How much power is my CPU using

The power consumption of a PC

The power consumption of a PC depends on the one hand on the equipment of the system and on the other hand on the type of use. The PC and the connected peripheral devices belong to the household electrical devices with the highest energy consumption. What many do not know: A seal indicates the energy efficiency of power supplies.

This is how high the power consumption of an average PC is

The power supply unit gives a certain indication of the power consumption of a computer: A 300-watt power supply unit, for example, provides a maximum of 300 watts to all components of the computer. In normal operation, however, the requirement is well below this maximum value. A PC with a modern multi-core processor from Intel and a dedicated graphics card is used up per hour about 135 watts.

With four hours of operation a day, this corresponds to an annual electricity consumption of around 200 kWh. At a kWh price of around 30 cents, that's around 60 euros. This does not include the power consumption of the router, monitor and other peripheral devices.

The power requirement in stand-by mode is often underestimated. It is worth purchasing a switch socket for this. There is also potential for savings through the power saving functions of the different operating systems. For example, you can set the PC to go into sleep mode after a few minutes. It is better not to use animated screensavers.


80 plus bronze

80 plus silver

80 plus gold

80 plus platinum

80 plus titanium

Occupancy 20%

129 kWh

126 kWh

122 kWh

119 kWh

116 kWh

Occupancy 50%

124 kWh

122 kWh

119 kWh

116 kWh

114 kWh

Occupancy 100%

129 kWh

126 kWh

123 kWh

122 kWh

116 kWh


These components affect the power consumption of the computer

In practice, electricity costs fluctuate depending on the operating mode and equipment. Therefore, the power consumption of a PC can only be calculated approximately. A computer can easily do more than twice as much electricity need as in normal operation. Among other things, the components built into the PC case influence the power consumption: Additional computing and storage capacities inevitably mean a higher energy requirement.

A conventional work computer consumes significantly less electricity than a powerful gaming PC or a computer for graphics or video editing. The graphics chip has a major impact on energy consumption. A dedicated graphics card with separate computing capacity consumes significantly more electricity than a graphics chip integrated into the processor. A high-performance gaming graphics card can consume 150 watts at high load.

Save with the energy settings of the PC

It is worth dealing with the “energy settings” under Windows. Windows 7, 8 and 10 offer similar setting options here. With a pre-defined or self-defined "Energy saving plan“You determine when the monitor switches off and the energy-saving mode becomes active when not in use. Under the advanced settings, the setting can also be made for individual components and functions.

Without having to deal with the individual components in more detail, the activated “idle state” can reduce consumption to a minimum. The current session is saved so that you can continue working seamlessly. Not to be confused with the idle state "Energy-saving" mode (compared to stand-by). The main memory remains active in this, which means that the power consumption of up to 15 watts should not be neglected. The advantage of this is that there is hardly any waiting time when waking up the PC.

Reduce the power consumption of the PC through the power supply unit

An efficient power supply can reduce electricity costs. The decisive factor for this is the degree of efficiency. In order to create more transparency for consumers, the Evaluation system 80 Plus established - initially for the American market, and later also adapted to the European 230-volt network. The certification system is divided into several levels. The minimum requirement says that the degree of effectiveness must be at least 80 percent, hence the designation 80 Plus - the remaining percent of the electrical socket current cannot be used, but is converted into heat that the PC emits to the environment:

  • 80 Plus Bronze:

    an efficiency of at least 80 percent for every load level of the power supply unit

  • 80 plus silver:

    an efficiency of at least 85 percent for every load level of the power supply unit

  • 80 Plus Gold:

    an efficiency between 89 and 92 percent for every load level of the power supply unit

  • 80 Plus Platinum:

    an efficiency between 90 and 94 percent for every load level of the power supply unit

  • 80 Plus Titanium:

    an efficiency between 91 and 96 percent for every load level of the power supply unit

Unlike the EU energy label, 80 Plus is not a mandatory certification system. There are also other rating systems on the market.

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