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Power consumption question

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Drjones, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. So I recently created a home office. My primary rig is a really old Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop, 2.4Ghz P4 and I have dual monitors attached to it - a 24" and a 22".

    I also have an NAS.

    Both are on about 10~ hours a day, most of the week.

    My power bill just DOUBLED from ~$30 per month to over $70.

    I've been looking at a new rig anyway, so would a newer desktop, even though it would be more powerful, consume less energy than this old P4 I'm using?

    Would it make any difference at all in my bill?

    No other changes have been made, so clearly the computer is the culprit for the costs.
  2. First of all, I don't think your $40 power bill increase was caused entirely by your computer setup. I don't know what you pay for yours, but based on $0.15 per kWh, your rig must be consuming 880 watts - which is totally unrealistic for a laptop with two monitors. The NAS adds something too, but not that much.

    And a new desktop will most likely consume MORE power than your old laptop, no matter how "modern" or "energy efficient" it may be.

  3. kc8ykd


    Oct 6, 2005
    ^I agree

    Also, there's a pretty easy way to see how much power that stuff is using, just get one of those Kill A Watt devices from a local store.
  4. Sgt. Schultz

    Sgt. Schultz Annoying Member

    Perhaps the home office is responsible ... not only because of the computers but also the HVAC unit, just something to think about ...

    When I first setup my office/shop there was a noticeable difference in temperature between my office and the rest of the house, you could feel the heat hit you in the face whenever you entered the room. Well the thermostat is located down the hall, heat from the computers poured into the hall, AC ran continuously ...

    I was already planning to add two additional power circuits to the room so while I was at it I added two floor registers, these allow me to better control the air flow in the room and reduce the work load on the AC unit and reduce the power bill.

  5. Linux3


    Dec 31, 2008
    Old laptops are kind of pigs on power when plugged in unless you set them to power saving mode.
    Your monitors, and I assume you have a monitor on the NAS? Shut off the NAS monitor.
    If you have flat screens, unless they are LED backlit, draw a lot more power than CRTs. Look for LED backlit monitors. Expensive but worth it if they are on a lot.
    (Don't give me s##t about the treehuggers url, it's a good article.

    A new system MAY save you power if you select for a very high efficiency power supply.

    Some CPUs are more efficient than others.

    Bottom line is if you want to keep power bills down and you want to upgrade spend some time looking at specific components and then go to a mom and pop computer company and ask them to build you a system with X components.
    Or ask around at local computer stores, not chains as they sell only on price and green costs more. You can't be the only one looking for efficiency.
    I went to 2 of the bigger local stores in my area and asked about reducing load and one store had on hand all the data and built my system.
  6. Patrick Graham

    Patrick Graham Footlong Jr.

    Sep 7, 2001
    Kokomo Indiana
    Yep, got a home office myself and our electricity bill took a big hit too.

    If you do the math you'll find that your computer setup is about $3-$5 a month in electricity.

    I'm guessing that the added heat has tipped the scale on how efficient your AC can run.

    Try cleaning the cooling fins on your AC and see if that helps.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  7. GenX


    Aug 8, 2009
    Is your thermostat in close proximity to the office?
  8. BobbyT


    Jul 27, 2008
    Your monitors and network hard drive are a buck a month, if that. Even if the laptop is old, it's pulling significantly less power than a desktop because it has to run on batteries. Your whole setup probably uses $5 of power.

    I run a 1.5 year old HP with decent specs (quad core, 512 meg video card, several hard drives) to a 24" and 17" monitor. I also have a sweet audio setup, with dedicated preamp & amps that stay on (toasty warm) round the clock.

    To mitigate that I put the desktop in sleep when I'm not using it (not hibernate, the one that kills the fans but keeps memory powered and takes 5 seconds to wake up) and have my monitors go into standby after ~15 minutes.

    My TOTAL monthly power bill is about $25, and that's with a fridge, lights, and box fans running a good amount of the time. The computer setup can't be more than half of that.
  9. Turns out that I didn't read my bill closely enough and my utility co. isn't labeling my statement as well as they should - I had a MINUS $75 "balance" on my account - which normal people call a "credit" - not a $75 amount due. :upeyes:

    My electrical bill has been around $30 or less each month, despite my computer, dual monitors and NAS being on a lot.

    I have turned on the AC exactly ONCE this year.

    Thanks guys for the help.....