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First post, by sliderider

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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

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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."

Reply 1 of 29, by Tetrium

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It's always funny to read such articles and then reread them again after 5 years or more. Most of the stuff turns out to have been nothing more then a storm in a glass of water 😜

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Reply 2 of 29, by Pippy P. Poopypants

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Please keep doing so. I'll just move to Arizona soon so that I can have beachfront property. 😜

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Reply 3 of 29, by Hater Depot

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Obviously it's silly to single out just one activity, but considering that pretty much all use of electricity contributes to global warming, it's hard to say he is wrong.

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Reply 4 of 29, by Tetrium

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Hater Depot wrote:

Obviously it's silly to single out just one activity, but considering that pretty much all use of electricity contributes to global warming, it's hard to say he is wrong.

It's a weird thing to try to solve a problem like he is. It's like saying that to prevent litter on the street, we should all quit drinking soda 😵

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Reply 5 of 29, by gerwin

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But If one tries to solve it by making computers more efficient, then people will just turn up the graphics standards, and the power usage goes up as a result of the increased efficiency (Wiki: Jevons paradox).
I do not mind a 350Watt max PSU limit myself, I tend to stick to that.

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Reply 6 of 29, by sgt76

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Another sour old git being a killjoy. Being "green" is the best thing you can do not only for the environment but also yourself and I consider myself an environmentally aware person as well, but this one stinks of bad commie shit.

Reply 7 of 29, by sliderider

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gerwin wrote:

But If one tries to solve it by making computers more efficient, then people will just turn up the graphics standards, and the power usage goes up as a result of the increased efficiency (Wiki: Jevons paradox).
I do not mind a 350Watt max PSU limit myself, I tend to stick to that.

You must not play very many good games, then, because even most mid range video cards these days require a 500W PSU at a minimum. Any decent CPU for a gaming rig is going to require 100W or more by itself. Even a video card that requires no external power source is going to draw 75W through the PCIe slot.

Reply 8 of 29, by gerwin

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I only have one modernish flightsim (at sub-medium detail) , the rest of the games are getting dated (COD 1 / IL2FB etc). A few weeks ago I measered the power draw of both Desktops +TFT screen, running a taxing 3D game: 140 Watt for the AMD Athlon, 85 Watt for the Core 2 Duo. Idle Power is a little more then half that number.
I found the Aopen and Chieftec PSU's used 10 Watt more power then older generic PSU's I had!? The Chieftec used 8 Watt when the PC was turned off, which is like double the average.

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Reply 9 of 29, by ratfink

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gerwin wrote:

The Chieftec used 8 Watt when the PC was turned off, which is like double the average.

Now that's a wake-up call, I've been leaving 7 pc's plugged in all the time. Actually 8 with my son home. So that's probably wasting of the order of 30 watts [assuming average psu's]? I better put the surge protector/socket thing somewhere easier to get to so I can turn it off at night.

Tend not to use switches on the psu's as in my experience they don't last lomg if you actually use them.

Reply 10 of 29, by sliderider

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ratfink wrote:
gerwin wrote:

The Chieftec used 8 Watt when the PC was turned off, which is like double the average.

Now that's a wake-up call, I've been leaving 7 pc's plugged in all the time. Actually 8 with my son home. So that's probably wasting of the order of 30 watts [assuming average psu's]? I better put the surge protector/socket thing somewhere easier to get to so I can turn it off at night.

Tend not to use switches on the psu's as in my experience they don't last lomg if you actually use them.

Wait until you start adding up all the other things you keep plugged in all the time and see how much power they draw. Almost everything still draws power when it is left plugged in. Things like clocks, coffee makers, toasters, microwave ovens, televisions, radios, etc all add up to a huge power draw even if you don't use them very often. I used to have a friend in school whose parents would turn off the main breaker before they left the house every morning and their power bills were next to nothing every month. They didn't have to worry about the food spoiling from the refrigerator being off because there was nobody home during the day to open the door all the time so it was still cold when they got back.

Reply 11 of 29, by Mau1wurf1977

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sliderider wrote:

I used to have a friend in school whose parents would turn off the main breaker before they left the house every morning and their power bills were next to nothing every month. They didn't have to worry about the food spoiling from the refrigerator being off because there was nobody home during the day to open the door all the time so it was still cold when they got back.

That's pretty cool...

But yea it's true, these days many houses have multiple flat-screen TVs and PCs in every room. Add to that washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers and of course the air conditioner...

No AC, do your dishes by hand and hang up your clothes and you will likely save a ton.

Reply 12 of 29, by Malik

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Maybe we ought to have a solar powered, dual powered refrigerator, to at least, keep the refrigerator cool enough till it's turned on using the ordinary electricity.

How about switching on and off the refrigerator everyday? Will doing this spoil it? This may not be a light bulb which usually goes kaput when switching on, but still, will this break down the fridge?

And how about TVs which are put on standby instead of turning it off completely?

I always wonder which household electronic item will R.I.P. faster, when switching on and off almost everyday?

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Reply 13 of 29, by Mau1wurf1977

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The thing with solar is that it's quite inefficient. And there are materials that you need to make these cells that aren't as readily available to mass roll them out.

Solar is more about making $$$$ for the solar industry than anything else.

To save AC costs, we could simply build into the ground. Nice and cool there. But yea, that would MAKE SENSE. So it's not going to happen 🤣

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Reply 14 of 29, by gerwin

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

To save AC costs, we could simply build into the ground. Nice and cool there. But yea, that would MAKE SENSE. So it's not going to happen 🤣

Here central/northern europe A/C is not used much, there is central heating instead.

How would one get the necessary (sun)light exposure when living underground?

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Reply 15 of 29, by Mau1wurf1977

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gerwin wrote:

How would one get the necessary (sun)light exposure when living underground?

Mostly referring to Australia and other AC countries / states like Texas or California 🤣

Although during cold winters, it's also warmer underground. But not nearly as practical I would think. In hot summers however you don't have to go down far to feel the coolness.

Anyone who has a basement in Europe will likely know what I'm talking about. Even building half way into a mountain or slope would save a lot in cooling costs.

PS: Animals have been doing it for like forever. During Winter they go underground and survive the harshest winter. And during summer they do the same to find some coolness.

Reply 16 of 29, by SavantStrike

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:

The thing with solar is that it's quite inefficient. And there are materials that you need to make these cells that aren't as readily available to mass roll them out.

Solar is more about making $$$$ for the solar industry than anything else.

To save AC costs, we could simply build into the ground. Nice and cool there. But yea, that would MAKE SENSE. So it's not going to happen 🤣

Or use a geothermal Air Conditioner/Heat Pump combination, although it's not as efficient as said combination with a building built into the ground, it's a lot more attractive.

Where does this guy get the 1KW measurement for a computer? Unless you have a quad SLI or Crossfire setup, you're not going to draw that much power. I have an oversized 750W psu and I don't draw half of what it's rated for (which is actually also bad from an efficieny standpoint, but it's an PCP&C PSU which means it's already very efficient).

Reply 17 of 29, by sliderider

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Malik wrote:
Maybe we ought to have a solar powered, dual powered refrigerator, to at least, keep the refrigerator cool enough till it's turn […]
Show full quote

Maybe we ought to have a solar powered, dual powered refrigerator, to at least, keep the refrigerator cool enough till it's turned on using the ordinary electricity.

How about switching on and off the refrigerator everyday? Will doing this spoil it? This may not be a light bulb which usually goes kaput when switching on, but still, will this break down the fridge?

And how about TVs which are put on standby instead of turning it off completely?

I always wonder which household electronic item will R.I.P. faster, when switching on and off almost everyday?

As long as the refrigerator stays closed it will stay cool for a long time but as soon as someone opens it the cold air is released so you have to be able to turn it back on right away to bring the temperature back down so that the food doesn't spoil.

Reply 18 of 29, by VileR

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Mau1wurf1977 wrote:
Mostly referring to Australia and other AC countries / states like Texas or California LOL […]
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gerwin wrote:

How would one get the necessary (sun)light exposure when living underground?

Mostly referring to Australia and other AC countries / states like Texas or California 🤣

Although during cold winters, it's also warmer underground. But not nearly as practical I would think. In hot summers however you don't have to go down far to feel the coolness.

Anyone who has a basement in Europe will likely know what I'm talking about. Even building half way into a mountain or slope would save a lot in cooling costs.

True, but you don't even need to go that far - the trick is just to build using really thick walls. Tribes dwelling on the edges of deserts have been doing it for millennia, even when the material is basically mud, and it really does help against the heat.

Modern building materials provide strength and structural integrity even when very thin, but their insulation properties suck.

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Reply 19 of 29, by Mau1wurf1977

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VileRancour wrote:

Modern building materials provide strength and structural integrity even when very thin, but their insulation properties suck.

So true. Over here the mostly built CHEAP. The size of the bricks here is almost a joke. Let's worry about cooling and heating later and throw more money at it 🤣

There are these dugouts in parts of Australia. Just like the name implies, a house, dug out of into the ground 😁