How to Measure PC Power Use

Nowadays, most of us are dependent on PCs or laptops to some extent, making them an important part of our daily lives.

That is partly due to their ability. The idea of ​​a device that could edit videos, connect with people around the world, play graphically intensive games, and import lengthy documents was rarely believed 20 years ago.

With so much functionality in a relatively compact form factor, it begs the question: how much power do these use?

How to measure your PC’s power usage

There are two main methods to find out how much power your PC or laptop is consuming:

Via software

This is the easiest way to find an estimate of your device’s power consumption, although with a short analysis period it is not necessarily representative of a full day of use.

The OuterVision power supply calculator is completely free to use and provides information on load capacity, recommended power supply capacity (PSU), and estimated annual costs.

If you’re really well versed in your PC’s specs, you can get more accurate information and hardware recommendations through the ‘Expert’ mode.

Via hardware

If you wish, you can also purchase dedicated power monitors. This is great if you are interested in checking the consumption of many other devices, not just your PC or laptop.

Since it specifically measures your device, it is also generally more accurate, with an estimated margin of error of 0.5%. There are plenty of affordable used monitors on Amazon, including great options from Sinhery and Lowenergie.

They are extremely easy to use. Just plug your PC or laptop into the monitor and then plug the whole thing into your power source. Within a few seconds, it will show the energy consumption of that device, usually in kilowatt-hours (KWh).

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How much electricity should my PC or laptop use?

If you have trouble interpreting results, you should compare it with averages to get an idea of ​​how well your devices are performing.

According to Smarter Business, the average PC in the UK uses around 100W of power per day, or 0.1KWh. A laptop has about half of that at 50W, or 0.05KWh.

That information is based on an average 8-hour workday and assumes that video editing and gaming are not part of your workflow. Obviously there are a number of factors that these averages cannot take into account, but it can provide a useful point of comparison.

Why do I need to measure my PC’s power usage?

Monitoring the power consumption of your PC or laptop is important for a number of reasons.

If you need to buy a replacement charger, it’s important to get the right wattage. This will ensure you get maximum charging speed without causing hardware damage.

The internals of most desktop PCs can also be upgraded, but you’ll want to make sure these new parts don’t dramatically increase power consumption. Newer processors often require a larger power supply, so be prepared.

Also, if you’re keeping a close eye on power consumption, it’s a good idea to have a rough idea of ​​what your primary productivity device is consuming.

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