Facing global warming

I’ve been recently using my Apple MacBook a lot more than my Dell desktop, even though the MacBook only has a 13-inch monitor while I have two 19-inch monitors for the Dell. Having lots of screen real estate is nice, especially when I’m working; I can have Visual Studio open on one screen and Enterprise Manager1 on the other. It increases my productivity and makes some tasks less of a chore and more enjoyable.

I got a stonking deal on my Dell. It came with a 19-inch flat-panel monitor based on a top-of-the-range Samsung panel and a dual-core processor all for £450. I complimented it with my other 19-inch flat-pane, put in a NVIDIA GeForce 7900GT for games and stuck in two 250GB hard drives2 .

However with a big computer comes big power consumption. I don’t have a watt-meter but I estimate that my computer uses about 250W at idle and 350W when under load, this is with both monitors on. As I only use this computer after work at night and at the weekends, I’d estimate it’s turned on about two hours a day on weekdays and four hours a day at weekends. Let’s be conservative and assume it’s only idling at those times, then let’s be conservative again and say for ever watt/hour of energy 0.5g of carbon is pumped into the atmosphere. Over the course of a year, 117kg of carbon is in the atmosphere because of my computer, a huge amount.

I bought my MacBook to use while travelling, although it doesn’t really see much use as a road-warrior anymore; it mainly sits on my lap when I’m at home and want to watch TV and write at the same time. It’s tiny power adaptor has a maximum output of 55W, which means that 55W is enough for the laptop to run at full load and still have enough to charge the battery a little too. Let’s be liberal here and assume the whole 55W is used all the time, even when idle. With the same usage pattern as the desktop, the MacBook only produces 26kg of carbon in a year, a saving of 91kg a year, a saving of 81%!

My desktop is now relegated to being turned on about one to two hours a week to archive data and perform backups, and my MacBook is now being used as my main home computer. I bought a XBOX which I’m using to play games now, it has a maximum power consumption of 100W, which when connection to one of my flat panels is 170W, half that of my desktop.

[tags]enviroment, Dell, Apple, MacBook, Intel, green, technology, computers, XBOX, games[/tags]

  1. Or SQL Server Management Studio if I feel like using that but Enterprise Manager sounds much cooler.
  2. It’s full specs are: Pentium D 2.8GHz, 2GB DDR2, 2x 250GB and 7900GT.
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