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Last post Author Topic: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?  (Read 19060 times)

f0dder

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2007, 01:51:12 PM »
An ATX-based (and probably BTX based as well) PC is never really off - and yeah, I guess that's to support the wake-on-* events.

I have a feeling that some USB devices might make the situation worse, since I've experienced things like optical USB mice that don't turn off when you power down, etc.

As for monitors, that's silly as well - there's no reason I can think of for being on standby rather than "hard off" - except perhaps that they have these "soft" power buttons nowadays, rather than the clicking "hard" buttons of old (that actually did turn them off).

I have one of those power rails with an USB connection that's supposed to turn off when the computer goes off, unfortunately it doesn't work... but at least I can still pull out the USB connector to power off my monitors and external usb drive.

Darn, now I really want one of those meters, to see how much my computer consumes on "poweroff".
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nudone

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2007, 02:16:32 PM »
yep, i've got one of those mice that stays 'on' when the power is 'off'. in other words the pc isn't really 'off'. but it's a ps2 connection not a usb.

it really is a bizarre trend that 'hard off' buttons are nolonger being manufactured - are 'traditional' on/off buttons that likely to fail that they we can't have them anymore.

this new LCD monitor i use doesn't even have any buttons you can see - it's a touch sensitive panel. all very flash and i thought nothing of it. then one night i noticed a slight buzzing sound in the room - surprise, surprise - it was the monitor. it looked like it was off but (no LED lit) the humming sound coming from it means this is yet another device that never turns off unless you yank it from the wall. complety and utterly pointless.

i've suspected this 'never off' syndrome for a while so i have several multi socket thingies that have their own on/off switches for each socket. it makes it a lot easier to control what's on/off then as you don't have to physically pull the plug - just flick the switch.

Ruffnekk

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2007, 12:03:24 AM »
i've suspected this 'never off' syndrome for a while so i have several multi socket thingies that have their own on/off switches for each socket. it makes it a lot easier to control what's on/off then as you don't have to physically pull the plug - just flick the switch.

Well I was just wondering about that. I also use socket extensions with a switch and if you still have the meter, I wonder if you could measure between the wall socket and the multi-socket extension to see if power is still being drained or not (with the switch 'off' of course).
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nudone

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2007, 02:51:48 AM »
right. i plugged the meter directly into the electrical wall socket.

i then plugged the extension sockets into the meter.

the wattage reading on the meter is zero when the extension socket on/off switches are set to 'off'.

i soon as i turn something on on the extension then the wattage reading goes up. when i flick the switch off on the extension the reading goes back to zero.

having said this, there must be a miniscule amount of current being used even when the extension switches are 'off' as there are two LEDs that are lit up on the extension socket casing. These obviously go off when you flick the wall socket to off.

Carol Haynes

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2007, 02:58:49 AM »
I use a UPS with my system - I can switch everything off from my desktop (couple of clicks) including the UPS which means all power is cut to the system.

The only power usage therefore when I switch off is the trickle charge on the UPS when the battery is not 100%.

Actually the UPS has sufficient power capacity (in the event of a blackout) that I also run my HiFi and DVD through it so they are all protected from power outages and dirty power signals plus I can ensure none of the devices are left on 'standby' or 'soft-off'.

iphigenie

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2007, 06:25:19 AM »
An ATX-based (and probably BTX based as well) PC is never really off - and yeah, I guess that's to support the wake-on-* events.

I wonder if that's the case even if you disable them in bios. Interesting experiments ahead.

I gave in and ordered a gizmo - think of all the stuff i'll be able to measure now and do very little about...

f0dder

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2007, 11:10:58 AM »
An ATX-based (and probably BTX based as well) PC is never really off - and yeah, I guess that's to support the wake-on-* events.
I wonder if that's the case even if you disable them in bios. Interesting experiments ahead.
I'm pretty sure it does... iirc there's also some standby power on the PCI slots (otherwise the iRAM card wouldn't maintain the data on poweroff, more than it's battery can sustain anyway).
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iphigenie

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2007, 06:24:09 AM »
Well I have had that electrisave 2 weeks now and it's very addictive.

Since it measures power consumed at the mains in the basement, and sends it to a little receiver, it's very easy to go around turning things on/off and wait and see the effect (it refreshes every 5 seconds or so). I have found that it makes us more aware of what is actually using up energy. And in the 2 weeks our "residual" energy usage has gone down bit by bit as we become more clued up.

My 9 year old 19" crt monitor does consume about 2-3 times the electricity that my husband's flat screen monitor does. Still, its not as much as I thought and the jury is out whether it means it's worth switching to a flat screen. After all I *like* working at 1600 res.

Anyway that device is actually useful, and kind of addictive to watch. Since it also measures temperature and humidity at the location of the display it has long term use. It did cost £60 to buy though.

nudone

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2007, 07:50:16 AM »
it sounds more interesting than i first thought - i didn't realise it transmitted the information in the way you described. and i can see how temp and humidity would be interesting things to look at sometimes.

what do you mean about the 1600 res? you can get LCD's that will do that and more or do you not want them to go above that?

iphigenie

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2007, 09:24:16 AM »
Yes, the system work by installing a litle ring-like device around the cables which measures the power being used, probably using the magnetic fields that the current generates. I have installed it between the mains point and the electricity meter, so technically it should measure the same thing the meter does.  There is a battery powered emitter which you need to put about a meter away which then sends the data to the receiver. We have a high house and it works everywhere. It's a lot more convenient than the meters you plug in the power socket, but obviously it also costs 4-5 times more.

-- screen --

If you have a 17" CRT or a 19" which you dont use at high res, buying an LCD screen (around£100 nowadays in the UK, cheaper in the US) probably pays for itself in a year. At least in a country where energy prices aren't heavily subsidised. If you want 1600 res the screens cost a bundle more, and I suspect they also consume a bit more so the savings in energy probably can't justify buying one.

-- a little side rant --

My laptop, which got stolen in October (dont get me started how the insurance company still hasnt sorted the claim out!) had a gorgeous 17" wide screen that did 1900x1280. Now I *would* buy a screen like that but they don't seem to sell those as desktop units. It seems I have to buy a 20" screen to get 1600 res. The smallest 1600x1200 I found is http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/92683 which is actually quite tempting (would have put a link to the manufacturer but that site seems broken).

You can tell that the manufacturers have established than when consumers and IT managers shop for screens, the "prestige" factor seems to be in the screen size, not its resolution or contrast ration or anything else. This is of course not the case in notebooks where screen size is also a weight issue and where it's worth doing a 17" high res screen - they clearly think that the same screen on the desktop would not see against all the 1280-1024 19" screens. Shame, I would buy it.

You get the same thing in digital cameras where clearly it seem the number of megapixels is the "prestige" factor, even when there's not that much of a difference for normal users between 6mp and 10mp and other factors would really be far more important... people seem obsessed by size!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 09:26:05 AM by iphigenie »

f0dder

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2007, 11:02:15 AM »
Quote from: iphigenie
If you have a 17" CRT or a 19" which you dont use at high res, buying an LCD screen (around£100 nowadays in the UK, cheaper in the US) probably pays for itself in a year. At least in a country where energy prices aren't heavily subsidised. If you want 1600 res the screens cost a bundle more, and I suspect they also consume a bit more so the savings in energy probably can't justify buying one.
Power savings might not be able to justify it (though I still be it'll be using less than most CRT monitors), but the much smaller amount of eyestrain that a TFT gives will be worth every last penny.
- carpe noctem

iphigenie

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2007, 11:28:27 AM »
Does it really give less eyestrain? I'm really curious about that. As you say that's another great argument if there is a real physical difference (rather than the psychological my-screen-suits-me-just-right, which is real but can happen on any kind of screen)

I have trouble working on certain TFT screens, they often feel very fuzzy and/or dim and i feel i must strain more to read text. I must say that the screen that laptop had was one of the best I have ever worked with, it was crisp and well contrasted and fast enough for games, but most screens I have seen in shops and businesses aren't anywhere near as nice. Of course neither are many of the CRTs.  :-[

iphigenie

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2007, 11:38:13 AM »


PS: hey, there's a trout smiley! can i borrow it for my guild's forum? We're smiley bulimic with ongoing fish jokes

(http://www.phoenix-guild.net/ 6 fish related smileys. but no troutslap one!)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 11:41:01 AM by iphigenie »

nudone

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2007, 11:53:37 AM »
i used to warn people away from using LCDs and would always recommend a CRT instead - providing it was a decent CRT. that was a few years ago - now i do the reverse.

nowadays, from what i've seen, even cheap LCDs seem easier on the eyes than a good CRT. i admit i've worked on a cheapo LCD and it was pretty horrible - very low contrast and, well, very low everything really. but it was a couple of years old, i think even the current low end LCDs are okay now - if you aren't too demanding.

we've talked about it before on the forum and i know all about eyestrain from staring at a CRT all day long - that's a high quality CRT with high res, etc. i haven't had any such problems since switching to an LCD.

if you get an LCD with good contrast, i.e. strong whites and blacks and run it at its native resolution then i think you'll be glad to get rid of the CRT.

Carol Haynes

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2007, 05:22:05 PM »
I have just taken the plunge into LCD and am really impressed.

The one I bought was on special offer (in the UK) at http://www.dabs.com/....aspx?QuickLinx=437X

It is SOOOOO much better than my iiyama CRT display (which was good in its day) and I am seriously thinking of buying a second while they are at that price!

f0dder

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2007, 06:22:40 PM »
I know that moving from a decent 19" 85Hz CRT to a decent 17" 75Hz TFT (which was decent back then, but probably boo-bah by now) was a great move - less headaches, less sore eyes. At work they also replaced all CRTs with TFTs, probably partially because of electricity costs of 60+ monitors, but also because of the eyestrain.

The TFTs of the early days were horrible yeah, but the ones today are really great. There's a disadvantage, though: now even 85Hz CRTs seem to flicker because I've gotten used to the rock-stable TFT images.
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iphigenie

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2007, 06:42:53 PM »
I got the 4ms of that benq for my husband, and he loves it.
I find that 19" at 1280x1024 feels very pixellated to me, but it doesn't bother him at all. Even in games.

Carol Haynes

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #42 on: March 15, 2007, 03:37:22 AM »
I got the 4ms of that benq for my husband, and he loves it.
I find that 19" at 1280x1024 feels very pixellated to me, but it doesn't bother him at all. Even in games.

I find that surprising - maybe it is my eyes but I can only see the pixels if I use a hand lens! 1280x1024 is the native resolution of the monitor so any other resolution is likely to look more pixellated rather than less as it would be interpolated.

iphigenie

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2007, 04:21:58 AM »
I got the 4ms of that benq for my husband, and he loves it.
I find that 19" at 1280x1024 feels very pixellated to me, but it doesn't bother him at all. Even in games.

I find that surprising - maybe it is my eyes but I can only see the pixels if I use a hand lens! 1280x1024 is the native resolution of the monitor so any other resolution is likely to look more pixellated rather than less as it would be interpolated.

It's mostly visible in photos and in games - and as I said he doesn't mind.

But when i compared it for example to my 17" laptop at similar res things looked better to me on a 17". I have rather acute eyesight (sounds so wrong, like an illness), I can read signs far away in the distance and be annoyed by little things like dust on my sunglasses (or the car windscreen) which really don't bother others. I can see a tiny vibration at the edges of screen at the moment and be kind of distracted by it, which other people don't even notice until i force them to look for it (i suspect my screen is possibly going to die this year, just short of 10 years).

nudone

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2007, 04:54:32 AM »
laptop screens tend to use smaller pixels - hence their ability to display higher resolutions than many larger desktop LCD screens. so it sounds like you aren't going to be happy unless you find a desktop monitor that provides really high resolutions, i.e. it has very small pixels.

i really don't know how things compare, whether it is actually possible to buy a 19" LCD with unusually high resolution or whether screens are pretty much standardised - i'm guessing they are standardised.

i know the monitor i use has 94.065 pixels per inch. laptop screens must have even more pixels per inch. cheap 22" LCDs tend to have fatter pixels - they are really stretched 19" screens.

all irrelevant information perhaps, but it might help you when searching for a better quality monitor (i hope).

edit:
i'm surprised that you can spot the pixels when viewing photographs, maybe you should just sit further away from the monitor until everything becomes slightly fuzzy  :D
« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 04:56:37 AM by nudone »

JennyB

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Re: cost of running a pc (in the UK)?
« Reply #45 on: March 15, 2007, 05:36:24 AM »

It's mostly visible in photos and in games - and as I said he doesn't mind.

But when i compared it for example to my 17" laptop at similar res things looked better to me on a 17". I have rather acute eyesight (sounds so wrong, like an illness), I can read signs far away in the distance and be annoyed by little things like dust on my sunglasses (or the car windscreen) which really don't bother others. I can see a tiny vibration at the edges of screen at the moment and be kind of distracted by it, which other people don't even notice until i force them to look for it (i suspect my screen is possibly going to die this year, just short of 10 years).

That's why the original Mac screen looked so good in its day. The resolution wasn't any more tahn that of a PC, but on a 9" screen the pixels were soo much smaller.  :-*

My eyes were sharper then, too.  :-[
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