How can I measure real-time Power usage (Watts) of my Ubuntu desktop PC?

Hi everyone, Can anyone recommend a Ubuntu application that allows me to monitor in real-time the Power consumption (Watts) of my PC?

I come from a Windows PC background (please don’t hold that against me) but I’m in the process of learning more about Linux and migrating to Ubuntu.

I’m used to a Windows Application called SIV (System Information Viewer) that provided this information (see screenshot below)

The information highlighted in the red boxes is what I’m most interested in monitoring in Ubuntu.

Can anyone provide some App suggestions please?

Thanks in advance.

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As far as I know, such values can only be estimated, at best. If you truly want to be as close as possible to reality when measuring power consumption, there is no way around using an actual power consumption meter.


Thanks @Akito for this tip. Are you aware of any software (like the Windows app SIV) that can provide a best estimate on Power consumption?

Reason being, I’m not after high accuracy and I’m on a low budget, hence don’t have the $$ to spend on buying power socket hardware. I just want to get a rough idea for how much Watts of power is being used by my Ubuntu PC running my applications and this will help me determine whether I need to update my AC adapter (as suggested in a comment on other thread on CPU throttling).


You can calculate the estimated watt usages of parts. For example, you can look up how much power certain PC parts draw on average. Then, you calculate the sum of those numbers and there you have a rough estimation.

Much easier, though I don’t know how accurate, are tools which say they are doing that automatically for you.

The following is one example for such tool.

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Thanks for sharing this Power Supply Calculator @Akito - This is really handy.

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In case you use one, some UPS devices report power consumption. I had been using a UPS for years before I realized this info was available on the UPS’s little LCD screen.

What I observed was that power consumption varied widely, depending on what the computer was doing. It was about 55 W. at idle and about 250 W. when doing serious number crunching. An single glance at power consumption may not give you the full picture.

The best way would be to buy or borrow an AC clamp meter. You’ll need to make an adaptor which looks like a short extension lead stripped of the outer sheath so the three inner wires are exposed. Make sure that these remain insulated though. Plug the computer in via the adaptor and put the clamp meter tongs around the active wire (brown here in Australia). This will tell you how many amps the computer is drawing which can easily be converted to watts.

Using this setup you can measure current draw on all the other items in your household.

So, assuming those figures are about right, is it feasible to build a solar powered laptop?

Yes, of course, assuming your solar panels provide enough current and the proper voltage to charge the battery. It’s a trivial amount of electricity, though, compared to something like an air-conditioner, electric oven, washing machine, etc.

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It has been done apparently

but I dont see any in the shops here.
Strange, so,ar calculators were vert popular.

Ask your local lobbyist how they feel about this type of technology.

It may not be practical. You have to sit out in the sun to keep,the thing charged, and then you can not see the screen. I have enough trouble with mobile phone outdoors.

I would hope the charging possibility is always available, even when the device is not in use. So, I would just let it sit in the sun for hours and then use it later in a more shadowy place. This way, I can let it charge without issues.
Similar thing with phones. There are power banks, which may be charged through solar power. In the same way, you can let your phone be charged for hours, so you can use it later.

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I was thinking solar powered calculators, which dont have a battery at all. They only operate when the solar collector is working.
A battery , especially a decent Li battery, makes it much more flexible.