How to measure your PC’s power use, and why it matters

If you want to reduce the power of your PC, monitor it during heavy workloads, or simply understand its power usage, you need to know how to measure your PC’s power consumption. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to do this more accurately. Solutions range from simple to difficult, including software and hardware options.


  • Use an online calculator
  • Add it using HWInfo
  • Measuring power consumption with hardware

Here’s how to quickly and easily measure your computer’s power consumption in a few steps.

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Daniel Martin/Screenshot/DigitalTrends

Use an online calculator

If you just want a rough idea of ​​how much power your system is using, the quick calculator can save you a lot of measuring trouble.

Step 1: Go to the OuterVision website and open their power calculator page.

Step 2: Select expert or basic Tabs depend on your level of expertise and how well you know computers.


Step 3: Enter as much information as possible, including components, heatsink, whether the system is overclocked, and any other relevant information you can think of.

Step 4: When ready, click on calculate Get an overview of how much power your computer uses each day.

Hardware information on Windows 11.
Jon Martindale/Digital Trends

Add it using HWInfo

HWInfo is an excellent tool for tracking various aspects of your PC, including its power usage. But you have to do some math.

Step 1: Go to the HWInfo official website and download the app. Follow the on-screen instructions to install just like any other program.

Step 2: Run the application, when prompted, choose sensor only >OK

Step 3: HWInfo has a lot of details, so it can be a bit overwhelming at first. The information you need is right here – you just have to find it.

Scroll down until you find the CPU section, then look for CPU package power. This is the total power consumed by your CPU at that time.Next, look for your graphics card, then find the total graphics processing power, or Total power of the board of directors.

Add these numbers together to get a good idea of ​​how much power your system is using. If your motherboard and memory support it, you may also have power sensors for these. Add them together for greater accuracy.

Note: Also consider putting your PC under load and taking the reading again so you can see how much power you’re using while gaming or other tasks.

Image of the Kill-A-Watt table
Daniel Martin/Screenshot/Kill a Watt

Measuring power consumption with hardware

If you want to get the best reading of your computer’s overall power usage, you’ll need to use an external power meter, such as the P3 Kill A Watt Power Monitor, to measure the wall outlet connection. This power meter allows you to accurately measure your PC’s power consumption and can be purchased from Amazon, Home Depot, hardware stores, and other retailers for around $20 to $40.

Just plug it in, plug your computer’s power cord into it, and turn on your computer. Power usage will be displayed on the Kill A Watt meter.

Now that you know how to check your system’s power usage, you might want to think carefully about future upgrades. The best graphics cards may make your games look better, but they do drain a lot of power.

Categories: How to

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