How to Check the Power Used by a Windows PC or Mac

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Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
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PCs are incredibly versatile devices. They have become a crucial part of our lives whether we use them for work, play or other activities. They can take on very difficult tasks quickly. But how much energy do computers actually consume to perform these tasks? This article will only answer that.

Read on to learn more about the different methods of checking the power your PC uses. We will cover two main techniques that will allow you to find out, via hardware and software.

How To Check How Much Power Your PC Is Using With Hardware

Checking your PC's power consumption with a power meter is arguably the best way to do this. These dedicated power consumption monitors are perfect if you plan to check your PC and laptop's power consumption often.

Their estimated margin of error is around 0,5%, providing the most accurate result you can get. In addition, energy consumption meters are quite easy to use. Simply plug your PC or laptop into the meter and plug the meter into a wall outlet. The measurement takes a few seconds, and you will see the energy consumption in kilowatt hours (KWh).

Some of the highest rated units on the internet include Germs and Ponie.

If you have never used similar devices before, you may find it difficult to analyze the results. But you can always compare your PC's power consumption to average usage figures to get a good idea of ​​how much or how little power your device is using.

Gaming PCs require up to 500 watts per hour to run efficiently, while light use (web browsing, word processing, etc.) requires up to three times less power. However, the numbers vary depending on the software and hardware installed on the PC, as well as your location.

If you are using a PC for heavy crypto mining, which requires computers to run around the clock, then obviously your electricity bill will skyrocket. Energy efficient equipment can significantly reduce energy consumption. For example, a 24TB hard drive consumes four times as many watts as its SSD counterpart. Also, the larger the RAM and the number of cores, the less power the computer consumes. As you can see, many factors play a role here.

How to check the power used by your PC with a Windows application

The easiest way to determine your PC's power consumption is through software. Online tools perform a quick energy consumption analysis and are easy to use. There is, however, a downside. They are a less reliable option than hardware calculators. They only perform the analysis for a short time and may not accurately represent actual power consumption.

You can use online tools such as the OuterVision Calculator to measure your Windows power consumption. This analysis is free and provides data on charging power, estimated costs, and recommended power supply (PSU). There's also an "Expert" mode for those familiar with PC specs.

Here's how to use OuterVision:

  1. Visit the OuterVision website.
  2. Click on “Basic” for standard calculations or on “Expert” for advanced calculations.
  3. Enter the information for each section in its respective boxes.
  4. Click "Calculate" for the results.

Once the analysis is complete, the site provides recommendations on the best power supply options for different categories. You can compare recommended power supplies, adjust cost to see annual energy cost information, and choose the power supply that's right for your needs.

LocalCooling is another application that you can use on your Windows PC. This free software shows your computer's power consumption, with specific data on the hard drive, monitor, and other items. You can configure it to turn off your monitor, slow down disks, or even put the computer to sleep.

To get the most out of this application, it is best to use it for a few days and during different activities. A good thing for environmentalists is that it shows you how many trees and fuel gallons of energy you've saved. You can take your eco-battle to the next level and compete with other users!

However, the main drawback is that you cannot change the units of measurement.

Here's how to use LocalCooling:

  1. Download the app from this site.
  2. Run the application on your PC.
  3. Go to “Settings” and click on “My Power Tab”.
  4. You will see a rough estimate of how much energy your PC is using.

How to check how much power your PC is using with a Mac app

Knowing how much energy your Mac uses can be useful for many reasons. You can find out which part of your system is using the most power and if you can reduce overall consumption.

Mac lets you see your power usage in Activity Monitor. You can use the "Energy" pane to analyze the overall energy consumption and get more details about how much energy each application uses.

Here's how to check your power usage in Activity Monitor:

  1. Start the Activity Monitor application on your Mac. Just type “Activity Monitor” in your search bar and click on the app from the results.
  2. Click on the “Energy” button.
  3. Select "View" and then "Columns" to display more columns. Select the ones you want on the screen.

You will be able to see the power consumption of each application and process on your Mac at the top of the window.

Here are some basic things to look for:

  • Energy impact. It is a relative measure of an application's current power consumption. The lower the energy impact number, the better.
  • 12 hour power. The energy impact of an app over the last 12 hours or since the device was started. Note that this column is only available for Mac laptops.
  • Graphic card. This shows you if the application needs a high performance graphics card. This information is only available for Macs with more than one graphics card.

There are a few third-party apps you can use to determine how much power your Mac is using.

One of the most informative and effective software to check your energy consumption is OuterVision. This free app gives you information about your estimated electricity costs related to your Mac's power consumption, charging power, and more.

Simply follow the steps below to run the OuterVision test on your Mac:

  1. Go to the exterior vision website.
  2. Select "Basic" for a standard calculation or "Expert" for an advanced calculation.
  3. Enter the information for each section.
  4. Click the blue "Calculate" button to see the results.

The software will provide you with advice on the best power options for your Mac. It will also allow you to edit costs to see annual energy consumption expenses and more.

Stay on track with PC power consumption

The amount of energy each PC unit consumes is very individual. Many factors influence power, including software, hardware, location, etc. The most accurate way to calculate power consumption is to use a hardware device such as a power consumption calculator that you plug into an outlet. Online tools like OuterVision, LocalCooling, or your own Mac's Activity Monitor are a little less accurate but just as valuable.

Whichever method you choose, you'll get a decent estimate of your PC's power consumption. Just be sure to check the power consumption several times a day and during different activities. If you have any questions on the subject, leave us a comment below.

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