8 Ways to Use Less Power on Desktops
Yes, we know California hasn’t banned your desktop gaming PC yet, but we can tell you that one way to stop government regulators from getting on your back is to be proactive about it. .
Today, for example, there are no regulations in place for the energy efficiency of DIY computers. However, the gaming desktop PC is still at risk of being portrayed as an environmental villain by groups seeking to regulate anything that uses a lot of power.
That’s why we believe the easiest way to keep the target out of the DIY desktop PC is to be proactive about it. Here are eight things you can already do to keep government off your PC, for now anyway.
1. Buy a power supply with a power meter in it
One of the first rules of solving a problem is admitting that you have one. If you are like 98% of PC gamers or DIY enthusiasts, you have no idea how much electricity your PC uses.
An easy way to see it is to buy a power supply with a built-in power meter. The Asus ROG Thor 850 ($ 215 on Amazon), for example, has an OLED on the side that displays the power consumption of the system in real time. There is no software to load, no poorly coded utility to undermine performance. If you want to know how much your system is drinking while playing games, you can just look at the power supply and find out.
Some people still want to see it in a neat graph in Windows. Corsair’s “i” series of power supplies as well as NZXT’s “e” series (the E850 costs $ 180 from NZXTand currently $ 239 out of stock on Amazon ) do just that by allowing you to graph the power consumption on the wall, as well as the power consumption of the components inside the Windows PC.
2. Buy a power meter
Obviously, buying a new power supply just to monitor your PC’s power consumption is both extravagant and electronic waste. A more practical alternative is to buy a power meter. These easy-to-use devices allow you to monitor the power consumption of any AC device plugged into it. Better yet, if you want to know how much your PC and monitor are consuming, you can plug them both in using a
tape (just be careful not to exceed the rated power of the power meter). One of the most popular power meters is the P3 Kill A Watt, around $ 32 on Amazon.
The great thing about this method is that it doesn’t consume any of your PC’s resources. We use PCs plugged into power meters most of the time. Because power consumption typically follows CPU or GPU boost clocks, it’s a great non-intrusive way to monitor performance.
You can also use the power meter to monitor most of the devices in your home. Have you ever wondered how much your fat TV eats? You can find out with the Kill A Watt
Since the Kill A Watt also spits out kilowatt-hours (how many watts consumed in an hour), you can easily calculate how much your electronics are costing you to operate, by multiplying their consumption by the price of your utility per kWh. .
3. Use the balanced profile in Windows
There is a reason that PC vendors typically set the PC to the “balanced” power profile in Windows by default. Choosing the “high performance” profile, which can prevent the processor from running at a lower frequency while idling, usually results in a modest increase in performance, but requires a much higher power consumption.
4.Supports ATX12VO power supply specification
Intel saw the winds of change coming, which is why it pushed the creation of the ATX12VO specification. The specification removes the lightly used 5-volt and 3.3-volt rails from the power supply. While it doesn’t improve efficiency much under heavy use, it does offer huge power savings when that desktop PC is idle. For example, an ATX12VO power supply versus a traditional ATX12V multirail power supply can achieve 71% efficiency at 10 watts, compared to 54% on a traditional power supply. It’s no coincidence, it’s also the one thing power regulators are focusing on today: reducing fleets of computers that consume power at idle.
We have already seen a decline in the DIY market. Many users are unwilling to embrace the new standard, or even encourage its demise, because “change is bad”.
Look, ATX12VO doesn’t mean you have to throw away your existing motherboard and ATX12V power supply. But maybe on a system you’re building for a friend, or when that board and power supply gets older, you can step on to Intel’s new standard rather than resist it at all costs.
5. Buy a more efficient diet
You can read the following article to see how torn we are about buying new things so you can throw away the old one (we don’t think that helps). But when you need to buy a new PSU, you can shell out more money for a more efficient PSU.
You can usually determine the effectiveness of the diet by the “80 Plus” rating. Most basic power supplies are rated at 80 Plus. The additional Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium levels take the efficiency to higher levels.
The more efficient the power supply, the less energy you use to power your PC. A standard non-80 Plus power supply from 17 years ago might waste 40% of the energy it draws from the wall, while an 80 Plus Titanium might only waste 6% to power the same amount. hardware in your PC.
This is a big saving not only in wasted energy, but also in the money you pay for electricity. So while you can choke on the price of a good 80 Plus Gold PSU (buy a trusted brand to be sure), it pays off in the long run. This may also be the only area where you could justify throwing a coin.
Note that the 80 Plus rating is voluntary. Even though most PC companies have 80 Plus or larger power supplies, inefficient power supplies are still in circulation.
6. Maybe buy new material?
There is one thing that we are really torn apart that can help, and that is to buy new material. New material is generally faster, safer, and more energy efficient.
It seems like the easy answer, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. Proponents of buying new equipment tend not to mention the amount of energy and resources used to build that new PC, laptop, phone or tablet.
So while there are indeed a ton of benefits to buying new hardware, we hope to do more research into what’s actually better for everyone: a little less efficiency, but a lot longer lifespan. long.
But yes, a newer computer will always be faster, more secure and more energy efficient than an older one, so it is possible to buy one too.
7. Buy more efficient CPUs and GPUs
We can say that if you decide to buy new hardware then buying a more efficient CPU and GPU can definitely help. For example, you can see how much power the 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11900K consumes compared to the faster AMD Ryzen 9 5900X in the graph above, where we measured both by running a benchmark. . We’ve taken the power consumption of the 11th Gen Rocket Lake chip and clearly the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is more power efficient. For most people who use a gaming or performance desktop that never mattered before, but with more attention to PC power consumption, maybe it should.
8. Become your parents
No matter what you think of the political spotlight that suddenly turned on desktop computers because of power consumption, we know what your parents would say: “Turn off this computer when you’re not using it!” Do you think money grows on trees ?! “And yes, I say that as a parent of two kids with desktops that never put machines to sleep or walk away from their computer for a while. an hour while continuing to stream their favorite Twitch star, so put your computer to sleep sooner, put the screen to sleep, and put it to sleep when not in use.
And yes, “TURN OFF THIS TWITCH STREAM!” DO YOU THINK POWER AND BANDWIDTH PISS ON TREES ?! “