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Desktop Computers

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Standard desktop computer systems consist of two main parts: the central processing unit (CPU) and other hardware components enclosed in a case with the motherboard, and a monitor or display device. Since these two parts of a desktop system are typically separate standalone devices, we consider their power consumption requirements separately. This section discusses the power requirements of the computer without a monitor. The power consumption of the monitor is addressed in the section on Computer Monitors and Displays.

In 2001, a study by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) estimated that the average desktop computer - excluding monitor - consumed 50 to 55 W during normal activity, 25 W in low power mode, and 1.5 W when off (Ref). Based on the LBL study and the review of power specifications of dozens of computer models, Winrock offers a range of updated benchmarks in the table below regarding desktop power consumption, against which program managers may compare the models available to them in local new and used computer markets.

Benchmarks for Power Consumption of New and Used Desktop Computers, 2004 **

20-40 W (low)
40-60 W (average)
60-80 W (average/high)
80-150 W (high)

Source: Winrock International
** Not including monitor

These benchmarks are based on power consumption while the computer is in use or idling at full power mode, not in standby or other low power modes.

For more information, see the ICT Power Consumption Reference Tables.