Power usage of computers. In an attempt to lower my power usage (and to understand my power usage) I been using my Kill-A-Watt to see how much power my computers as well as my monitors use.
For starters, LCD monitors appear to be a lot better. My 20" Samsung (with higher contrast and similar brightness) beat my 19" ViewSonic by almost 2 to 1, ~75W to ~45W, respectively.
As for computers, it's a little suprising. My Dell laptop uses about ~20 Watts at idle (going up to 35W under high load). My AMD64 system, with it's Nvidia video card that is now a couple years old (and wasn't top of the line when I got it) uses a whopping ~132+ on idle. With that in mind here are some more specifics; it has 3 hard disk drives (HDD's), 2 GB's of RAM, a Nvidia 7600GT, Athlon 64 3800+, and a DVD writer.
Still it seems relatively high compared to my PIII 450 Mhz, with 384Mb's ram, one HDD, and a CD-ROM drive which clocked in at about ~50W. I was actually pretty impressed how low that was. This makes me wonder how much power the Nvidia video card uses. This was my old server, which was replaced by my new Koolu.
The Koolu with it's AMD Geode processor (similar to the OLPC) clocks in at ~8W with a standard laptop 30 GB HDD. This computer runs constantly, so it's the most important to have low power usage (and generate less heat - which is good for the summer).
So long story short I was actually hoping my old server used more power. Nonetheless, using a laptop is certainly much more earth friendly than a desktop. By Far (recap: 20W at idle compared to 132W at idle)