I thought that since Green is the new bandwagon that everyone is jumping on (and rightly so) that maybe we should take a look at the costs of using a computer and how we can limit or reduce these costs.
First things first: Ditch that trusty CRT monitor. You know that monitor that looks like an old TV set and is nicknamed the “hernia maker.” These things use upwards of 150 watts when they are in use; a fair share of that is simply being released as heat. Even when the thing is in “sleep” mode it still uses about 30 watts of power.
Now consider a spiffy new LCD monitor. It uses around 30 to 60 watts when it is running and only a measly 5 when it is asleep.
Extra bonus: They look better, take up less space, and we can use a good LCD all day with little problem, while the same eight hours with a CRT can leave us with sore eyes, headaches and bad moods.
Next: TURN IT OFF! Newer computers aren’t anywhere near as susceptible to damage from being turned off and on as older computers were. When you aren’t using it for any extended period of time, it is just wasting money and power. If you aren’t willing to turn it off, at least set it to “suspend” or “hibernate.”
Extra bonus: security. Most computers nowadays are connected to DSL, cable, FIOS or whatever. What this means is that anytime your computer is on, it is at risk. If you read our previous columns and protected yourself, these risks are not very big, but why push it?
If we really wanted to save energy, at least as far as our PCs are concerned, we should all just go back to the PCs we used in 1995. There is no way around the fact that our new machines just draw more power. Assuming you want to stay in the 21st century, consider this: If you have a Pentium 4, get rid of that hog and buy a new AMD chip. If you have a new AMD chip, eliminate that power-hungry monster and get an Intel Core 2 (duo or quad) chip. If you have a Core 2 system, you can still do better. Get rid of that huge eyesore you have and get yourself a laptop (by the way, this gets rid of your CRT problem as well).
Finally, since we all live in the great Northwest, we aren’t only interested in saving money. We want to help the environment. Take your old power-sucking electronics to a reputable recycling center. All the power saving you have achieved by upgrading and slimming down your computer can easily be overshadowed by a few printed circuit boards ending up in a burn pile or degrading the water table by being busted up in some garbage pile.
Sven Mogelgaard is the owner of Mill Creek-based Byte Slaves Inc. (www.byteslaves.com) and can be reached by calling 425-482-9529. Will Rutherford is the owner of Bothell-based Computer Concepts (www.conceptsnet.com) and can be reached by calling 425-481-3666.