Burning questions

How many watts does a computer use? It does compute!

From working from home to hardcore gaming – your computer can handle it all. But have you ever wondered how much electricity your computer consumes and how much it costs you? Find out in our article.

Computers and their power ratings

Just like cars, computers come in a wide range of configurations, each with varying power demands. We’ll explore some general figures of how many watts a computer uses to give you a better idea.

30-70 W

average wattage of a laptop

Laptops are known for their portability, and that often translates to energy efficiency as well. On average, laptops use between 30 and 70 watts while operating. This can vary depending on the specific model, screen size, and workload. For instance, a basic Chromebook browsing the internet may use about 20 to 30 watts, while a high-performance gaming laptop running a graphics-intensive game may consume about 300 watts.

200-300 W

average wattage of a desktop computer

Desktop computers encompass an even wider range in terms of both size and power usage. A standard desktop computer might use around 200 to 300 watts, while a top-of-the-line gaming PC with powerful graphics cards and multiple monitors can easily reach 500 watts or more. The type of processor, graphics card, RAM, and storage drive all play a role. Generally, higher-performance components require more watts to operate.

Evaluating PC running costs

Finding out the exact power consumption of your laptop or computer is a tricky task. Working on a laptop from home for one day, you might use about 500 Watt-hours. Or you can burn the same amount of energy playing video games for just a couple of hours.

Let’s take an ordinary computer. We work from home and play games for a couple of hours in the evening. So we spend about 1,600Wh during the day and about 600Wh in the evening. That’s 2,200Wh per day.

200 W × 8 h + 300 W × 2 h = 2,200 Wh/day

Given $0.20 per kilowatt-hour, using a PC for a single day costs us about $0.50, a month – $15, and a year – $180. But again, these are all very rough estimates. If you work from the office, you’ll consume much less power than if you work from home with energy-intensive software or explore the game world for the whole weekend.

PC is an energy vampire

That’s not all the electricity your computer and laptop consume. They are energy vampires, just like your phone charger. The energy vampires are electronic devices that continue to consume electricity even when they’re seemingly turned off but still connected to the mains.

Even when turned off, computers and laptops can still draw a small amount of power if they’re in sleep or standby mode. Also when your laptop is unplugged, its charger can still use a small amount of energy as long as it’s plugged into the wall. This is because the charger is constantly converting electricity from the outlet, even if there’s nothing to receive it.

The amount of energy used by a single computer or laptop in standby mode might seem small — just a couple of watts. But add a TV, coffee maker, a game console, and you’re running $100 to $200 a year for devices you don’t even use.

5 tips on running computer energy-efficiently

While computers and laptops can be energy vampires when left unchecked, they don’t have to be ones. By adopting smart habits, you can greatly reduce your energy consumption. Here are some things you can do:

Tip#1: Turn PC off when not in use

This seems obvious, but it’s easy to leave your computer idle for extended periods. When you’re finished with your computer or laptop, instead of putting it in sleep mode, turn it off completely.

Tip#2: Use power strips

Plug your computer or laptop and other electronics into power strips that have on/off switches. This way, you can easily turn off the power to the entire strip when you’re not using the devices.

Tip#3: Manage power settings

Most operating systems offer power management features that can help optimize your computer’s energy use. These can automatically put your computer to sleep after a period of inactivity or adjust screen brightness.

Tip#4: Beware of peripheral drain

External devices like monitors, printers, and speakers can also contribute to standby power consumption. Use power management features for these as well, or unplug them when not needed.

Tip#5: Run your computer on solar power

Running your computer on solar power is a great way to reduce your overall energy consumption and environmental impact. Even greater is that with portable solar panels, you are not bound to the grid and can work on your laptop from literally anywhere.

Portable solar panels come in different sizes and wattages. A foldable 30W panel can easily fit in your pocket. You can hang it on your backpack and charge your laptop on the go. More serious 200 and even 300-watt folding panels can charge not only your laptop but also your phone, GPS navigator and even a mini fridge.

Add a power station and you’ll get a PV generator. Power station combines in itself an inverter, a charge controller and a small power bank — perfect for keeping you powered anywhere you go.

By understanding how much power your computer uses and taking steps to optimize its energy consumption, you can save money on your electricity bill and do your part to conserve energy. Remember, every watt saved adds up!

Start saving money with solar panels!

Check what solar panels we have in stock or get a quote for a system from our engineer.

Shop solar panels

Years of experience in translation and a love of nature help Julia find the right words to encourage going solar. She joined the team in 2023 and is happy to make her contribution to a greener future.

More articles from this author

Read Also

Should you wait to go solar? Let's ask the experts

Passive solar: How to use sun’s energy without solar panels

How much energy does a boiler use: Budget drain

A1 Solar Scholarship 23/24 report: Results and best parts

How much electricity does your house use? Breaking down electric bill

Stay tuned

Learn about the latest arrivals and discounts first!

By clicking "Subscribe", I agree by electronic signature to: (1) receive marketing and other texts and messages from A1SolarStore, directly or from third parties acting on its behalf, at the email address I entered above; (2) the Terms and Conditions; and (3) the Privacy Policy.