This is often the case. Note however that with most modern PCs these
days (i.e. with WinXP) the default CD Audio setup makes use of a modern
CD ROM drives capability to do Direct Audio Extraction (DAE) over the
Hence CD playback is achieved by sucking raw sample data off the audio
CD and then playing back through the PCs DACs as it would a .wav file.
(this gives the PC chance to do pre-processing of the audio (like Media
Player's "SRS WOW effects" and also to use the digital audio data to
drive the various "visulisations").
Reasonable guesstimate, ass-U-me'ing the OS and motherboard don't go
in for deep power saving, is that you might be eating about 150W when
you're "not doing much": your CPU will eat say 50-60W, the drives are
spinning but not doing much else so just a few watts each, your PCI
cards and memory modules won't be pulling more than a few watts each,
and you have a few fans on the go. Call it 100W of consumption on the
DC side, pretend your switched-mode PSU needs 120W of mains to supply
that 100W, pretend your monitor in standby eats 20W, add 10W to keep
Mr Maxwell and his thermodynamic demons happy, to arrive at the 150W
handwave. That's one kWh every 7 hours (rounding off), so call it 3kWh
for the 21 "unused" hours in each 24h period. Let's say one of those
kWh's coincides nicely with your 2p-a-unit E7 tarrif, and that you're
charged 8p a unit for the non-E7 units (typical 'leccy company E7 tarrif
bumps the price up a tad for the non-cheap period); call it 18p or 20p
a day for this "unused" power, or about 60-70 quid a year. Not peanuts,
not massive, and in winter the extra bit of heat is something your
central heating might otherwise be providing (at a cost more like 2 or 3
pence per kWh than the 6p-average you pay for leccy).
You may find you can persuade the motherboard, BIOS, and OS to do either
deep power-saving or timed-on/timed-off for you; if Windows, fiddle
around in the Power Options control panel; if Linux, apmd or (if you're
ready for the bleeding edge) the acpi patches. You may find hibernation
a useful thing to decrease the boot-up time. You may end up with a
combination of methods - for example, using some freeware/shareware
thing to do the shutdown, and using the motherboard's wake-up-at-given-time
feature to start up. There's an eternal argument about whether machines
last longer powered up 24x7 or turned on and off as needed; I'd suggest
that in your case there's not a massive amount in it, with save-the-planet
concerns tipping the balance towards non-constant running.
HTH - Stefek
After the thread I started the other week about PC consumption I've
decided to leave both of mine on permanently, particularly since we've
just had an electricity bill and it's identical (ish) to previous
quarters when the second machine wasn't on so much....
Never mind the operational cost, but you could feasibly buy a timer
which plugs into the socket which turns the mains on and off at the
appropriate time intervals.
Powering up shouldn't be a problem - the PC should boot normally.
Powering down is a seperate requirement though - you should close the
operating system down before switching off the power. You can get a
cheap shareware program to power down the PC and if you set that to
happen say 15 minutes before the power went off then you'd be
Overall cost likely to be less than 50 quid for the above - which is
very roughly what you might pay in a year for leaving the PC on 24x7.
Assuming you're running something silly like windows
get cron and shutdown, then you can just cron a shutdown whenever you
want, if you also stuck a network card in and wake on lan, you
wouldn't even need the timer to do anything - just poke it with the
lan when you want to wake the thing up.
No, hasn't done for ever-such-a-long-time; and possibly the marketing
name Economy 7 may have always meant "one set of wiring, two prices
depending on time-of-day". The use of separate wiring for night-time
loads was a feature of (some) storage heater installations, when
the leccy boards and Dimplex still thought heating up bricks with
overnight TooCheapToMeterYeahRightSellafieldWindscale leccy was a
smart idea for wide use...
Stefek, glad his kernel rebuild has just finished and he can get back
Which is why I've got timeswitches for the dishwasher, washing machine
and tumble dryer.
Has the advantage that you can set them so the programmes finish just as
you are getting up so that clothes in the laundry machines don't sit
there getting creased and metal baking trays in the dryer don't go rusty
because they can be removed almost as soon as the programme has
Many new[ish] washing machines, dishwashers, etc. have a delay
facility built in. This was one of the major criteria for our last
washing machine and dishwasher purchases. It's less hassle than a
separate timeswitch and many modern appliances won't start when turned
on 'from cold', they need the electricity to be connected to be able
to set the program etc.
However it can make nightbird children jump, my daughter was creeping
through the kitchen in the wee small hours one night and said she just
about died of fright when the dishwash burst into life all by itself!
I would suggest something similar to what other's have suggested.
I believe some (most?) motherboards support turning on at a certain time as
set in the BIOS. With this, you can get the machine to turn itself on at
5pm (ready for you to get home and listen to music in the evening) and then
set the machine to go into standby after 3 hours and hibernate after 5 hours
(assuming you use Windows W2k/XP). This would mean that if you didn't use
the machine for 3 hours, it would save electricity by going into standby,
and after 5 hours (not 3+5 hours, just 5 hours) it would turn itself off.
If you went to bed at 11pm and used it at that point, it would hibernate and
turn itself off at 4am (worst case). You'd save minimum 4am - 5pm
electricity, which would half the electricity bill for running it. If you
didn't use it one evening, it would turn itself off at 10pm (5 hours after
startup) and save you a further 6 hours of electricity. And, assuming you
have W2k/XP and a motherboard that supports power on at certain times, you
can do this for free.
If your motherboard doesn't support this, then you can just put the PC on a
small timeclock and get it to turn the power off from 4pm to 5pm. As the
machine would have shut itself down by those times, you should be safe, and
having it powered (timeclock powering it) but turned off should be safe.
All you'd be using it to do is to apply power to start the machine. Oh, and
you'd need to set your BIOS to turn on when power is applied, rather than
Of course, all these things add some risk (ie. Windows going barmy and not
hibernating and having power taken whilst its running, and also recurring
quick power-cuts turning the machine off, and on repeatedly over a few
seconds which has been known to cause problems).
Hope that may be useful to you.
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