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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:29AM (#39762419)

    What exactly is the purpose of gaming consoles today? These days, they're merely locked-down PCs that are several years out of date, and damn near impossible to upgrade. It's not the games, since many of them target every major console and non-console platform these days. It's not the graphics quality, since PCs offer much better quality imagery. It's not the controllers, because there is a much wider range of options for PCs. It's not their networking abilities, given that consoles were many years behind PCs in this respect.

    While consoles make sense for the businesses who want to lock-in users, they make absolutely no sense for consumers. PCs are a much better option in every way possible.

  • by Albanach (527650) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:32AM (#39762441) Homepage

    What truly shocked me about the PS3 was to find that attached controllers do not appear to charge unless the console is powered on.

    This is an absurd state of affairs and has, apparently, persisted through hardware revisions. The device itself can power on overnight from standby and sync with the PS network/download patches etc, but you need to wake the thing to charge the controller. This encourages the device being left on 24x7 with all the expense and environmental consequences that go along with that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:48AM (#39762593)

    Except for playing multiplayer games from the comfort of your couch.

  • by nautsch (1186995) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @10:48AM (#39762595)
    It's the ease of use. Simple as that.
  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @11:03AM (#39762703)
    I think what surprises him (and me too, frankly) is that when the PS3 if powered 'off', it's not really off, merely in more of a sleep state. There are still active parts of the machine doing things like keeping the little red LED lit on the front, the bluetooth circuitry is active waiting for someone to hit the power button on a controller, etc. There really is no reason that they couldn't keep the USB ports powered up as well. I've often left my PS3 on overnight to charge the controllers, and then forgot to turn it off for several more days afterward.

    I think one of the real culprits here is code, OS, and library bloat that causes boot times on consumer devices to be in the seconds or 10's of seconds from a cold start. Even my TV takes about 5-10 seconds after I hit power before I can actually watch anything. The lazy way to mitigate this is to not ever really power down, but just appear to. There really is no excuse to take this long to boot into what should be a minimal OS from flash memory. This laziness costs consumers cold hard cash, albeit over months and years.
  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @12:29PM (#39763359)

    This is a classic example of free market failure. Making the consoles more efficient costs the manufacturers money. There's the cost to add power gating transistors to all the multi-core chips, use more expensive versions of the same chip binned for lower power consumption, and write the firmware to maximize power efficiency.

    All this will create a benefit that the consumers cannot perceive, directly. Almost no consumers own a Kill-a-Watt, and they don't have any options because there are not many competing consoles, there are only 3, and they are not remotely equivalent to each other. (a consumer unhappy with xbox/ps3 power consumption will not get the same gaming experience on the Wii)

  • by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Sunday April 22, 2012 @01:16PM (#39763763) Homepage

    The question should be rephrased:

    How much more do you have to spend on your computer for it to match the power of an XBox 360?

    Because today, you already need a computer.

  • by xtal (49134) on Sunday April 22, 2012 @02:23PM (#39764357) Homepage

    I heat my house with electricity. Power from idle devices offsets the load from heating - two orders of magnitude higher than idle draws in the very cold months. My home rack puts out enough heat to keep my office comfortable all winter, and I power down in summer, as I'm out doing things. No AC here. I've looked at doing things like having a small greenhouse indoors, etc - the base heat I'm paying for is good electricity turned directly into heat.

    Of course, if you have AC, then you pay double - once for the heat generation from waste, and again to remove it.

    Nothing in life is that black and white.

  • by PeterKraus (1244558) <peter.kraus@member.fsf.org> on Sunday April 22, 2012 @05:03PM (#39765493) Homepage

    I love how research from the Carnegie Mellon University gets attributed to "Springer Media" - the company owning the journal (Energy Efficiency) in question. Is this the first time the submitter ever saw a journal article? What is timothy there for, if he doesn't even check whether the research is attributed to the right people?

  • You've never worked in gaming, have you?

    No, because one has to move first in order to get hired by a console game studio, and I have obligations to my family that prevent that from happening any time soon.

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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