Watch out! The meter is running.

  TOPCAT® 00:43 17 Sep 2004

As consumer energy prices escalate once again and higher electricity bills drop on the mat, I am rather interested to know how many of you will continue to leave your computers on all the time. It certainly looks as though the days of cheaper energy are beginning to draw to a close as, or so we're told, the North Sea oil bonanza is soon to end. Personally though, I think there are more reserves around our shores which the oil companies are sitting on until the price is right for them. Especially after the round Britain drilling survey carried out a few years ago. Rumours abounded then. But that's a different story.

As you well know, most if not all PCs and their displays can be configured to power down when idle and be powered up again by a simple keystroke or mouse movement, but I suspect many users hardly use this option. I am one of them but adopt a different strategy in that I fire up my PC, use it and then shut it down afterwards. It is never left running when I'm not sat in front of it. There is a train of thought that says one does eventual harm to the PC components by doing this, but I like to think I am saving some energy and a little something off the old bills as well!

This computer energy consumption problem is not sitting still either. With each increase in processor speed its power consumption rises too. Same is true of the latest graphics cards - ATI and nVidia's top end cards now use around 110 watts of power, and I wonder just where the limit is. Power equals heat, so to dissipate this extra case fans are usually needed with a further slight rise in energy usage. At least, the increasing use of flat panel displays over the ubiquitous CRT monitor is lowering power consumption by an acceptable amount - less than half that of the average monitor I believe.

So there you have it. It is rather sobering to have read that if 50 million PCs (in the USA) were left on all day their power consumption would be the equivalent of the total output of three large power stations!! It will be interesting to read your comments and please feel free to correct me on any inaccuracies in the above. :-) Happy computing! TC.

  kev.Ifty 01:31 17 Sep 2004

I have neither the knowledge or experience to correct you but what about my fridge and aquarium should i consider switching them off so that them Yankees can file share? :-)

I leave my PC on mainly because i read on here it was better for your computer to do so....

I await (as you do) other opinions.

Cheers Kev

  end 01:46 17 Sep 2004

well; I have both a tower and a lap top nether of which is left on unattended; and the lappy i can now battery-power up and run on batteries, thus saving even more;
and, with no disrespect implied or intended to forum members, but, just because it has been said on forum that it is better for computers to do so, doesn't mean that you HAVE to; freedom of choice always applies ( unless of course you happen to live in one of those societies where "freedom of choice" is a euphemism)

  gudgulf 02:30 17 Sep 2004

I usually power my pc down overnight,but not always as I often leave it running virus scans etc overnight.

I have absolutely no idea whether it matters if you continually switch on/off your pc (or any other electrical gubbins for that matter)

I wonder about just how much electicity you will save too---running at idle I doubt whether you will be using very much electricity at all.

No doubt somebody out there will have a figure,maybe I'll Google it if I get bored at work tonight.

  MidgetMan 11:26 17 Sep 2004

I personally turn mine of when not using, but what about the power used by dvd players/videos/sky systems/tvs etc left on stand by??

  Chris the Ancient 11:43 17 Sep 2004

And what do you use to charge the laptop batteries?

Yup. Power

  Chris the Ancient 11:45 17 Sep 2004

Additional thought.

No battery is over 100% efficient, therefore you use even more power charging it than you can get out of it.

  Sir Radfordin 12:56 17 Sep 2004

Have decided to spend an extra 10 mins in bed in the morning rather than checking my email so the PC doesn't turn itself on till about 5pm just in time for when I get home from work. Will be interesting to see if it saves me any money!

  jack 14:16 17 Sep 2004

End says - His lappie runs on batteries so it does not count. You betcha it does
Batteries store not generate. That cureent comes from somewhere Like all those enviro friendly cars with electric traction. That current is generated too in a whacking great smoke belching power station,spmewhere else, at geat cpst and with great losses in transmission and conversion to charge the car/lappie battery.

The only way to cut your consumption of scarce resourse is - dont use it.

So power your computer by a wind-up generator.
Put a windmill on the roof
wear thicker knickers and woolies
eat porrage.

  TOPCAT® 14:37 17 Sep 2004

I was aiming this solely at computer energy use and how it affects certain individuals. It is very true that many electronic devices in our homes consume possibly more on standby when everything is added together.

gudgulf states he leaves his PC on for virus scans and such overnight. I always believed it possible to leave it on standby in the first instance and, having set Task Manager correctly, the machine would power up at the given times, run the authorised checks and then drop to standby again when all is done. Never tried it myself so forgive me if I am wrong on this.

I still await confirmation that continually powering off a computer after use eventually does it harm. Mine is six years old now, regularly used and with just one hard drive failure in all that time. Lucky or not?

I like the comment from Sir Radfordin regarding the extra ten minutes in bed. Thankfully?, my long working days are at an end - "Says who?," I hear from the wife! :-) TC.

  Peverelli 15:11 17 Sep 2004

I can't remember where I saw it but there was an article about how turning the PC on and off affects its components. The gist of the article was that the components are designed to withstand this sort of 'abuse' (for want of a better word). The components of the PC are usually upgraded by users well before their 'use by' date.

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