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Getting PC to consumer less power

Posted on 2014-04-28
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Last Modified: 2014-05-05
All,

I have two PCs in the house running all the time.  One I use as a desktop PC the other I use as Server (Windows Home Server).

I have tweaked the power settings in Windows appropriately - however looking to further reduce the power usage.  Any ideas?  Is there any good software that helps?  Any standard approach?

Kind regards
A.
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Question by:amacfarl
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10 Comments
 
LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40026857
Turn them off when not needed, or at least have them go to sleep. If there is a display or other peripheral connected to the server, turn those off too when not needed.
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:helpfinder
ID: 40026865
you can try components which use less power like SSD or no external video card etc.
also you can merge that 2 computers into one using virtualization if it is acceptavble for your home infrastructure.
if you do not need to run your desktop or derver 24/7 consider to schedule power down and start automacitally - you can use BIOS feature (if your BIOS supports - Resume by Alarm or so called) or some 3th party application. Also Wake-on-Lan (WoL) could be the solution
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 40027541
Replace the CPU with a lower power one if you can, or replace the Home Server machine with a microserver - http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-things-you-should-know-about-microservers/ (HP's takes 60w idle, 72w at full tilt). You probably can't replace your desktop with a microserver, they don't have high performance graphics.
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LVL 70

Accepted Solution

by:
Merete earned 668 total points
ID: 40028866
I would suggest that you buy a meter
The Kill A Watt is an electricity usage monitor marketed by P3 International. It features a large LCD display and it enables cost forecasting. Then you can see what is using the power.
http://www.p3international.com/products/p4400.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_A_Watt
Most computers don't use much power if the PSU meets the demands and never exceeds 65% max load of the total watts/volts of the recommended,
the PSU is in idle most of the time, if you watch a lot of video then yes it causes extra load.
The video card also uses power so again with high video use that will spin things on all the time.
What video card? and PSU? what is the home server used for?
SSD/solid state drives use less power than a HDD in that it runs cooler.
SSD vs HDD - Why Solid State Drive
http://ocz.com/consumer/ssd-guide/ssd-vs-hdd
The main area of power usage is also the desktop monitor in my opinion.
How brighter it is/ how old it is uses more power.
Turn the monitor off after two minutes of inactivity.
I find a digital flat screen TV uses so little these days compared to the desktop monitors.
This is a good old reference for tips on our computers
How much electricity do computers use?
http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/computers.html
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40029203
the best way to consume less power is using newer hardware; they consume a lot less than older ones (eg P4 systems)
you can use SSD instead of rotating disks; usb sticks instead of DVD drive (disconnect the drive then) - and use low power - or integrated video card
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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:Danny Child
Danny Child earned 1332 total points
ID: 40030702
A while back, I used a meter as above to check on some standard corporate machines - Dell Optiplex 780 models.  I wanted to find out how much power they used overnight.  When left at idle, the base units used about 40W, and the (twin, 17") screens used 25W each, so the whole system was barely less than 100W.  Furthermore, when the screens went to sleep, they dropped to only about 5W.  The systems used more when booting, but only temporarily.  

If you check your power bill, it's normally rated in kWh - kilowatt-hours.  This is the amount of money you pay to run a 1 kilowatt (1000 Watts) device for 1 hour.  So, ten x 100W bulbs would use a kilowatt in 1 hour.  Or, 1 of the bulbs for 10 hours would use the same.

So, in my test, I was using approx 50W (40+5+5) every hour, overnight, so it would take me 20 hours to use one unit of electricity.  This was only a few pence.

This is a good site to do calculations.  
http://www.ukpower.co.uk/tools/running_costs_electricity
- fill in the white lines, and the blue will then calculate.  It would work for $ as well as £, as well as other similar denominations.

To answer your actual question, a scheduled task to power OFF the server when not used, from say 02:00 to 08:00 would save 1/4 of your bill.  A simple mains timer could restore the power at 8am, and if your server is set to Wake on Power Restoration in the BIOS, it would boot.  

But, to be honest, it's not a huge power draw.  Electric heaters run at 2000W or 3000W, for comparison.  You may have bigger fish to fry...
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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:Danny Child
Danny Child earned 1332 total points
ID: 40030719
Here's a cheap meter, available from Maplins.
http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/15a-plug-in-energy-saving-monitor-l61aq
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40030724
But you'd turn the heater off when the room is warm enough (besides, when your PC's are running you often have to worry more about cooling than heating. In Winter I can generally use a very low heater setting, as the PC's tend to warm the environment up enough as long as I don't have the Windows open all the time).
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:amacfarl
ID: 40041492
Thank you all for your replies.  It has been extremely helpful.  I ended up buying a meter and found out that it uses 1.6 Kwh per day - which then means per year it uses approx. 600 Kwh.  The total cost for me is therefore around £70 per year.  This is all for my server.  I have yet to do it on my desktop.

It helped put it all into perspective. Overall I am happy with the cost of £70 and shall not be doing anything to save energy.  However for the desktop I am expecting that to be much greater as it has two monitors attached to it.  So most likely where I will end up putting my desktop to sleep when not using it.

Thanks all for your feedback.  It all has helped so I have divided the points
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40041658
Well Done  amacfarl, everything back in perspective..
Glad to have helped and thank you..
Merete
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