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Video Consoles Cost in More Ways Than You Think

Are you an avid gamer? Do you ever leave your machine on, even though the game is over?  More and more electricity is used by various video game consoles each year.  It has become such a concern that the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has just released a report regarding the electricity usage and it’s effects on consumers’ electric bills.  For example, according to the study video game consoles nationwide use about as much electricity in a year as every home in San Diego combined.
 
“If you leave your Xbox 360 or Sony Play Station 3 on all the time, you can cut your electric bill by as much as $100 a year simply by turning it off when you are finished playing,” said NRDC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz.   In today’s tighter and tighter economy, such a simple step and turning the machine off when not in user can truly help lower energy costs.  As well all know by now, that too leads to “doing the right thing for consumers’ pockets, for our clean energy future, and for the environment.”
 
Looking at the “big three” video game consoles – Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBox360 and Nintendo’s Wii – the report measured the amount of power they use when they are active, idle and turned off. It found these systems use nearly the same amount of power when you are playing them as they do when you leave them on and walk away.  The Xbox 360 and PS3 both feature shut off devices if they are left idle for a certain amount of time.   Although these are big energy savers, they are (sadly) rarely used and have definite room for improvement in their design.
Interestingly,  the report found Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 use large amounts of electricity while on – 150 Watts and 119 Watts respectively – but the Nintendo Wii, uses significantly less power when on – at less than 20 Watts.  The Wii is also the only one to actually use slightly less power than its previous generation.  This obviously presents a challenge for the designers who continue to add more features and speed, but need to find a more energy efficient system.  How do you provide more with less? 
 
The PS3 and Xbox 360 also operate as high-definition video players. When they are used this way, the consoles continue to operate at nearly peak energy levels,  unless the device is turned off. The Playstation 3 uses five times the power of a stand-alone Sony Blu-ray player to play the same movie. This is a particularly dramatic difference considering these two products are made by the same company.  It made me think….  I wonder what uses more energy a PS2 combined with a stand alone Sony Blu-Ray or a PS3 all by itself?  I assume keeping them in parts is the smarter way, seeing how you would use only one piece at a time.  hmmmm
 
The attention to the energy usage of video games is more and more apparent and the National usage of these devices continues to grow.  “Energy efficiency saves people money, reduces global warming pollution, and is an essential part of our clean energy future,” said Horowitz. “Electronics manufacturers can help by making smarter products. ”  It’s reassuring to know that organizations like the NRDC are trying to hold them accountable.


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