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.)


marked as duplicate by Brandon Enright, John Rennie, jinawee, Kyle Kanos, user10851 Feb 8 '14 at 21:35

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    $\begingroup$ Consider that a 500W computer probably uses energy to do things other than generate heat... and that a 500W space heater isn't running an operating system. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Feb 8 '14 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ Duplicate? physics.stackexchange.com/q/88780/29216 $\endgroup$ – BMS Feb 8 '14 at 18:27
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    $\begingroup$ @BMS - My question specifically relates the the cost the energy. (Would it cost the same to use a heater or a computer.) I do not see it as a duplicate. $\endgroup$ – Bort Feb 8 '14 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 - It doesn't matter what the computer does, it all becomes heat. Every light, sound, and computation becomes heat in the room. $\endgroup$ – Bort Feb 8 '14 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplucate (or at least very related): physics.stackexchange.com/questions/93130/… $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Feb 8 '14 at 18:50