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How to make your computer use less power

make your computer use less power

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Gaming, video editing, Photoshop etc… With these activities on your home computer, high power consumption is not surprising. But would you have thought that if you watch movies on your notebook “only every now and then” or leave your computer idle for hours, you would have a glaring increase in your computer’s power consumption alone? Our guide will outline how to make your computer use less power.

Let’s take a closer look: with electricity prices always rising, even small changes to one’s own usage habits or computer hardware can save money.

We’ll show you what’s important and how you can optimize your PC hardware for power savings.

Make your computer use less power

Computers, printers, routers and televisions currently account for almost 25 percent of a household’s annual energy consumption, according to a study by the Energy Agency. At the end of the 1990s, this proportion was still around 7 percent, with only one in four households owning a PC at all.

In plain language, this means that electricity consumption for information and consumer electronics alone has more than tripled. The cost is still higher than that of the refrigerator and washing machine.

The reason for this development is, of course, significantly more appliances in households, but they are also being used for longer and longer. Today, every PC is in operation for around five hours a day, with an average standby time of 9 hours per day. Ever-increasing diplays on monitors and TVs also have a negative impact on energy consumption.

Consistently phase out old monitors

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The average energy requirement of an old tube monitor with 20 inch display diagonal is over 100 watts, while a comparable TFT flat screen consumes only about 25 watts.

If we make an effort to get the milkmaid’s bill with 4 hours of operation per day, sometimes 365 days a year, the old tube monster costs a whopping $45.26  per year, while the modern flat screen costs only $11.31.

I have to admit that the difference is so stark if I hadn’t thought before researching this article. But there are still plenty of computer users out there who are holding on to their old chunky monitor. To stick to our milkmaid bill from above: The flatscreen costs around $30 less per year than the “thickness”. High-quality used business monitors in A-ware quality currently cost around $70. In other words, after a good two years, the exchange has already paid for itself via the electricity control system.

In addition, the modern flat screens provide a world-wide image, weigh only about a tenth and take up significantly less space on the desk. So there is only one recommendation here: Get away with the old tube screens, and do so as soon as possible!

Carefully weigh up when buying a new business

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But it is not only the monitors that are the sole culprits of the immense power consumption of some systems. Choosing the right computer is at least as important.

With a power consumption of less than 10 watts, the handy devices consume just one-fifth of the energy that a good notebook needs. Compared to desktop computers, the balance is even better. The large PCs consume about 13 to 15 times as much power as a tablet at an average use. The rule of thumb is therefore: the more mobile a device is, the less energy it consumes.

But there is also a whole range of potentials for saving power in desktop PCs. If you don’t need your computer for complex CAD applications or complex PC games, then you can buy a model with a two-core CPU instead of a computer with a four-core processor. This saves up to 20 wattsin full-load operation. If you also do not use a separate graphics card and opt instead for a PC with onboard graphics solution, then you can look forward to another 100 watts less power consumption.

Mini PCs: clever savers

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Despite the high power consumption, full-fledged desktops remain the means of choice when it comes to complex CAD, gaming or multimedia jobs.

However, a rethink is increasingly taking place in the end-user and office areas. Where usually only texts are typed or Excel tables are maintained, the large energy-hungry desktop computers are increasingly softening smart low-consumption mini-PCs.

Even the technical data sheets of the compact computers show the potential for energy savings. Instead of the usual 350 or 500 watts, the power supplies of the mini PCs are usually designed for 65 to a maximum of 90 watts. For office applications without multimedia elements, the power consumption of the devices is only about 30 watts. The reason for this is the energy-saving notebook components,which are mostly installed in the small computers.

Due to low weight, compact dimensions, low power consumption and a wide range of connection options, mini PCs are almost limited in everyday operation. Whether it’s everyday work,school and study,a mini-PC is ideal for working online, writing mails, processing texts or preparing and presenting presentations.

So why not just think about a mini PC the next time you buy a PC? Your electricity bill will definitely thank you.

Turn off wi-Fi routers overnight

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Most Wi-Fi routers send continuously, even when the mobile network is not needed. That costs money. Today, almost all devices offer the possibility to temporarily deactivate the WLAN via the night switch.

This is especially interesting for singles, which can activate the night shift even during the day, when you are already at work.

New equipment and the “hidden” electricity costs

Depending on the technical equipment, a single household requires between 1500 and 2000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. On the other hand, around 3,000 KWh are due for the production of a single new computer alone, as calculated by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

With this amount of energy, a high-performance notebook could operate for around 60,000 hours and a thrifty tablet PC for as long as 300,000 hours.

The overall energy balance of brand new computers is thus more than just devastating; the purchase of new hardware is not only unworldly and resource-burdening, but also disproportionately expensive, since the high energy costs are of course already included by the manufacturer in the sales price.

Just think about whether you really need to buy a completely new computer before you buy it next. Perhaps upgrading is enough, or is it enough just to replace a few components? Or is it enough to purchase a good used and professionally reprocessed system and make your computer use less power?

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