Your Gaming PC Uses More Energy Than Three Refrigerators

Fanghawk

New member
Feb 17, 2011
3,861
0
0
Your Gaming PC Uses More Energy Than Three Refrigerators

A new study says high-end gaming computers consume more energy than major appliances in your home.

PC gaming <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/extra-punctuation/10803-The-Trials-and-Perils-of-Returning-to-PC>has undergone a resurgence in recent years, but there's a side effect we didn't expect - rising costs on your energy bill. A new study from <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/lawrence%20berkeley%20national%20laboratory?os=lawrence+berkeley+national+laboratory>Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that high-performance PCs consume the lion's share of electricity when it comes to gaming entertainment. In itself that's not a huge surprise, but it's downright shocking when compared to other home appliances. The "typical" gaming PC consumes just under 1500 kilowatt hours per year - which equals ten consoles, six conventional PCs, or three refrigerators. And some PC builds tower over that.

But how big a deal could this be? After all, there are approximately one billion people who play video games, and only 2.5 percent are considered hardcore PC players. Well, our <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/extra-punctuation/10350-The-Glorious-PC-Gaming-Master-Race>Glorious PC Gaming Master Race actually eats up one-fifth of the electricity spent on gaming every year - roughly 75 terawatt hours. And those numbers are expected to grow. By 2020, gaming PCs are predicted to make up 10 percent of gaming platforms.

Even on an individual level, PC gaming is energy intensive. An extreme gamer, playing on a high-end system for 7.2 hours each day, uses 1890 kilowatt hours each year. That's $200 on your electrical bill for gaming alone - throw in stuff like web browsing, video streaming, or idle time, and that might grow to $500. Measured in CO2 emissions, it comes to an estimated 1700 pounds per gamer.

And if you don't consider yourself that extreme? Well, the typical high-end build/playtime still consumes 1394 kilowatt hours. That's almost three times the level of an Energy Star rated fridge, which is 500 kilowatt hours. Your average PC unit fares much better at 246, while console gamers rake in the savings with 134 kw/h.

Unlike game consoles, where energy use has been extensively studied, PCs have countless barriers to energy efficiency. Most gaming PCs are custom units, and individual components like CPUs won't list energy levels the way other electronics do. Thankfully, that means simply buying the right components could save you money while keeping your frame rates high. For example, solid state drives use 70 percent less energy than traditional hard drives, while installing an improved cooling system also reduces energy consumption.

Which is great, because the only other alternative is convincing PC gamers that fast systems <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/experienced-points/14336-Why-People-Choose-PC-Over-Console-and-Console-over-PC>don't actually improve their gameplay experiences. And if that's the case, we'll be waiting a very long time.

Source: <a href=http://evanmills.lbl.gov/pubs/pdf/Taming-the-Energy-Use-of-Gaming-Computers.pdf>Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, via <a href=http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelkanellos/2015/09/07/the-big-surprise-in-home-energy-consumption-gaming-pcs/?utm_campaign=ForbesTech&utm_source=TWITTER&utm_medium=social&utm_channel=Technology&linkId=16903740>Forbes

Permalink
 

crimson5pheonix

It took 6 months to read my title.
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
35,033
1,689
118
Admittedly, my electricity bill in the summer is triple what it is in the winter.
 

WouldYouKindly

New member
Apr 17, 2011
1,431
0
0
I'm betting a lot of this can be solved by turning the PC off when you're not there. If you've got a solid state drive, this isn't even an annoyance because start up takes no time.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
6,651
0
0
That's approximately $16 a month IF you have a very high-end PC and spend 7.2h a day gaming every day. Which the vast majority of gamers doesn't.
 

Kenjitsuka

New member
Sep 10, 2009
3,051
0
0
"while console gamers rake in the savings with 134 kw/h."

Yeah... what about reports the new gen's always on (the web) standby BS consumes a SHIT ton of power that is completely wasted to make it boot up once or twice every 24 hours 50% faster? Oh wait, those are a few months old and thus forgotten. Phew, bullet dodged there, article!
 

Fanghawk

New member
Feb 17, 2011
3,861
0
0
Adam Jensen said:
That's approximately $16 a month IF you have a very high-end PC and spend 7.2h a day gaming every day. Which the vast majority of gamers doesn't.
True, but what the study calls a "typical" PC gamer still gets about $11 on their bill. $5 isn't a huge gap.
 

wizzy555

New member
Oct 14, 2010
637
0
0
WouldYouKindly said:
I'm betting a lot of this can be solved by turning the PC off when you're not there. If you've got a solid state drive, this isn't even an annoyance because start up takes no time.
You don't need to turn it off completely. Sleep mode on modern PCs only uses a few watts, a massive drop from being on.
 

Covarr

PS Thanks
May 29, 2009
1,559
0
0
wizzy555 said:
WouldYouKindly said:
I'm betting a lot of this can be solved by turning the PC off when you're not there. If you've got a solid state drive, this isn't even an annoyance because start up takes no time.
You don't need to turn it off completely. Sleep mode on modern PCs only uses a few watts, a massive drop from being on.
I've been meaning to do this. We recently kicked out a roomie who stopped his portion of the bills (and even lied about his share of rent, nearly getting us all evicted if I hadn't thought to ask the realtor), and now we're trying to cut costs to compensate. I remember to sleep my PC before bed and before work sometimes, but I really need to set it to do automatically.

P.S. Thanks
 

tzimize

New member
Mar 1, 2010
2,391
0
0
Well, where I live its cold a lot, and the energy is let of as heat...so...I get to game and heat up my place both at the same time.

A PC is a hell of a lot better than an oven for entertainment :p
 

wizzy555

New member
Oct 14, 2010
637
0
0
The paper also recommends activation the energy saving features on your hardware (if it isn't already on). This includes things like self-adjusting fan speeds. But this may involve poking around in the bios.
 

Xan Krieger

Completely insane
Feb 11, 2009
2,918
0
0
Houseman said:
Who has 7.2 hours a day to spend gaming, besides professional gamers, for which the $200 increase on their energy bill would be considered a business expense?
As a disabled guy I do, I'm on my computer from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed.
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
15,489
0
0
*Looks over Alienware laptop*

I don't think so. You see, this little performing beauty does what it does extremely well, but it's not as consuming as a PC tower, I'm sure.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
6,651
0
0
Xan Krieger said:
Houseman said:
Who has 7.2 hours a day to spend gaming, besides professional gamers, for which the $200 increase on their energy bill would be considered a business expense?
As a disabled guy I do, I'm on my computer from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed.
But even you probably don't game all day long. You visit websites, watch stuff online and probably read an e-book every once in a while.
 

Xan Krieger

Completely insane
Feb 11, 2009
2,918
0
0
Houseman said:
Xan Krieger said:
Houseman said:
Who has 7.2 hours a day to spend gaming, besides professional gamers, for which the $200 increase on their energy bill would be considered a business expense?
As a disabled guy I do, I'm on my computer from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed.
I don't know whether or not to express my condolences or envy you. I'm sure there are pros and cons to your situation.

But hey, you could probably go pro and earn some extra money, if you wanted to.
The laws are complicated, and it's not as much fun as you think. I see so few actual people over the course of a day, it's a very lonely life. I do though try to help people when I can like yesterday I was talking to a police department in another state to teach them about autism since a friend of mine has a five year old son with it and he ran off recently. The police picked him up and accused her of child endangerment so I taught them using my own experiences as an autistic person why that's just what we do. I helped clear things up between the police and her and I think both sides appreciated it. Also tomorrow I'll be going with my pastor to a local soup kitchen to sort food for 3 hours. I may not be able to work like a normal person but I will give back to society when I can.
 

Vigormortis

New member
Nov 21, 2007
4,531
0
0
Mmm, couple of things I have to address:

* Their sampling size for basing the efficiency of gaming PCs was five. Five PCs of differing configurations.
.......Five. All of them seemingly ultra-high-end pre-built rigs. :|

* Their estimates of the total number of PC gamers worldwide is inaccurate. They claim the total sum of PC gamers worldwide in 2012 was 54 million. They estimated this number to grow to 72 million by 2015.

Except...Steam alone has grown to over 125 million active accounts (not just registered) since 2012. This means that a single PC platform (not including Origin, Uplay, Battle.net, GoG, Desura, LoL, WoT, etc) has almost double the number of users in 2015 as their estimate for the total sum of PC gamers was to be in the same year.

* Their model for a "typical gaming PC day" had the PC off for only six hours a day, with an estimated 4.4 hours of game time. So while I can maybe see 4.4 hours of gaming a day (certainly not for anyone with a full-time job), only a complete moron would leave their PC on for 18 hours a day.

And, consequently, their estimates for console energy use are based on studies done in 2013 of systems used for only 2.2 hours a day.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All in all, there are some serious red flags in this study. Some of their data are debatable while others are just patently wrong. I really question their findings.

HOWEVER....they absolutely have a point. There's very little effort in making gaming PC components as energy efficient as possible, beyond the end-user's attempts. As an industry, we really must start pushing for new standards.

Here's hoping their study, as much as I might question it, brings some much needed attention to the issue.
 

Poodleboy

New member
Jul 10, 2012
7
0
0
The statistics used here seem a bit odd. Firstly, do high end PCs really draw an average of 720W? As far as I can tell, the average rig draws around 350W when running full tilt. Are they basing their statistics on the average consumption or are they just looking at the maximum rating of the PSU and assuming that it must consume that much. (I just looked at power consumption specs for some more recent, high end graphics cards. Okaaaaaaay! I guess 720W isn't that ridiculous after all. We're still talking multiple graphics cards running at full capacity though.)

Secondly, running at high consumption for 7.2 hours a day is alleged to cost $200, "throw in stuff like web browsing, video streaming, or idle time, and that might grow to $500."? Even if those things all still used the same amount of power as gaming they are talking about the PC having to be using that level of power for 18 hours a day, every day. An idle PC does not draw the same power as one that is in the middle of gaming, so to achieve that kind of cost you're talking about the PC being active 24/7. If that is the case then you have bigger problems than your electricity bill. Like sleep deprivation for example.

To be fair though, the average PC does draw around 3 times the power that a current gen console does and the high end rigs this article is talking about would be around 6 times the power of a PS4 or XBox One.
 

Laughing Man

New member
Oct 10, 2008
1,715
0
0
HOWEVER....they absolutely have a point. There's very little effort in making gaming PC components as energy efficient as possible, beyond the end-user's attempts. As an industry, we really must start pushing for new standards.
You are kidding right?

GPUs by their very design have become more power efficient by leaps and bounds so much so that my current 980GTX has a lower power draw day to day than my 560GTX. It's a core selling point of just about any new GPU architecture.

Motherboards name a major board maker and not only will have a whole host of BIOS level power saving features but chances are they will include a Windows based disc that includes software that also includes a whole slew of power saving features and that's before you look at the ever increasing power phase numbers that also in turn help to save power

PSUs, when I started building PCs an 80% PSU was unheard of now you can get a 80%Platinum PSU that are classed as 90% efficient under certain load levels.

The attitude of the gamer community perhaps hasn't moved towards power saving, especially with overclocking and getting as much bang for the buck but the component manufacturers themselves have made huge leaps and bounds on delivering and giving us the option to make our rigs more power efficient it's just that many of us do not choose to use those features, or choose to disable them. The rig I am using just now is by measures of magnitude more powerful than my first rig but it's overall day to day power consumption is barley any different, and that's not because I have all the power saving features turned on it is purely down to increases in the efficiency of the hardware.