I think that the cause of this problem is obvious: manufacturers feel that if they can't advertise their product as faster, more powerful, than the competition's, people won't buy it, and so they have to advertise the performance for a high power setting. I can remember when microprocessors didn't even need fans - and, of course, the processors in smartphones still don't.
So it's definitely possible to build a computer capable of doing a lot of things that would use so little power that it doesn't even need a fan. But people would say that computers were that powerful years ago, so they wouldn't have a reason to run out and buy a new computer. And the most popular computer games try to provide a level of graphics realism not seen until now, which helps to sell new computers.
So it's not going to be easy to change something that the industry is apparently dependent upon for its cashflow!