The Big Surprise in Home Energy Consumption: Gaming PCs
The typical gaming computer consumes as much power each year as approximately three refrigerators, according to a study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The comparison is one of the many eye-opening statistics in a paper written by Nathaniel and Evan Mills on the impact of high-performance PCs on household energy consumption and the steps that can be taken to put a dent in the rising power bill.
Gaming is both one of the most popular applications for PCs—approximately one billion people worldwide use their systems to play games—and one of the most energy intensive. Gaming PCs, the souped-up desktops and laptops used by enthusiasts, constitute only around 2.5% of the total user base, but they account for approximately 75 terawatt hours, or 20%, of the total consumed by laptops, desktops and gaming consoles. In all, the power bill for these gaming PCs comes to $10 billion a year.
By 2020, gaming PCs could constitute 10% of the user base. If left unchecked, these systems could consume 120 terawatt hours a year and rack up $18 billion in energy bills.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that savings of close to 75% can be trimmed through retrofits, component changes and strategic operational settings that do not impact overall performance. Speed and efficiency, in other words, don’t have to be enemies.