Reduce Consumption of your Monitor
Posted by Craig on 18 October 2011, 9:16 pmA monitor is of course an integral part of a PC when gaming, though I have not yet considered it as a candidate for increasing energy efficiency, and so I have decided to investigate further.
There was one thing that I was almost certain of before starting; that reducing the brightness will also reduce the power consumption of your screen, though to what degree was unclear and so this will be the focus of this investigation.
Along with the brightness, I have tried many different settings to see which of them affect the energy consumption of monitors, and have found that the only one actually to have an effect is in fact the brightness.
Settings that were tried but gave no impact:
- The contrast on the monitor itself
- The resolution
- The Brightness in windows
Black vs. White
One very interesting fact that I have discovered is that when displaying white pixels; LCD screens use a few extra watts compared to black. Since finding this I have done some research and have found that LCD uses a diffuser to change the colour of each pixel, and so displaying black does indeed use more power than white.
LED monitors use the same technology for producing a picture as LCDs and so this will also be the case for newer screens, though the opposite was true for the older CRT screens.
Even if we were able to make games display with mostly white pixels and nothing else, this would be a ridiculous way to play and so I will not be testing this today.
On with the testing
As always, this test is performed using a power meter at the socket and so is giving the power reading for each monitor, five readings were taken; 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100 brightness to see if there is a 'sweet spot' for energy efficiency.
I have two monitors today of which I will be testing the power consumption; a Belinea 2225 S1W 22" and a Packard bell Viseo 19W 19", it might be worth noting that the Belinea is at least 2 years older than the Packard bell and so I would expect it to be less energy efficient even if they were the same size. I am using two monitors for this to ensure that any results are typical of Monitors and not an anomalous result.
As the results are very simple for this test, I will start straight away for the graph:
What does it all mean?
As you can see the increase seems to be very consistent for both monitors; at 0 brightness both use roughly 50% and at 50 brightness both show roughly 75% power consumption of full.
There is a subtle increase from both monitors showing that the higher the brightness the steeper the increase in consumption, and so however small, the biggest savings will be found in the upper half of the brightness settings.
You can halve the consumption of your monitor by playing at 0 brightness, though I personally find a monitor at less than 40 uncomfortable. 50 is usually where I have mine set, and it is of course great to discover that I have been saving 12w without even trying for all this time.
One thing is abundantly clear and that is that if I choose to use the smaller monitor, I could cut the power used for my gaming screen in half. Though the reduction in resolution from 1680x1050 to 1366x768 is just too much for my tastes in both gaming and desktop space.
Both of the screens that I own are unfortunately only have cathode backlights and so this cannot be applied to the newer and more efficient LED backlit monitors, further investigations would be needed into LED monitors for a comprehensive result.
If this has piqued your interest, you should check out my other Eco Investigations