Is Your PC Destroying the Planet?

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Global warming, energy crisis, carbon taxes; these are difficult times for the planet, so how much is your PC and laptop contributing to the problem and how much do they cost to run?

You might be surprised. According to Propellerhead’s back of a fag packet calculations a typical desktop machine and LCD monitor consumes around 300 watts, so if used for 10 hours a day that would set you back in the region of £10 a month or around £120 a year. That probably doesn’t sound too bad but if you are using a CRT monitor you can easily add another fiver a month to the cost. In fact it’s worth chucking it out as switching to an LCD, which has around half the power consumption, can pay for itself in around 3 to 5 years in saved energy costs alone.

Laptops are quite frugal compared to desktops and assuming that you power and charge it from your home supply an average laptop, used for five hours a day will consume around £20 to £30’s worth of electricity a year.

Of course switching your machine off when it’s not going to being used for any length of time is always a good idea, though too many on/off cycles throughout the day can reduce the life of some components. There are savings to be had by configuring your PC’s power profile to shut down hard drives and the monitor after a period of inactivity that fits in with your working patterns.

When you come to replace your PC don’t just chuck it in the bin. If it’s a runner recycle; there are plenty of organisations that might be interested in your machine, provided it has a reasonably up to date spec, or you could keep it as a spare, or use it as a file server. If it’s dead then take it to the recycling point at your local amenity tip but either way, before you and your old PC part company wipe or remove the hard drive.

If you are curious about which appliances in your home are racking up the bills then why not invest in a wattage meter? There’re readily available from electrical and electronics stores for between £15 and £30; in fact Maplin has one right now on special offer for £12.50.

Don’t forget there’s hundreds of tips, tweaks and links to some great free software on the PCTopTips website.

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