Every computer needs a data storage device. This contains the operating system as well as programmes and data. Here, too, there is potential for savings that often remains unused. For example, computers with conventional HDDs consume significantly more electricity than an economical PC with an SSD.
SSDs and HDDs both fulfill the same task: they are permanent data storage devices. The difference, however, lies in the technology. HDDs have been around for decades. They work with magnetic disks that rotate permanently. SSDs, on the other hand, are an invention of semiconductor technology. It is a purely electronic storage medium without moving parts.
The absence of moving parts and a motor for the drive alone saves electricity. In addition, the SSD consumes virtually no power during phases in which no data is being written or read. With the HDD, the magnetic disks continue to rotate and require electricity.
Another factor that influences the energy consumption of the PC is the speed of data transfer. HDDs are technically limited to about 160 MB/s here. An SSD, on the other hand, achieves around 550 MB/s. With the SSD, data transfer is completed faster, and power consumption is lower. The HDD, on the other hand, has to work longer and requires more power.
In practice, an HDD consumes an average of eight watts. An SSD, on the other hand, only needs two watts. This may not sound like much at first. However, consider that your company probably has many PCs. These run many hours a day and for a large part of the year. Therefore, in practice, SSDs are up to 75% more efficient than HDDs.
How much electricity does an economical PC consume compared to a conventional system?
It is always interesting to keep an eye on the overall system when it comes to electricity consumption. This ultimately also determines the electricity costs that you or your company pays. Due to rising electricity prices in Switzerland, it is becoming increasingly interesting to keep an eye on this factor.
A modern workstation is equipped with a quad-core processor, an HDD, and at least two fans. On average, such a system requires up to 165 watts of power under load. The power consumption of this PC at idle, i.e., on the Windows desktop, is around 15 watts.
The PrimeMini 5 with an i7-8665U quad-core processor is much more economical. Under load, the average power consumption is less than 10 watts. When the system is idle on the desktop, the power consumption of the PC is less than 5 watts on average.
What does this mean for your electricity bill? During an eight-hour workday, a regular workstation requires about 1.32 kWh under load. The PrimeMini 5 with equivalent performance, on the other hand, is only 0.08 kWh. At an electricity price of CHF 0.20 per kWh, this means CHF 0.26 with the workstation and less than CHF 0.02 with the PrimeMini.
The real difference in electricity costs becomes clear when looking at annual consumption. Let’s say you have ten workstations in your company. On 230 working days per year, the systems run eight hours per day. In this example, the electricity costs for the ten workstations amount to CHF 598 per year. With ten PrimeMini, on the other hand, the electricity costs are only 46 francs.
How do I calculate the medium and long-term cost differences between normal and economical PCs?