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Power Consumption Comparison of Apple Mac Computers

by Chris Komuves, updated 2006-12-20

I thought it would be interesting to compile a table of the relative power usage of various apple computers. When purchasing a computer, power consumption really is an important issue, and is often overlooked. And there's a lot at stake here. The power usage of some of the desktop models is actually shockingly high, while laptop energy usage is impressively low. According to these specs, an idle Mac Pro would consume 123 KWH per month, or, at $0.17/KWH, would increase your electric bill by $20 per month! Not to mention all of the heat that such a machine dissipates. It can be like having a small space heater on all the time--which isn't usually a very good thing in the middle of the summer.

Alas, it is very difficult to find solid power consumption information on these machines. Which is sort of surprising, because all it would take is plugging each of them into a $25 power meter that you can buy from Amazon.com to get the actual power draw of each machine in each mode. Anyway, here's what I've been able to compile, with links to the source documents I used for reference for each of them. In some cases, I've found conflicting information on power usage for the same machine (even Apple themselves contradicts themselves on their specs for some machines, so I've just included all of the information I've seen documented in any reasonable way. The table is ordered by maximum power consumption. Any additions/corrections would be welcome.

Computer Off Power
Consumption (Watts)
Sleep Power
Consumption (Watts)
Idle Power
Consumption (Watts)
Max Power
Consumption (Watts)
Max Power Supply
Output (Watts)
MacBook, 13.3"
2.0 GHz
< 1.4 < 2.4 < 17.0 60
MacBook Pro 15.4"
2.33 GHz
< 1.4 < 2.9 < 22.0 85
Mac Mini
1.83 GHz
< 1.3 < 2.3 < 21 110
iMac 20"
2-2.16 GHz, 1 GB RAM
< 2.5 < 3.4 7.2
< 84
Mac Pro
Quad Core 2.66 GHz, 1 GB RAM
< 2 < 13 171 250 980
Power Mac G5
Dual 2 GHz, 512 MB RAM
< 2 < 16 140
< 185
> 1000

Useful Links:
Apple and the Environment (environmental specs for Apple computers)

Copyright © 1994-2006 Christopher S. Komuves. All rights reserved.