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On the topic of computer power consumption ...

Displaying poll results.
I track my equipment's consumption closely.
  530 votes / 2%
I keep track regularly but casually.
  2241 votes / 12%
I don't keep track of it (except to pay the bill).
  12092 votes / 66%
I try to use more power whenever possible.
  2527 votes / 13%
I only use outlets at Starbucks and the library.
  697 votes / 3%
18087 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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On the topic of computer power consumption ...

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  • ... and the power consumption is included in the price. I don't know how much power I use, nor do I really care.
    • The more your owner's electricity bill grows, the more your rent may go up.

      • by NevarMore (248971)

        The more your owner's electricity bill grows, the more your rent may go up.

        No its cool, he rents so he has a lot of extra money laying around from not having to pay property taxes.

        • Property taxes are included in the rent.

          Unless you mean he is renting his place while renting out another place and willfully not paying property taxes to the local entity in which case, thanks a lot asshat.

  • by rodney dill (631059) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:47AM (#37408874) Journal
    ...that a computer could catch TB.
  • Killawatt meter (Score:4, Interesting)

    by digitalsushi (137809) <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Thursday September 15, 2011 @10:13AM (#37409186) Journal

    I got a killawatt meter a few years ago and used to aggregate all the power to run through it. (This was at home where you could do such a thing on a single circuit). I realized I was burning something like 8 to 15 bucks a month per PC (new hampshire power at around 14 cents per kwh I think we are set to). Being a college kid back then with 40 bucks of cash burning just to "seem geeky" ended up being an eye opener (the killawatt paid for itself basically the first 10 days I owned it).

    Fortunately we have all moved to VMs and these days I still run the same misconfigured lamp stack, but now on a vm on a mac mini that the whole house uses for playing and listening to music, videos, movies, surfing, email - the everything-computer. With virtualbox running hidden in the background with another little universe crammed into it. (Running a nat router in a vm seems cool to me more than it really is. Rather, putting a wan address on a vm seems cool.)

    • Fortunately we have all moved to VMs and these days I still run the same misconfigured lamp stack, but now on a vm on a mac mini that the whole house uses for playing and listening to music, videos, movies, surfing, email - the everything-computer. With virtualbox running hidden in the background with another little universe crammed into it. (Running a nat router in a vm seems cool to me more than it really is. Rather, putting a wan address on a vm seems cool.)

      Question (and a serious one): I get the concept of running multiple machines as VMs in one computer and saving the excess power of having 4 or 5 computers sitting around mostly idle -- but a VM isn't that useful without some way to use it. So you still need something to serve as a terminal, right? Where does the savings come from?

      • by LoudMusic (199347)

        The VM could be a headless system. He uses his VM as a router and web server, replacing hardware but maintaining functionality. You can also connect to a VM from the host system either through the VM server interface or via the guest system's services like RDP or SSH.

      • LoudMusic's answer is completely correct.

        Think of what a terminal means, and expand your notion outwards - a terminal could be an electronic piano, or it could be a digital thermostat, or it could be a hacked appleTV. Each of these things interfaces with the operating system directly, and none of them require a console GUI. I'm quite fond of remote desktop, which lets you use a headless machine as though it had one, using someone else's head. Watching media off a remote server is a similar example - ther

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        For smaller VMs, being able to keep snapshots around comes into handy. Restoring a VM disk from a snapshot or a file saved on another HDD is a lot easier than trying to restore a real machine.

        The nice thing about VMs is that when you get newer hardware, moving them is just a power off of the clients, a copy of the VHD files, and a power on. This way, older hardware that slurps up electricity can be retired. Plus, as disk technologies change, the only place you have to worry about that is on the VM server

    • My electricity company sent me a power use monitoring device. The sensor clips around the power cable between the electric meter and the distribution board, so it measures the whole house's consumption.

      With everything obvious off, consumption is 120W or so. Switching off the fridge and freezer brings it down to 40W (say), unplugging *everything* (washing machine, dishwasher, oven, phone chargers, laptop chargers, etc) brings it down to about 2W. Switching off all the lighting circuits leaves it at 1W (I

      • Hrm. Not sure, I am a computer scientist. I'd say ask an electrical engineer, but they're probably all busy at work.

        • I'm an electrical engineer, but my pocket protector is in the shop so all I can do is offer moral support.
      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        17W is probably within the margin of error of the device (given that a household system can easily draw 5,000w or more during peak and the meter probably ranges up to 10,000-12,000w. I would bet that both readings (1w and 17w) were wrong in some sense.

        • by Kittenman (971447)
          Interesting point - margins of error are usually plus or minus . And I bet there's something that stops the little wheel indicating that power is going back from the house to the grid...
      • If you have an old-school spinning-disc watthour meter that doesn't provide a direct wattage readout, you can use the disc and a stopwatch to measure your power draw. Note the value marked "Kh" on the meter, and measure the time it takes for the disc to make one revolution. You can then calculate the watts:

        W = Kh / (t / 3600)

        Of course, power demand may change while you're timing the disc. Also, you need a stopwatch with at least 1/5-second resolution; small differences in time can be significant.

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        Clamp-on meters are not at all appropriate for low current conditions such as you describe. Also, they are only supposed to be used on one conductor, where a residential power cable contains 3 conductors. The conductor must also (ideally) be centered within the loop -- too far to either side will cause measurement errors.

        Additionally, the meter may require calibration, or it may be showing an induced current from nearby wires. Throwing the breakers only removes the load, but if the supply lines are close

        • by xaxa (988988)

          Clamp-on meters are not at all appropriate for low current conditions such as you describe. Also, they are only supposed to be used on one conductor, where a residential power cable contains 3 conductors.

          It's clamped around the live wire -- they are separate as they leave the electricity meter and enter the distribution board (I'm in the UK, presumably standards differ elsewhere).

          The conductor must also (ideally) be centered within the loop -- too far to either side will cause measurement errors.

          Additionally, the meter may require calibration, or it may be showing an induced current from nearby wires.

          I'll experiment, although it will have to wait until I'm alone at home (being the same as the time my housemate isn't using his computer).

          Thanks for the info/ideas.

    • Was that with a desktop PC? I was told laptops/notebooks use way less power compared to desktop PCs. Too bad I play computer games, run a HTPC, heavy multitask, etc. :(

      • Yeah, big old beige box computers I put together myself with crummy old operating systems and screen savers that talked to ET. About as bad as it got. I didn't ever feel so badly about it in the winter when it was about 10 degrees anything outside.

        • by antdude (79039)

          Yeah, they're useful during winter times. Frak them during the heat waves (can get up to 90F degrees in my tiny upstair room). :(

          • I don't know what 90F feels like, but my apartment is hot enough that I use an air conditioner well into Jan/Feb when it's well below freezing outside. Otherwise it's too hot to sleep. I need a dryer vent style system where I can blow the hot air from my PCs outside.
            • by antdude (79039)

              Get a thermometer for your room (not the internal computers' ones :P). ;) I have two of them in my room since both show a few degrees apart.

    • we have all moved to VMs and these days I still run the same misconfigured lamp stack, but now on a vm on a mac mini that the whole house uses for playing and listening to music, videos, movies, surfing, email - the everything-computer

      So everything is on ONE computer... "we have all moved to VMs" -- not sure why you mention this or how this relates to power consumption. Anyway, my question is how do multiple people simultaneously use one computer, on VMs or KVMs or whatever? Wouldn't it have to be one p

      • Utilizing VMs relates to power consumption specifically because aggregating a physical machine into a virtual one reduces power consumption. Why pay for idle CPU cycles on two machines when one will suffice? If both machines are being utilized you have an excellent argument to keep them both, but it falls apart when the machines are largely idle. We're in the scope of the lazy weekend sysadmin at home, so of course these machines all run only sporadically.

        As for multiple human bodies using a machine simu

    • I don't meter mine. I do however select which I run based on my needs. Slashdot is most often done on a netbook The power supply for it is 18 volt at 1.5 amps for a maximum power draw including the display of 32 Watts max. The Netbook like the rest of my computers are turned off when not in use. I voted monitor some. I don't meter it, but I do control it. In the summer a comfortable chair and low heat is the motivation. In the winter, since I have electric heat, it doesn't mater. What the computer d

  • are a big green middle finger. Take that, bunny-huggers!
    • The missing option... I paid attention to power consumption when I built my PC, and I've got my wife's and kid's computers set to go into sleep/hibernate modes when not in use. I tried that with my users at work, but that didn't go over very well, so sleep mode is lifted on a case by case basis. And then on my home PC, I bought a gaming video card which draws more power than the rest of the system combined, just so I could play Dragon Age and not have the graphics suck.

    • I hope someone with mod points and a sense of humor comes along soon. Whether you were being serious or not (I doubt it), the way you phrased that actually made me snort coffe this morning. Thanks.
    • Actually, I'm part of that "big green middle finger", and I'm also an avid environmentalist. You know why I don't pay much attention to my computer's power use? Because there's 3 computers I own... one of them is an HTPC that doubles as my network fileserver, and application server for SSH + X-forwarding so I can run secure apps... mostly it gets used to do my online banking. That system was built on a Mini-ITX form-factor with mostly laptop hardware, and even though it has a 60W brick for power, it usually

  • I try not to consume any computers ... very hard on the esophagus and stomach.

  • That flux capacitor isn't going to turn itself on, after all.
  • Why should I? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Misagon (1135) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @11:36AM (#37410164)

    Why should I have to measure the power consumption?
    Before I got the box and the screen, I checked the manufacturers' figures about power consumption and saw that they were low. Those variables were significant in making me choose these products.
    That should be enough.

    Should I expect the manufacturers to have lied .. or what?

    • by gregrah (1605707)
      Out of curiosity, what are you running (CPU, video card, etc) and what figures did the manufacturer list for power consumption of your system? It's usually possible to estimate the peak/average power consumption of a system based on the components.

      In reality, most manufacturers tend to overstate numbers by listing the max power consumption numbers vs. averages. For example, while my CPU alone is rated at 85W, I've found that on average my entire system actually only consumes about 65W.

      The larger
    • by Zumbs (1241138)

      Should I expect the manufacturers to have lied .. or what?

      Just ask yourself: How do you think they got those numbers? Are the use cases they use to generate those numbers comparable with how you use your computer?

    • You buy pre-built computers? I only bought a pre-built computer once - a laptop - and even then I modded it before I ever turned it on.

      Better explain this or your geek card's getting a probation sticker.

      • I have found that if you are looking for a middle of the road computer a pre-rigged system is often a more economical choice if you don't have any special requirements. It is only when you have special requirements or want something that is out at the ends of the performance vs price curve that custom built is better. For the general purpose computer we have had a pre-rigged one, but I usually go and immediately stuff in the max ram and a couple of larger drives and call it good since this is cheaper than g
    • by Renegrade (698801)

      Should I expect the manufacturers to have lied .. or what?

      In a word, yes.

      Longer version: Every important metric I've ever looked at, aside from input power requirements, are a lie in some way. Response times listed for LCD screens are outright fabrications, contrast ratio on ANYTHING uses abusive testing methods, Intel CPU power consumption figures are always "average usage", input latency issues with displays are always a lie of omission, hard drive sizes are stated in what I call "short mega/gigabytes", etc, etc, etc..

      The very fact that these figures are largel

    • by geekoid (135745)

      There is the standard the measure by, and then there is real world usage.You could be using it heavier then their 'tests'.

      However, your method is a good rule of thumb.

    • It can tell you how much you have to pay if you don't turn your computer off while you are asleep or at work.
    • ... where the question said you had to. Of course you don't have to - the poll is about what people are actually doing. But if you think you can take the numbers printed on the tin at face value... I've got a bridge to sell you. Those kind of numbers are almost always specified for some sort of standard or "ideal" conditions that may or may not bear any relationship to reality.
  • by PPH (736903)
    My computer heats my office.
    • I live in Minnesota, so 8 months of the year, I agree with your statement. My home PC and server help heat my basement office. At work, we use the waste heat from the server room to heat the manufacturing area.

    • by tixxit (1107127)
      I had a roommate once who insisted on keeping our (rented) house at 18 C in the winter. My gf (now wife) and I made a little fort out of sheets around our computer desk to keep the heat from the computer in to warm us. We felt like we were 10 again. It was great.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        65 degrees is cold enough to do that?man, what are you, 90?

      • by Cimexus (1355033)

        Wow, you wouldn't survive long in my place. :) Temperature in here hovers between 14 and 17 C from late May until mid-September, and that's WITH a couple of oil heaters on (Australia btw, hence those are the colder months). It might occasionally get to 18 for a few hours on a sunny afternoon with the sun shinining directly into the west-facing windows.

        You think that sounds cold but it's amazingly how quickly you acclimatise - takes a few weeks, tops. Right now it's 16.5 C inside and I'm sitting here on a Fr

        • That's not cold that is always t-shirt weather for me. Being outside doing strenuous activity and even -5C is still t-shirt weather, much cooler and I need to have a long sleeve shirt. By strenuous activity I mean like carrying a 105kg deer about a kilometer through the woods, splitting wood, cutting trees/logs.
  • Running a couple desktops and laptops 24/7 results in a cost of about $10/mo, and that is if they are at full use. My desktop averages about 60w, and I haven't been able to get it over 150w. Quad core intel with 8G RAM and like 6 hard disks. I feel silly for buying a 600w power supply now.

    • I feel silly for buying a 600w power supply now.

      If it makes you feel any better, it's hard to find anything under 400W.

    • You should never pick a PSU that will come close to meeting its limit. Most PSUs now-days have crappy caps. Over time, they start to dry out and (if under heavy load) will vent to failure. So for the sake of longevity and needing future capacity, you choice in installing a 600w PSU was a good one.

    • by V!NCENT (1105021)

      I feel silly for buying a 600w power supply now.

      If your PSU would draw 600w, just to run itself, then how can it power your computer?

      That wasn't a question, because the answer is that it has about 80% efficiency and it only draws as much as your motherboard (and everything on it) consumes (plus that 25%) and the 5V fan...

      In fact... the more expensive and more Watt your PSU gets, the longer it usualy lasts and the more efficient it gets (usualy!).

      I'd say: "Feel good about it." :)

  • When I was living on a fishing boat you can be sure we kept track of power usage! Getting a jump is a waaaaaaay more difficult thing to do out at sea...
  • the E350 chip and board consume 21W at full draw, 17W in normal use and 13W reading Slashdot. Cheaper than an i7 As capable as an i5. I'm happy.

  • I have a space heater in my office, well, since HSE wouldn't let me have a space heater, I just built a PC to do computational projects with a 6-core AMD proc and three hot graphics cards. It drains about 750W at full load which is enough to keep my office warm enough to avoid my Raynaud's, with the side benefit of being able to model radar cross sections quite quickly.

    • We have a couple of big Cisco routers/switches at work - 12000-class and 6500-class. We don't use them very often, but if we turn them both on, the lab heats up about 5-10 degrees (and it's a big lab with a big air conditioning system.)

  • I don't track it, and I don't pay the bill. I just know how much time is left on the battery when I'm off AC.

  • There are more ways to save power than most people appreciate.

    Turn down the brightness. That was big savings with a CRT, and it still helps with most LCDs. During the CRT era, I also went with light text on dark backgrounds color schemes. Don't think that helped much, but a typical 15" or 17" CRT used around 50W to display all black, and around 100W to display all white. Doesn't matter now.

    Get better desktop computer power supplies. Many are only 60% to 70% efficient. But they can be over 90% [80plus.org]. Th

    • by clarkn0va (807617)

      Fans are another big energy user. Any sort of electric motor takes a good deal of power. Often, case fans can be run more slowly without the computer overheating. Makes it quieter too.

      Careful. I too enjoy a quiet build, but to make the blanket statement that reducing fan count or speed will reduce power consumption is not necessarily the whole story. Some electronics actually become less efficient as temperature rises, so that adding a fan at 1W may actually reduce your total load.

    • Dropping the +-5V DC and running with only the +12V DC would greatly simplify power supplies.

      But would actually increase power use, because most circuits run on 5V or 3.3V, and the 12V would have to be dividered down (much less efficient for small power users than getting the PSU to do it. For a big power draw like a GPU I think it's better to drop the voltage actually at the GPU). Most laptops drop the 12V line, the batteries tend to be wired to provide 6V or so at max charge (dropping down to 5V at minimum charge).
      I suspect the rise of 3.3V chips is why SATA power cables have an additional 3.3V l

      • What I read is that in the 80's, +5V DC was the most used. Today, that has shifted to +12V DC. Motherboards use a large range of voltages. The CPU alone may use different voltages, depending on the load. So, motherboards are optimized to provide just the right level and amount of voltage to the various chips, and it's easier to step down than up. The power supply designers can't know what hardware will be used, and have to design for the maximum, which reduces the efficiency for light loads. Better to
  • While running a Mac G4 tower as a server, the only time I put it on a Kill-A-Watt was the last time: @ $0.32/kwh, I sold it and got a used Mac Mini Core Solo, which (with all the various peripherals) draws 1/5th the power, with a considerable performance gain. Now, I'm back to keeping my beady eye on a/c usage.

  • is one of the main reasons I never bought a Pentium 4. Of course, the fact that my dual P3 was more responsive, and of similar overall speed while using less power and running quieter (because I didn't need to remove as much heat) were important considerations too.

  • Coincidentally, my wife complained about the power bill just last week, and I went hunting through the house (including computers).

    Standby power is still a real issue, both for computers and for lots of other devices. For example, we have three printers (it's a home-office), and all go into standby. One of them uses less than 1 watt, one uses 30 watts, and one uses more than 50 watts on standby. Stupid, stupid engineering. Most of our computers use about 20 watts on standby - this includes laptops left hang

  • I don't keep track because I have free utilities.
  • Just stopping in to state the obvious: Slashdot polls completely blow now. No CowboyNeal option, but further than that, not even a single tongue-in-cheek humorous one. Way to take a page from Facebook marketing polls Slashdot! What companies are these results being sold to anyway?
  • "I have to use a treadmill to power my pc, you insensitive clod"

  • Casually, but not regularly. Every time I make some sort of equipment change, I check my UPS's watt meter to get a general idea of how much my setup is using. This only happens a couple times a year (on a side note, switching from Q6600 to i5 2500k a couple of months ago dropped my power usage by about 100 watts (part of that from being able to go from 2 graphics cards to 1 + integrated for my 4 monitors)).

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

 



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