HTPC & related devices' power consumption thread - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 2013-10-21, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: OTA -> DB4e Antenna + HLSJ + RC9263 Preamp + Win7 PC w/WMC. Home Phone -> + Obihai Obi110
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HTPC & related devices' power consumption thread

So I picked up a Hampton Energy Monitor at Canadian Tire and have been on a energy measuring rampage I've included some measurements I took, it would be interesting to compare power consumption with other folks!

HTPC Desktop Windows 7 PC - Intel Core2 Quad CPU + Asus P5N73-AM mobo + 
     MSI R4350 MD512H gfx card + Corsair VX550W PSU + 4 gigs DDR2 RAM 
     -> WMC Channel Guide: 58W
     -> Watching Live TV in WMC: 65-68W
     -> Watching Netflix in WMC: 63W
     -> Prime95 CPU stress test at 100% CPU usage: 86W
     -> Sleep mode (S3) - 2-3W

TV - Panasonic 32" - TC-32LE70
     -> active: 99 - 105W
     -> powered off: 0W

HDHRv3 (HD HomeRun network attached OTA tuner) - 3W
Wineguard AP-8700 Antenna amplifier - 3W
Now to determine the cost in $$$s based on the latest Ontario power costs. [link]

Let's assume 3 hours of use per day with the PC consuming 65W when active and 3W in sleep mode and the TV consuming 100W when on. Additionally my Antenna amp and HDHRv3 tuner use another 6W total and are always powered on.

The TV is almost always used during off-peak (after 7PM i.e. $0.072/kWh), and to simplify this let's assume all other power consumption is billed at mid-peak ($0.109/kWh), here's what I get:

PC Annual Power Cost
= cost when in use + cost for when PC is asleep
= (0.065kW * 3hr * $0.072/kWh + 365days/yr) + (0.003kW * 21hr * $0.109/kWh * 365days/yr)
= $5.12 + $2.51
= $7.63 / year

TV Annual Power Cost
= 0.1kW * 3hr * $0.072/kWh * 365 days / yr
= $7.88 / year

Cost of Antenna amplifier & HDHRv3 tuner
= 0.006kW * 24hr * $0.109/kWh * 365days/yr
= $5.73 / year

Total cost of HTPC system
= PC cost + TV cost + Antenna Amp & tuner cost
= $7.63/yr + $7.88/yr + $5.73/yr
= $21.24 / year

But if you factor all the other nonsense on the Hydro bill such as Delivery, Regulatory Charges, Debt Retirement Charges, etc. the _actual_ cost is approximately doubled so say... ~$42 / year to power my system.

Last edited by mark_aok; 2013-10-21 at 01:35 AM. Reason: added extra hydro billing info
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 2013-10-21, 06:15 AM
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Location: Guelph
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That seems like a good deal. I guess for a lot of people using streaming they'd have to ad the power consumption of the internet modem and the router as well. Both of which are quite low. It looks as if you must be using the TV speakers? or the PC sp[eakers and so no power hogging AVR ?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 2013-10-21, 12:42 PM
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I wonder how that compares to typical set top boxes that cable companies provide. I remember seeing articles in the past which measured the power use of those boxes, and they were quite high - especially because their idle power use was almost as high as their non-idle power use.

If power use is important to you you would want a HTPC built using laptop components.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 2013-10-21, 01:06 PM
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Location: Toronto, Rogers, 9865 & 8300-eHDD, Sharp LC75N8000U, Denon AVR4310Ci; Sony KDL40W3000, 9865
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Depends on the STB. Here's the thread on that topic:

Many of the older PVRs with eHDDs consumed 30-40 Watts 24/7. Some of the newer ones are closer to 10-20W.

Can the HTPC actually sleep between recordings? I would assume that the HTPC also would be used more than 3 hours/day if you record most of your programming to watch it later. Perhaps more like 8 hours per day. Also, if you have a provider, you'd need a STB and HDPVR (Hauppauge) which would increase consumption quite a bit.

Many people also have an AVR and a larger TV. I've used a Watt Meter for many years and when I include AVR, TV, PVR for about 4 hours per day of viewing, I get closer to 160W average, which ends up closer to $200/year all in.

Here's my thread on energy consumption:

And here's the recent thread on Ontario power costs:

An "all in" price is probably close to $0.15/kWh, but the incremental cost when you take off the fixed monthly fees may be closer to $0.13/kWh. The easy way to find out is to divide the amount of your last bill by the kWh used. If you do all your recording/watching during peak hours, the cost will be slightly higher, while if you do your recording/watching during off-peak, the cost will be slightly lower.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 2013-10-22, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Yep, I'm using the (terrible) TV speakers for the time being but I'm planning to get a surround sound system eventually. I just tested the power consumption of my Cisco DPC3825 modem/router (Rogers rental) and it's consuming ~$15/yr (factoring in misc. hydro charges).

I have my HTPC set up to automatically sleep after 1hr of no user activity so I don't think there should be a problem sleeping in between recordings. We also press the sleep button on the wireless keyboard after we're done watching TV to allow the HTPC to sleep right away.

If the new set top boxes are consuming 10-20W of power then I think it's pretty realistic for a HTPC to be comparable or better than a commercial set top box w.r.t power consumption. Plus with a HTPC you get a web browser, a full OS running, your TV recordings are not locked to the device, etc. Although for ultimate power efficiency I think an ARM based device like Apple TV is pretty much unbeatable.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 2013-10-23, 01:19 AM
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Location: Toronto, Canada
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Interesting thread. I've got an AMD A6 HTPC running WMC7 and a pair of HDHomeRun tuners. The system sleeps when not in use and the extenders use WOL when needed.

The real power consumption comes from the TVs and when the surround sound system is fired up but generally it's in HDMI passthrough mode.

A couple of XBox 360 extenders and Apple TV3's all on wired GigE. Compared to the cost of a cable TV subscription the electricity cost is a nominal (I'd assume Rogers set-top boxes consume about the same amount of power).

I couldn't be happier with the whole setup.

I'll have to put the kill-a-watt on it and measure it.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 2013-12-02, 10:00 AM
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Location: Gatineau and Ottawa
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I would budget 10W for both modem and router. So 88kW/year. For most the marginal electricity rates would mean less than $1/month.

If you want to lower your energy bill there are better ways to reduce. And ones that will have a larger impact.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 2013-12-02, 03:30 PM
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Location: Scarboro
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If you want to lower power consumption get a newer CPU. My HTPC has an i3-2100 in and HDPlex case. The system is totally silent as it has no moving parts and consumes about 24W for regular HTPC activities (it gets up to 50W when running Prime95) and about 2W when in sleep mode. And that CPU is now two generations behind the times. The i3 Haswell are even much lower, especially something like an i3-4330T.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 2013-12-11, 09:00 PM
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I have my OS on an SSD, then I have one 3 TB Red for torrents, and a whack of 3 TB Red drives for media. The torrent drive is expendable and the remaining 3 TB drives are generally asleep. You have to wait about 5 seconds for these drives to spool up when you want to access them but it saves on energy. Using Red drives with manual backup also helps, I imagine running raids would be the opposite.
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energy saving , htpc , power consumption

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