Green PCs have recently surfaced in the media due to claims that the manufacturing and operation of computer hardware may be a significant contributor to global warming. In fact, extreme cases show that a computer may use as much power as a refrigerator, adding up to $50 on your utility bill!
So, in efforts to keep some green in your wallet and de-mystify eco-friendly hardware, I dug up some dirt on what you can do to reduce the size of your carbon footprint:
- Verify that your computer’s power supply is 80 Plus Certified – meaning that it is at least 80 percent efficient across a range of loads: 20, 50, and 100 percent.
- Consider upgrading to a flat panel LCD monitor. They use approximately 1/3 the energy as equal-sized CRT monitors.
- Configure your monitor to turn off or enter power-saving mode after 20 minutes (or less) of inactivity, and your hard drive to turn off after 30 minutes of inactivity. This can be done from the Power Options icon located in your Windows Control Panel.
- Adjust the brightness on your monitor. The brighter a monitor, the more energy it uses. A monitor’s brightness can be reduced dramatically if used in a dark room, for example.
- Shut down your computer when you leave the office or home for more than two hours. An alternative would be to place it in hibernation or standby mode. Despite popular belief, powering your computer on and off daily is a good habit for proper PC maintenance.
- Consider enabling a monitor’s power-saving mode that places the monitor in a “sleep” state until activity from the mouse or keyboard is detected.
- Gamers – consider an upgrade to your video card. You heard me right, an upgrade. ATI and nVidia’s latest cards are becoming more powerful and efficient. For example, nVidia’s new 9600GT performs marginally better to that of their older 8800GT, yet uses approximately 10% less power.
- Screensavers are not energy savers; they continually use the monitor at full power and were originally designed to prevent “burn in.”
- Consider purchasing a laptop computer. Laptops use less energy than desktops and are equally suitable for most users.
- Turn off your laptop’s Bluetooth or wireless capabilities when not in use to get some extra minutes, or even hours, out of the device before the battery dies.
Be sure to check out our economy computer reviews for more ways to save some green.
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