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Five PC Power Myths Debunked

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the ones-much-easier-on-wires-than-zeros dept.

Power 551

snydeq writes "Turning off PCs during periods of inactivity can save companies between $25 and $75 per PC per year, according to Energy Star, savings that can add up quickly for large organizations. Yet most organizations remain behind the times on PC power management, in large part due to common misperceptions about PC power, writes InfoWorld's Ted Samson, who outlines five PC power myths debunked in a recent report from Forrester, ranging from the energy savings of screen savers, to the energy draw of powering up, to the difficulties of issuing patches to systems in lower-power states."

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551 comments

a PC actually wrote this article (5, Funny)

cornercuttin (1199799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26089885)

this article was written by a self-aware PC who is tired of the human race's waste of time and energy.

Re:a PC actually wrote this article (2, Insightful)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26089999)

this article was written by a self-aware PC who is tired of the human race's waste of time and energy.

Turn off the PC, save the world. And some money on your electric bill.

Re:a PC actually wrote this article (2, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090049)

this article was written by a self-aware PC who is tired of the human race's waste of time and energy.

Would it still be self-aware if we turned it off?

Re:a PC actually wrote this article (5, Funny)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090101)

this article was written by a self-aware PC who is tired of the human race's waste of time and energy.

Would it still be self-aware if we turned it off?

I'm sorry Dave. You can't do that.

Re:a PC actually wrote this article (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090135)

It would have to be aware that it's off, otherwise it would keep doing things like writing articles on the intartubes.

Re:a PC actually wrote this article (1)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090077)

That, and it is a dupe from another story(no link, sorry) that was very poor and the comments on both the linked site as well as /. reflected that. I don't know whether or not this is the same news agency attempting to publish this again with hopefully better reviews, but hopefully its not by the same blathering idiot that wrote the last one.

How to save even more! (2, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26089889)

My favorite line from TFA is the last one: "The Forrester report "How Much Monday are Your Idle PCs Wasting?" is available for $279." Please raise your hands if you know someone who would buy that!

Re:How to save even more! (2, Insightful)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090237)

My favorite line from TFA is the last one: "The Forrester report "How Much Monday are Your Idle PCs Wasting?" is available for $279." Please raise your hands if you know someone who would buy that!

That $279 may be enough to show the committee for whatever corporation or organization you work for that it's beneficial to take these steps. $279 immediately, thousands saved in the long run.

Re:How to save even more! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26090605)

Read the line again: "How Much Monday are Your Idle PCs Wasting?"

Re:How to save even more! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090693)

The "How much Monday" is an accurate quote from the article, not a typo in the /. post.

Just how much Monday do you think you are currently wasting?

Re:How to save even more! (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090301)

With all that money saved from powering down the computer, you can buy the report.

Re:How to save even more! (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090333)

With all that money saved from powering down the computer, you can buy the report.

It may not be cost effective for the average user or small business of 1-100 people, but in an organization like the school district I work for with 2500+ desktops, this would be a huge benefit.

The units! (5, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26089923)

They're all wrong! Ahh!!

The average desktop draws 89 watts per hour. If it's left on overnight for 16 hours, it consumes 1.42kW. It's impossible for the power surge that occurs when powering on a PC to rival that figure: "You would be drawing energy at a rate of 17 kWh"

Energy is kWh power is kW. "Energy at a rate" is power, and should be in kW not kWh.

Re:The units! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26089997)

Yup, I stopped reading there. No interest in reading a report from people who can't get their basic units right, they can't possibly get the rest of the maths right either.

Re:The units! (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090007)

They have the units correct elsewhere in the article... it's just a typo.

Typo? Pshaw! (5, Informative)

ClayJar (126217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090213)

Of the four instances in which watts were referenced (directly or in compound units), three are completely boneheadedly wrong:

Forrester debunks this myth as follows: The average desktop draws 89 watts per hour. If it's left on overnight for 16 hours, it consumes 1.42kW. It's impossible for the power surge that occurs when powering on a PC to rival that figure: "You would be drawing energy at a rate of 17 kWh -- the equivalent of 44 HP DL580 servers at 100 percent utilization. Moreover, the average US wall outlet can only provide 1.8 kW of draw, which is about one-tenth of what the power surge would require."

They should be:

  • 89 watts
  • 1.42 kWh
  • 17 kW
  • (1.8 kW is correct.)

You *can't* call it a typo when they are perfectly backward in three out of four incidents. And you can't call it "They just got it backward..." when they got it right once. You must conclude, therefore, that they have almost no grasp whatsoever of units.

Re:The units! (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090073)

The average desktop draws 89 watts per hour. If it's left on overnight for 16 hours, it consumes 1.42kW. It's impossible for the power surge that occurs when powering on a PC to rival that figure: "You would be drawing energy at a rate of 17 kWh"

That should be

The average desktop draws 89 watts. If it's left on overnight for 16 hours, it consumes 1.42kWh. It's impossible for the power surge that occurs when powering on a PC to rival that figure: "You would be drawing energy at a rate of 17 kW"

There, fixed it for them!

Re:The units! (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090447)

It's because of the rediculous names these things.

An advice to any scientist who can decide the name of a new unit.

If you include measures of time in the unit, it damn well have something to do with time.

A lightyear is retarded because it is a measure of distance. Sure, scientists might say that it's called that way because it is the distance that light will travel in a year but it will only confuse people.

Same for watthour. Sure, it has to something with the watts drawn per hour but why should it be so damn confusing?

1 Watt is 1 Joule/second leaving out any indication of time
while watthour is an indication of the number of Jouls(and not time) and that DOES use an indication of time.

Can't somebody rename these things to more logical equivalents.

Re:The units! (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090697)

I read that article and thought "Hang on... Watts per hour... that's utterly wrong, surely that should be Joules per hour"
Then i had a crisis of identity when all of a sudden I thought I had forgoten my elementary electronics and had MYSELF jumbled the meaning of Watt.
I then looked on wikipedia and it told me what I thought was correct.

I felt even more unsure.

I'm glad someone confirmed my ideas, and even more scary, Wikipedia hadn't been vandalised.

Winter (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26089929)

In the winter I leave my computers on. I don't think I am "loosing" any energy that way since it's used to heat my house.

Re:Winter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26090191)

In the summer time I feel the same way, I use my computer to heat my house since the air conditioning makes it too cold. Oh wait, I'm doing it wrong.

-- gid

Re:Winter (1)

BradMajors (995624) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090411)

Heating with natural gas is cheaper than heating using electricity.

Re:Winter (4, Informative)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090689)

Depends on where you live and what you're heating. Ignoring regional variations in costs and heating needs, a natural gas forced-air system will heat the entire house, requiring substantially more money than electric radiators, which are per-room.

Combine this with places where electricity is remarkably cheap (e.g. large hydro works) and natural gas is expensive (e.g. all imported), and you are better off heating with electricity. Even if you live in an area with cheap natural gas, electric radiators allowing you to heat only the spaces you're using may end up saving you money over heating a whole house at night to keep the temperature toasty in two occupied bedrooms. This is especially true in Mediterranean climates, where natural indoor temperatures remain above 12 C even in the winter, thus requiring a comparatively small "bump" to hit the desired 20-22 C range.

In any case, waste heat generated by electronics is salutary, so long as the electronics are being used for their primary purpose as well.

Re:Winter (1)

boredhacker (1103107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090503)

I thought of this too... but I keep coming to the conclusion that there are more efficient ways to heat the house.

I think of it like this, if I had to heat the house exclusively w/ the heat generated from a number of computers, would it cost me less than using only my natural gas powered heating system? I never actually did the math but my hunch is that it would cost much more to exclusively use computers.

Nonetheless, kudos on and excellent rationalization!

;-)

Re:Winter (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090581)

In the winter I leave my computers on. I don't think I am "loosing" any energy that way since it's used to heat my house.

Must be nice. I live in an apartment and have no control over the heat. My machines put out so much heat that I have to have a window mount air conditioner running just to make the room comfortable. The temperature outside is well below freezing. There's snow on the ground, and I'm sitting in my room in shorts and a t-shirt with the AC running. Anybody know where I can get a cool running, silent computer with lots of hard drive space?

Sorry I can't turn off my PC (5, Funny)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26089963)

>>>"Turning off PCs during periods of inactivity can save companies between $25 and $75 per PC per year"

How am I supposed to download last night's episodes of Smallville and Supernatural if I have my PC turned off during the day? Jeez. Insensitive clod. ;-)

Re:Sorry I can't turn off my PC (5, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090287)

NSLU2 + bus-powered USB drive + debian + torrentflux-b4rt

Max 10W drain, with one drive it's nearer 5W. Add in ushare and you have a low energy box that has a web interface for torrenting stuff and can stream the results to your xbox. All for $60 (or so) and the price of the drive.

Not just power issue (3, Insightful)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26089965)

If you spend 10 mins per day turning you pc on and setting up your work environment, and 5 mins closing everything, the cost of your time spent on this task will negate $25 saved ten times.

Re:Not just power issue (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090165)

Okay, I follow your line of reasoning but firstly ask yourself this: How much energy could be distilled from the millions(billions?) of tons of waste produced each year by each and every country (and in particular the west). Many SF authors write about futures where space platforms are largely self sustaining and recycle waste to maintain their populations. IMHO that's where we need to be able to get to - assuming we can solve the issue of energy consumption during recycling. Maybe some portion of Rob Malda's anal mucus could power the recycling of all the other stuff.

Plus, when all of this happens, I can claim that my habit of eating CmdTaco's ass-pus is good for the environment!

=Smidge=

Re:Not just power issue (4, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090285)

Well 15 minutes of power on and power off is a bit exaggerated (unless you really misconfigure linux). Normally for most business PC it takes about 1 minute to power on and power off doesn't need to be counted as you can perform this action without you actually there you hit shutdown and it does its thing.

That being said...

>>> (20.00/60)*5*(48+(4/5))
80.0

Assuming 20.00 an hour average wage (40k per year)
We divide this by 60 to give the rate per minute.
Multiply this by 5 for the five work day week.
Then multiply it by 48 and 4/5 for fifty work weeks (2 week vacation) a year and subtract one extra week and a day for holidays (New Years, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas) .

So in theory it is more expensive to power on every day...
However the human factor is not factored in even for your 10 minute days of inactivity. At the beginning of the day most people are not at 100%. They will power on the computer, take off their jackets, get some coffee, put their lunches in the kitchen, greet some people, clean their desk up a bit. Also any loss productive during 10 minutes can usually be made up.

So you might as well power off at the end of the day and save some power and be better for the environment.

Thats why you don't turn off, you sue S3 suspend. (4, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090319)

Any modern PC can S3 suspend.

S3 suspend cuts power use by 95% and the PC resumes *INSTANTLY*.

I can S3 suspend my laptop and have it run off the battery for over a week - open it up and I am back where I left off in about 2-3 seconds.

There is no argument against having an IT policy MANDATING S3 suspend. Hell you can even automate it to do it by default every day at 6 PM unless the PC is in use (easily checked by screensaver APIs).

Re:Thats why you don't turn off, you sue S3 suspen (2, Insightful)

Leebert (1694) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090491)

I don't use suspend usually. The main reason being that it kills stateful TCP connections.

ssh is the big one here for me. Things are made a good bit easier by using GNU screen, but I still need to re-establish a bunch of ssh sessions, many of which are dual-factor authenticated.

Another is the inability of people to send me IMs when the system is suspended.

Etc.

Re:Thats why you don't turn off, you sue S3 suspen (5, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090711)

I have never had a PC or a Laptop which was able to reliably "Suspend" or "UnSuspend" Never in my life.

Not with Windows or several Linux Distros. I would say at least 25% of the time the machine will not return and must be rebooted anyway.

Re:Not just power issue (2, Interesting)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090359)

Thank you!

This is an "intangible" that is too often forgotten. I have my computer set up the way I want it. Not just in terms of installed programs, but in terms of what applications are open and how they are arranged on screen (and how they are internally arranged: e.g. toolbars, options, documents). This arrangement conveys information to me in much the same way that a "disorganized" desk actually contains important information for the user (the spatial arrangement of papers and piles allows the user to access information rather efficiently).

This means that every shutdown or reboot forces me to reorganize (as if someone tosses all the papers off your desk). Yes, sleep/hibernate modes should retain this information, but a full reboot generally destroys it. KDE remembers a lot about what programs were open and where they were placed, but still some information about window sizes, options that were set, and documents that were open, gets lost.

What I would like (and now I'm dreaming off onto a tangent, I know) is to have an OS/GUI that was able to properly save the "state" of all open programs. Not just a memory dump, but an proper save of what applications were running, what options were set, how toolbars were aligned, etc. This would allow me to restore the proper state after reboots. It would also allow to close and open "task groups", where each "task group" would contain a variety of tools/apps/documents, all arranged on screen in a particular way. (E.g. I open the "website editing" task-group that I had open last week, and it opens all my tools and text editors, just the way I left them, launches a new Firefox window with tabs properly populated like they should be, etc...)

Bringing this back to the energy-savings issue, consider this user-complaint from TFA:

The Forrester report does acknowledge that end-users have very little patience for downtime.

Users shouldn't have to deal with downtime. However why can't our modern computers have some simple logic: like IT loads a policy onto all computers that if they are idle for >1 hr after 6pm, they automatically save their state and shutdown; and then automatically bootup/wake-up and restore state at 6:30 am (exact times would of course be tuned based on the particular business or even user). For 99% of users, they would never see their computer turned off, yet it wouldn't be running uselessly all night long. All we would need is a robust way to save the computer state. (For that matter, why don't companies currently do this using the sleep/hibernate modes?)

Re:Not just power issue (4, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090365)

If you spend 10 mins per day turning you pc on and setting up your work environment, and 5 mins closing everything, the cost of your time spent on this task will negate $25 saved ten times.

Takes you five minutes to close everything? Jeez, my users just flip the button on the power strip. Log off and shut down in 3 seconds or less...

Re:Not just power issue (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090745)

Take into account how much power is wasted browsing and posting on /. and you'll save MILLIONS!

Re:Not just power issue (0, Offtopic)

cidhawk (732233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090371)

Right. And the fifteen minutes you spend each day reading /. it totally job related.

Re:Not just power issue (2, Interesting)

thesolo (131008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090377)

Mod parent up. My current setup at work, which consists of two desktop machines (one Vista, one Ubuntu) and one laptop (OS X), takes 20 minutes to get everything up & running from being shut off.

It takes a lot of time to get them booted, load the various pieces of development software, open the projects up, find the pieces of code I need to work on, etc. Furthermore, the Vista PC (brand new Dell XPS) has annoying problems with being put to sleep; for example, when you wake it up, the audio stops working. Only a reboot fixes it, which means even more downtime.

And then there's Automatic Updates from Microsoft, that like to reboot your computer without your say in the matter...except that the Vista box doesn't reboot properly afterward.

Honestly, I'd love to hibernate them properly, but it doesn't work, and shutting them off is not an option.

Re:Not just power issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26090399)

Do the environment a favor and get to work five minutes earlier. Time enough to turn on your workstation and set up everything. This way your company isn't paying downtime, and a lot of energy is saved.

Re:Not just power issue (4, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090415)

Good insight. With my salary a 15 minute loss would be $3000 lost per year. However shutdown time is not something I have to sit and watch, and it doesn't really take 10 minutes to bootup (more like 5), so that reduces the loss to one-third my original calculation - just $1000.

That does exceed the $25 in power savings.

This is why so few people choose energy efficiency. The money saved does not compensate for time/wages lost. Perhaps when oil hits $1000 a barrel, then people will be more mindful, but for now energy is just too cheap.

Re:Not just power issue (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090419)

Man your minimum wage must be really low. ;)

It is actually much worse in an enterprise. Thanks to the excellent MS Active Directory and never ending bug updates from MS, a PC in a large corp can take half an hour or more to boot up.

Mine usually takes about 45 minutes to boot up and several days to shut down, since there are always new patches to install. I can tell it to shut down over a long weekend, and when I come back 3 days later, it is still running and trying to shut down.

Re:Not just power issue (1)

mordejai (702496) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090471)

There's a better solution: hibernate.

You can start up and shut down in seconds, you don't have to close anything and, as a bonus, you don't have to care about power outages.

Re:Not just power issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26090569)

I know. You may have to reduce your web surfing if you had to power up and down your pc everyday.

Re:Not just power issue (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090691)

If you spend 10 mins per day turning you pc on and setting up your work environment, and 5 mins closing everything, the cost of your time spent on this task will negate $25 saved ten times.

What are you doing for the five minutes it takes to shut down? Sitting looking blankly at the monitor? Why aren't you putting your coat on and on your way out the door?

Re:Not just power issue (1)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090695)

The sysadmin here has the computers configured to shut down every night about an hour after the office closes. Then, in the morning, about half an hour before the office opens, all the computers are set to boot up again.

The applications I care about are all set to automatically start up when I log in, and I go get something to drink while they do.

Though I'll admit its annoying to have to make sure every project I was working on is closed out at night. I like leaving things open on my screen so I can just resume what I was doing in the morning.

[citation needed] (0, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26089971)

[citation needed]

Re:[citation needed] (3, Insightful)

Dibblah (645750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090211)

WTF is with this stupid meme?

Re:[citation needed] (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090329)

I know, I know... But I'm glad to see people starting to realize that they shouldn't just blindly swallow everything they're fed.

Re:[citation needed] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26090541)

$30 per hour = $7.50 per day, assuming a standard 5 days a week * 50 weeks per year that's $1875 per year in lost labor. Net lost > $1800 per year per employee. Now that's significant.

Acclerating Power Draw (2, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090001)

Myth No. 1 really hurts to read. I'm not sure there is a single instance there where the units of power and energy are used correctly.

Lets see (3, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090003)

Turning off PCs during periods of inactivity can save companies a substantial sum. In fact, Energy Star estimates organizations can save from $25 to $75 per PC per year with PC power management
Lets assume each PC has a user who is paid at least $25000 per year. We can clearly see the savings on the cost of that employee and thier PC setup caused by this are negligable.

he Forrester report does acknowledge that end-users have very little patience for downtime. However, it suggests that "potential user complaints can be mitigated by communicating the positive financial and environmental benefits of PC power management."
Complaints or not the company is paying for any user downtime.

I felt a disturbance in the Force . . . (5, Funny)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090019)

. . . as if millions of Folding@Home and Seti@Home clients suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Word (5, Informative)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090027)

All through college I left my PC on 24/7, however now that I'm paying the bill I have thermal throttling and the other new power-saving standards all turned on, and I turn everything off (router, modem and all) entirely when I'm not using it. It's odd the way people look at it; at work some users say "Well I never leave it on at night because I know that it makes the computer die quicker" and some people say "Well I never turn it off because I want it to last longer." I think the truth is that modern hardware really can handle both philosophies and it's just a matter of convenience vs. power costs at this point.

Re:Word (1)

egr (932620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090255)

The first thing that breaks are freaking cooling fans

Re:Word (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090591)

That's why, back in the dorm days when I had my super 1337 hardcore 0v3rcl0c3D! AMD K7 space heater, I had rigged the case with 14 fans. Inevitably one would go bad every couple of months and add a new heating element to the equation. I could never quite tell what was louder, the drumset (yes I had one in my tiny dorm room) or my PC.

Quoted from the article (5, Insightful)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090029)

"potential user complaints can be mitigated by communicating the positive financial and environmental benefits of PC power management."

Now that just plain hilarious.

My favorite: the black display (4, Insightful)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090033)

Sites like Blackle [blackle.com] suggest that a black screen saves energy. May have been true for CRT displays, but modern TFT Displays always have the backlight on, even on a black screen.

No thanks to the spam (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090041)

Learn how to save $25 to $75 by purchasing the $279 dollar report that the article is hawking. No thanks. This article has no business even being on Slashdot. It isn't news, it is an advert.

Re:No thanks to the spam (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090525)

Learn how to save $25 to $75 by purchasing the $279 dollar report that the article is hawking. No thanks. This article has no business even being on Slashdot. It isn't news, it is an advert.

Only $75? I can save you $100!!! PayPal me $179 for the report today!

Labor cost (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090055)

so if I have staff making $10.00 an hour shutdown and restart their computer each day (time I have to pay them for mind)- I can save how much a year?

What Labour cost? (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090443)

Or you could use a cron job and wake on lan to shut them down at night and start them up in the morning without affecting the worker drones at all.

Re:Labor cost (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090463)

each user works about 20 days a month, 240 days a year minus 3 weeks vacation, so around 225 days. Rough guess.
say 5 minutes start up and shut down about 10 minutes =~$1.67/day * 225 ~= $375.75 per person.
I hope you don't have a big company...

Re:Labor cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26090479)

Turning on a PC is what? A minute while they get their coffee and say hello to colleagues? That's 16 cent. Shutting down could be run via a network script or it's just the minute when they get their coats.
Given 16h downtime and 89W/h at a guessed average kwh price of 10 cent is 14 cents. You don't really save money, but you're hardly losing any and you're reducing CO2 emmission.

Bad economics (4, Informative)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090087)

1.42kw for the computer to run overnight has a cost of around 10 cents to the company.

Waiting 5 minutes for your PC to boot at the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour has a cost of around 55 cents to the company.

It costs the company at least 5 times as much to have you boot your PC in the morning as it does to let it run overnight.

Re:Bad economics (1)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090293)

Yup - recently had this discussion at work. It may be green, but it's not helping the company's bottom line any.

Re:Bad economics (3, Insightful)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090321)

You're making the assumption that people work continuously whenever their computer is on, and do no work when it is off/starting up.

Re:Bad economics (5, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090417)

You're making the assumption that people work continuously whenever their computer is on

I'm also assuming that you earn minimum wage. ;)

Re:Bad economics (1)

davegravy (1019182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090325)

Have the networked swipe card security system send a WOL to your computer the minute you enter the building. By the time you get your coffee, flirt with the hot accounting lady, and walk to your desk your computer is ready to go. Unless you run Vista...

Re:Bad economics (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090375)

I think the average slashdotter actually gets more work done when the PC is off:P

Re:Bad economics (1)

frinkster (149158) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090555)

What about some sort of compromise? I never turn off my Macbook; I just close the lid and it goes to sleep. By the time I finish opening the lid, it is ready for use (although wireless networking usually takes a good 4 to 5 seconds to reconnect). I know that it saves a lot of energy because I've left the computer unplugged and in sleep mode for 2 weeks and when I came back the battery was still more than half charged.

What about enforcing a strict monitor policy? Have all the monitors set to turn off after 20 minutes of inactivity.

I'm pretty sure that with a bit more thought, you can get nearly the same savings without any of the additional cost or employee downtime.

Re:Bad economics (4, Insightful)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090575)

Any big IT department is also pushing out patches at night when the computer is on.

The cost of a year of leaving the computer on (to get those patches) overnight is $75.

How much is an infected and screwed up computer costing the company (because it didn't get patched quick enough)? Maybe half a day of IT guy's time? Maybe more... depending.

There's lots of places companies can save some money by being more efficient, I think I'll look elsewhere for bigger gains first before compromising the ability to push patches during hours the office is closed.

Heck, a "quit smoking program" for the company will probably save a whole crapload more in sick time, "smoke break" time and health insurance costs than electricity used the PC ever will.

How much . . . what? (1)

achurch (201270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090097)

From TFA:

The Forrester report "How Much Monday are Your Idle PCs Wasting?" is available for $279.

(And if you can sell common sense for $279 a pop, I'm in the wrong business.)

Re:How much . . . what? (1)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090659)

Actually, if the can sell common sense for $279 a pop, he is a very good salesman. The problem lies at the *other* side of this business

Saving power, but increasing frustrations (4, Interesting)

JeffSpudrinski (1310127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090133)

I agree that you can save power with low-power (standby) modes on your PCs.

However, as a network admin as a mid-sized company, I also have seen loads of frustrations where PCs (both laptops and desktops) don't come out of power save mode cleanly, requiring a reboot. Wake-on-lan is also a great concept, but also pretty buggy (again...in my limited experience trying to implement it). We also have issues where our client systems are using network applications with license pools (e.g. database applications or CAD packages). When a user leaves one of these applications open, then the PC goes into power save mode...it really freaks out when it comes back out of power save mode since the license server thought the system had released the license, but the client still thinks it has a licens in use. This situation usually results in the need to reboot, which frustrates the users to no end.

I set all of our PCs here to lock and send only the monitor into low-power mode after 20 minutes or so. Then we don't have the problems with coming out of power save mode and having locked up or frozen applications (especially the aforementioned network applictions), but still save a good bit of power by allowing the monitor to be turned off automatically.

Anyone have any idea what percentage of power is used by the monitor versus the PC itself? I don't have a clue, but I'd bet it's a pretty good percentage. There's also probably a big difference between CRT monitors and LCD monitors...again, my gut feeling, but I can't cite any numbers.

Later,
JS

S3 Suspend to RAM (2, Interesting)

Tynin (634655) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090159)

S3 is such a nice feature. My wife never powers down her computer all the way any more, just suspends it to RAM, in seconds, and the boot up is just as fast. That said, the last 2 motherboards I've used, while technically support S3, are unable to suspend without immediately waking up. I've done my homework on it and no matter what I do, it won't stay suspended (unplugged all USB and network cables, only had a monitor and ps/2 keyboard and it still doesn't suspend). Does anyone know of any websites that have a list of motherboards that properly implement S3 mode?

Solution to myth number 5 (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090167)

If you refuse to let the company manage your PC's power use, your annual raise will be docked $75-$100 to compensate for you not being a team player by insisting that your work is sooooo important that you couldn't leave your PC even in sleep mode at night when you're at home. The percentage of corporate PC users who need to leave their PCs on overnight probably never goes above 1%.

My Screen Saver (0, Offtopic)

kcdoodle (754976) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090181)

I wrote a pretty cool screen saver years ago.
I used x,y,z coordinate equation for a sphere and added extra multipliers, exponents, and divisors, then I change the variables around on each iteration, then draw a wire-frame of the shape made.

I made it so friggin' complicated that I could not reduce it to a set of matrix operations (remember linear algebra?).

No worries, I brute-forced every long-arse calculation and it works great!

Now I use my screen saver as a load tester when overclocking. It really works the heck out of the CPU and GPU. A good screen saver (looks cool), but not very practical.

Bad News For Vista (5, Funny)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090221)

FTA: Modern computers are designed to handle 40,000 on/off cycles before failure

With all the reboots required, that means I am limited to three Vista reinstalls?

Did anyone notice the cost? (1)

dasnipa (972400) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090305)

The full article can apparently be purchase for the low cost of $279.00 ... wow

I love this part of the text (3, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090313)

"Myth No. 5: My PC users will not tolerate any downtime for power management.

The Forrester report does acknowledge that end-users have very little patience for downtime. However, it suggests that "potential user complaints can be mitigated by communicating the positive financial and environmental benefits of PC power management.""

I love this kind of response. It's pretty much ignoring the problem. PC users will not tolerate any downtime for power management even if you "educate" them. This is trying to wave the problems away and it won't work.

Units (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090343)

TFA would be a whole lot more credible if the author didn't mix up energy and energy rates:

Forrester debunks this myth as follows: The average desktop draws 89 watts per hour. If it's left on overnight for 16 hours, it consumes 1.42kW. It's impossible for the power surge that occurs when powering on a PC to rival that figure: "You would be drawing energy at a rate of 17 kWh -- the equivalent of 44 HP DL580 servers at 100 percent utilization. Moreover, the average US wall outlet can only provide 1.8 kW of draw, which is about one-tenth of what the power surge would require."

A watt is a rate, and it is meaningless unless it is multiplied by a unit of time, giving something like watt-hours.

If an 89-watt (average flow) device is left on for 16 hours, it consumes 1.42 kilowatt-hours, which costs about $0.10. If the 200-watt power supply runs full-tilt for 2 minutes while the machine boots up, that's about a penny (rounding up). Meanwhile, if the employee is being paid $6/hour, he's costing a dime a minute, so we've spent $0.20 to save $0.09 on electricity, which I figure is a net loss of $0.11. We need something better than that.

My Dell Dimension 8300 at work has a weekday power-on feature in the firmware, so I can program it to turn on around 5 a.m. It can start up, download its updates, and be ready for me when I get to work. (Then I'll negate the savings by reading /.) But if you're serious about saving energy, your computer's firmware is a good place to look for tools to do it.

Of course, the other thing about TFA is that to get at the Forrester report that is its basis, you'll have to spend $279. That really bites into the payback.

Tree-Hugging Executives (0, Troll)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090431)

At my previous job, the corporate boneheads who ran the company from their ivory towers resplendent with golden parachutes decided that we were going to "go green" by turning OFF every computer every night.

Unfortunately, what they did NOT think about (in typical corporate executive fashion) was that the IT department liked to push updates to computers every night. Since all computers had to be turned OFF (as opposed to being in the global-warming producing low-power state), all updates had to run whenever we booted our computers up in the morning.

This meant that it took me 30-45 minutes most day to get my computer to boot up while it installed the various patches that the IT weenies pushed onto my computer the previous night.

Updates and rendering (1)

Veretax (872660) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090435)

This article is moot if you are in a company where for example they may use off cycle time of computers to say render large graphics on the network. The updates issue is also a problem IMO.

Updates and malware scan updates (2, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090461)

These are the two that are the biggest problem due to power off, and power management, one the OS level, should handle this. I have all my machines automatically shut after a few hours in inactivity. But most virus checkers only have time of day settings, and there are no hooks from automatic shutdown to these important services that need to be run every day. Sure you can push an update, but that requires the machine be in sleep or hibernate, not shutdown. For small number of machines, this can be done manually once a week, but this is something that needs to be built into future OS if the OS is going to have weekly updates that require a restart.

Then there is the issue of starting up for the day. Shutdown can happen automatically, but startup should be initiated by the user. Sometimes it does take several minutes to connect to online volumes or for MS to do whatever it does. I have seen a couple machines take a very long time to boot. Again, I think hibernate is a good compromise, but there must be hooks in the system to allow virus updates and other patches.

All this means that all applications must be closed in case a automatic update occurs, something I almost never do on my machines. I put them to sleep, but my apps are open. On my MS Windows machine, this every once in while means I have to start all over again loading apps.

UnMyth No. 4: ... updates and patches ... (1)

srg33 (1095679) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090487)

Have you ever tried? WOL is flaky at its best! When you have a few non-critical machines ..., but when you scale -- Look out!!!

What about startup time? (1)

jtorkbob (885054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090567)

All systems take time to start up. Many types of software add to this time, particularly 'enterprise' applications which run as system services or on startup. Users don't like to waste this time. Wasn't there an article about that recently?

More info needed for independent decision making (2, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090611)

I would have liked to know how much more the computer uses when it is booting up (or closing down). I might turn the computer off when going for lunch, but with the data presented in the short article, I cannot determine how long you have to be away from the pc to make it worth to shut down the pc. It boots in under 1 minute, so the time I lose by booting is negligible (I have to boot my head as well after lunch, and focus on coffee - that takes at least a minute as well).

$75 per year.... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090647)

Let's do some generous math: $75 per year - and your average computer using employee might cost the company $30,000 per year. Be more generous still and assume that employee has 2000 productive hours per year - that puts the employee's time cost at $15 per hour. So, the energy saved is equivalent to 5 hours of the employee's time - per year. That's 1 minute and 12 seconds per day.

Has anyone here ever experienced a cold-boot time of less than 1 minute and 12 seconds in a "commercial grade" operating system? How about any screen saver / drive sleep schemes that cost less than 72 seconds per day in actual use?

Now, for all your computer users who aren't productive 2000 hours a year and cost more than $15 per hour - these numbers only get worse. Economically, it just doesn't make sense, unless your employee's are hourly and the timeclock [slashdot.org] is behind the bootup process.

Time and power (1)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26090663)

I can see the point the author is trying to make. When your not using your PC, or any electronic device, and it's on your wasting energy. And of course so many devices these days draw power even when they are 'off'. I get it. I have in place methods to really shut down everything when I go out of town for longer than a few days.

And to boot I will power down a PC if I know I'm not going to use it for anything. However I also try to think about what a PC could be doing while I'm away from it. Is it time to defrag the drive? Did I want to download that new Linux ISO while I go watch a movie? Did I want to move a DIVX to VCD format? Etc.

And of course on cold nights I'll look for any excuse to leave the PC in my room on for a bit of extra warmth.

Save the planet and Reduce the spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26090713)

If everyone turned off their PC at night, all the spambots running on their machines wouldn't be filling my inbox with crap. :)
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