All you have to do is plug the device into a wall outlet and then plug your PC’s power cable into the plug on the power meter. When you turn on your computer again, the power meter will tell you exactly how much electricity it is using.
If you use your PC for basic tasks like social media and typing on Microsoft Word, its power supply probably doesn’t consume much power. However, more demanding tasks like photo editing, video editing, or livestreaming in HD can cause a power usage spike.
Therefore, let’s cover how to check power supply usage on pc. This should help a lot in your electrical bill or cutting down on power usage.
How to Check Power Supply Usage on PC
The best way—the method we recommend the most—when it comes to checking your power supply usage on PC is by measuring it directly from the wall using a power meter. We specifically use the Kill-A-Watt P3 P4400 model of power meter.
Just put the meter onto the wall outlet then add your machine into the meter. Afterwards, the Kill-A-Watt P3 P4400 should tell you an accurate reading of your PC’s power draw when using Word vs. doing some Twitch livestreaming or playing an HD online game.
How to Measure Power Draw with Meters
An external power meter makes it easy to measure the overall power supply consumption or power draw of your given PC build. As mentioned above, it involves plugging the device first into the outlet then plugging the power cable into the power meter.
However, it doesn’t average out the power supply draw of your PC. It varies from task to task, just as your PC’s performance on Task Manager varies from which apps are open and which percentage of the memory, CPU, disk, and GPU they’re using.
How Much Power is Being Consumed with Various Tasks
When measuring the power supply usage on your PC, take note of which programs are open and what you’re doing before taking a reading. Readings should vary from you using Notepad to copy-paste important text to be rewritten on MS Word to playing Elden Ring.
The external power meter won’t assist you in determining which power supply unit is most suitable for your PC build though. It’s useful to get on-the-fly readings to get an idea or ballpark estimate of your power consumption.
How to Measure Power Draw with Software
You can also monitor your PC’s power draw more accurately using a lightweight software app. We’ve come across quite a number of them. Our recommendation though is Open Hardware Monitor.
It’s free and open source. It’s also quite effective when offering real-time power draw measurements. Aside from power consumption info, the app can tell you more about your PC.
This includes things like fan speeds, load, and clock speeds along with the temperatures of your hard drive(s), SSDs, GPUs, CPUs, and so forth. This gives you a better idea of which power supply works best for your particular PC build.
Expectation and Reality
You might expect low power usage from a laptop or two, but you might be surprised at how much power they hog across the months.
As the one responsible for paying your household’s electricity bills, you should be aware of how much power your PC draws when push comes to shove. Knowing the power draw of your desktop or latop PC can help you with budgeting.
- Crystal Crowder, “How to Measure Your PC’s Power Consumption“, MakeTechEasier.com, June 17, 2021