I was having a conversation with my friend the other day. For a bit of background, I know next to nothing about physics, and he took physics lessons as part of his study to become an electrician before he changed his desired vocation.
I posed the idea that a PC is just as efficient as an electrical heater, and would produce an equal amount of heat if using the same amount of wattage. It was my logic that the electricity from a PC would ultimately end up as heat, and since energy can neither be created nor destroyed, so long as equal amounts of energy were being used, then the ultimate heat production would be identical.
He disagreed with me on this but ultimately said that he didn't know how to explain it in terms I would understand, as I did not have the background physics knowledge he had. So I was hoping someone here could clear it up for me.
My friend told me that heat is created when energy meets "resistance," and since electrical heaters are built to produce heat, the material they're made of would have better "resistance" for creating heat compared to a PC. So basically, the amount of energy in the room would be the same, but the amount of heat wouldn't.
Tangentially, something else he told me was that a heat source couldn't warm up its surroundings higher than its temperature. So if hypothetically, you had a perfectly isolated room with an electrical heater running at 60c and constantly producing heat by drawing power, the room would never go above 60c, regardless of how much wattage was being drawn into it over time. This also struck me as weird, because I can't imagine how you can keep pouring wattage into a room (that has no leakage) without it increasing the temperature. Although as I slept on it, I concluded that the premise of the question is wrong. Because heat won't move spontaneously from a colder place to a hotter place, the heater indeed won't be able to heat its surroundings to more than its temperature (because it won't have anywhere to dispense to if its surroundings are hotter), but doesn't that simply just mean that the heater itself will increase in temperature, then (assuming it has no temperature target feature and instead just keeps drawing in power)? So it'll initially run at 60c until the surrounding room reaches the same temperature, and then the heater itself will start to go above 60c, and the room temp will then rise along with it. That's the conclusion I came to, but I ultimately don't know if I'm right or not.