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Computer Defeats Video Game System in #EnergyFaceoff Round One

November 5, 2014 - 3:30pm

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The computer takes the efficiency title in round one of #EnergyFaceoff. | Graphic courtesy of Stacy Buchanan, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The computer takes the efficiency title in round one of #EnergyFaceoff. | Graphic courtesy of Stacy Buchanan, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

If you're a gamer, you likely have a preference for the computer or a dedicated video game system. But if you use both, you may be interested to know which uses the most energy, and costs the most to use. And of course, it's not just the computer or gaming system that you're using—it's the monitor and television as well.

So let's assume you're playing video games for three hours per day, 300 days a year. Which would use more energy: the computer (and monitor) or the video game system (and TV)? Do you think there will be a large difference between the two?

Here's an estimate, based on some estimated wattages from Home Energy Saver, and following the steps for calculating annual energy use and cost on Energy Saver.

Computer and Monitor

Computer CPU: 68 W
Monitor: 84 W

[3 hours (68 W + 84 W)] / 1000 = .456 kWh (daily consumption)
.456 kWh/day x 300 days = 136.8 kWh (annual energy consumption)
136.8 kWh x $0.11/kWh = $15.05 per year

Video game system and LCD TV

Video game: 20 W
LCD Television: 150 W

[3 hours (150 W +20 W)/1000 = .51 kWh (daily consumption)
.51 kWh/day  x 300 days = 153 kWh (annual energy consumption)
153 kWh x $0.11/kWh = $16.83 per year

Based on these estimates, the computer and monitor win the battle. Of course, your actual costs depend on the specific products you own, and how you use them. Why not find out the wattage of your items, estimate the time you spend playing video games on each system, and figure out what your gaming is costing you?
 

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