Desktop PC vs. Laptop Power Consumption

I remember there was a time when the electric bill in my pad went over Php14k, almost double the usual amount I pay on regular months. We use a lot of electrical devices, including 2 desktop PCs and a number of laptops so I thought of doing a simple experiment.

For about a month, I would not touch one of the desktop PCs in my room and use a laptop instead (even for the more task-intensive and gaming routines) and see how much would that affect the total power consumption.

My computation was this — a typical laptop would max out at 90watts in power consumption while a mid-range desktop PC (with a discrete GPU) would use up to around 500watts. If you include a large monitor, that’s another 50 watts.

Assuming the computer is on and running for about 12 hours a day, that’s 550watts x 12hours/day x 30days/month to give you a total of 198kW.

For a laptop, that’s just 90watts x 12hours/day x 30days/month for a total of 32kW.

The difference of 166kW amounts to about Php2,158 for the whole month (electricity rate pegged at Php13/KWhr). In a year, you can actually save enough money to buy another laptop. If you use a netbook instead of a full-sized laptop, that’s around 40watts/hour of power consumption and could drop your bill by another Php234 per month.

If you also have aircon in your room, the heat dissipation coming from the PC could add to the power consumed by the aircon to cool the room to the desired temperature (though there’s no way for me to figure that one out).

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Avatar for Abe Olandres

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He is one of the pioneers of blogging in the country and considered by many as the Father of Tech Blogging in the Philippines. He is also a technology consultant, a tech columnist with several national publications, resource speaker and mentor/advisor to several start-up companies.

84 Responses

  1. Avatar for source heat pumps source heat pumps says:

    Habits of leaving all the lights on in the house can cause the electric bill to sky rocket.

  2. Avatar for jonaflormicfren jonaflormicfren says:

    The new desktop and laptop are more economical compared to old ones. The LED and LCD monitors had reduce a lot of power consumption.

  3. Avatar for zsc zsc says:

    It’s basically wrong to compute the power consumption of your desktop or laptop based on its rated power. The 500W rating of a power supply in a desktop is the maximum theoretical load a PS can handle, the same principle applies to a laptop power supply. On the average, desktop draws 50-70W, 15″ CRT monitors draws 75W, while a 19″ LCD consumes 35W. New led backlit laptop barely consumes 20-40W…

  4. Avatar for Edwin C Edwin C says:

    Isn’t it obvious?

  5. Avatar for Earl Earl says:

    I believe the age and technology of your desktop will mostly determine if it will consume more or less electricity.

    With technology nowadays, with the latest cpus and gpus, i dont feel any increase in electricity consumption. Add in the age/tech of your monitor, with an LED, you’re saving more than you’re consuming.

    On the TV alone, our household spent more having the old 32in LCD, compared when we replaced with a new 42inch.

  6. Avatar for Steve Steve says:

    I usually use desktop computers 10 years ago. I read their comments and their right too. But laptops are really energy saver and regarding their durability I use laptop cooling fans connected to usb which draws power from the same laptop.With regards with the battery, there is a battery maintenance software which you can download too for free.Desktop are good for games and video editing work but consumes lot of power or electricity especially if you use it 24hrs. a day.

  7. Avatar for Delecroix Delecroix says:

    I use Asus’s EPU technology to save power with my desktop, honestly it works cause my father has a voltage indicator on how much does my PC use up in terms of watts and I’m getting an average of 89 watts in power saving mode but when doing Adobe After effects I turn it off and usually have around 230 watts without power saving mode. So that I can get the best performance in rendering graphics :D

    My AVR can support all of my devices then its connected to the voltage indicator

    2 – Chimei 196VD Monitors
    1 – i3 – 530, Asus P7H55 Motherboard
    1 – DDR3 1GB Graphics Card
    1 – Altec Lansing Speakers

  8. Avatar for Epstein Epstein says:

    Guys, ever heard of approximation?

  9. Avatar for Wakocoke Wakocoke says:

    550watts constant consumption? maybe his midrange desktop is running Crysis with 6990 and i7 at 1600p with 16x AA LOL

  10. Avatar for goodha goodha says:

    ang tanong ay kaya ba ni yuga hindi gumamit ng desktop for 30 days?lol

  11. Avatar for qwertbvcxzi qwertbvcxzi says:

    desktop is so versatile,not like laptop so fragile. In my desktop I can download torrent for 1 week. unlike laptop

  12. Avatar for becky becky says:

    Good point! dami kase parts ng Desktop eh pag laptop all in one na! I had my Neo Laptop for about 3 yrs already at buhay pa!

  13. Avatar for jarod_0122 jarod_0122 says:

    Been using my Acer 5052 laptop atleast 8 hours a day for 4 years and 3 months. No problem whatsoever. Battery is always plugged in and still run for 1 1/2 hr but once a month I let it drain.I just placed it on laptop cooler with cover open.I say keeping it cool is the key to its long life and I can say that I have saved enough money from the electric bill that I could afford to buy a new one to replace it.(pag nasir :p)

  14. Avatar for Kenetsu Kenetsu says:

    Guys, don’t forget the Mac Mini!!!

  15. Avatar for mike mike says:

    the article clearly said “max out” at those power consumptions. the parameters (eg 12hr a day at 30day usage) were also given. the article just says that if you work on the same parameters then you end up saving that much. now if anyone uses his pc lightly using less power or perhaps for a shorter period of time then naturally the difference in consumption using either laptop or pc would be smaller. so cmon people nobody is wrong here.

    • Avatar for Mark Mark says:

      you may want to read some of the replies again. we are pointing out that even if it maxes at a specific number, it doesn’t mean it will draw THAT much all the time.

      to me more accurate, yuga must provide the average consumption (not the maximum, unless his rig DOES consume 550 watts the whole 12 hours, then put that number in his equation.

      also, maybe yuga could be more specific by stating what his definition of a “midrange” desktop PC is, what the specs are.

    • Avatar for Noir Noir says:

      Basically what Mark said as well as

      There are points in the article that are just not conclusive enough to support.

      PSU wattage is not the right way to check power consumption. A Buyer can have as much as 1000 watts and only use less than Half(~500) for his rig.There are several reasons why enthusiasts buy high wattage PSUs but I wont go there.

  16. Avatar for Mark Mark says:

    “a mid-range desktop PC (with a discrete GPU) would use up to around 500watts.”
    Proof? Source?

    “Assuming the computer is on and running for about 12 hours a day, that’s 550watts x 12hours/day x 30days/month to give you a total of 198kW.”

    WTH. dude, even if a PC does peak consumption at 550W, it doesn’t mean it draws 550 watts all the time! so your assumption and computation, unless you prove otherwise with hard data, is in error.

  17. Avatar for Noir Noir says:

    I am sorry but this article is misleading.

    All/Most Desktops does not consume 100% of their PSU wattage.

    Just like laptops, desktops also save power when necessary. GPUs downclock as well as CPUs, total power consumption is still high when compared to laptops but not as much as your computation turns out to be.

    We have 2 Desktops and 5 laptops in our home and our electricty bill is only in the 4.5K range.

    I suggest that you correct the computation. A lot of people are being misled. (AND a lot of PC enthusiasts are also angry)

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