A belated set of more power consumption numbers

March 8, 2007

Following up on previous numbers, here are a few more (mixed in with some repeated from last time, for easier comparison):

Samsung SyncMaster 900NF 19" CRT displaying stuff 83 watts
Dell 1907FP LCD displaying stuff 26 watts

Clearly, switching to LCDs can pay off. Bearing in mind that my computers seem to idle at around 75 to 90 watts, using a 19" CRT is roughly the equivalent of having a second one running.

Here's some interesting figures from one of my machines with two different graphics cards:

ATI X800 GT PCIe idle 98 watts
both cores busy 155 watts
ATI X300 PCIe idle 87 watts
displaying graphics 90 watts
compiling Firefox with -j4 145 watts

Unfortunately I don't have figures for the X800 just being used for just displaying graphics stuff (without CPU soakers active), but it looks like dropping down to a simpler graphics card saves you around 10 watts. Plus you get a passive heatsink instead of a fan, and the X300 still has both analog and DVI out (and it's not as if Linux can really use the extra graphics power of the X800 at the moment.)

One of the things that strikes me about all of this is how comparatively little power a modern workstation system is likely to use. An idle machine with an active display is only a bit over a single 100 watt incandescent, and one that's as busy as I'm likely to get it is still under 200 watts (assuming an LCD instead of a CRT).

(Of course if I switched to compact fluorescents I wouldn't be using 100 watts per light fixture, but so far I strongly prefer the look of indirect incandescent light. This is ironic, given that when I look at LCDs I'm looking at filtered fluorescents, but I never claimed to be consistent.)

Written on 08 March 2007.
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Last modified: Thu Mar 8 00:44:10 2007
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