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HTPC + Kill-A-Watt: Power usage thread (With Pics) - Page 4

post #91 of 186
Filling the fridge with food or stuff like soda cans will triple the efficiency.

An empty fridge does not retain the cold as long and the compressor kicks on and runs more often.

A fridge full of stuff hold the cold inside longer so once it's all chilled it stays colder longer.

Also,

A 1986-era 18 c.f. fridge uses 1400 kWh a year, while a modern energy-efficient model uses only 350 kWh -- a whopping 75% reduction. At 15¢ kWh, trading in a pre-1986 fridge for a new efficient one would save about $158 a year in electricity costs. And some older fridges are even worse than the average.

350 kwh at even ten cents (.10) kwh is only $35

I pay about .067 kwh in MA

So yeah.. It's not a big deal if your running a new efficiency model but it can be huge if you have some old crapbox from the 70's or 80's.

Same is true for CPU. Generally speaking any Sandy or Ivy uses close enough to the same power that any energy saving is splitting hairs IMO.


Common mistake is an i5 uses more power than an i3 or pentium when at idle is close enough to be a non issue.

And while the more powerful CPU might use a bit more energy at full throttle it's doing way more work or calculations in the same time as the lower end CPU so cost to process again is splitting hairs.
post #92 of 186
One thing to note about the article, is that he demonstrated around fifty percent of idle power consumption is from inefficient PSU and motherboard design

The more computers that you run 24/7 the more you may care.

This seems very relevant when considering a low power alternative to echo extenders
post #93 of 186
This is getting OT, but my basement GE dehumidifier, which is basically a refrigeration unit, is a real power hog. It's about 2 years old & I had a Kill-A-Watt connected when I first got it because it runs almost all the time. The meter figured it would cost about $30/month to run it, & that's for an energy efficient dehumidifier. The off cycle is very short. And no, I don't live in a flood plain. This past summer I've been just turning it on periodically & setting the timer to run for 2 or 4 hours. A fridge may be more efficient because of it's duty cycle, but that $6/month sounds good to me. I guess I should check mine.
post #94 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Filling the fridge with food or stuff like soda cans will triple the efficiency.
An empty fridge does not retain the cold as long and the compressor kicks on and runs more often.
A fridge full of stuff hold the cold inside longer so once it's all chilled it stays colder longer.
Also,
A 1986-era 18 c.f. fridge uses 1400 kWh a year, while a modern energy-efficient model uses only 350 kWh -- a whopping 75% reduction. At 15¢ kWh, trading in a pre-1986 fridge for a new efficient one would save about $158 a year in electricity costs. And some older fridges are even worse than the average.
350 kwh at even ten cents (.10) kwh is only $35
I pay about .067 kwh in MA
So yeah.. It's not a big deal if your running a new efficiency model but it can be huge if you have some old crapbox from the 70's or 80's.
Same is true for CPU. Generally speaking any Sandy or Ivy uses close enough to the same power that any energy saving is splitting hairs IMO.
Common mistake is an i5 uses more power than an i3 or pentium when at idle is close enough to be a non issue.
And while the more powerful CPU might use a bit more energy at full throttle it's doing way more work or calculations in the same time as the lower end CPU so cost to process again is splitting hairs.

Thanks Mfusick. That makes perfect sense. My CPU is a Wolfdale E8400, I'm not sure of it's wattage, or my CPU's yet, but I think the Wolfdale's were 65nm and were marketed as more energy friendly than the previous P4s.
post #95 of 186
Here is my latest build. This was thrown together quickly after a power outage took out one of my HTPCs and accelerated my build plans. Luckily I had most of the components already.
Sorry for violating run #2 but "wait to use the DVR that has been down while I run some tests and snap pictures of the watt meter" has a surprisingly low WAF smile.gif I will run additional tests and post Kill-a-Watt photos when I can.

- i3 3220T with stcck 3220T cooler (yes I know but I paid less for the "T" version than for a 3220 or 3225)
- Intel DH77EB motherboard
- 8GB PNY DDR3 1333 RAM
- Intel 240 GB SSD 520
- WD 640 GB 2.5" HDD
- Samsung Slim DVD drive
- Inteset CIR Receiver
- Avermedia Duet WB ATSC Tuner
- CityNet 150W PicoPSU w/ 80w/AC-DC power brick
- no case fans

CPU & RAM running at stock speed
Running all latest drivers and BIOS (0097)
Windows 7 Ultimate with minimal configuration changes

I built the PC away from its home in the media cabinet and had it plugged into a Kill-a-watt so I do have a few power observations to share.
- Idle at WMC main screen: 21.7 watts
- Peak while running Windows Experience Index: 37.8 watts

I hope to post some photos tonight or tomorrow.
post #96 of 186
Wow, some impressive figures in this thread. I measured mine couple of months ago, it was about 95W idle and full load 260W (Prime95). eek.gif
post #97 of 186
Remember that if your utility uses tiered rates you should look at the cost at the higher tier(s) because each item unplugged or made to use less energy is in those higher tiers. I used the tier rate of $0.165 per KWh to determine monthly costs with the Kill o Watt I checked out from the library.

My garage frige costs me $13.50/month. It is probably 30+ years old and mostly empty as the kids are all moved out so I'm going to unplug it and clean it out for storage. If I want a beer in the garage, I'll just have to walk the 15 steps to the kitchen frige and back to get one.

My entire office (except lighting) costs less than $20/month and uses considerably less than 200Watts. That's with the PC, router, switch, phone adapter, phone, HDHR Prime Tuner, Tuning Adaptor and other miscellaneous wall worts. There is also a Laser printer on standby that is outside the UPS which I did not check.

My entertainment center with the HTPC on all the time costs about $12/month on average. I might be looking into sleeping the HTPC but need the time to fiddle with it.

I need to find out what else is sucking the power in my house. Most all the lights are flourecent now but they are left on from time to time. Maybe motion sensors? I am tired of paying $100/month for electricity in the WINTER!
post #98 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Remember that if your utility uses tiered rates you should look at the cost at the higher tier(s) because each item unplugged or made to use less energy is in those higher tiers. I used the tier rate of $0.165 per KWh to determine monthly costs with the Kill o Watt I checked out from the library.
My garage frige costs me $13.50/month. It is probably 30+ years old and mostly empty as the kids are all moved out so I'm going to unplug it and clean it out for storage. If I want a beer in the garage, I'll just have to walk the 15 steps to the kitchen frige and back to get one.
My entire office (except lighting) costs less than $20/month and uses considerably less than 200Watts. That's with the PC, router, switch, phone adapter, phone, HDHR Prime Tuner, Tuning Adaptor and other miscellaneous wall worts. There is also a Laser printer on standby that is outside the UPS which I did not check.
My entertainment center with the HTPC on all the time costs about $12/month on average. I might be looking into sleeping the HTPC but need the time to fiddle with it.
I need to find out what else is sucking the power in my house. Most all the lights are flourecent now but they are left on from time to time. Maybe motion sensors? I am tired of paying $100/month for electricity in the WINTER!

That's pretty good efficiency for your office. For HTPC sleep, it's fairly easy to set up, although I can't get my PC to sleep after xx minutes of idle, but after turning off 7MC updates to wake the computer and all HID devices except my MCE/Harmony remote, it doesn't turn on anymore by itself. And winter is the dark season so you probably have the lights on more hours of the day as a result. But you could switch to LED lights if you wanted to pay the premium. Most of our lights are tube fluorescents, which yes they are ugly, but they do light well. They were installed when we bought the house so it's not a route we would have done on our own, but to do like CFLs where they can be used.
post #99 of 186
My electric bill is $300 month and my rate is .06 eek.gif

I use 1,400+ kWh's monthly...
post #100 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

My electric bill is $300 month and my rate is .06 eek.gif
I use 1,400+ kWh's monthly...

It is a flat $0.06/KWh?

ConnEd(?) is behind the times, I suppose.

We are going to smart meters sooner than later and those will charge based on the market rate in 15 minute increments. So all energy used during peak hours will cost peak dollars and that used at night will be less. This can make a significant difference in the summer for an always on situation like my office PC and other stuff there. Good thing it isn't drawing much power.
post #101 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

It is a flat $0.06/KWh?
ConnEd(?) is behind the times, I suppose.
We are going to smart meters sooner than later and those will charge based on the market rate in 15 minute increments. So all energy used during peak hours will cost peak dollars and that used at night will be less. This can make a significant difference in the summer for an always on situation like my office PC and other stuff there. Good thing it isn't drawing much power.

.067
http://www.wmeco.com/Residential/UnderstandBill/RatesRules/Default.aspx

post #102 of 186
Ngrid and Nstar have .05x rates in MA. WMECO is actually higher.

Brace yourself for a rise in electric rates.

Energy has been rising and natural gas market crash from last year's over supply and historically warm winter is very unlikely to repeat itself.

Natural Gas strongly effects electricity rates.
post #103 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Ngrid and Nstar have .05x rates in MA. WMECO is actually higher.
Brace yourself for a rise in electric rates.
Energy has been rising and natural gas market crash from last year's over supply and historically warm winter is very unlikely to repeat itself.
Natural Gas strongly effects electricity rates.

Our city has had it's own utility for over 100 years as it was one of the first to electrify at the turn of the century. They used to generate their own hydro-electric power from irrigation water flows but that soon became impossible with the amount and reliability of flow in the summer here in Southern California. They are now partners in a coal plant in Utah and a nuclear plant along the beach that has had one of the reactors down since last summer. The rest is a mixture of various renewables that actually make up nearly 10 percent of the total supply, hydro-electric from central California and Hoover Dam as well as natural gas / natural gas "peaker" plants. It is when those peaker plants come on line that the rate is highest.

At any rate, they negotiate long term contracts with various suppliers and the rate doesn't change much from year to year but right now we're on a rate negotiated before Natural Gas fell through the floor but during other times of accelerating prices we did not feel it at all. I think they'll lock in some decent prices for the next long term contracts though so maybe it won't go up to much.. :crossing fingers:
post #104 of 186
Peak rates here are over .30/kwh so having the HTPC go from over 150-200 watts to the 20-30 watt range makes a difference.

The K-a-W readings from the build above here are lsited below.

A few observations.
  • The shutdown power surprised me. I expected to see something on the meter since the motherboard is drawing a trickle of power. The CIR functions in this state and responds to the IR remote control to power on. Perhaps a commentary on the (lack of) accuracy & precision of K-a-W meters.
  • The idle power I measured earlier was higher than the 26.3w I observer during ripped DVD playback - seems unlikely. I attirbute this the build still being very new and most likely background processes were still running during the 'idle' measure whereas the later tests were performed after a couple of days when things had settled down.
  • My worst case HTPC test is having all three local tuners recording while performing two windowed playbacks along with a browser open. This is an extremely rare event but something that may occur from time to time. 42.6 watts was the most power I could draw.


0.0 - Shutdown.


1.4 - Sleep


29.3 - ATSC playback (local drive)


28.6 - H.264 playback (local drive)


26.3 - Ripped DVD playback (network)


42.6 - 2x ATSC recordings + Hauppauge recording with simultanious ATSC playback (windowed WMC) + h.264 playback (windowed WMP)
post #105 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Our city has had it's own utility for over 100 years as it was one of the first to electrify at the turn of the century. They used to generate their own hydro-electric power from irrigation water flows but that soon became impossible with the amount and reliability of flow in the summer here in Southern California. They are now partners in a coal plant in Utah and a nuclear plant along the beach that has had one of the reactors down since last summer. The rest is a mixture of various renewables that actually make up nearly 10 percent of the total supply, hydro-electric from central California and Hoover Dam as well as natural gas / natural gas "peaker" plants. It is when those peaker plants come on line that the rate is highest.
At any rate, they negotiate long term contracts with various suppliers and the rate doesn't change much from year to year but right now we're on a rate negotiated before Natural Gas fell through the floor but during other times of accelerating prices we did not feel it at all. I think they'll lock in some decent prices for the next long term contracts though so maybe it won't go up to much.. :crossing fingers:

I am very well versed in North East Electric and Natural gas markets but I am honestly lacking in your neck of the woods. The markets are very different.

In the NE-POOL ISO region (New England) as well as NY/NJ/PA are a bit different. We are a deregulated market which is nice as there is lots of options for electric rates and products. I think we also benefit most from Natural Gas crashes since our prices are often layered and shorter term.
post #106 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I am very well versed in North East Electric and Natural gas markets but I am honestly lacking in your neck of the woods. The markets are very different.
In the NE-POOL ISO region (New England) as well as NY/NJ/PA are a bit different. We are a deregulated market which is nice as there is lots of options for electric rates and products. I think we also benefit most from Natural Gas crashes since our prices are often layered and shorter term.

California was deregulated about 2000 or so. Enron, Duke and some other bastards manipulated the market and made off with about $15B in taxpayer provided rate stabilization funds before they filed for BK. The local munis were not part of this fiasco as they were exempted from having an open market. At that time our rate was a lot less than it is now and considerably lower than the rate that people on the open market were getting as it was being gamed with fake outages staged and all sorts of nonsense. I think that people in other utilities can actually get other providers but most do not and stick with SoCal Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric, etc. There is an "open" market but it is highly regulated to prevent it being gamed again but where I live it is still the muni that provides it and there is not an option. The cost is similar to the other utilities around here though.
post #107 of 186
Where is a good place to buy a killa-watt?
post #108 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

My electric bill is $300 month and my rate is .06 eek.gif
I use 1,400+ kWh's monthly...

Holly crap, you powering a full size movie theater or something. I would sure be looking to increase efficiency everywhere I could in your house.
Edited by jeffkro - 12/12/12 at 11:22am
post #109 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

California was deregulated about 2000 or so. Enron, Duke and some other bastards manipulated the market and made off with about $15B in taxpayer provided rate stabilization funds before they filed for BK. The local munis were not part of this fiasco as they were exempted from having an open market. At that time our rate was a lot less than it is now and considerably lower than the rate that people on the open market were getting as it was being gamed with fake outages staged and all sorts of nonsense. I think that people in other utilities can actually get other providers but most do not and stick with SoCal Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric, etc. There is an "open" market but it is highly regulated to prevent it being gamed again but where I live it is still the muni that provides it and there is not an option. The cost is similar to the other utilities around here though.

Yup, every time they deregulate something the next thing you know there is rampant fraud.
post #110 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

Yup, every time they deregulate something the next thing you know there is rampant fraud.

and increased prices smile.gif (deregulated prices only get lower in theory, not in my life experience)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Where is a good place to buy a killa-watt?

set up a slickdeal alert, amazon and newegg deal them out at reasonable prices every once in a while

This one sold for $6.99 (used) back in August http://www.amazon.com/P3-International-P4460-Electricity-Monitor/dp/B000RGF29Q/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1355340639&sr=1-2
post #111 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Where is a good place to buy a killa-watt?

Menards
post #112 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

My electric bill is $300 month and my rate is .06 eek.gif
I use 1,400+ kWh's monthly...

Is the math correct here or am I missing something?

1,400KWh * $0.06/KWh = $84 ?
post #113 of 186
I checked out the kill-o-watt from the library. The public utility provides them to the library for this purpose.

Funny thing was that I needed to renew the check out for another two weeks to finish my testing and I could not do it on line like with a book. I had to waste energy driving to the library to check it back in and then check it out again. Go figure.

Along with slickdeal alerts you can use camelcamelcamel or camelegg to track prices and set alerts for amazon and newegg respectivelly.
post #114 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Is the math correct here or am I missing something?
1,400KWh * $0.06/KWh = $84 ?

Yes, you're missing the plus smile.gif 1,400+ kWh monthly . . .

He meant 1,400 + 3,600 smile.gif
post #115 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Where is a good place to buy a killa-watt?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&N=-1&isNodeId=1&Description=kill+a+watt They sometimes have them for ~$18. That's what I paid. No tax and free shipping to boot!
post #116 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&N=-1&isNodeId=1&Description=kill+a+watt They sometimes have them for ~$18. That's what I paid. No tax and free shipping to boot!

Thanks !
post #117 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Filling the fridge with food or stuff like soda cans will triple the efficiency.
An empty fridge does not retain the cold as long and the compressor kicks on and runs more often.
A fridge full of stuff hold the cold inside longer so once it's all chilled it stays colder longer.

This never works for me, I find I always empty out the fridge again.
post #118 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

This never works for me, I find I always empty out the fridge again.

I also think it doesn't really work, at least for the bottom freezer fridge I have. I find if I pack the fridge (which we do often with two children), the efficiency of the fridge goes way, way down and the temperature (as measured inside the fridge) goes up. Now, I have an older model bottom freezer version, which does not have independent cold/freezer controls (that is, when the freezer runs, the air goes up to the fridge portion, and comes through a mechanically controlled valve). Probably the fridge portion might be able to retain its cold longer, but it doesn't seem that way.
post #119 of 186
As for rates, mine's about 15 cents per kwh. I pay more per month in electric than I do in heat, and I live in New England. My hot water and heat are all oil. I've switched to compact florescents where possible, but I can't stand them. To me, they produce less light -- a supposedly 100W replacement actually looks like 75W. They also don't last anywhere near the length of time they're supposed to last. I also keep it relatively cool at night (62 degrees), so when you turn the lights on, the amount of light output is incredibly feeble until they heat up.

Further (though this has nothing to do with type of bulb), these older homes are designed with crappy lighting to begin with. So, if I replace two 60W lights in a fixture with CF bulbs, I use 100W replacements to get the light output to something more reasonable.

In terms of saving power, training my wife and kids to turn off lights when they're not in the room would save way, way more power than that used by my unraid server or HT computer. Replacing the old oil furnace with a new one saved several hundred gallons of oil per year. Adding more insulation to the attic and sealing everything possible in the attic also helped.
post #120 of 186
I lived in New England too. At the time, when Northeast Utility was dealing with the cost of Millstone, we had the highest rates in the nation. Now in Northern California, PG&E charges 33cent / KWhr for tier three rate. Tier one rate is only 11cent but I always hit tier 3 or 4 every month. So low power is a big thing for us.

We just had a 7.2KW PV array installed and now waiting on PG&E to accept it and they are taking their time.

For lighting, we are split between LED lighting and HCF now. I don't like HCF much either and will go to LED where ever I can.
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