Friday, March 21, 2011

Sleep your PC

Back in the day when the screen-saver was king, it was common to leave your PC running 24-7. You had to because hey, E.T. wasn't going to find Earth without every computer running SETI@Home.  As the desktop computer became more and more powerful, its energy usage grew into a significant percentage of a household's total electrical usage.

Back then, sleep mode was risky. Besides drawing nearly as much power as when awake, when the computer did wake up, it often had corrupt memory and needed a total reboot anyway.

For me, cold-booting my workstation PC each morning is equivalent to not doing anything productive for 20 minutes. Every time I booted up the work computer, I had to wait for all the IT bloatware my company has installed to do its scans and checks and to wait for programs to load into memory.  In the past, it was so much easier and productive to just keep the computer running 24-7.  

Even with both monitors turned off, my workstation still draws nearly 100 watts all the time. That works out to 16.8 kWh/week or 876 kWh/year. Multiply that by the 3200+ PCs running 24-7 at my place of employment and you have a serious energy bill. Imagine paying nearly $225,000 each year for all those PCs to run idle most of the time. At the cost of increased productivity, my company happily pays its exorbitant electric bill each month.  Meanwhile, thousands of tons of CO2 are being released into the air just to generate enough electricity to keep these computers burning all night long when nobody is using them.

There has to be a better solution that is both energy saving and productive. A Win-Win for business and the environment.


FYI: Sleep mode retains all your running applications in memory but powers off everything else.

Thanks to a few green innovations over the past couple years, Modern PCs (newer than 2009) in sleep mode draw less than a few watts. My high-end, dual monitor workstation consumes 134 watts when I'm actively working but draws only 3 watts when in sleep mode.

The next morning, a quick nudge brings the PC from its green slumber back to full power productivity in under 12 seconds. Even faster if you have a SSD drive.  No 20 minute morning scans, no periods of endless IT bloat.  All the windows are just how I left them the night before. The only thing different is the electric bill.  

Sleep mode is by far the the most productive and energy saving choice. A true Win-Win.  

HORRAY for Sleep mode!!