How To Check How Much Power a Windows PC or Mac is Using
PCs are incredibly versatile devices. They have become a crucial part of our lives, whether we use them for work, gaming, or other activities. They can take on highly challenging tasks fast. But how much power do computers actually consume to perform these tasks? This article will answer just that.
Read on to learn about different methods of checking how much power your PC is using. We’ll cover two main techniques that enable you to find this out via hardware and software.
How to Check How Much Power Your PC Is Using With Hardware
Checking your PC’s power consumption using a wattmeter is arguably the best way of doing so. These dedicated electricity usage monitors are perfect if you plan on checking your PC and laptop power usage often.
Their estimated error margin is about 0.5%, offering the most accurate result you can get. Plus, power consumption meters are pretty easy to use. You just need to plug in your PC or laptop to the meter and plug the meter into a wall outlet. The measurement takes a few seconds, and you’ll see the energy consumption in kilowatt-hours (KWh).
If you have never used similar devices before, you may have trouble analyzing the results. But you can always compare your PC’s power consumption to average usage numbers to get a good idea of how much or how little power your device spends.
Gaming computers require up to 500 watts per hour to operate efficiently, while non-heavy use (browsing the internet, word processing, etc.) requires up to three times less power. However, the figures vary depending on the software and hardware installed on the PC, as well as your location.
If you use a PC for heavy crypto mining, which requires computers to run 24 hours a day, it’s obvious your electricity bill will skyrocket. Energy-efficient gear can reduce power consumption a lot. For example, a 10TB HDD consumes four times more watts than its SSD counterpart. Also, the bigger the RAM and the number of cores, the less power is used by a computer. As you can see, many factors play a role here.
How to Check How Much Power Your PC Is Using With a Windows App
The easiest way to figure out how much power your PC consumes is via software. Online tools perform power consumption analysis fast, and they’re easy to use them. There is one downside, however. They are a less reliable option compared to hardware calculators. They only perform the analysis for a short time and may not accurately represent the actual power consumption.
You can use online tools such as the OuterVision calculator to measure your Windows power consumption. This analysis is free of charge and provides data on load wattage, estimated costs, and recommended power supply (PSU). There’s also an “Expert” mode for those versed in PC specs.
Here’s how to use OuterVision:
- Visit the OuterVision website.
- Click on Basic for standard calculations or Expert for advanced ones.
- Enter the information for each section into its respective boxes.
- Click Calculate for results.
After the analysis is done, the site provides recommendations on the best power supply options for different categories. You can compare recommended power supplies, adjust the cost to see yearly energy cost information and choose the power supply that suits your needs.
Another app you can use on your Windows PC is LocalCooling. This freeware shows how much power your computer uses, with specific data about the hard drive, monitor, and other elements. You can configure it to shut down your monitor, spin down the disks, or even send the computer to sleep.
To get the most out of this app, it’s best to use it for a few days and during different activities. A nice thing for environmentalists is that it shows you how many trees and fuel gallons of energy you saved. You can take your eco-fight to the next level and compete against other users!
However, the main disadvantage is you can’t change the measurement units.
Here’s how to use LocalCooling:
- Download the app from their website.
- Run the app on your PC.
- Navigate to Settings and click on My Power Tab.
- You’ll see a rough estimate of how much power your PC uses.
How to Check How Much Power Your PC Is Using With a Mac App
Knowing how much power your Mac uses can come in handy for many reasons. You can learn which part of your system uses the most power and whether you can reduce overall consumption.
Macs lets you see your energy consumption in the Activity Monitor. You can use the Energy pane to analyze overall power usage and get more details about how much power each app uses.
Here’s how to check your energy consumption in the Activity Monitor:
- Start the Activity Monitor app on your Mac. Just type Activity Monitor in your search bar and click on the app from the results.
- Click on the Energy button.
- Select View, then Columns to show more columns. Select the ones you want from the display.
You’ll be able to see the energy usage for each app and process on your Mac in the upper part of the window.
Here is some basic info to look for:
- Energy Impact. This is a relative measure of an app’s current power consumption. The lower the energy impact number, the better.
- 12-hour power. The energy impact of an app over the last 12 hours or since the device was booted. Note that this column is only available for Mac notebooks.
- Graphics card. This shows you whether the app needs a high-performance graphics card. This info is only available for Macs with more than one graphic card.
There are a few third-party apps you can use to figure out how much power your Mac uses.
One of the most information-packed and efficient software for checking on your power consumption is OuterVision. This free-of-charge app gives you information about your estimated electricity costs related to your Mac’s power usage, load wattage, and more.
Just follow the steps below to run the OuterVision test on your Mac:
- Go to the OuterVision website.
- Select Basic for standard calculation or Expert for advanced.
- Enter the information for each section.
- Click on the blue Calculate button to see the results.
The software will provide you with tips on the best power supply options for your Mac. It will also let you tweak the costs to see yearly energy consumption expenses and more.
Stay on Track With PC Power Consumption
The amount of power each PC unit consumes is highly individual. Many factors influence the wattage, including software, hardware, location, etc. The most accurate way of calculating power usage is to use a hardware device such as a power consumption calculator you plug into an outlet. A bit less accurate but just as valuable are the online tools such as OuterVision, LocalCooling, or your own Mac’s Activity Monitor.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll get a decent estimate of your PC’s power consumption. Just make sure to check the power consumption multiple times a day and during different activities. If you have any questions related to the topic, drop us a comment below.