This question already has an answer here:
In the winter, are not all electronics heating the house - thus no energy is wasted?
Considering the energy I'm paying for:
If I leave my computer running while I'm out, how much energy is actually wasted in the winter? Is all of the energy used in the computer expelled as heat into my home?
To be even more specific:
If my computer ran at a constant 500 watts and I had a 500 watt space heater, would they heat my home the same (thus cost the same)? If so, wouldn't it make sense to leave the computer on in the winter, since the heat produced is not really wasted? That way I always have instant access.
(Ignore variables like computer lifespans, gas furnaces, and cost-effectiveness for the sake of the question.)