New study highlights the ridiculous amount of energy consumed by gaming PCs

By Shawn Knight · 56 replies
Sep 4, 2015
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  1. While the decline of PC gaming may have been greatly exaggerated, there’s solid evidence that shows sales did slide for a period of time. It would be easy to draw correlations between the very real global slowdown of PC sales and a decline in PC gaming yet curiously enough, quite the opposite is unfolding.

    It’s going so well in fact that sales of PC games are forecasted to surpass sales of console games by the end of next year. PC titles are expected to generate $29 billion according to industry researcher PwC yet as a recent study published in the Energy Efficiency journal points out, it comes at a substantial energy cost.

    The study found that high-end gaming systems are the fastest growing type of gaming platform around, even outpacing sales of next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony. So much for PC gaming dying, eh?

    The study further discovered that gaming PCs collectively consumed 75 terawatt-hours of electricity ($10 billion) in 2012. That’s roughly 20 percent of the total PC, notebook and console energy use despite the fact that gaming PCs made up just 2.5 percent of global installed PC equipment. At the current pace, researchers believe consumption could more than double by 2020.

    Armed with this data, it should come as little surprise that gaming is the most energy-intensive use of personal computers.

    On average, the study estimates that the typical gaming computer consumes roughly 1,400kWh of energy per year. That’s equivalent to the energy consumed by 10 consoles, six standard PCs or three refrigerators. What’s more, hardcore gamers could easily consume double that amount or more.

    The figures are no doubt sobering but as co-author Evan Mills points out, it doesn’t have to be that way. He notes that savings of up to 75 percent – or around $18 billion annually by 2020 – can be realized simply by using energy efficient components that would also improve reliability and performance.

    Mills cites a lack of industry focus in educating buyers as a primary factor that’s led us to this point. Today, only power supplies and displays carry energy efficiency ratings and even those are voluntary. Expanding / highlighting such ratings in other components like motherboards, hard drives and peripherals could go a long way in educating consumers as it relates to energy use.

    Another factor that has a direct impact on energy usage is time of use. Mills told Motherboard that on average, people spend 4.4 hours per day gaming – that’s nearly 20 percent of their day.

    To help get their message out, Mills and his son have launched a website called Greening the Beast that helps steer PC gamers in the direction of energy efficient hardware. The site includes plenty of insightful material that may be worth a look when it comes time to build your next gaming rig.

    While on the subject, we’re curious as to how much time you spend gaming each day, on average. Do you fall into the national average of 4.4 hours per day or is that figure way off for you? Let us know in the comments section below.

    All images courtesy Gabriel Kulig, Flickr

    Permalink to story.

  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    PC gamers = greedy energy hogs. Putting disproportionate demand on the grid for non-productive tasks.
  3. kuroiei

    kuroiei TS Enthusiast Posts: 93   +31

    Hot damn. And to think I usually have 5 or 6 machines running and rendering stuff in the background. No wonder it's so hot in here. Also, not the latest tech, co pretty energy inefficient.
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  4. Nitrotoxin

    Nitrotoxin TS Addict Posts: 114   +67

    This article is just uninformed and not accurate...
    rpjkw11 and SuperVeloce like this.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,725   +3,700

    Well I certainly wouldn't know how to prove it either direction. I doubt you would know how either.
  6. Setnom

    Setnom TS Member

    Jimmy Kimmel, is that you?
    SirChocula, Tibeardius, Hexic and 3 others like this.
  7. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 139   +33

    I blame it on outdated components. My gaming PC still has a Core i7 920 from years ago, because I don't see a difference with newer processors, at least performance wise. Video too slow? Cheaper to buy a second outdated card and go SLI or Crossfire, than buy a newer energy efficient card.
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    I'd love to know how these people come across these figures and how accurate they are. Methinks it's all thumb sucking but people are gullible and will believe anything if you're convincing enough after all b.s. baffles brains.
  9. FF222

    FF222 TS Booster Posts: 93   +33

    So if someone's playing 4.4 hours a day 365 days a year and his PC consumes 1400 kWhs of energy a year, that means his configuration would have to run at 871 Watts. There's no gaming PC the a world that would actually use 871 Watts, even if run at full load.
  10. noel24

    noel24 TS Evangelist Posts: 356   +203

    "...the study estimates that the typical gaming computer consumes roughly 1,400kWh of energy per year." Stopped reading there. Some kind of GreenPeace retarded propaganda. Do Your math again Green Retards, Daddy and his son, ha? 1400kWh per year? Thats 320Watts PC with i5 and GTX760, and 32inch LED TV, playing full throttle, 12hours a day. Forgive Me, Shawn, but have You given some thought those numbers before You reprinted that?
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  11. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Addict Posts: 248   +110

    Considering my energy bill is 120 a month with my air running all day unless nobody is home (which is rare) a fridge going and my gaming rig which has a 4690k and a gtx 980 inside, I consider these figures to beat pretty off. I never shut my computer off either. these kids must be overclocking and demanding games at full blast for 12 hours a day or something. even with that in mind I still don't believe these figures lol especially if you're running nvidia and intel instead of amd. even though amd setups only generate around 100 usd more per year than an intel/nvidia combo depending on the amd gpu u use.
    rpjkw11, SuperVeloce and treetops like this.
  12. At first I was like LOL....and then I was like LOLOLOLOLOL :D
    SantistaUSA, treetops and MoeJoe like this.
  13. axiomatic13

    axiomatic13 TS Addict Posts: 146   +75

    So that not how it works guys. All GPU's ship with power capping of some kind and both Intel and AMD (speedstep and cool and quiet, respectively) have power capping on their CPU's. The only time power draw is really high is when you are playing the games. When you are in Windows, the CPU is primarily in control of the desktop.

    What would help more than anything is if YOU (yes you reading this) would turn off your damn PC after use versus letting it sleep, or worse, just letting it run 24/7. This is how I try to help. I have a master switch for my computer room that kills everything at night that might have vampire power and then keep the internet functioning off of separate power strips that are always on.
    MoeJoe likes this.
  14. agb81

    agb81 TS Booster Posts: 78   +38

    Yeah, because I have 800-1500 USD of disposable income laying around in my house.

    Also, my old rig running multicore prime95 and furmark goes around 600 watts.

    Maybe some of those old Qxxxx extreme cpus coupled with a pair of 6990's, triple monitor setup and some other bells and whistles could consume that big amount they're tooting, but still I think there's something fishy in that website.

    PS, an old school mining rig would definitely use 800+ watts
  15. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 711   +381

    You realize that you just killed it in epic fashion with that comment, right ?

    G J
  16. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 711   +381

    Watch out.
    Tree huggers are invading and trying to crimp your Gamer stylez.

    Meanwhile, your neighbors are leaving most of their lights on, driving to the Starbucks
    far too often and equipping every room in their house with big screen 4K televisions & Amazon Echo's.

    Oh the irony ...
    rpjkw11 and andrewyoung like this.
  17. noel24

    noel24 TS Evangelist Posts: 356   +203

    C'mon, those numbers are completely taken from the air to terrify some politician or gullible, middle aged housewife, spending some of her time on social media and spreading fud. Apparently there is some money in misinformation. UFO, GMO, secret government testing on population, cheap and natural cancer and AIDS cures hidden from public by pharmaceutical corporations... You want Me to go on?
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  18. agb81

    agb81 TS Booster Posts: 78   +38

    Oh, I didn't mean to say that as if I was buying it.
  19. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 711   +381

    Don't be shamed into feeling guilty.
    Mostly hypocrites write this c r a p ...
  20. noel24

    noel24 TS Evangelist Posts: 356   +203

    No,absolutely not, but You sounded like trying to reason with those numbers when they are completely unreasonable, made-up. I believe this Mills' paper to be some kind of a scam and must be exposed. And publicly ridiculed.
  21. agb81

    agb81 TS Booster Posts: 78   +38

    Yeah, my theory is that they are taking peak consumption and taking it as average.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
  22. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    It seems my troll has been successful, but not at all in the manner I had intended.
  23. ferrellsl

    ferrellsl TS Member

    What a ludicrous story.......Wherein lies the problem if the gamer is paying his power bill? This is is just another attempt to demonize yet another group in the name of socialism.....

    If you don't like playing PC games then stick to monoploy, tic-tac-toe, or see what type of stupid anagrams you can come up with on your solar powered pocket calculator when you turn the numbers upside down.....or better yet, just get a life and stop worrying about what other people do for fun as long as they can afford to pay for it.
    BadThad, robb213, BlueDrake and 2 others like this.
  24. mgwerner

    mgwerner TS Booster Posts: 48   +36

  25. SuperVeloce

    SuperVeloce TS Booster Posts: 133   +34

    You do not need a master switch (in case of thunder and lightning maybe yes), because new components are obligated to use <1watt of electricity in standby.
    agb81 likes this.

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