Updated 29.10.2021

Two of the most important topics in recent years are rising energy prices and sustainability. IT has not been spared from these developments either. In this context, the energy consumption of PCs plays a central role. An economical PC reduces running costs and has other benefits as well.

For this reason, companies need to look at the power consumption of PCs. An energy-efficient PC makes it possible to reduce ongoing electricity costs. At the same time, these computers also score in the area of sustainability. Find out more about the energy consumption of PCs and how you can integrate energy-saving systems.


How is it possible to build a powerful and, at the same time, energy-efficient PC?

The careful selection of energy-saving components creates an energy-efficient PC. There are various methods to choose from here. Components with the following properties are particularly energy-efficient:

  • Designed for mobile use
  • Are from a newer generation
  • Support special power-saving modes

A practical example shows how this is implemented in the energy-efficient PCs from Prime Computer. The PrimeMini series consistently uses efficient hardware.

The processor: Enormous energy-saving potential despite high performance

Energy efficiency starts with the choice of processor. The Intel Core i7-8665U is available as an option for the PrimeMini. This is a CPU that is primarily designed for mobile use. These processors are also found in notebooks. Mobile devices generally need energy-efficient components to enable a long battery life.

The Intel Core i7-8665U has a maximum power dissipation (TDP) of 15 watts. At the same time, the processor has four cores and can work on eight processes simultaneously. With a maximum clock frequency of 4.8 GHz, the CPU offers enormous performance. This makes the processor comparable to the desktop model i7-8700K. However, the latter has a TDP of 95 watts.

In addition, the Intel Core i7-8665U has several very effective power-saving techniques. In operation, the CPU lowers the clock frequency to 1.9 GHz when full performance is not required. In the special TDP down mode, even operation at 800 MHz is possible. All these techniques further reduce power consumption.

The data storage: More ways to reduce the power consumption of a PC

Der Datenspeicher

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?

Kostenunterschiede zwischen normalen und sparsamen PCs

When purchasing IT systems, decision-makers often think far too short-term. Then those responsible only look at the acquisition costs and decide according to price. However, this often results in more costs than were saved during the acquisition in the long run. There are various reasons for this. In this context, we speak of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

The TCO consists of several factors. These include direct and indirect costs. When calculating the cost of an investment, all these factors are included in the calculation. The TCO is made up of the following points, among others:

  • Acquisition costs
  • Running costs like electricity
  • Maintenance costs
  • Expenses for the downtime of a system

This shows that an energy-efficient PC generates significantly lower costs in the long term compared to conventional systems. The high reliability with low failure rates also reduces direct and indirect costs. Thus, the somewhat higher initial investment in an economical PC quickly pays for itself in most cases.

You can use Prime Computer’s TCO calculator to work out the differences in your business. The calculator shows you both the potential extra costs and the carbon footprint.


What impact does an economical PC have on sustainability and the carbon footprint?

Welche Auswirkungen hat ein sparsamer PC auf die Nachhaltigkeit und die CO2-Bilanz

An energy-efficient PC has several benefits over conventional computers when it comes to sustainability. The first and often decisive point is the power consumption already mentioned. Power generation is often a source of CO2.

In the Swiss electricity mix, it depends on which supplier you get your energy from. Only a pure green electricity provider makes it possible to operate in a climate-neutral way. With electricity from renewable energy sources, the CO2 emissions are 0.0 grams per kWh. In Switzerland’s consumption mix, on the other hand, CO2 emissions amount to 113 grams of CO2 per kWh. Systems with high electricity consumption, therefore, have a poor CO2 balance.

PCs like the PrimeMini are additionally designed for longer service life. This is also part of a sustainable IT strategy. On the one hand, this is achieved through easy upgrade options. On the other hand, the absence of mechanical components such as fans ensures that the PrimeMini breaks down less frequently.

This has a positive effect on the CO2 balance. Your IT systems require fewer resources in production. With Prime Computer’s sustainability calculator, you can calculate approximately what savings energy-efficient PCs will make possible in your business. This includes both the CO2 balance and the operating cost savings.

Second Life Cycle: Positive effect for the carbon footprint

The life cycle of many computer systems is limited to a single-use. This is particularly evident in the commercial sector. Companies often purchase workstations and servers and replace them with new systems when more power is needed. Upgrading is also not always considered or even possible.

Prime Computer counters this approach with the Second Life Cycle programme. This allows you to return your Prime Computer equipment to the manufacturer. The systems are refurbished there. Prime Computer will then rededicate the systems to a new purpose.

Prime Computer also offers the Prime Computer as a Service concept. Here you rent the systems instead of buying them. This also ensures that the computers have a useful second use at the end of the rental period.

If you participate in the Second Life Cycle programme, you will receive a credit for returned systems. You can use this to buy new equipment from Prime Computer. A second life for a computer is a much better alternative than the scrap yard. Find out more about Prime Computer’s Second Life Cycle programme now.


Economical PCs from Prime Computer: Energy-efficient, sustainable and powerful


In the Prime Computer portfolio, you will find a wide range of systems focusing on low energy consumption. At the same time, the computers are designed for sustainability. With the individual configuration options at Prime Computer, you can put together the PC that suits you best.

Desktop PCs and workstations from Prime Computer: Efficient and economical in everyday use

The Prime Computer devices with their unique aluminium housing are eye catchers in every office and replace bulky conventional desktop towers. Due to ingenious technology made in Switzerland, the products are significantly lower in energy consumption than their competitors. Numerous USB ports and HDMI connections as well as integrated Wi-Fi make our devices versatile companions for every situation.

The configurator allows you to customize the equipment of your Prime Computer product. There are various options for the processors to choose from.

For more demanding office applications like graphics work or software development we provide with our latest product, PrimeStation Pulsar, a 100% climate-neutral solution. The key features of our workstation are the high performing 8-core, 16-thread Pro APU processor from AMD as well as a Radeon Vega 8 graphics card for impressive graphics performance. Of course, this device is also equipped with state-of-the-art connection options such as USB, HDMI, Ethernet and Wi-Fi.

Powerful and economical servers from Prime Computer

Prime Computer also offers energy-efficient servers. Energy efficiency and sustainability also play an important role in this area. Here you have even greater savings opportunities because servers usually run around the clock. With the PrimeServer Pro, you can choose a flexible and powerful server that is also particularly energy-efficient.

Through individual configuration, you can adapt the PrimeServer Pro to your needs. Modern and economical CPUs from the Intel Xeon series provide you with up to twelve CPU cores. The servers offer space for up to six hard disks. Thanks to Hybrid Caddies, you can change the hard disks in a few simple steps. Fail safety is ensured by two redundant external power supply units.

Nachhaltigkeit Berge Swiss Mountains

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