The Frugal Home PC
At the end of the day, whatever way you read it, the Laptop will come out the frugal winner for being both less energy hungry and less clutter thus allowing the Home to be a little more a Home and not a place where the PC goes!
It's quite an easy equation. We'll take my main PC Base Unit. I have the following energy takers....
My Laptop however has one energy input. The Monitor's attached, there's a built in webcam and microphone for my Skype calls, 4 usb sockets, built in Speakers and I use a Printer about 4 times a year!
The Main PC is linked to my Router / Modem by Cable, but I could just as easily take that out and run solely on Wireless. This wouldn't save any money, just tidy up the walls as the PC is two Rooms and a Backyard away!
The other obvious benefits of a Laptop are that you can take your work wherever you go and spend a nice afternoon doing it up the end of the Garden running on Battery Power rather than Land Power.
Most Laptops nowadays have high technical specifications and probably work out about the same as most standard Home PC's. This year (2008) I brought a 17" Dell Laptop with the same Processor power as my PC, more storage space and the built in camera and mic.
The Battery Life of Laptops varies a lot, but most run for about 1.5 to 3 hours, but they re-charge quite quickly.
A tip for longer Battery Life is to adjust the brightness settings in Control Panel for when it is on Batteries. The lower the brightness, the longer it will run.
When I make my next move (because of the old bones in my big garden) into something smaller, I don't intend to take the PC and by then the technology will have advanced even further and allow by 'Chez Nous' to be a tad more clutter, wire free.
Plus of course, lower Electricity Bills !
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"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
— Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
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Above; my Laptop and Wireless Modem / Router Below; The neat, tidy and very expensive area underneath my main PC