I can’t say I’ve ever worried too much about how much power my PC uses. I care about battery life on a laptop and like laptops that use a lower wattage transformer because it’s smaller and lighter. Power to servers only mattered as far as “do we have it” and making sure the appropriate 110v/220V outlet was available. For the most part power consumption is a cost of doing business.
I only paid any attention to it recently because I was curious about the efficiency of the Ivy Bridge CPU’s and wanted to compare my brand new I7 workstation with my old machine. Turns out the old machine used 145 watts at idle. The new one? My test meter shows it bouncing between 47 and 52 watts at idle. A nice savings, though as I mentioned in my series of posts about the build I don’t expect it to add up to a lot – but every little bit helps. Note also that sleep mode is less than 1 watt on the new machine.
I then ran across this post on AnandTech about their recent server upgrades and the resulting power savings. It’s impressive. I doubt it justifies a server refresh just based on the power savings, but if you combine that with using fewer U’s of rack space and more processing power, that gets more interesting.