First post, by sliderider
This article is five years old but I found it recently and thought it was funny. I don't know the original source because it was posted on another site without citations.
Monday, October 30 2006 @ 11:02 PM PST
Anti game crusader Jack Thomson claims excessive computer use, especially by gamers who play computer games, are using far too much power from the grid, and may even be contributing to global warming.
"Computers are massively overpowered for most purposes." claims Thomson, who has campaigned against antisocial behaviour he says stems from playing computer games, which portray violence on-screen to children as a normal part of life.
"I'm not saying computers should not be powerful. There are valid uses for a fast computer, and people who require this power should be able to use it from time to time," he states. "What I take issue with is gamers who run their computers at full capacity for hours at a time."
"Current computers can draw more than a kilowatt of power, and that's a massive, massive amount of heat to be pushing out constantly." says Thomson. "A kilowatt is a measure of power use more familiar to auto manufacturers, and that's just too much for a computer. Most work can be done with a machine drawing less than a tenth of that."
Thomson states that on average, the majority of computer owners use less than 10% of their computer's capacity while performing ordinary tasks like word processing, viewing photos, playing home movies or listening to music. While doing so, the computer is mostly idle, and many computer manufacturers have throttles in place to slow a computer down if full processing power is not needed. Thomson claims "It uses an immeasurably smaller amount of power when you're just using the machine as it was designed to be used."
As an example, Intel processors can switch off part of the CPU for lower power use, while still providing ample capacity for performing work on a computer. This extra 'core' will only fire up again momentarily when the computer is pushed to do more.
"Look at it like a car. Your average family car has the ability to break most speed limits twice, maybe even three times over, but the power from the engine is mostly used to maintain a safe speed. The need for acceleration using the full power of the engine is rare. Nobody drives with their foot flat to the floor," Thomson says.
"But computer games are typically programs that use the full abilities of the computer constantly. They're running not only the processor but the graphics card and monitor at full speed, and this is the social equivalent of sitting outside your house at 3am with the engine revving. Power usage climbs through the roof, and gamers are taking more than their share of power for personal gratification. With over two hundred million active PCs worldwide, and fifty million more sold per year, if they were all being used for computer gaming that single one kilowatt could become one hundred megawatts, and that soaks up the power output of several nuclear power plants. This is before considering power claimed by dedicated gaming 'computers' like the new Sony PS3 and offerings from Microsoft and Nintendo."
"Global warming is an issue that cannot be ignored, and frivolous draining of the grid like this is only adding to the problem."
Thomson may have a tough road ahead convincing a nation of computer gamers to change, but sees his mission as an important one, serious enough to spend $12 million over the next year lobbying the California state government to enact legislation forcing consumers to modify their habits.
"We can't continue as we are. California knows what a lack of electrical power can do to the economy. I think I have a good case."