New Gaming PC Consumes so Much Power That It’s Banned in California. Alienware, a gaming-specific computer company, owned by Dell, now sells PCs that are so powerful and energy-intensive that several states have banned them.
Dell is no longer shipping energy-hungry gaming PCs to certain states in America because they demand more energy than local standards allow.
New Gaming Pc is going to bann.
Customers seeking to purchase, for example, an Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 Gaming Desktop from Dell’s website and have it shipped to California are now presented with a message that tells buyers they’re out of luck.
“This product cannot be shipped to the states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington due to power consumption regulations adopted by those states,” the website says. “Any orders placed that are bound for those states will be canceled.”
Dell confirmed to The Register that the California ban was down to power consumption regulations, saying:
This was driven by the California Energy Commission (CEC) Tier 2 implementation that defined a mandatory energy efficiency standard for PCs – including desktops, AIOs, and mobile gaming systems. They put this into effect on July 1, 2021. Select configurations of the Alienware Aurora R10 and R12 were the only impacted systems across Dell and Alienware.
Such concern about energy efficiency appears to be appropriate given the findings of a 2015 Semiconductor Industry Association report [PDF] that, given a benchmark system of 10-14 Joules/per bit transition, “computing will not be sustainable by 2040 when the energy required for computing will exceed the estimated world’s energy production.”
Current processors operate at about 10-17 J/bit, which the SIA considers a workable target for more efficient computing. However, the group said in a more recent report, “that will require revolutionary changes to computing soon.”
That report describes the growing energy usage of computing in less dire terms – as a limit to future computational capacity rather than a trend destined to devour all available energy. It notes that “the total energy consumption by general-purpose computing continues to grow exponentially and is doubling approximately every three years, while the world’s energy production is growing only linearly, by approximately 2 percent a year.”
Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington mean which can’t sell any PC with an annual energy consumption above a certain bracket. This has caused Dell to list a warning stating that in those states, you’ll be unable to purchase certain Alienware R10 and R12 models exceeding these rules, adding that “any orders placed that are bound for those states will be canceled.”
A configuration of an Intel Core i5 11400F paired with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super still passes those regulations and can be sold in states with the law, but it’s much slimmer pickings. There is only one other Aurora configuration on the Alienware store marked as compatible with the new power consumption regulations.
The Bottom Line
The requirements thus vary depending on the device’s characteristics. Still, as a baseline, desktop computers, mobile gaming systems, and thin clients manufactured between January 1, 2019, and July 1, 2021, can consume no more than 50/80/100 kWh per year for ES scores of less than 250, 251-425, and 426-690 respectively.
For such devices manufactured after July 1, 2021, the kWh per year limit becomes 50, 60, and 75. Thus, the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition model cited above lists [PDF] a short-idle energy consumption of 66.29 watts and 563.01 watts when stressed.
A spokesperson for Acer asked whether the rules affect any of its products, responded by saying the company is looking into the matter. HP did not respond to a request for comment.