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Thread: How long do you have your computer on at home?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    How long do you have your computer on at home?

    I am in the process of a complete overhaul of my computing needs and configuration. For some of my desires computing technology for man in the street has finally come of age at a still high but more reasonable price.

    But being techie in my past i am doing the research and some of my research on this subject has me thinking even further than i had intended about how to manage my computer needs. I expect my purchase to last me at least 5 years so i got to factor in the future as i see it not just cater for now.

    I thought for the sake of some of our either older or non techie guys here, there might be some value in some of my findings for you, so hence my post.

    You may be thinking heck all i use the computer for is XYZ and i dont need a new computer. You may be correct. But an area you may wish to consider that is having me rethink this issue is monthly running cost.

    I dont know what you pay for electricity in your location but depending on how long you have either TV or computer on in the home and depending on its type of technology there could be some significant savings to be had by not purchasing a new computer but upgrading something as simple as the power supply.

    I cut my teeth on power supply design way back in the day when i was still in an R&D lab and its kinda been a softspot with me ever since.

    In deciding on my new computer, i have been forced into consideration of what power supply to purchase. ( I dont buy a whole computer i buy parts). When you plan on running a multicore processor and high end graphics card then you need serious amounts of power and it may sound ridiculous but having a computer consume 1KW per hour is not out of the question today.

    So this begs the question if you aint using the processing power using a computer like the type requiring a 1kw supply is a total waste of electric power and hence money if its just to pick up your email or post a thread on the forum or read the news online.

    My answer is multiple computers more dedicated to specific tasks but bear in mind i am self emloyed and use my computers for business purposes as well as private use.

    Toms post on buying a smart phone and his router needs had me think its worth sharing that in the case of a smart phone you not only getting the phone value but also getting a fully fledged computer that consumes a percentage of the power any of your current ones do. This is by far the most economical computer around today. Nothing says you have to have the phone part. So if you purchased it outright you could still hook it up to wifi at home and be online. And for that matter run skype as a free phone at home.

    But the advances in power supplys also have me thinking there is viable economic gains to be had in taking my old computers that will still be used and upgrading only the power supply part.

    The key here is for around $50 give or take, one can buy a plug in replacement power supply with far greater efficiency and in my calculations within a little more than a year have paid for the new power supply. Thats with the assumption that the computer is on for an average of say 5 hours a day 365 days of the year. But it all depends on what you pay for power. We think we pay around 9- 11 cents per kw. But in actual fact its only because of clever admin engineering on our bills. Its actually more like 25cents per kw because we have a never ending debt recovery charge on our bill that tends to more than double the cost of the kw if you take total bill and divide by kw consumed. To me it dont matter what they call it, its what i am paying out.

    But i would go even further on how the more advanced devices can save you money. If you more often than not merely a consumer of content and not in the business of generating content or use of cad, project management, excell spreadsheets etc and dont need the abilities of a whole computer you might want to consider getting rid of the whole thing and buying youself a tablet. Note to Apple fans there are other tablets out there other than the IPAD that also work.

    Be warned though if you use sketchup you will still need your computer.

    Getting rid of the whole computer will save you the power your screen consumes and if you still happen to be using a CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor (the old ones like the tvs) then i am pretty sure that the savings you will experience with a tablet and scraping your computer entirely will more than pay for the tablet in short notice. And dont think that means you have to go without having a keyboard and learning to type on glass.There are tablets out there that allow for a keyboard like a docking station so you still have normal keys.

    Its really time to examine the whole power consumption aspect of the devices we use and consider what they doing to our monthly bills. But i think its equally important to consider what you need it for and how you will use it.

    Upgrading may cost some capital but it will be offset by the long term savings of the reduced power consumption.

    There are several other benefits to be had if you have light processing power needs to be gained by the new tablet generation but i wanted to focus on the economic benefits given our retired folk here and people on fixed incomes. Remember every dollar saved can be repurposed to buy more wood or other tools rather than hand over to the power company.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    My tower unit is on 24/7. Never thought about how much power it uses
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I hadn't thought much about power consumption on my computers, but you raise a good point. I have a computer in LA that's on 24/7 that I connect to remotely from time to time. It has a 700 watt power supply in it. When I built the computer in 2008, it was my hot rod box and it was geared to run anything I threw at it. These days, it's not working very hard at all, and when it does, it's only doing easy heavy lifting. The computer does go into sleep mode after a period of time, so I don't think I'm sucking the full 700 watts full time, but still, I could probably drop an old 250w power supply in it these days and have it work just fine. My ABQ computer is a laptop that I use at home and at the office. When it's home, it's plugged in and burning watts, but here again, it goes to sleep if I'm not using it.

    At this point, between photograph stuff and work stuff that I do at home, I'm doubtful there's a tablet on the market that could suit my needs. And although I use my phone for a lot of computer tasks, the interface doesn't allow me to do all the computer chores I need to do.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Computers are a fact of life in homes these days, like refrigerators. Mine is on 24/7 if we are at home. It goes into a sleep mode after a period of time. If I leave the house for 24 hours or more I do turn it off. Haven't a clue about size of the power supply. It's about 6"X4"X.......
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Which one

    Our backend server is on 24x7, its a lighter weight server CPU wise and has no real video but does have a lot of disks in it (they spin down and park when not in use, but still take non trivial power). The front end machine running the TV and stereo also runs 24x7, but its a lightweight utility machine (no disk ssd only, super efficient cpu). Most day-to-day is done on a tablet or on a couple of laptops which all power save pretty nicely.

    We ran for a while with a "TED 5000" energy monitor which was pretty interesting. Turned out that the laser printer IN SLEEP MODE (from which it takes a good 5 minutes to wake up ) was still ~25% of our ongoing power usage (and it was a newer power saving system). That was on top of ~4 fridge/freezers (its complicated ) and a bunch of other stuff.

    Where I'm at now power is about $0.07/kwh so actual cost is very low. In Hawaii it was over 30 (I have a friend there who's been installing solar, the payback is around 2 years on average so he's done pretty good business).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Mine is a laptop. I usually leave it on 24/7, unless I'm going away for a couple of days or more. Your antivirus system and some other programs probably do overnight checks. When I worked for the government, we left ours on 24/7 because security and software upgrades were downloaded overnight, and the computers usually lasted the three years between hardware upgraades. These weren't always top of the line brand name computers, either.

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  7. #7
    I have several = my laptops are on 24/7 along with my iPad (it is a computer Ned) my desktops are shutdown when not in use. I know I should be more power consummation aware but it is so easy to forget.
    Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it
    still sings!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Lafayette, Indiana
    My desktop is on 24/7.
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    I have three - mine, hers, and the shop's - that run 24/7, and two others - a laptop and a netvook - that run 'as needed.'
    Jim D.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I only have two that run full time anymore. One is my server, which I run a couple of VM's on as needed for out-dated software and linux. The second is in my shop and will be decommissioned soon, but gets left on to heat the shop office in the winter months, at least keep it from getting down to freezing, usually stays 50* on cold winter days.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

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