A Greener Home Office: Belkin Smart AV And Moneual Sonamu G100

How Much Power Can I Save?

Intel SystemSystem OnDeep SleepShutdown
Sparkle PSU (power strip)
35.5 W2.1 W1.5 W
Sparkle PSU w/ Smart AV36.2 W2.4 W1.8 W
Sonamu PSU only (power strip)
37.1 W4.6 W5.5 W
Sonamu w/Power Module38.1 W4.6 W5.5 W
AMD SystemSystem OnSleepHibernateShutdown
Sparkle PSU (power strip)
38.6 W37.2 W0.6 W0.5 W
Sparkle PSU w/ Smart AV39.3 W38.0 W1.0 W0.9 W
Sonamu PSU only (power strip)
39.1 W38.8 W3.2 W3.2 W
Sonamu w/Power Module40.2 W38.8 W3.2 W3.2 W

Our measurements reveal several things. Compared to a generic power strip, the Smart AV consumes about 0.3 W extra when the master device is in a low-power state, in order to monitor power use. When the master device is on, power consumption increases to about 0.7 W in order to activate the slave power outlets.

Moneual's Sonamu case consumes about 1.0 W more to turn on the auxiliary power outlet. However, if the motherboard doesn't support a system-off sleep mode, Sonamu's power module does not turn off auxiliary power. That is what happened with our older AMD system. 

Home PC
Power Used (Idle)
Power Used (Active)
Canon MP560
0.9 W1.1 W
Samsung 23" LED LCD (PX2370)0.2 W25.7 W
Uverse Router13.0 W13.0 W
Logitech 2.1 S2201.0 W3.0 W
Total Idle Power15.1 W42.8 W

In California, the current average cost of energy is $0.13 per kilowatt-hour. Assuming 21 hours per day of idle time, we can save about $0.04 per day, or $15.20 per year by shutting off our peripheral devices. Keep in mind that most of that comes from shutting down the U-verse router, which you may or may not want to do, depending on the other devices that rely on it. Today, most LCDs, printers, and speakers have very low idle power consumption. Completely cutting power doesn't substantially change the amount of power used, at least not in the home office.

Calculating savings is a bit tricky. If you were to use your home computer three hours each day, the cost of using Belkin's Smart AV with our Sandy Bridge-based system would be $7.01 per year (that's including power used even when the computer is off). With the Sonamu, the cost would rise to $11.02 because of the higher power use when the system is turned off. That's a result of its inefficient PSU that uses more power when it's in a low-power state. Fortunately, The cost of using the Sonamu can be brought down to $5.48/year, but only if you use its on/off power switch to completely kill power to the system. Compare this to a generic power strip, which would end up costing you $6.61 for the entire year.

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  • compton
    I'm no eco-terrorist, but I do consider power efficiency of my PC as one metric of it's performance -- one I do try to make lower in general. I have a 80+ gold PSU. I'm using a 2500k and SSDs. Even with my GTX 460, Asus Essence STX soundcard, ect I max out at ~208 watts at the wall during intensive games.

    If you really want to save some electricity and have more fun doing it then build a more efficient PC. These two products are just a little too gimmicky. At least in a PC with efficient components you get less heat (and noise) as well as a lower utility bill. The energy cost to make and distribute these two products will far, far exceed any energy or power savings realized.

    Still, it's good to see a different style of review. I'd like to see more in the series (like the GPU energy cost article). I know there are some products out there that can make a difference when it comes to lower energy bills.

    Good job.
  • alikum
    Disappointed with Belkin's customer support
  • newnow
    yes,it look wonderful
  • ngazi
    Really nice to know to avoid these things.
  • Olle P
    There are other, more elusive and difficult to assess, factors involved as well:
    - Environmental impact during production of the equipment.
    - Environmental impact of storage and transportation to your home.
    - Environmental impact once the equipment is taken out of service.

    To reduce these effects one must use the equipment for as long as possible, and then possibly re-use it for less demanding tasks.

    Personally I use one of those "smart" power strips to kill everything but the 5Vsb line when the computer is off.
  • JohnMD1022
    How about those of us who believe 'green' is a crock?
  • MU_Engineer
    JohnMD1022How about those of us who believe 'green' is a crock?

    It's only a crock to people who have a basic grasp of math or any clue as to what manufacturing a product entails. For the rest of the people, it's an excellent and highly effective advertising strategy because it's an emotional argument and not a logical one. "Our product uses less power and are environmentally friendly." [shows pictures of baby seals and icebergs falling off into the ocean] "Don't you want to save the environment?" The sheer number of highly non-environmentally-friendly to manufacture and uneconomical Priuses out on the road will tell you the "green guilt" ad strategy works very, very well.
  • Anonymous
    It's a crock sometimes, sometimes it's not. Just like most other things.

    Using a more efficient PSU or driving a Ford Fiesta instead of a Humvee is perfectly reasonable both for the environment and for the savings provided.

    But yes, not all green products are actually green. Not all low fat products are actually low fat, and so on. Are you really surprised?
  • huron
    I do hate when everyone jumps on the "Green" bandwagon and uses it primarily for marketing, but I look forward to a day when I don't have to pay for heat or electricity, or at least as much...that'll be a great day in my world.

    The interesting thing about PCs and electronics in general is that they are always getting greener for the most part, right - newer generations use less power, produce less heat, and offer greater performance.

    I am an enthusiast, so I get that high-powered GPUs and CPU overclocks are not as green, but for the same power output, I have a significant jump in performance vs a machine only a few years old. Wouldn't it stand to reason that if I wanted the same performance, I could get it at less power = GREEN?
  • jonahkirk
    Sticking these on smartly built, newer peripherals probably would never pay-out. However, if you have an older monitor, 5 yr. old Logitech 6.1 surround sound which your 3 kids never kill at the power button, older printer/scanners or an entertainment system with a variety of vampire appliances including powered subwoofers and gaming systems which only get put in stand-by, then these strips might save you some cash.
  • enzo matrix
    Interesting how all these comments are either "pro green" or think "green is a crock" when the article emphasised money savings more than it did environmental impact.
  • adamcom25334
    Excellent product Belkin!! Why hasn't anyone thought of that before?
  • Onus
    I'm with compton on this one. I try to go for measurable efficiency improvements over "green" gimmicks, and maintaining awareness of what I'm "using" (pretty much any amount is ok) vs. what I might be "wasting" (i.e. consuming to no purpose; any amount is bad).
  • falchard
    adamcom25334Excellent product Belkin!! Why hasn't anyone thought of that before?

    You mean an excellent product from Belkin? Its because Belkin only comes out with cheap crap with the exception of the n52 gaming pad.
  • MU_Engineer
    Anonymous said:
    Interesting how all these comments are either "pro green" or think "green is a crock" when the article emphasised money savings more than it did environmental impact.

    The thing is that these products don't really save money. You can already unplug your computers and electronics from the wall outlet or turn your existing power strip switch "off" to prevent any standby power use when you are done using them- and that costs absolutely nothing. The computer case is also not that great of an idea for a similar reason- you can just suspend your computer to disk (hibernate) rather than suspending to RAM and shut the power strip off rather than going out and buying a considerably more expensive case than you otherwise would have.
  • lamorpa
    JohnMD1022How about those of us who believe 'green' is a crock?

    You're wrong. Why do you ask?
  • JohnMD1022
    Perhaps it's you who is wrong...
  • adamcom25334
    The Belkin power strip will come in handy to turn off my DVD player as the TV shuts down with its own timer. The laser in most (if not nearly all) DVD players is active, even if the player is on but not playing. And the lasers do have a finite life span, much shorter than I would have guessed. We (me and the Mrs) occasionally watch a DVD as we're going to sleep, so this product should help to extend the life of DVD player. The savings on the power bill would obviously be fairly minimal in this case.
  • ngazi
    Why are all these people talking about getting that Belkin when it eats more power than it can possibly save you?
  • c911darkwolf
    40% of the 4 computers in our house runs on solar panels : ) thats green boyos!