From: Near Portland, OR
Just because a computer has a 650W power supply doesn't mean you're ever going to draw that much power. All my computers are plugged into UPSs with displays that can be set to show how much power they are supplying. When the computer is up and running the power draw is around 125W. When idle it's less than that.
Average moder PC (desktop) is using now ~100W in idle. But when stressed it can go 200-300W.
That mean for 90% PC users 400W Power supply is enough. There is also that last 10%, people that have best CPU and dual, triple or sometimes quad GPUs. For them sometimes 1000W cant be not enough.
What is important is Quality of Power Supply. It is better to have 400W bronze or silver star efficiency power supply (~80-85% efficiency) than low quality 600W power supply with 50-60% efficiency. That last to give You 300W to Your components will need to take from wall ~500W. First one will take from wall ~375W of power. You will have to pay little more for power supply but in long term it will save lot of money.
That extra power from wall usually change to heat. That why good power supplies are cold while in the same time on those low quality ones You can boil egg.
I've built my own computers since 1987. (It's a lot easier these days than it was then!) In my primary use computers I use the best quality power supplies I can get. Both my SO and I are sensitive to noise, so all out computers are as quiet as we can get them. That includes using good quality power supplies that are very quiet.
From what I've read the biggest idle power draw in the house is typically the flat screen TV. Those things consume a lot of power when they are supposed to be off. Other "smart" appliances like DVRs are always consuming power too.
From my experience. I had now new 40" Samsung LCD Smart TV with LED background light at 50%, maximal power use i saw ( i have wattmeter) was ~50W, when TV was shutdown it was using ~0,7W. My old 32" LCD TV with classic (fluorescent lamp) background light was using ~120W of power, in idle again ~1W.
Biggest power drain device in house is refrigerator. It can be responsible for 1/3 of total power drain.
If not needed i always cutting off my devices from power. That small red dot usually mean 1W of power drain but sometimes (like my old DVD player it was 10W in sleep). One device is not much but 10 give You some power.
I'm going by what I read. Some of the newest TVs are probably attempting to be more efficient. It's amazing how poor many engineers can be at energy management. I worked for years in embedded design (my degree is in Electronic Engineering) and one major consideration in most applications is controlling how much energy you use. I find iOS interfaces very annoying, but Apple is outstanding at battery management. They get a lot more mileage out of their batteries than the competition.
Refrigerators can be very expensive. Heating and cooling can be expensive too. We switched to using a high efficiency gas fireplace for most of our heating about 10 years ago. I saw our gas usage in the winter drop by 25% and the electricity usage drop by about 20%.
I watch our electric bills closely. While I'm not 100% happy with our total electric usage, our average power consumption per hour for the entire house is always under 2000 W, and that includes air conditioning or the furnace, refrigerator, other appliances, lights, etc. For eye strain I need to have a lot of light in my work area when I'm working (I work from home), so that consumes a lot more electricity than the computer does.
You should try LED light. At least for me it is working well. It take me some time before i find quality of light i want to have but savings are huge. I spend some money to upgrade all my light sources but is see difference now in electric bills. Short story - total power consumption of my light sources was ~800W now when i have everything on it is ~120W.
With new TV, new LED light, good A+ class or better refrigerator, decent PC power supply and i manage to reduce bills by at lest 1/4. It is lot of money. Maney i spend shold return to me in about 3 Years.
Europe energy prices are huge. I am paying 0,20$ per KWH (for energy only) plus i need to pay some maney for have acces for energy so at the end i paying ~0,25$ per KWH. And everyone are telling that prices will go up in next years
Electricity rates probably won't be going up here much in the coming years. There are laws locking in the prices for hydro power in the Northwest. Those costs aren't going up, so the Northwest will probably continue to see some of the lowest electricity rates in the world. Some other areas of the world are seeing electricity rates skyrocket. I believe Germany has seen prices go up dramatically in recent years.
I will go blind with LED lighting. White LED lights are blue LEDs with a coating that makes them white. They still produce a spike in the blue spectrum that most people don't notice. I have a mutation that gives me excellent night vision, but I'm more sensitive to blue light than most people. The blue peak in white LEDs is right at the frequency of moonlight and it turns on the night vision receptors in my eyes. Some LED lights are better than others, but I get massive eye strain after between 1/2 and 2 hours. It feels like someone is trying to pull my eyes out.
I tried using an LED task light for a while and had massive headaches the whole time and my near vision started going. Ever since then I not been able to focus up close without glasses or a magnifier. It's very annoying, I never had any trouble focusing close before that. I was probably going to need reading glasses at some point, but it was coincident with trying an LED light.
When I tried an LED back light monitor, I had to quit using it after an hour. It took more than a day for the headache and eye hurt to go away.
The new Apple displays are a bit better, than others, but I get eye strain using those too.
Philosophically I like the idea of LED lighting, but it's not for me.
WitP AE - Test team lead, programmer