[Video] Low Energy Computing: How to save electricity

Electricity prices are high and rising. So this video illustrates the amount of energy that different kinds of computers use, as well as discussing power settings and power supply changes that can reduce electricity use.

The power meter I used was from Maplin, who have sadly gone out of business. But if you want to run your own tests, you can…

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31 Comments on “[Video] Low Energy Computing: How to save electricity”

  1. Most of my equipment is plugged into mains conditioners, I do unplug some of my stuff but most are still plugged in at night. My new Toshiba TV has an energy rating of G, not very good I turn off to standby when not in use. I'm under Court of Protection, which means my bills are paid by my local council; so I don't pay much attention to power consumption, perhaps I should.

  2. I used to love in a house with no AC, so the energy consumption of my electronics had a very real impact on temperatures in summer.

  3. I'm a minimalist. A byproduct of wanting/using simpler tools, I do prefer to lower my energy consumption.

    The WWW today is actually a huge indicator of how gluttonous we've become with energy. That's why I try to use text browsers and Gopher protocol as much as possible. I also cap my video resolution for streaming at 720p max, if possible. On mobile, I try to download my video in apps like Prime Video so I don't have to worry about my phone working to pull in 1080p (or more) video streams on a 6" screen, which is just plain silly, IMO.

  4. I massured a few devices and noticed that my DSL modem (Aka home and small office (wireless) router) pulls 24 watts. Feels rather strange since the connected desktop (minus screen) with an i5 10400T pulls only 22 watts at idle. (89 under full load (Blender))

  5. I just replaced the 1Tb HDD with a 1Tb SSD in my main machine, that should reduce power consumption a little and take some strain off the small PSU! It also came with a 256Gb NVME boot drive which I also want to replace with a 1Tb at some point.

  6. Waiting on an rk3588 board from a company with a good community, as that’s likely the first real option for arm processor boards intended for use with linux that are cheap and daily drivable. The options out now are likely to have poor support because obscure random companies are making them.

  7. A few notes about power consumption and computers:

    If you're fine with a low refresh rate, and small display, it's possible to get an e-ink panel that uses basically no power, and is delightful for eye comfort when reading, or writing. Don't search for e-ink monitors (They're terribly overpriced), but instead look for raw e-ink panels that are usually used for things like signs and such. There's a bit of DIY involved, but it's fairly affordable and efficient. They're also kind of neat because a person could set a particular image on them, disconnect them from the computer, and use them as a piece of furniture if appropriate to the situation as well.

    Your hardware does not necessarily need to operate at its default energy consumption. If you have a desktop computer, there's a variety of tools to undervolt it, or to attempt to provide slightly less electricity to your components and operate at the same (or even faster) speed, for a minor power reduction, but you can also set limits to their power usage and then offset the core clock speeds for reasonable reduction in performance but often a significant reduction in power usage. On Linux it's possible to automate this via shell scripting, and you can in fact get quite elaborate with it and possibly have a very responsive dynamic power usage that still gives you full performance when absolutely necessary, but on Windows there should be many third party utilities to do this. This difference is only so pronounced because many computer components are overclocked by default for advertising purposes, and are often in an inefficient but highly performant configuration out of the box.

    Additionally, keep an eye at the temperature your electronics are running at. They tend to operate much less efficiently at higher temperatures, and while the difference isn't usually huge, often to go from say, 0% max performance to 10% max performance, you use, let's say, 50 watts, but to go from 90% of your maximum performance, to 100%, you may need an additional 100 or 200 watts. Overall, the difference is usually small, comparable to a low versus high efficiency power supply, but it is a difference worth noting.

  8. Limit your frame rate in games, if you have a 60hz display, most of the time you won't need to run your pc higher than 60 fps. You can usually limit the frame rate in games, or just enable Vsync, you can set frame rate caps in the driver control panel too.

    You can also lower the power limit in the driver settings to around 80-90%. Doing these things with a gaming computer will save massive amounts of power and money over time. GPUs are very power hungry. Another side effect is the GPU will not get as warm, meaning the fan will be quieter.

  9. When you run your computer on solar-powered battery system it is important to keep your power consumption as low as possible. It is way cheaper to save 10watts as installing 10watts. Thanks for the video.

  10. It would be a good idea to build a hybrid computer with a powerful desktop PC and a pi4 for surfing the web and watch EC on youtube. Also the hybrid should be able to use the same input devices and monitor. Maybe someone has a good concept for that.
    Anyway switching PCs and Laptop power adapters off after usage with a switch socket could end in higher cost than you will save. Every switching task produces an light arc in the switch (because of the high inductive load of a PSU) and burns the contacts. Depending on the quality of the switch, it will die after one year. A new device has to be produced and shipped to where you can buy it. At least it blows out more CO2 than you will save by switching a 2 W standby drawing device always off in one year! I' ve replaced enough build in china switches where went dead due burned contact plates.

  11. for a while as an expirement i ran a minecraft and home media server on a rpi4 with an anker powerstation and mini solar panel i use to power my main pc and game consle and it powered everything for awhile before i got rid of it because my parents got actual solar installed

  12. A few years ago I upgraded from a very inefficient power supply to a Platinum 80 and saw a significant drop in wattage even at idle through a kill-a-watt.
    If I remember correctly it was around 30-40 watts lower which blew my mind.

  13. This is extremely useful information! Especially for those doing self-hosting and/or home labs. I’m getting ready to deploy a 5 node cluster for high availability of my self-hosted services. Power consumption is a very big consideration. I’d like to see power consumption become a standard component of all your videos on power consuming devices. Thank you, as always, for your consistently outstanding videos. Your channel is a gold standard for YouTube content creators.

  14. 08:45 I also turn the power off at the power socket. However, it seems like modern PSUs don't like that; especially when the power is turned back on. I have had three PSUs (two of which were expensive EVGA units) blow up upon having mains power restored.

  15. Very interesting, thank you. I will measure my M1 Mac Mini for comparison, if I can get a power meter.
    But from an environmental perspective it’s not always useful to upgrade. The production of the new power supply and the disposal of the old one consume power too. A device, that is only in part time use, should probably not being upgraded.

  16. just proves you don't need the biggest and baddest to make awesome content 😀 do you still have the old computer with hdd tray and such that you upgraded atleast once in the videos?

  17. I recently learned the price per kilowatt hour in my area is slated to increase by ~25% soon. I am already paying $200-$350/mo for electricity and cannot afford much more than that…so I purchased a window AC unit and started cooling a single room in my home instead of using the central AC to cool the whole house, shut down all my servers unless they were actively being used, and switched from an 'on 24/7' desktop PC as a daily driver to using a laptop that gets shut down every night. I was able to reduce my daily kWh usage by 60%-80% depending on whether or not I do laundry or have guests over and need to run my central AC system. The window AC unit is on track to pay for itself completely in the next ~2 months.

  18. I didn't seen this in the video but you can always still use HDDs worth the while if you rack them up on the 2.5" 7200PRM ones. They works just as well as the power hogs and still allows you store much data (longER term that is). Without paying the world overs for "storage" class SSDs that might lose your data over time due to power being required about once a year (verses HDDs that might lasts you several years before needing to be re-powered to assure magnetic properties).

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