 € = 54,75 Pound (in UK)

219 kWh x 0,13 € = 28,47 Dollar (in US)

Thus, a simple office PC consumes electricity for more than 75 euros in Germany per year with moderate use.

Gaming PC: Exemplary calculation for power consumption

For this example, a gaming PC with a power of 350 watts is assumed, the other data is taken from the previous example. This results in this calculation:

350 watts per hour x 4 hours per day x 356 days = 511 kWh per year

To calculate the costs incurred per year, the kilowatt hours are multiplied by the price per kilowatt hour. For the example, a price of 35 cents per kilowatt hour is used. This means in this case:

511 kWh x 0,35 € = 178,85 € (in Germany)

511 kWh x 0,25 € = 127,75 Pound (in UK)

511 kWh x 0,12 € = 61,32 Dollar (in US)

A gaming PC consumes much more power than an office PC for the same amount of time and therefore costs more.


Which PC component consumes how much power?

PC power consumption individual components

Of course, most components in the PC need power, but the power consumption differs quite a bit. There are two components that consume particularly much power, the processor and the graphics card. Depending on which CPU is chosen, the power consumption can easily be up to 150 watts. A high-quality graphics card, which is often used in gaming PCs, consumes up to 250 watts depending on the model. If a second graphics card is used in a gaming PC, the computer's power consumption naturally increases a lot.

The mainboard, the RAM and the hard drives as well as the power supply also need power, but the consumption of these components is about 50 to 100 watts in total. Again, the actual power consumption depends on the respective models.


How does the power consumption change during gaming?

If you own a gaming COmputer, you usually use it not only for gaming, but also for all other tasks, such as browsing the websites or answering emails. If the computer is confronted with such simple tasks that do not require much computing power, it consumes less power. The situation is different when the PC works under full load, which is very often the case with demanding games. In most cases, both the processor and the graphics card are fully loaded and needs much more energy. The power consumption in gaming always has something to do with which game is played. Not every game is equally demanding and makes equally high requests on the hardware.


How much power does my PC consume in standby mode?

It is always very convenient when the computer is available within a few seconds to quickly write an e-mail or search for information. This is the reason why many people leave their computer in the so-called standby mode all day long. Standby mode here means that the computer is not running, but it is not completely shut down either. It can be ready for use again within a few seconds at the push of a button. A conventional desktop PC can consume up to 15 watts in standby mode per day. So if a computer stays in standby mode day and night throughout the year, the price per kilowatt hour of €0.35 could result in additional consumption of more than 45 Euro (Germany).


Does the PC consume power when I shut it down?

Actually, you should be able to assume that the PC no longer consumes power when it has been shut down. However, this is not the case. A Computer that is connected to a power source via a power supply unit also consumes power when it is not switched on. The electricity that flows then is called leakage current. There are components that pull power at all times, whether the PC is on or off. The best way to prevent this is to disconnect the computer from the power supply when it is not in use, i.e. pull out the plug. Alternatively, power strips that can be switched off can also be used.

Power consumption PC laptop shut down

What are the options for reducing power consumption?

Power consumption PC capacitors on mainboard

There are a few ways to reduce a PC's energy consumption. One way is to change PC parts that turn out to be real energy guzzlers. Cheap components are often installed in a PC that claims to have high computing power. However, many of these components draw far more power than higher-quality models, which are more expensive but pay off in the long run. In addition, everyone should check whether the installed hardware is actually needed. If you use a powerful Gaming PC for a few hours a day to surf the Internet, but never play games, you should better buy a device with less powerful components.

On a gaming PC, settings in the gaming setup can be changed to save power. A good option is to set up performance profiles in the power management options. It is also possible to put the computer into power-saving mode when idle periods occur in between. But these settings can lead to problems when gaming, for example, there can be performance losses. It is better to set the Windows gaming mode in the performance settings. There are also certain motherboard tools that recognize the start of a game and immediately ramp up the computer to full performance.

The power supply can also be a big power guzzler. It is recommended to buy a modern power supply that has a high efficiency. These power supplies are manufactured under the so-called "80 Plus" initiative. This initiative states that power supplies with a load of 20 percent or more must have an efficiency of at least 80 percent. This means that no more than 20 percent of the energy emitted by the power supply may go out as heat. Older power supplies often waste much more energy in the form of heat. Replacing them can lead to electricity savings.


How much power does my laptop consume?

Laptops were invented to be used on the go. This means that they are particularly economical and efficient. The more efficiently the installed components work, the longer the battery will last. If the components are efficient, the devices also only consume little power when they are operated via the power supply. Exactly how much power a laptop consumes depends on various factors. New devices are particularly energy efficient, older models consume a bit more power. The exact power consumption can be found out by using a calculator. However, the average consumption of laptops is around 60 watts, and it can also be up to 80 watts at maximum performance. It also depends on the chosen model and the design.

illuminated black keyboord

Conclusion

You don't have to give up your favorite hobby, gaming, to save electricity. There are many other ways to reduce the power consumption of your Computer. Even using different options in the computer's settings can save quite a bit of power. You might also consider upgrading your machine with a few new components. Knowing the power consumption means knowing exactly what the costs will be over the year. You can also consider where savings can be made. Desktop PCs doesn't have to be energy guzzlers.

Created: 12. October 2022