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Power Entertainment Games

NRDC Rates Energy Efficiency of Video Game Consoles 260

Posted by timothy
from the real-costs-for-illusory-worlds dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today, more than 40 percent of all homes in the United States contain at least one video game console. Recognizing that all that gaming could add up to serious demand for electricity, NRDC and Ecos Consulting performed the first ever comprehensive study on the energy use of video game consoles and found that they consumed an estimated 16 billion kilowatt-hours per year — roughly equal to the annual electricity use of the city of San Diego. Through the incorporation of more user-friendly power management features, we could save approximately 11 billion kWh of electricity per year, cut our nation's electricity bill by more than $1 billion per year, and avoid emissions of more than 7 million tons of CO2 each year. In this November 2008 issue paper, NRDC provides recommendations for users, video game console manufacturers, component suppliers and the software companies that design games for improving the efficiency of video game consoles already in homes as well as future generations of machines yet to hit the shelves." The full report is freely downloadable as a PDF.
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NRDC Rates Energy Efficiency of Video Game Consoles

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  • First Solution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:01PM (#25821593)

    Destroy San Diego

  • Re:Insignificant (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:26PM (#25821973)

    Uh, since when have 300 million PS3s, XBOX 360s, and Wiis been sold? Or do you expect non-console owners to cough up part of your power bill?

  • Maybe, maybe not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:50PM (#25822401) Homepage

    The study shows that many people leave their PS3s on all the time, and the power difference between running F@H and idle is small, so it's really the PS3 that's killing the planet. If you're going to waste power anyway, you might as well do some folding.

    However, there is no reason a console should use 100W when idle. A laptop can drop its power consumption by a factor of 10 when it's idle; why can't a game console?

  • by Scorchio (177053) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:52PM (#25822427)

    Moving from the UK to the US, one of the things I miss is having an on/off switch on every electrical socket. It's much easier to flip a switch than have to pull/push plugs. I can also be sure a device is truly off, and not slowly leaching power like the umpteen power adapters I have.

    I'd love to start replacing the outlets I have with switched varieties, but I haven't found anything yet. Either my google-fu is weak, or I'm searching for the wrong thing. Anyone know where I can find such a thing?

  • by MHz-Man (1066086) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @03:56PM (#25822499)

    Want to save energy? Turn your PC system off at night unless you've got a giant download, are running a server, or some other valid reason to have it on.

    I have to disagree with this advice. Yes, turning your PC off when you're done using it will save you power but in my experience with PCs (15+ years now) it causes more trouble than it's worth. Almost every major hardware failure I've had with PCs (both my own and as working in tech support in college) over the years has occurred within a few minutes/hours of turning it on, including one earlier this year when I turned my computer back on after a weekend away from the house and the motherboard simply died within a few minutes. Also in my experience, for some reason it seems laptops are less prone to this same phenomenon

    I now leave my main PC on all the time. I pay a bit extra in power bills but I also no longer need to order a new part to replace a bad one every few months/years either. This to me is worth the extra $10/month on my power bill.

  • by Sabz5150 (1230938) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @04:07PM (#25822657)

    ...

    The Wii's power draw should be compared to that of the GameCube. We should see a lower power draw than the GameCube since the components have undergone a die shrink. The added features (most notably, wifi) then bring the power consumption up over the GameCube's.

    The 360 and PS3 are new architectures, featuring much more powerful CPUs and GPUs than the Wii. Comparing them to the Wii is inappropriate.

    Why? This isn't a comparison of processing power and features, it's a comparison of power consumption of current-gen consoles. If you want to debate processing power and reasons why the other two suck more juice than the Wii, there are other forums for that.

  • bogus math (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:19PM (#25823685)

    The math seems bogus

    16e9 KWh * 1000 Wh/KWh / 100e6 households in US * 40% that have consoles / 100 watts per console draw gives me an average use of 640 hours per household per year.

    That means absolutely every console in America gets about two hours of use each and every day. Or rephrased playing console games approaches a part time job. Seems unlikely high to me.

    Another way to look at it, is if I'm too busy to play on the weekdays, all I have to do is play 14 hours straight on Saturday to meet my "quota". Fourteen hours. Every Saturday. All forty million households. Yeah, sure, like that is ever going to happen.

    Also since my wii draws about a tenth the power of a x360 I guess I need to play ten times as much to compensate for the quota, or a mere twenty hours per day, each and every day, in each and every house that owns a wii.

    One anecdotal example of more than that usage level, does not prove the usage level of all 40 million consoles.

  • by LackThereof (916566) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:35PM (#25823987)

    You do know that the Wii is a die-shrunk GameCube

    We should see a lower power draw than the GameCube since the components have undergone a die shrink

    But it's not JUST die-shrunk. It's also clocked significantly faster, which should bring power consumption back up.

    CPU
    Gamecube: 485 MHZ, 180nm
    Wii: 730 MHZ, 90nm

    GPU:
    Gamecube: 160MHZ, 180nm
    Wii: 240 MHZ, 90nm

    Die shrink or no, that's ~50% faster. As you mention, the bluetooth and 802.11 radios are also non-trival power draws that have been added.

    It's worth mentioning that 16.4w for a 700 Mhz G3 with a reasonably fully featured graphics chip is not too shabby, even if the graphics are limited to 480p.

    I'll plug my old GCN into a kill-a-watt sometime tonight and post the results.

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