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Undisputable fact: Computers Need Electricity!

Computers Need Electricity - but it wasn't always that way...

Seen this as a search term here: "Why does my computer use so much electricity?"

Now for those not from the USA know that in some places you pay for your electrical use in advance, by the hour or so many hours cost you so much in your currency. When I was stationed in the UK rental apartments/houses had a meter that took coins, so much for so long.

This is not a new concept but in the USA we have gotten away from paying in advance for our electrical use.

The question came from Finland so I would surmise that in Finland you might pay for your electricity before you use it?

All modern computers need electricity, no way around that.

There are ways to cut down on how much electricity your computer uses but it also cuts down on the utility of the computer.

  • Time- Don't have it setting there doing nothing, if you are not using it power it off, and unplug the power cord from the AC socket or use a surge suppressor and switch tat off .
  • Power - If you are concerned about the power usage of your computer don't buy the most powerful computer you can afford, buy a low end processor and with just enough memory and storage to meet your needs.
  • Speed - Don't overclock the processor or memory, this increases the amount of power the computer uses exponentially.

Note: Modern computers use a 'soft' power off, that is unless you disconnect the power cord or have a switch between the power supply and the AC socket the power supply still draws some electricity, this small amount of electricity allows the computer to 'sleep' and when you push the 'power on' button on the computer the small circuit energizes the power supply then the motherboard.

The wattage draw is fairly small but if you add on the other 'little' peripheral devices such as the keyboard and mouse, the NIC, and the monitor this amount starts to add up over time.

Thus if you truly want to power down a desktop computer you either unplug the AC power cords or put a switch between the AC socket and the AC power cords, a surge suppressor would be you best device, a power strip if you live in an area not prone to power outages and lightning strikes. ( I would recommend the surge suppressor over a power strip, you can never have too much insurance and they do not cost that much more than a power strip).

If you are really concerned about the amount of power your computer consumes then instead of a desktop computer I would suggest you buy a Laptop.

Computers Need Electricity to function.

A laptop, because it is sometimes battery powered, it has to have higher efficiency than a desktop, the processor, memory, video, and storage have to consume less power so that the battery will last longer.

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You may want to do some research in to how long a battery will last in the a laptop with the specifications you require, while thinking about the specifications don't dream about what you want, make a list of what you need the computer to do.

If you are doing mathematical computations, spread sheets, graphics, or other high computing work you can't expect a Netbook to do the work in a reasonable time.

But if you are just searching or surfing the internet, participating in social networking (Facebook, Myspace, etc) then a low end Laptop or even a Netbook will do the job and will require less power to keep the battery charged for when you don't want to put the coins in the meter box. Smile

If you look at images or videos of the ISS (International Space Station) you will see laptops being used for the computing environment. Partially because of space, weight, ease of movement for the computer, and above all else power consumption.

Computers need electricity but...

Now if you really want to cut down on the amount of electricity you are paying for to do your computing you could consider a solar power panel that would trickle charge your Laptop/Netbook battery during the day. However if it is a monetary consideration (that is you don't have the money to buy the solar panels) you could search for a DIY Solar Panel Kit. I have found a few of these (read the reviews!) that would charge a Laptop/Netbook battery in a day with sufficient sunlight. (If money is the reason for doing this compare the cost of the solar panels to what you would pay for the electricity for say one month, do you gain anything by using the solar panel?)

A single solar panel will not run a Desktop computer, you would have to have an array of solar panels and batteries being charged during the day then using an inverter convert the DC power from the batteries in to AC power for the Desktop power supply.

So computers need electricity if you want to use them. Smile

I read an article where a entrepreneur set up a solar backup power station that supplied +12, -12, +5, and -5 volts directly to his computer thus by passing the power supply. Ingenious but not practical and dangerous. Dangerous because there aren't any safe guards on the system to keep the amperage from being too high then causing a short or fire...

Either way computers need electricity...

I may be poking a little fun at some people but in reality I am very respectful of anyone ingenious to think up ways to save some money.

Not all computers need electricity - Early in the 16th (if I remember correctly) a mathematician/inventor created a mechanical computer, a wheel was turned and the machinery would compute numbers for the user, however it was not very accurate, it was also extremely costly to build even out of wood, the primary building material of the time.

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The bottom line is modern computers need electricity!

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