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Is there a way to get the computer power usage instead of battery load tracking (what for instance seemingly powertop does), which is obviously not too useful on desktops?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

At that point, I would think about using a power monitor to measure the load on the computer at any time.

You could hook up your computer or surge protector to something like Tweet-a-Watt and then keep track of the metrics from there on a per day/week/month basis.

I imagine you could use ACPI/APM to monitor some aspects (and mayhaps power, as well) of the different components of a computer.

And if you're knowledgable about electronics, you could always home-grow your own solution by attaching voltmeters and ammeters to different components to see i.e. graphics card load, hard drive load, etc.

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thanks for the tip on Tweet-a-Watt. that's very interesting. – Tim Kennedy Oct 26 '11 at 3:47
Two similar answers... first wins =) – mbq Oct 26 '11 at 15:47

some UPS devices have displays that track power consumption, too, and there may be ways with the USB connectivity and a program like apcupsd to poll that kind of information for graphing with something like Cacti.

otherwise you're looking at a wall outlet with a display, like a Belkin Conserve Insight F7C005q Energy Use Monitor.

Btw, powertop will work with desktops and show power consumption, as long as you have a relatively modern Intel(tm) system (Intel as in Not AMD, not Intel as in Not Sparc).

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I have a quite modern Intel system, and powertop reports nothing; any clues how this may work? (i.e. I can imagine it might need some specific acpi driver) – mbq Oct 26 '11 at 15:50

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