Office PC Power Consumption Analysis

Not so long ago we did an analysis into the typical power consumption of a gaming computer and found that it doesn’t consume as much power as people think. These results intrested us, primarily because many gaming computers are equipped with high wattage power supplies even if they don’t need them. We decided to take a look at another computer, this time a modern PC intended for use in a office.

Specifications:
i3 4150 Haswell 3.5GHz
ASUS H81M-PLUS
8GB Crucial 1600MHz 1.5v RAM (2x4GB)
1TB WD Blue hard drive
SuperFlower 350W 80%+ Gold power supply

The components used in this office computer are pretty power efficient, as are most value oriented components these days. The i3 4150 has a TDP of just 54W which leads us to expect a fairly low result in our tests. There is no graphics card in this computer since the HD 4400 graphics integrated on the i3 4150 is ample for most office tasks.

How we measured
We used an energy monitor to measure the power consumption being drawn into the power supply from the mains. Several tests were performed including idle, Prime95 stress, office applications and games.

overall_power_consumption_office
The idle test reading was taken 10 minutes after booting into Windows 7 and was done twice to ensure accuracy. The lowest result was taken. The Prime95 test used the blend setting on all physical and logical cores. After 30 minutes, the result was taken. The office test result was taken after a minute of typing in Microsoft Word. The gaming test result was taken at medium settings at the resolution of 1920×1080 with vsync off.

The first test was system idle. We let the computer boot into Windows 7 and left it idle at the desktop for ten minutes. When the ten minutes was up, we took the result. The results were pleasantly surprising, with the computer consuming just 40W when idle. It’s hard not to be impressed by the low power consumption at idle, especially as it would make the tiniest dent to your electricity bill.

Our next test was Prime95, an opportunity to see the computers power consumption when all of the processor cores are loaded to 100%. Prime95 is a worst case scenario when it comes to processor stress so the power consumption is a little higher here than it would be in normal applications. Nevertheless, this modest office computer consumed 103W of power.

Next up was our productivity tests. We wanted to see just how much power the computer uses when performing real office tasks. We decided to simply type for one minute in Microsoft Word and take the highest reading throughout the one minute. Our method might not be the greatest, though it can still provide a good overview of this computers power consumption in the office. Considering office applications are fairly undemanding on system resources the results were unsurprisingly not much higher than idle. The highest reading we saw was 63W.

Finally, a gaming test was thrown in. After all, who doesn’t have play a sneaky game for an hour or two during working hours? For this test we used the integrated HD 4400 graphics and took the power consumption measurement after ten minutes. The game we used was Counter Strike: Global Offensive and we continued to be impressed by the results. This computer sucked just 89W of power when playing this game at medium settings.

In conclusion a typical office computer uses very little power. It was expected really, considering there is no graphics card present. While we expected low results, some tests pleasantly shocked us, especially the idle result of 40W. Like gaming computers, power supplies for office computers are often overkill, offering a much higher output wattage than what the computer needs. While all office computers will have different levels of power consumption, we found that this Haswell based PC consumed extremely small amounts.

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