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PlayStation (Games) Power Hardware

Most Game Console Power Draw Comes From Time Spent Idling 249

Posted by timothy
from the sittin'-on-the-dock-of-the-bay dept.
hypnosec writes "Springer Science and Business Media has discovered that during 2010, almost 70 per cent of the overall power draw of the world's consoles was thanks to idling. This total came to over 10.8 TWh of energy, equating to well over a billion dollars in wasted power. The biggest culprit for the trio of main consoles of this generation was the PlayStation 3, with its first edition having an active power draw of 180 watts and an idling draw of 167. As the report states, the Xbox 360 wasn't much better however, with active/idle draws of 172/162w respectively. Both of those consoles have got far better with their hardware revisions, more than halving the idle power consumption, but the Wii has been ahead of the curve the whole time. Its active/idle power draws were as low as 16/11w. The only real difference with the Nintendo console was whether its WC24 was enabled or not. With it on, standby power jumped from 2w to 9w."
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Most Game Console Power Draw Comes From Time Spent Idling

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  • Re:incorrect much? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:36AM (#39762481)

    10,800,000 kWh is 10.8 GWh not 10.8 TWh. 10.8 TWh is 10,800,000,000 kWh which would be $1,360,800,000 at your rates. Also, does that rate include distribution charges or only generation charges?

  • Re:Too bad... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:46AM (#39762565)

    The PS3 can run Folding@Home if you install the Life with Playstation app:

    http://www.playstation.com/life/

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:54AM (#39762635) Homepage

    A locked-down hardware and (for the most part) software specification that developers can optimize too. Consoles are older hardware that is much better utilized.

  • by Lord Lode (1290856) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:56AM (#39762655)

    I'm not sure about an i-Pod, but my phone can charge when plugged into a powered off PC's USB, because the USB keeps giving power as long as the power supply is in the net.

  • by julesh (229690) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @12:21PM (#39763289)

    How much would you have to spend today on a PC that's equivalent to, say, an XBox 360? How much does the XBox cost?
    There's probably more to it than cost, but last time I checked PCs weren't sold as loss-leaders.

    That's an interesting question, bcause the XBox's processor is not directly equivalent to a PC processor. Because it's an in-order execution system, it doesn't really compare well to PC processors jusrt by looking at its specs. It may be a 3-core 2-instruction capable processor, but in reality most code likely only fills one of the instruction slots at a time (similarly to the original Pentium). Whereas modern PC processors tend to be able to handle 2 or even 3 instructions per cycle a lot of the time. So it may be best to think of it as being similar to a modern CPU with about half the clock speed. Although there are still significant differences. A quick review of old documents on it suggests a 21-stage pipeline, which is longer than current-generation PC processors, and means mispredicted branches are going to be slower comparitivlely. It also has a much smaller cache than modern PC processors, and it's 21.6GB/s memory bandwidth is comparable to the very low end of current desktop processors. All-in-all, thererfore, I'd expect any modern dual-core budget processor (e.g. a Celeron G530) to outperrform it in most tasks.

    The onboard graphics on a Celeron G530 processor is considered comparable in capability to ATI cards from 3 generations later than the ones that are most similar architecturally to the XBox 360's graphics chip, so this basic PC should substantially outperform the XBox 360 in graphics performance.

    So, processor: £36.24 (dabs.com). Add to that processor a budget microATX motherboard (£34.99), 2GB RAM (4 times as much as is in the XBox 360, but the smallest amount available these days) (£11.97), case & PSU (£19.99), hard disk (£34.99) and optical drive (£11.99), and the total is *very* similar to the cost of an Xbox 360 (about £1 more expensive than the cheapest deal I see for a new 360 on google shopping). For a machine that outclasses the 360 in most respects (perhaps even all respects... it is very hard to compare the CPU performance).

  • by Albanach (527650) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @01:05PM (#39763671) Homepage

    That shocked you? Were you shocked when your I-Pod didn't charge when it was plugged into a powered off PC? Are you shocked when your car battery drains when the engine is off?

    As others have said, it's perfectly possible to deliver a current from the USB ports when the PS3 is asleep. Plenty of laptops can and do manage this.

    Secondly, a principle purpose of the USB ports is charging - unlike those on most computers, since most computers do not come with accessories requiring charging via a USB port. Using your example, my iPod will charge if plugged into a car adapter, it will charge if plugged into a USB wall adapter and it will charge if plugged into my laptop, whether or not it's asleep.

    Thirdly, even when connected to a powered USB port - such as a mains USB adapter or a powered USB hub, the accessories will not charge unless the PS3 is on. It's not just the current, these devices were actually designed to make charging unnecessarily difficult without leaving the PS3 on or paying extra for an unnecessary charging device.

    Yes, design like that is shocking.

  • by pepty (1976012) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @01:53PM (#39764087)
    FTA:

    Because of the low failure rates and short time periods involved, we assume that all consoles sold are in active use. F

    we assume that 30 % of users leave their console idle when not in use, with the remainder putting their console into standby mode. Given the importance of this assumption, we perform a thorough sensitivity analysis, discussed at length in “Results: estimated console energy consumption”. The PS3 and Xbox 360 have both added an “auto power down” capability through firmware updates, but this feature is not enabled by default and is difficult to find in system menus. We believe that this feature is not frequently utilized by consumers, and we neglect its effects on overall power consumption.

    hmmmm ....

  • by raving griff (1157645) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @03:32PM (#39764923)

    The last Resident Evil game on the DS even had no ability to delete a saved game, effectively making the game one play per sale.

    Second to last, actually. This is an important distinction because the game you are talking about, Resident Evil Mercenaries, is an arcade-style action game, where the only actual progress to be deleted is earning high scores and unlocking additional levels and characters. The most recent Resident Evil game for the 3DS, Resident Evil Revelations, is a story-based experience and does offer the option to delete save files.

    The first-sale codes are a little more controversial in the gaming blagosphere. No publisher has denied a single-player experience to players who do not use the included code, but multiplayer and downloadable content is often tied to it. For some games, this is not a big deal, but for others, multiplayer is a major component of the game. However, the codes are not "darn close" to the MSRP; the MSRP of new games is typically $60, with used games going for $40-$55. The codes sell for $10-$20, with the goal of making the price used (with all multiplayer and DLC in tact) the same as the price of a new game, thus encouraging gamers to purchase a new game.

    There is an interesting debate concerning whether what EA is doing is ethical or not. On one hand, we have the First Sale Doctrine, which guarantees the reselling of used products and might(?) be violated by EA's first-sale codes. However, the First Sale Doctrine was created with things like houses and automobiles in mind--things that naturally tend to lose value over time, due to wear and tear, or things that maintain value only if money is spent on repairs and renovations. Thus the decrease in value is tied to its use.

    Software, on the other hand, does not depreciate in value in the same way. While the physical media--box, manual, and disc--are vulnerable to wear and tear, the bulk of a game's value comes from the game itself, which comprises of the software on the disc. In general, the game either works or it doesn't; a game will hold full value as a game until the disc breaks, at which point it will hold virtually no value.

    What this leads to is a used market dependent entirely on the game's popularity. Games that are less popular suffer a multiplied loss: less copies will be sold new, and, because the price difference between used and new is so great, a higher percentage of copies will be sold used, further hurting its sales. The invisible hand certainly has something to say about the justice of unpopular games causing losses, but in an industry as young as gaming, any factors that increase the risk associated with developing a game (typically over 2-5 years, costing hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars) can be seen as negatively impacting the development of games as an art form. (Recently, independent games made on small budgets in far less time, have become prolific; they often represent the riskiest, most innovative, and in some cases, most artistic expressions in gaming.)

    Is it fair for games to be subject to a popularity multiplier? Maybe. However, the gaming industry is a different framework than what the first-sale doctrine was established for. I realize I have been playing the devil's advocate throughout most of this comment, but I believe the issue needs to be explored with hard economics before we can draw strong opinions on whether it is right or not for publishers to discourage the sale of used games. It is possible that the used games industry puts games into the hands of far more people, improving its legitimacy as an art form, but it is also possible that used games are a primary factor pushing publishers towards sticking to established franchises and neglecting innovation in favor of reliable sales.

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