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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I'm trying to cut down on energy costs and I'm trying to decide on two outlets for my computer.

1. Belkin 8 Outlet Conserve Surge (Home Depot)

2. APC 7 Outlet power saving surge protector (staples)

Can anyone out here help me out with some advice on these (or any) power saving outlets

Thanks
 

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They seem to have a timer and shut power off. Not something you want a computer to experience(daily power failure). Have your computer 'sleep' if you want to conserve power.
Change as many light bulbs to cfl or leds to conserve.
 

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And put as many chargers on one switchable power bar as possible, such as cell phone chargers, battery chargers etc.

When done, just turn the whole shootin' match off... Cuts down on phantom power loss.

Cameron
 

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Between these two, the APC has the best approach to power saving. The PC is plugged into a controlling outlet and peripherals are plugged into controlled outlets. When the PC is shut off, power is automatically shut off to the peripherals. The Belkin has a switch that must be controlled manually.

However, this is of limited value with many peripherals. Most have standby modes that draw very little power, maybe less than the power bar. In this type of scenario, the power saving power bar becomes yet one more phantom power draw. Unless there is a known "energy hog" that uses a considerable amount of power on standby (or has no standby mode), it's not going to save much and may cause unintended consequences.

And put as many chargers on one switchable power bar as possible,
Are cell phone chargers really an issue? They typically draw less than 1 watt when not in use. Several of them won't use enough electricity in a year to cover the cost of a power bar. There are much better ways to conserve electricity.
 

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Here's a previous thread on parasitic (phantom) power draws. As mentioned above, it's very important to measure the items on which you're trying to save power (with a watt meter or a Blue Line Meter for large/220V devices). Once you know what the power draw is, you can then set about minimizing the parasitic losses on the low-hanging fruit. Once you've got the low-hanging fruit, you can do a second round on the longer payback items. You may also be able to change your habits so that some devices are on timers, or only used at off-peak times.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=35430

Also, as mentioned in previous posts, you do not want to remove power "unexpectedly" from devices with hard drives (like computers or PVRs) because that could cause head crashes, or data loss, or other damage. Computers should always be shut down properly.
 

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There's also the issue that you may want certain devices to remain plugged in, even when your PC's off. For example, although I wouldn't miss my monitor or speakers turning off, I have a modem, router, and wireless printer plugged into the same power bar, as well as a laptop charger. I wouldn't want any of those devices to be plugged into controlled outlets, as it would degrade my home network.

The problem is that it is increasingly difficult to find power bars these days with multiple non-switched power outlets. Most such outlets I see have the controlling outlet, which is of limited value to me.

As far as phone chargers, I picked up a Antec UA4-25 4-port 2/2/1/1A (25W) total charger that works perfectly for charging up to 3 phones or iPads at a time (though it won't charge my PS3 controller). Don't need to worry about using an entire power bar just for USB chargers, or having separate chargers for my 2A iPad. My only beef is that it's limited to 25W, whereas using all 4 ports simultaneously would use 30W. However, underpowered USB chargers appears to be the norm.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
In my home office on my current power bar I have a printer, paper shredder, lamp, telephone, pencil sharpener, and computer(mac)) hooked up.

Given this information do any of you honestly think that a smart bar will make any difference?

Based on the above comments I get the feeling that a smart bar won't make much of a difference.

thanks guys and gals
 

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Mostly not.

I a have no idea about your printer. Most likely it is a soft off, in which there is minimal difference between off and disconnected from power. If is is semi-on with an idle mode, then maybe there are a bit more savings.

Pencil Sharpener, Lamp, Shredder, all are full off or on. No savings.

The telephone likely should be kept powered.
 

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I'm trying to cut down on energy costs and I'm trying to decide on two outlets for my computer.
Your question suggests you are plugging in a monitor and computer. IMO, the but best way to save money is to not buy the expensive power strip.

Two simple ways to save electricity: turn it off or put it to sleep.

My computer is scheduled to shut down (not sleep but shutdown) every night at 10pm and turns itself on at 7:25 just before I sit down to work. During the day, it is set to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity. Since its automated, I don't have to worry

Also I may put my computer into sleep mode when I walk away to save it waiting 15 minutes to go to sleep.
 

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My computer is scheduled to shut down (not sleep but shutdown) every night at 10pm and turns itself on at 7:25 just before I sit down to work.
Why shut down rather than sleep? Doesn't the computer just use a few watts while sleeping? Let's say it is 5W. 5W * 9.5 hours/day= 47.5Wh/day. In a month that is about 1.4kWh or 17kWh/year. And that would be during non-peak rates. So assuming about $0.10/kWH that saves $1.70 per year. And that is ignoring the higher power consumption of a computer booting up as opposed to resuming from sleep.
 

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There are several sleep modes. Even turned "off", the PC is really in S1 sleep mode and still consumes power. I believe the other sleep modes are S3 and S5. In any event, the amount of power consumed is not significant. Paying attention to high power consuming devices such as dryers, ovens, air conditioners, heaters, freezers and refrigerators has a much better payback.

Paying attention to the power consumed by a PC when on will save more than any amount of power bar manipulation while off. For example, CPUs typically consume between 15w and 150w under load. Some CPUs consume much less power than others while operating but have virtually the same performance. The same goes for other components such as video cards, disk drives and motherboards.
 

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Why shut down rather than sleep?
Why not?

While the benefits may seem insignificant to you, I still like the idea that I am saving a bit of electricity. In addition, the system won't crash in a power outage, won't accidentally come out of sleep because some device on the network woke it up, and most importantly, the system has a fresh reboot every day which is significant when you are a Windows user.

Finally, the system has a SSD so start up is only nominally slower than waking up from sleep.
 

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I like to see how long I can go between reboots. I am now at 39 days, 14 hours on my work PC - that is pretty good considering we have mandatory patches that require reboots every once in a while.

I have found that Win 7 doesn't crash when attempting to sleep, but I do have the issues getting it to sleep properly for some reason, usually something to do with a mouse or keyboard driver. My PCs do have to at least be wake-able at night for the WHS backup.
 

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Paying attention to the power consumed by a PC when on will save more than any amount of power bar manipulation while off. For example, CPUs typically consume between 15w and 150w under load. Some CPUs consume much less power than others while operating but have virtually the same performance. The same goes for other components such as video cards, disk drives and motherboards.
There is a lot of similarity between low power PCs and quiet PCs. The last couple of generations of Intel PCs are much better at gearing down when you don't need the power and they have good onboard GPUs so you don't need a separate power-hungry GPU unless you are a gamer. And SSDs use much less power than mechanical hard drives. I keep making this argument here and in other places - modern desktops really only need a 200W power supply unless you are going crazy with graphics.

By the way http://www.silentpcreview.com/ is an excellent web site if you are looking at building low powered CPUs. I have built two totally passive CPUs that use HD-Plex cases that act as heat sinks. They are both very low at consuming power and don't have any moving parts so they are totally silent.
 

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I discovered the benefits of low power CPUs and GPUs for HTPCs quite a few years ago. AMD released some 45w CPUs and ATI made some low power GPUs optimized for video. I quickly replaced the power hungry Intel P4s that were creating too much noise and heat. Hydro bills also improved as operating power under load dropped from about 150w to 75w. (That's a much bigger saving than eliminating the 1w to 3w PCs consume on standby.) Intel countered with their Core 2 line and now has the edge, of course. HTPCs and media players using ARM and Intel mobile chips can cut power consumption to the 15w to 25w range.
 
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