How much power is your idle console consuming? 
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Geoffrey Tim
April 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Idle

Electricity in South Africa is becoming increasingly expensive, thanks to local parastatal Eskom’s short-sightedness. We need to find all the ways we can to conserve power – because it hits us right in the wallets. Have you ever considered just how much power your idle consoles might be consuming?

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, a lot.

In a rather large and pretty exhaustive report, they say that as much as 68% of the energy consumed by consoles is when they’re standing idle. Bear in mind that this refers to them being on, and just sitting there doing diddly-squat – and not in standby mode, which consumes close to nothing. In the US in 2010, idle consoles wasted an incredible 10.8 TWh of energy; roughly $1.24 billion’s worth.

Though the PS3 overall has the largest drain (obviously meaning it’s more powerful, right?), the sheer number of active 360’s in the US means that its the console most responsible for drawing needless power. Microsoft’s done its bit to help though; a dashboard update enabled the system’s automatic shutdown when idling feature by default.

I find it pretty shocking that so many people seem to leave their consoles on when they’re not using them. Are you one of those people?

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces. I am also the emperor of the backend