With the massive brain trust of geeked out intellectual bloggers found here, I was hesitant to wet my pen and speak up, nevertheless I'm going to breakdown going Green with your PC.
The Home Computer
Your average home computer uses 200 to 400 watts, depending on its hardware, monitor and use. By comparison, your average plasma TV runs around 300 watts, but a Wii uses only 18 watt. A high-performance computer "nerded out" with powerful graphics card, multiple hard drives, all the bells and whistles, and a 24-inch LCD might consume as much as 500 watts or more!
Contrary to prior beliefs, "Most PCs reach the end of their "useful" life due to advances in technology long before the effects of being switched on and off multiple times have a negative impact on their service life. The less time a PC is on, the longer it will "last." PCs also produce heat, so turning them off reduces building cooling loads."
No one likes to wait for the PC to power back up - we leave her running with that screen saver bouncing around the screen.. at this point your PC is consuming power and contributing heat too so you're screwing yourself from two angles.
So how can you reduce the power consumption without replacing your beloved electronic friend?
Standby vs Hibernate
Standby: Your PC stores data in RAM which allows for a fast power up. Your hard drive and monitor are powered down but your PC still consumes energy albeit at a low rate.
Hibernate: Your PC stores "state" data in your hard drive. The PC shuts down all the way so it's the better options of the two.
Alternatively you can shutdown restart or hibernate your PC as set time with a program like WINOFF. But what if you need the ability to remote access your PC? Well you still don't need to leave it powered up. You can remotely power on your PC with Wake On LAN.
For more PC and PC related power saving tips head over to LifeHackers TOP 10 Computing Energy Saving Tips.
Repair, Recycle or Toss it through the wall?
We have all been there, your working on your PC or just doing some general web surfing and the PC locks up or applications hang and become non-responsive. I actually tossed my PC threw a wall once when it started hanging up.. I call that the American way! Believe it or not the computer survived but unfortunately still continued to hang. Many people experience slow performance or hangs or systems faults and think it's time to purchase a new PC. But think about the resources it took to manufacture your PC and do you really want to contribute to the landfill when you can restore that PC to like new condition?
Of course there comes a time in every computers life cycle that it must be recycled or disposed of. Before you opt into this method you'll want to back up your data and erase your hard drive. Here are some more helpful tips on preparing your PC for sell or donation.
So don't forget that your PC can be a power hog so shut her down or hibernate to save power. Just because the PC has become slow or start getting randoms errors doesn't mean it's time for a new one, try some simple repair methods to get her back on track. Last but not least if you decide to donate, recycle or sell your PC be sure to back up your data and erase the hard drive to protect your privacy.