Power Usage: What'cha Usin'?

Taurus

hardware monkey
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May 8, 2002
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new results--my gaming system:

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+
idle: 1.0GHz @ 1.1v
load: 2.5GHz @ 1.3v
Chipset: NVIDIA 6150/430
Graphics: Geforce 8800GTS 320MB, stock: 513/792
Memory: 2 x 1GB PC2-8000
Drives: 320GB 7200RPM HD, DVD-RW
Power Supply: Power Man 460W
Extras: Sound Blaster Audigy, internal memory card reader

Off: 4w
Standby: 5w
Idle: 121w
Load: 191w
Game/Max: 248w
Max + Graphics Overclock (630/1000): 264w
 

LeeJend

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It took me long enough to find, but:

We are being billed for VA-Hr based on the metering system commonly used. This is a larger number than W-Hr. This is fair to the utility company since they pay to generate VA-Hr, not W-Hr, but is false advertising along the lines of the MegaByte controversy. It also means in the USA we really need to be aware of the power factor of our electronic gadgets since VA can be 30-40% higher than Watts. The EU mandates all equipment have VA nearly equal to W.

The meter on your domicile should NOT be called a Watt Hour meter.

Is there an atorney reading interested in making some major bucks for himself and his legal firm? :dead: False adevrtising lawsuit time. I can not beleive in this age of litigation nobody has latched onto this yet.

Red text is not correct.

Modern electricity meters operate by continuously measuring the instantaneous voltage (volts) and current (amperes) and finding the product of these to give instantaneous electrical power (watts) which is then integrated against time to give energy used (joules, kilowatt-hours etc). The meters fall into two basic categories, electromechanical and electronic.

[edit] Electromechanical meters
The most common type of electricity meter is the Thomson or electromechanical induction watt-hour meter, invented by Elihu Thomson in 1888.[1][2]
Technology The electromechanical induction meter operates by counting the revolutions of an aluminium disc which is made to rotate at a speed proportional to the power. The number of revolutions is thus proportional to the energy usage. It consumes a small amount of power, typically around 2 watts.
The metallic disc is acted upon by two coils. One coil is connected in such a way that it produces a magnetic flux in proportion to the voltage and the other produces a magnetic flux in proportion to the current. The field of the voltage coil is delayed by 90 degrees using a lag coil. [1]This produces eddy currents in the disc and the effect is such that a force is exerted on the disc in proportion to the product of the instantaneous current and voltage. A permanent magnet exerts an opposing force proportional to the speed of rotation of the disc - this acts as a brake which causes the disc to stop spinning when power stops being drawn rather than allowing it to spin faster and faster. This causes the disc to rotate at a speed proportional to the power being used.

Taurus - Having said all that and since your meter reads both, what is the VA vs W for your system?

PS I was thinking 4W standby is not bad. Then I multiplied it by 200 million PCs. Or is it 500 million PCs in the world? 1-2 Giga watts wasted in standby power. Whoever came up with the ATX standard should be lynched by the Greens!
 

Taurus

hardware monkey
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May 8, 2002
Messages
3,206
i retested the original system and here are the VA and PF readings:

Off: 8VA, 0.40 PF
Standby: 12VA, 0.50 PF
Idle: 70VA, 0.57 PF
Load: 122VA, 0.65 PF
Game/Max: 127VA, 0.64 PF

sure, standby uses a small amount of power which, when miltiplied by many thousands, can be a lot... but off is not a whole lot better! i wasn't expecting that high of a reading (volt-amps or watts) when the system is completely off. seems like it should be in the area of a fraction of a watt.

and i live in an apartment so i'm not certain on the type of meter we have, but it's probably the same everyone else has with the spinning disc like you described. i'm down for a class-action lawsuit of anyone else is. :)
 

LeeJend

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That's why I was cursing the ATX developers.

There is no difference between off and standby.

In the AT design off actually disconnected the PSU from the power grid which was an energy savings but more importantly gave lightning protection to the system when off. I use a power strip to physically shut off the wall power on all my systems. The enrgy savings is minor (to me) but the lightning protection is massively iomproved.

And thanks for taking all those readings, I was really interested.

Of course now I'm really confused. Your VA and W are backwards. VA * PF should =W but the numbers are backwards. Your VA is lower than your W. Note the ratios are fairly close, but not exact. 248 * 0.64 is 158 not 127.

I'm confused. :(
 

Perris Calderon

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been playing with my Kill-A-Watt and i thought i would start a thread where those who have the means to measure their computer's power usage can report their hardware and watts used in these different states:

Off
Standby - aka. Sleep or S3
Idle - desktop, minimal apps, no activity
Load - 100% CPU, all cores
Game/Max - 100% CPU, all cores, plus 3d benchmarking

here's the only one i've measured so far... my htpc:

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 BE-2400
idle: 1.0GHz @ 1.0v
load: 2.3GHz @ 1.2v
Chipset: Geforce 7050PV
Graphics: onboard
Memory: 2 x 1GB PC2-6400
Drives: 320GB 7200RPM HD
Power Supply: generic SFF 300w
Extras: USB wireless KB/mouse receiver
(here list add-in cards, usb devices, etc that use power)

Off: 5w
Standby: 6w
Idle: 41w
Load: 77.5w
Game/Max: 80w

the results really surprised me. for one, 5 watts when completely shut down is an awful lot. i'm curious to see what numbers you guys get here. also, standby is barely 1w more which dissolves any guilt i had with using it. and then the 41w idle reading is lower than i hoped! i was seriously considering getting a BT NAS so i wouldn't feel bad about leaving the comp on to download, but i would barely be saving any electricity (Netgear ReadyNAS Duo is rated at 35w typical).

post your results! :)
I'd like you to compare (power off, reboot) to {sleep, 8 hrs on standbye, awake) to (hibernate, reboot)...leave networking on in all scenarios

or more precisely, how many hours of sleep will it take to use more energy then waking from off and hibernate including all powerdown useages involved

nice post by the way!
 

Taurus

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I'd like you to compare (power off, reboot) to {sleep, 8 hrs on standbye, awake) to (hibernate, reboot)...leave networking on in all scenarios

or more precisely, how many hours of sleep will it take to use more energy then waking from off and hibernate including all powerdown useages involved

nice post by the way!
hmm, good idea! but that means i have to learn how to get the device to monitor usage over time. i know it does it, but i've never used that function.

off and hibernate would use the same amount of power. i would bet that, from a electricity usage standpoint, it would be better to use hibernate if it will be any longer than ~30 minutes. but to me, the real benefit of sleep is the speed at which it wakes up and is usable after i hit spacebar. when i want to use the computer, i want to use it NOW. :)

i will still run those tests some day, though.
 

Perris Calderon

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hmm, good idea! but that means i have to learn how to get the device to monitor usage over time. i know it does it, but i've never used that function.

off and hibernate would use the same amount of power. i would bet that, from a electricity usage standpoint, it would be better to use hibernate if it will be any longer than ~30 minutes. but to me, the real benefit of sleep is the speed at which it wakes up and is usable after i hit spacebar. when i want to use the computer, i want to use it NOW. :)

i will still run those tests some day, though.
I'm pretty sure off and hibernate would be differant power useages, it obviously takes less time to boot so unless it takes more time shutting down I can't see hibernate using the same electricity as cold start
 
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LeeJend

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You just press the KwHr button to view usage. KwHr recording starts as soon as you plug the meter in. Plug in then get the reading after the ~90 second boot time. For sleep you can just monitor it for a few minutes and then multiply to get 8 hours.

If the wife doesn't shanghi me for a honey doo I'll run this on the lapotp for laughs. The desktop requires crawling under the desk to plug in and get readings and that sounds like work... (Yes, uber lazy.)

Update:
What a waste. A computer does not use enough energy in booting to even register on the kWhr scale that starts at 0.00. ROM from lookin at athe readings:
Boot - 2 minutes at ~40Watts average
Sleep - uses 2-3 Watts per minute

Trade off is shutdown and reboot if expecting to be in sleep longer than 20 minutes.

In reality, for personal cost, sleeping instead of hibernate or Off for 14 hours a day:
Costs $1.68 per year for a laptop.
Costs x4? that for a desktop ~$7 per year.

On the other hand... 2 microwaves, stove, 3 TV's, 3 DVD, Sattellite Rcvr, Stereo plus 3 PC's all in sleep mode is x14 that much which could be a noticeable percentage of my annual electric bill. Now I know why Energy Star II addresses standby power.

Conclusion:
Things with constantly glowing LCDs are not good for a Green planet.

Along those lines I checked total draw for my old mini christmas lights this year. 600W total for just the outside lites. I decided the less pleasing half of them were no longer needed. It turns out about 1/3 of them accounted for 60% of the electric usage. So I only tossed a few display items.
 
Last edited:

Perris Calderon

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You just press the KwHr button to view usage. KwHr recording starts as soon as you plug the meter in. Plug in then get the reading after the ~90 second boot time. For sleep you can just monitor it for a few minutes and then multiply to get 8 hours.

If the wife doesn't shanghi me for a honey doo I'll run this on the lapotp for laughs. The desktop requires crawling under the desk to plug in and get readings and that sounds like work... (Yes, uber lazy.)

Update:
What a waste. A computer does not use enough energy in booting to even register on the kWhr scale that starts at 0.00. ROM from lookin at athe readings:
Boot - 2 minutes at ~40Watts average
Sleep - uses 2-3 Watts per minute

Trade off is shutdown and reboot if expecting to be in sleep longer than 20 minutes.

In reality, for personal cost, sleeping instead of hibernate or Off for 14 hours a day:
Costs $1.68 per year for a laptop.
Costs x4? that for a desktop ~$7 per year.

On the other hand... 2 microwaves, stove, 3 TV's, 3 DVD, Sattellite Rcvr, Stereo plus 3 PC's all in sleep mode is x14 that much which could be a noticeable percentage of my annual electric bill. Now I know why Energy Star II addresses standby power.

Conclusion:
Things with constantly glowing LCDs are not good for a Green planet.

Along those lines I checked total draw for my old mini christmas lights this year. 600W total for just the outside lites. I decided the less pleasing half of them were no longer needed. It turns out about 1/3 of them accounted for 60% of the electric usage. So I only tossed a few display items.
that's an informative post, thanx

I've always wondered why they had to blink the light when in standbye, it doesn't blink in off or hibernate and tehre's no reason it should blink in standbye

anyway, thanks!
 

American Zombie

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that's an informative post, thanx

I've always wondered why they had to blink the light when in standbye, it doesn't blink in off or hibernate and tehre's no reason it should blink in standbye

anyway, thanks!
Standby is sleep but a different mode.

System Sleeping States

LeeJend: When you wrote "Things with constantly glowing LCDs are not good for a Green planet."

Did you mean LED not LCD?
 

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