Your machine’s number one element for any of its components to work is its power.  There may be a time when you need to calculate your computer’s total power usage.  This can be done in a rough sort of manner to get a general idea of how many watts are used.  As a more definitive alternative, you could get very specific and look up the specifications of each known part of your number cruncher.  Whichever you choose is up to you.  Either way, I’d like to tell you how to do both.

The Quick and Dirty Way

If you simply need a quick solution without perfection, this method will better suit you.  Basically, many of the common parts and peripherals of a computer have typical values of their power consumption.  First you will want to approximately count up all of the basic pieces of your computer.  These include how many processors you have and how many cores they have, how many sticks of RAM you have and their sizes, number of fans, number of hard drives and their speeds, and any other drives you might have such as a DVD or Blu-Ray Drive.  Once you get your list finished, you can easily calculate your machine’s total power usage by using a power supply wattage calculator.  There are many different brand manufacturers that provide said tools.  You can generally search the brand name and power supply calculator to find them.  Ex:  Google “eXtreme power supply calculator.”  Here are some popular names that provide these simple to use apparatuses:

  • Thermaltake
  • Newegg
  • Asus
  • MSI
  • Journey Systems

Some are more detailed than others.  Just find one you like and have at it.  Simply put in the components you’ve listed and they will do the arithmetic for you.

The Long, Yet More Meticulous, Way

This method, as the above heading implies, takes more time but will give a more accurate computation.  You need to identify all of you components but also the makes and model numbers as well.  Go ahead and make a list of everything first.  You may also need to open up your case and look inside to identify certain parts such as the fans.  Then simply search for their specifications using your favorite search engine.  The manufacturers should provide how much wattage each device uses.  Add these values to your lists and then simply sum up all of your devices and their power consumptions.

While you are working inside your case, you might as well clean it a bit.  It will only take a minute.  Just grab a can of compressed air and give your machine a quick spray.  This will always help cut down on heat inside the tower.

Using Too Much Power?

If you have found that after your scientific analysis your machine seems to be using as much as or possibly more than your power supply’s peak wattage, you may want to consider replacing it.  If you can’t do so yourself, consider phoning a technical friend or taking it to a computer repair shop.