How Much Energy Is Used At Your Computer Desk?
Author: Rutledge Feman
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 07-14-2008
Provided by: P3 International
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Introduction

If a computer is plugged into a wall, and nobody is there to turn it on, does it still use energy? While a more familiar question with trees begs existential consideration, the answer to my question is far simpler; it's yes. As gas prices go up and up, everyone is looking to economize and save money everywhere they can. Phantom energy, electricity drawn by devices not in use, is one target of many people's efforts. Still, a lot of us think that the minimal wattage used by an empty cell-phone charger isn't worth the hassle and that there are bigger fish to fry. The <1W pull we observe in chargers and other small appliances leads us to forget about unplugging our devices altogether, even the bigger ones. What about your computer, though?

It's a bit ironic that we enthusiasts are more than happy to go online and buy a nice 1KW PSU for our beefy rig, but then when winter rolls around we'll wait the extra few weeks before turning on the heat. Wattage has become, in many senses, a status symbol ó only the beefiest of rigs will truly need more than a 600W PSU. But, who wants to pay close to 10 cents for every hour that they leave their computer on? It's undeniable that a nice computer is definitely a gift that keeps on giving, as it were.


Here at OCIA.net, we have recently come across P3 International's Kill-A-Watt power monitor, a nifty little device that measures electricity use and displays it in a variety of units, like voltage, amperage, and wattage. While the Kill-A-Watt has been around for some time now, it seems like a useful, informative gadget that would catch the interest of any curious consumer. We'll use this power meter today to show you some interesting things about how much energy your computer uses and answer some questions that you've hopefully had on your mental back-burner for the past few months. So, read on, and find outÖ


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