IT admins need to power down PCs

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IT admins need to power down PCs

A report by analyst house Forrester has concluded that IT managers are going to have to manage PCs differently if they are to cut power usage and hit green targets.

According to The Climate Group PCs account for three times as much power consumption and carbon generation as data centres, and very little attention has been paid to how to use computers more efficiently.

Enterprise PCs are wasting money,” said Doug Washburn, author of "How Much Money Are Your Idle PCs Wasting?"

“Far too many organizations leave economic and environmental value on the table by not reducing PC-related energy costs. Unfortunately, common misconceptions – like alleged power surges when turning on PCs or the presumed energy-saving benefits of screen savers - can inhibit organizations from taking action or even lead to more energy-inefficient behaviors.”

He highlighted concrete measures that could be used to improve the efficiency of PCs and deliver concrete benefits.

For example, powering down PCs at night and over the weekend can save a company between US$25 and US$75 per PC over a year. Washington Mutual, General Electric, and Dell boast savings of US$3 million per year, US$2.5 million per year, and US$1.8 million per year, respectively, by doing this.

He also recommends the use of PC power management software, which can power up or down the PC at set times or if it is not being used.

Washburn also writes about some of the myths regarding PC power. Some administrators still think leaving a computer on lengthens its lifespan, as cooling and heating up of components by switching it off makes them more prone to failure.

While this was true in the very early days of PCs it is no longer the case and indeed the reverse may be true. Leaving the computer on keens the fan going and draws more dust into the machine.

Screensaver are also not an effective technique of power saving. A graphics-heavy screensaver can instead increase the amount of power the computer uses.
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