Yes, we know that California hasn’t banned the desktop gaming computer yet, but we can tell you that one way to prevent government regulators from getting on your back is to be proactive about it.
Today, for example, there are no regulations in place regarding the energy efficiency of DIY computers. The gaming desktop is still at risk of being portrayed as an environmental villain, however, by groups looking to regulate anything that consumes a great deal of power.
That’s why we think the easiest way to take aim off a DIY desktop computer is to be proactive about it. Here are eight things you can do to get the government off your PC — for now, anyway.
1. Buy a PSU with a watt meter in it
One of the first rules for fixing a problem is to admit that you have one. If you love 98 percent of PC gamers or DIY, you have no idea how much electricity your computer consumes.
One easy way to find out is to purchase a power supply with an internal wattmeter. Asus ROG Thor 850 ($215 on Amazon)Remove unproductive linkIt, for example, features an OLED screen on its side that shows the system’s power consumption in real time. No software to download, no badly coding utility to reduce performance. If you want to know how much your system drinks while playing games, you can just take a look at your PSU and find out.
Some people still want to see it in a neat graph inside Windows. Corsair’s “i” series PSUs plus NZXT’s “e” series (E850 is $180 from NZXTRemove unproductive link Currently $239 on Late Orders on AmazonRemove unproductive linkDo this by allowing you to plot the power consumption on the wall, as well as the power consumption by components inside the computer inside Windows.
2. Purchase watt meter
Obviously, buying a new power supply just to monitor your computer’s electricity consumption is an expensive and electronic waste. A more practical alternative is to purchase a wattmeter. These easy-to-use devices allow you to monitor the power consumption of any AC equipment connected to them. Even better, if you want to know how much your computer and monitor are consuming, you can connect them using power
Tape (just be careful not to exceed the wattmeter’s power rating). One of the most popular wattmeters is the P3 Kill A Watt, priced around $32 on AmazonRemove unproductive link.
What distinguishes this method is that it does not eat any of your computer’s resources. We run computers plugged into wattmeters most of the time. Since power consumption usually tracks with your CPU or GPU’s boost hours, it’s a great non-intrusive way to monitor performance.
You can use a wattmeter to monitor most appliances in your home, too. Have you ever wondered how much fat your TV eats? You can find out with Kill A Watt
Since Kill A Watt also spits out kilowatt-hours (how many watts are consumed per hour) you can easily calculate how much it costs to run electronic devices, by multiplying their consumption by the utility price per kilowatt-hour.
3. Use Windows Balanced Profile
There’s a reason PC vendors typically set a PC to a “balanced” power profile in Windows by default. Choosing a “high performance” profile, which can prevent a CPU from running at a low clock while idle, causes a modest performance bump, but requires a much higher power draw.
4. Support ATX12VO power supply specification
Intel has seen the winds of change coming, which is why it pushed to create the ATX12VO specification. The specification removes the underused 5V and 3.3V rails from the PSU. Although it does not improve efficiency much under heavy use, it does provide significant power savings when this desktop computer is idle. For example, an ATX12VO power supply versus a conventional multi-bus ATX12V PSU can achieve 71 percent efficiency at 10 watts, versus 54 percent in a conventional machine. No coincidence, it’s also the one thing power regulators are focusing on today: reducing the fleet of computers that consume power while idle.
We have already seen opposition from the DIY (DIY) market. Many users do not want to adopt the new standard, or even encourage its demise, because “change is bad”.
See, ATX12VO doesn’t mean you should ditch your existing motherboard and ATX12V PSU. But maybe on a system you’re building for a friend, or when that motherboard and PSU get old, you can jump on the new Intel standard rather than resist it at all costs.
5. Purchasing a more efficient power source
You can read the next item to find out how torn we are about buying new things so you can throw the old one away (we don’t think that helps). But when you have to buy a new PSU, you can shell out more money to get a more efficient PSU.
You can usually tell the efficiency of a power supply by its “80 Plus” rating. Most base PSUs are rated as 80 Plus. Additional levels of Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium take efficiency even further.
The more efficient the PSU, the less power you use to power your computer. A standard PSU other than the 80 Plus from 17 years ago might waste 40 percent of the power it pulls from the wall, while the 80 Plus Titanium might only waste 6 percent to power the same amount of hardware in your PC.
This is a significant saving not only in wasted energy, but also in the money you pay for energy. So while you might hush up on the price of an 80 Plus Gold PSU (buy a brand that’s recognized to be safe), it pays for itself in the long run. It might also be the only area where you can justify throwing away a bit of it.
We should note: The 80 Plus rating is optional. Although most PC companies have 80 Plus or more rated PSUs, ineffective PSUs are still in circulation.
6. Maybe buy new hardware?
We were really torn about one thing that can help, which is buying new hardware. New devices are generally faster and more secure, And the More energy efficient.
This seems like the easy answer, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. Proponents of buying new equipment tend not to mention the amount of energy and resources used to build this new PC, laptop, phone or tablet.
So while there’s already a lot to gain from buying new hardware, we’re hoping for more research on what’s really best of all: slightly lower efficiency, but a much longer service life.
But yes, a newer computer will still be faster, safer, and more energy efficient than your old one, so it’s okay to buy one too.
7. Buy the most efficient CPUs and GPUs
We can say that if you decide to buy new hardware, then buying a more efficient CPU and GPU can definitely help you. For example, you can see how much power an 11th-generation Intel Core i9-11900K draws on the faster AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor in the graphic above, as we measured both when running a benchmark test. We delve into the power consumption of the 11th-generation Rocket Lake chip, and it’s clear that the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is more power efficient. For most people running desktops for gaming or performance it didn’t matter before, but with more attention paid to a PC’s power consumption, it probably should.
8. Turn to your parents
Whatever you think of the political lights suddenly turned on on desktop computers due to power consumption, we know what your parents would say: “Turn off that computer when you’re not using it! Do you think money grows on trees?!” And yes, I say it as A parent of two with desktop computers and never put devices to sleep or away from computers for an hour while they continue to stream their favorite star on Twitch. So, put your computer to sleep sooner, set the screen to sleep, and then put it on standby when you’re not using it.
And yes, “Stop this live stream! Do you think power and bandwidth grows on trees?!”