How much electricity does my game console or gaming PC cost? We do the math

Your energy bill went up and since then you’ve been underestimating your gaming PC? Luckily, it’s easy to estimate its consumption to see if it’s responsible for your breakdown, here’s how.

Amid soaring energy prices and many climate concerns, many questions have arisen about the right steps to optimize energy consumption.

Turn off wifi at night? It won’t cost you anything, but it won’t earn you much either. Do you regularly delete your email? This will have no real effect, and may even be counterproductive. On the other hand, it may be interesting to know about the actual consumption of your electrical equipment and the actual cost they represent to you.

Consumption continues to increase

Even if it’s just buying hardware and software, video games are a hobby that can quickly become expensive. But in recent years, power consumption has steadily increased, both on our consoles and on our PCs.

With advances in technology such as ray tracing or increased screen definition, the power required to utilize them has also increased. The latest generation of graphics cards can regularly consume more than 300 watts when gaming, while high-end processors can often claim more than 100 watts to run.

NVIDIA’s high-end cards can require up to 450W on their own.©NVIDIA

Under these conditions, it’s quite legitimate to wonder how much video games actually cost in terms of electricity consumption. We’ve selected three typical examples that represent common uses in video games: desktop PCs equipped for modern video games, portable gaming PCs, and the PlayStation 5.

For our theoretical experiments, we will consider in each case that someone plays an hour a day, every day of the week (according to the study submitted by AFJV in 2021), but we will detail our calculations sufficiently so that you can adjust accordingly. for your consumption and get a better idea.

Our three game engines

  • Gaming PCs (400W): for our gaming PC, we will choose a high-end configuration, equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card and an Intel Core i7 13700K processor, components capable of running any game in the best conditions, but also very demanding on energy. Such a PC can display an average consumption in games of about 400 watts. We will use this value for our calculations, but note that it can vary widely depending on screen settings and definitions.
  • Gaming laptops (250W): in general, portable computer manufacturers make every effort to prioritize energy savings for their machines. PCs aimed at gamers, however, make this a less important point, as a certain amount of power is still required to get satisfactory performance. Currently, high-end laptops for gamers can consume around 250 W.
  • Playstation 5 (200W): In this example, we’ll be taking the case of a PS5 equipped with a blu-ray player, whose measurements show that in-game consumption is around 200 W on the newest titles. Note that the discless version consumes slightly less (190 W) and if you have an Xbox Series X the data is basically the same.

How much does my gaming device cost per year?

For our calculations we will base ourselves on the price per kWh in EDF (0.1740 € at the “bleu rate”) at the time of writing this article, but you can easily find your supplier’s prices if they differ.

Since one kWh gives us the energy consumed per hour, we get a consumption of 0.4 kWh for a desktop PC, 0.25 kWh for a laptop PC and 0.2 kWh for a PS5. For one hour of play per day, every day, the annual cost calculation for a desktop PC is as follows: 0.4x1x365x 0.1740, which gives us a total of €25.4 for the full year. Reproducing the calculations, we get €15.9 for the laptop and €12.7 for the PS5.

You can easily adapt the formulas we provide above to replicate the calculations to your own household hardware and gaming habits.

Our tips for reducing consumption

There are a few tricks you can consider if you plan to reduce the consumption of your gaming device.

On a desktop PC, you can, for example, limit or disable certain options that push components to their limits, such as ray tracing. Highest display definitions often tend to put more stress on the graphics card, for example you can turn it down to lighten it up a bit at the expense of reduced picture finesse.

These tips apply to laptops too, although they traditionally consume less energy than their larger desktop brethren. However, there’s no point in playing with the battery: you won’t be conserving energy this way, but will only be shifting its consumption when you plug in your computer (in addition to drastically reducing your performance).

Finally, if there are several options to reduce the energy required by the console while it is running, it is advisable to turn it off completely instead of going through the standby mode they all offer. You then won’t have access to some of its functions (like fast start), but the savings can sometimes be substantial: an Xbox Series X in standby can consume up to 30 watts.

In the end, given the budget that hobbies like video games generally represent, its electricity consumption is unlikely to be your biggest expense of the year, but it’s still worth monitoring and controlling with a few simple gestures.

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