In my fifth decade of computing, having thought for some years I'm pretty well equipped to handle whatever comes my way, I realize I'm wholly ignorant about what for some users may be the most important question they have about computing. We have about five PCs in our house, and my wife came forward with a fairly large electric bill and said she wanted to know what part of it was due to running our computers 24 seven and whether buying a lower energy consumption machine or machines might pay for itself in year or so at current electric rates.
I've heard of the "Kill-a-Watt" device, but frankly I'm too old and arthritic to go climbing down among all of our machines. All I want to know are our very best bets for lowest energy consumption cost for our machines, considering that we don't want to wait for reboot upon each seating.
None of our systems does anything but Internet, Excel, and Word processing (with the exception of mine, which does everything, but I'm not really wondering about that.) I build systems easily so I just want to know what processors, monitors and motherboards drink the least juice? I believe I'll set our systems up with normal flatscreen monitors, keyboards and mice. Most of the people in my house need Windows. Is there some wall wart or mini-form factor PC I can buy off the shelf, or should I assemble the best combination of processor, motherboard and monitor? I'm willing to consider large-screen laptops if those would prevent a significant construction project. Of course, we'll have to have a small, always-on solid state file server, to be built out of something like one SSD and a network card.
Limited electric computing – what are the best ideas by Slashdot?"