Wattch This - more energy info for the computer savvy
More ways you can 'monitor' your computer's energy use (part 2 of 2)
By Jeff Alan
Computer power consumption, while receiving increasing attention, is still a confusing beast. One of the biggest potential power drains in a system could be the video card. This is easiest to explain with this fantastic writeup and chart:
If you have a laptop or desktop with integrated graphics, it is usually fairly low on the wattage and likewise lower on performance, but certainly enough to do all common tasks. Unfortunately, HD video playback can still be a burden for aging systems. With Flash now hardware-accelerated, instead of upgrading a whole system, you very often need not upgrade anything but a video card to keep your system tolerable on the internet. Almost any recent low-end video card sold today will handle the common HD video codecs (with a few caveats, as always) and YouTube. An added bonus with low-end video cards is you can also find fan-less models.
Another thing to consider that's video-related is what kind of monitor you are using. If you still have a CRT screen, a clever way to reduce your power consumption ever-so-slightly is using blackle.com to do your web searches. If you have an LCD, you may or may not bother. For an explanation, see this article from a few years back:
At any rate, get yourself a wattage meter and have some “fun” finding out what your computer(s) use. I have an external hard drive beside me idling at 7 W. Time to turn it off...