Save More Money With Better Power Management

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It might be the most vexing question of the technology age: Is it better to turn off a PC at night or leave it on?

According to a new Gartner report, flipping the switch -- and going even further by unplugging the PC -- saves large companies a lot of money. However, simply using a PC's power management settings saves even more money and has the added advantage of not interfering with work.

A 2,500-PC organization that uses power management settings on its PCs can save US$43,300 per year, according to the report, entitled PC Power Management Activation Leads to Significant Power and Cost Savings.

Turning off and unplugging machines saves another $6,500, but this approach would interfere with employee productivity because the company's IT staff would then have to perform updates during the day, noted the report's coauthors, Gartner analysts Federica Troni and Charles Smulders.

"We believe [unplugging] is impractical, and is likely to obstruct productivity because updates can't easily be performed after hours," Troni said in a news release.

Gartner used three scenarios to calculate the cost of power consumption for desktops, notebooks and associated monitors: "well-managed," "unmanaged," and "unplugged." Each scenario assumes employees work an eight-hour business day 230 days per year, with PCs in active use 70 percent of the working hours. Cost is calculated at $0.1 for one kilowatt hour.

The "well-managed" scenario assumes use of power management settings on all devices, with desktops remaining on through the night. It assumes notebooks are turned off or put in suspend mode 50 percent of the time after hours and of these, 50 percent are unplugged.

In the "unmanaged" scenario, power management is left up to the users, 50 percent of which use it, in various configurations during the day and after hours.

In the unplugged scenario, all PC devices are unplugged when not in use after hours.

Gartner's model can be used to assess the PC-related power consumption in any organization, said Smulders.

This story, "Save More Money With Better Power Management" was originally published by

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