Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.
Power usage is one of the most important factors that we usually overlook when setting up a computer. The energy-efficient nature of an electronic device saves the user a lot of money and extends the life of the device’s components. Considering this, do you know the power consumption of each element of your computer?
Depending on how customizations are made to a computer, each part will consume different amounts of energy. CPUs and graphics cards are two critical components of a computer that consume a lot of power. In general, the power usage of an average PC revolves around 200 to 300 watts of power.
In addition to understanding the device’s life span, knowing the energy consumption of every component of the computer helps you estimate the electricity bill. This post discusses the energy utilization of each part of your PC, including processors, memory, power supply graphics card, and hard disk drives.
Table of Contents
The amount of power consumed by computers depends on the build of their hardware setup. In particular, the cores of the CPU, quality of graphics card, memory, and other hardware settings influence the power usage of any PC.
In general, a standard PC consumes between 200 watts to 300 watts, depending upon the number of cores and many other things.
A computer with a quad-core CPU absorbs less electricity than a machine with Hexa or Octa-core processors. A PC with a Hexa processor is likely to consume more than 100 watts, depending on the chipset and graphics quality.
When it comes to hard drives, the energy load requirements fluctuate between the usage. For instance, these drives require a maximum of approximately 30 to 35 watts during boot-up.
However, the electricity consumption decreases as the computer gets started. In general, you will need a 15-watt capacity for average hard drives to run smoothly.
The type of motherboard chipset also affects the energy consumption of any PC. Many standard machines use an Intel chipset these days for optimum performance.
To that end, you should have an estimated consumption of 20 to 35 watts. However, the power consumption of a massive SLI motherboard is way more significant than a standard Intel chipset.
Nevertheless, the story is much more than what is depicted in a mere glimpse. In the following sections, you’ll find information about the power consumption of multiple components of your computer. Stay tuned to understand things in a crystal clear way.
It is primarily determined by the system’s energy requirements as to how much power the power supply has to consume. For instance, a 500 watts power supply does not mean it always requires 500 watts of power to function.
Instead, it can provide a power supply of up to 500 watts to the system based on the internal hardware components.
A wide range of power supplies is available on the market, with outputs ranging from 200 to 1800 watts. We select any PSU based on the power requirements of our system, not the power usage of the supply itself.
However, one thing that you need to keep in mind before selecting any PSU is to always focus on the average output capacity of a power supply.
For instance, an 800 watts power supply may fail to function sustainably at its peak capacity as 800 is its maximum capacity. In contrast to continuous usage, the maximum capacity can only be utilized for a brief period.
When it comes to desktop PCs, you do not require a high-end power supply for efficient operation. Dell, for instance, installs power supplies in many of its desktop units within 300 watts.
However, business laptops feature above-average power supplies to match the expectations of users. You can expect an output of 600 watts on many business laptops.
Graphics cards are among the major power consumers in your system. If user graphics requirements aren’t too high, built-in power supplies will do just fine.
However, you need a high-end PSU if you want complex graphics-oriented performance. In particular, laptops used in the engineering or architectural world and video editing jobs require relentless graphics.
Graphics cards require a significant proportion of the total power supply of the system. Many graphics cards need more than 70 watts of power for seamless operation.
If you want to equip your desktops with the latest graphics card, you need to update the power supply unit of your desktops.
The good news is replacing one is not a big deal. You just need to add 50 to 100 watts output to the existing PSU for unwavering support.
You can quickly disconnect the existing one by unscrewing it and connecting the new wires to the desired power supply.
Efficiency ratings of any power supply explain the success of your decision. Good PSUs reduce heat and noise while maximizing their energy efficiency.
Consequently, you have a satisfying overall experience. With 80% efficiency, a power supply can provide at least 80% of the output while the rest is wasted.
The power requirements of the motherboard on many desktop computers differ significantly. In general, PC motherboards require 50 to 150 watts on average.
One thing that you need to consider in this regard is future-proofing. Always try to use a PSU that offers at least 30 to 40% additional output than the existing requirements of users.
On high-end gaming laptops, the motherboard demands a lot more power than on other machines. Within these devices, one thing that dictates the power requirement of the motherboard is the graphics card of the device.
You can expect your gaming PC to consume around 60 watts when it’s not in use.
NVIDIA RTX graphics card consumes more energy than the older RX versions of the same. During idle time, the CPU, RAM, and storage device consume 10 watts of energy.
Together with other hardware setups, these parts consume nearly 30 to 40 watts of power.
On the contrary, the motherboard and its associated chipsets need an additional 20 to 30 watts in a similar situation.
However, if you have installed any advanced cooling mechanism, the power requirements of an idle motherboard come down to nearly 40 watts.
There are rare odds of such occurrence as it seems pretty impossible if you have installed a high-quality PSU on the machine. We want to explain it with the help of an example.
Let’s say you have a glass full of water, but you only need one glass from it. Having a jug does not necessarily mean you have to consume the entire jar. Instead, you can take out the water according to your needs.
Similarly, having a powerful PSU does not mean the device will be destroyed because of a massive power supply. The computer only receives the power supply that it needs to function correctly.
More specifically, many advanced PSUs have this built-in protection feature that prevents the supply of any excess energy to the motherboard.
Nevertheless, that does not tell the whole story. Those who prefer quantity over quality find themselves in trouble.
Some clever manufacturers of PSU trap users by advertising a high-efficiency ratio while concealing any protection feature. As a result, customers usually buy those units and regret their decision later in their life.
Due to the absence of a protection feature, the power supply will not be able to handle excessive power. As a result, we often see people posting about the destruction of their entire setup due to those cheap power supply units.
That is why we always recommend our audience to buy a high-end power supply with a sufficient amount of protection levels.
You often see posts describing the detrimental effects of using an underpowered power supply that ruins the entire hardware setup.
In our opinion, an underpowered PSU poses more threats than one that has a massive capacity of power supply. It can destroy everything, including RAM, CPU, Graphics Cards, Hard Disk Drives, and many other setup components.
A clear indication of inadequate power supply is the blue screen that you start frequently noticing after changing the PSU.
Try to be as quick as possible when it comes to changing the unit’s power supply after seeing its failure. In the meantime, please do not use your computer since it can lead to irreversible hardware damage.
It is pertinent to mention that it could have incurred an irrecoverable loss by the time you notice the PSU is inefficient. That is why check other components of the hardware to prevent any escalation of the worst situation.
For this reason, you should never invest in a cheap power supply, which, when installed, may ruin your entire computer. You should always prefer a high-quality power supply that saves you from all these potential hassles.
Everyone tries to use a processor that meets users’ expectations in terms of speed and reliability. Nevertheless, as with any component of the system, a processor consumes a good amount of power.
The processing speed of your device comes from the electric power it uses. You can expect to pay a higher electricity bill if you are using a processor that is second to none when it comes to speed and operational efficiency.
In addition, faster processors also produce more heat.
Another thing that influences the power consumption in this regard is the utilization of the processor. The higher the utilization, the higher the power consumption. As a general rule, gaming CPUs consume more power than regular business desktops.
In the following sections of the article, we will discuss the energy consumptideskton of various CPU types.
Intel offers a massive variety of processor ranges to capture multiple segments of the market.
The power requirements of these processors depend upon the generation, clock rate, and number of cores in the processor.
The basic model of the Intel i5 processor offers an essential clock speed of 3 GHz that you can enhance to 3.5 GHz in turbo mode. The energy consumption for this Quad-Core processor of Intel i5-7400 is approximately 65 watts in regular use.
Some Quad-Core processors from Intel also need a power supply of nearly 85 watts. A 5th Gen Quad-Core processor i5-4690k typically consumes 88 watts of power.
The list also includes i5-3570k, which offers an essential clock speed of 3.4 GHz to boost up to 3.8 GHz in the boost mode. The power requirements of this processor are 77 watts on average.
The 5th Gen Intel processor also includes a versatile list of Hexa-Core processors that typically need higher energy than the Quad-Core models.
The i5-8600k is a Hexa-Core CPU that provides an essential clock speed of 3.6 GHz to boost to 4.3 in the boost mode. The power consumption for this model is 95 watts.
Surprisingly, the Intel i5-8400 is a Hexa-Core processor that only takes 65 watts of energy during use. It comes with a basic clock speed of 2.8 that you can boost up to 4 GHz in boost mode.
You can find three different categories of processors in its 7th generation line. It includes a versatile list of Quad-Core, Hexa-Core, and Octa-Core processors with top-notch frequency options.
The Quad-Core processor range is highly versatile in the 7th generation line. It starts with basic models such as i7-7700T that offers a basic clock speed of 2.9 GHz, that you can boost up to 3.8 GHz in the boost power mode.
These basic models are energy efficient and consume only 35 watts of electricity.
On the contrary, Quad-Core models with exceptional clock speed consume 91 watts. These include i7-7700k that needs a power supply of at least 91 watts to function correctly.
The primary clock rate of the model is 4.2 GHz which users can boost up to 4.5 GHz in the boost mode.
Hexa-core processors typically require a more significant power supply than quad-core processors. The energy requirements revolve around 95 watts for a basic clock speed of 3.7 GHz on these models.
Power Requirements of Intel i9 Processors
The 9th Gen processors from Intel require a massive power supply. A 16-core processor requires 165 watts of power and has 22 MB of cache memory. The basic Octa-Core models consume approximately 95 watts with a maximum clock speed of 5 GHz.
It is pertinent to mention that the system’s RAM consumes only a trivial percentage of the overall energy requirements of the device.
How much power memory consumes largely depends on what kind of memory you install. It is common to find DDR4 RAM these days that are energy-efficient.
As we go up the latest versions of RAM, the energy requirements diminish. For instance, a DDR3 RAM requires a maximum of 2 to 3watts during use.
On the other hand, a DDR1 requires 4 to 5.5 watts. The lower operating voltage of high-end RAMs makes it possible to consume less energy.
GPU is one of the primary components of any computer that consumes a more significant chunk of the overall power supply.
The type and generation of any GPU determine the energy requirements of any model. That is why knowing multiple classes of these modern GPUs is crucial.
The primary category of GPUs needs at least 100 watts for their proper functioning and operational efficiency.
It includes low-end NVIDIA and AMD GPUs with VRAM of 2 and 4 GB. For instance, NVIDIA GT 1030 with a VRAM of 2 GB needs 30 watts to function correctly.
On the other hand, AMD RX 560 with a VRAM of 4 GB requires an 80 watts supply. In addition, the list includes the RX 550, RX 560, and RX 460, which require less than 100 watts of power.
Energy Requirements for Mid-Range Models
Many mid-range models demand an electricity supply of up to 200 watts. This category includes multiple versions of AMD and NVIDIA processors.
As far as NVIDIA GPUs are concerned, this category includes GTX 960, 970, 1060, 980 with VRAMs between 4 and 8 GBs.
AMD models on the list are RX 470, 570, 480, and 580 with VRAM of 4 to 8 GBs.
Energy Requirements for High-End Models
Some high-end GPUs require more than 200 watts of power to function correctly. These models generally have a VRAM of more than 8 GB for a top-notch graphics experience.
NVIDIA models in this category include RTX 2080, GTX 980 TI, Titan X, Titan V, and Titan XP.
Models from AMD include the RX Vega 56, the 5700 XT, and the RX Vega 64.
SSD drives utilize the latest technology to reduce power usage. In general, you can expect your SSD drive to use nearly 2.5 watts when in use. When idle, the consumption is less than a watt.
The speed of these modern devices lets them work faster and consume less power.
On the other hand, hard disk drives require a power supply of nearly 6 to 10 watts during use. They still demand an average of 3 to 4 watts when not in use due to the continuous spinning of discs in them.
When it comes to DVDs, optical drives on average consume 15 to 30 watts.
The power range for Blu-ray discs varies between 20 and 30 watts. However, the power consumption of these drives is nearly one watt when not in use.
Other components of the computer utilize a trivial percentage of the total power supply. The estimated average consumption of the remaining elements is around 10 watts.
The fan is a part that consumes greater energy compared to other related things.
The speed and size of the fan determine its energy requirements. In general, you should have an estimation of 4 to 6 watts of energy for a top-notch fan with sufficient speed.
It takes a sufficient amount of power to power up each component of a computer.
Our systems use more energy as we upgrade various elements. Knowing these power requirements will make it easier for you to balance operational efficiency and wasteful energy consumption.