Electricity consumption by workplace PCs

15 October 2010 Peter Graf

Old versus new – We did the test and a lot has changed in the last few years

One thing up front: since we started buying more powerful PCs, things have really started to happen with the electricity they consume under load.

When the new PCs are switched off, they really are switched off: they use absolutely no electricity! You can find a detailed description of the results below.

The PCs we tested are green PCs manufactured by a Japanese company. In 2009 we upgraded our old PCs from 2005 by adding a graphics card to make them compatible with Windows 7. The PCs we compared in the test are of a higher standard when it comes to power than standard Office workstations, because our Development Dept. needs to use them.

Besides the low level of consumption it is also worth mentioning that, with its Solid State Drive (SSD), the new PC is so quiet you can no longer hear it. This has pleasant repercussions for the background noise in the office. The extremely quiet fan the manufacturer fits also plays an important role in this.

So what will the future bring? Something very interesting for bigger companies with a large quantity of PC workplaces standardised for Office applications is the conversion to a virtual desktop infrastructure. The operating system for the clients runs on a server and only the graphics are transferred to the workstation. This is why we refer to them as thin clients. Besides the current minimal electricity consumption of 20-30 W (including proportionate consumption by the server) significant savings in the cost of running the workstations also come about.

In any case it is certainly worth taking note of the amount of electricity your new PCs consume when replacing your old ones. Savings in electricity consumption of up 40% are possible.