PS4, Xbox One 'May Use 3 Times More Power' Than The Last Generation

PS4, Xbox One 'May Use 3 Times More Power' Than the Last Generation

I just got my electricity bill for November 15 to December 15 and while I was ready for a big number after switching from oil to a heat pump, I'm wondering if my PS4 and Xbox One weren't the real culprits. According to the Natural Resources Defence Council, I can expect to pay $US150 in the coming year on the Xbox One alone.

Every so often the NRDC likes to remind us how much power our video game consoles actually consume. The dawn of a new console generation is a good time to remind us again and big surprise, the Xbox One and PS4 use a lot more juice than their predecessors.

As presently configured, the consoles "may still use up to three times more energy than their most recent predecessors" because they're running more sophisticated games, they're streaming video, and they're using more power in their standby modes — the Xbox One in particular. The Xbox One's utility as a cable TV box also adds to the power suck.

The NRDC isn't out to condemn our fun, though, and notes that "Sony and Microsoft have done a lot to make sure the energy use of these devices was not even higher." Examples of that include more efficient power supplies and multi-core processors that can back down the power usage when they're managing tasks that don't require full power. "The new models also allow for charging the USB controller and headset from sleep mode, eliminating the need to keep the console on just to charge accessories." That's a big step up, and in fact I use my PS4 to charge my PS3 peripherals in this way.

Still, the NRDC's analysis concluded that the Xbox One "uses more energy per year than the Ps4 due to its very high connected standby power level," in part because it has to be ready for someone to come in to say "Xbox on," to power up on voice command. "This 'always listening' feature is responsible for almost half of the Xbox One's annual energy use and consumes more electricity annually than the 50-inch TV to which it might be connected," the NRDC noted, in all boldface type.

All told, the introduction of the Xbox One and the PS4 into the United States' energy ecosystem means we'll be using 10 to 11 billion kilowatt hours of juice each year — that's an annual bill of $US1 billion alone — just to power the things. That's enough power to run all of the households in a city the size of Houston — the fourth-largest city in the U.S. The last time we ran one of the NRDC's analyses, consoles only used as much electricity as a city the size of San Diego, the eighth largest municipality in the U.S., with about 800,000 fewer residents.

What needs to be done? Well, the NRDC notes that Sony's standby mode consumes 8 watts of power, while laptops in standby can also charge two peripherals at an energy cost of 1 watt. Microsoft, says the NRDC, needs to figure out how to drop the power use of an Xbox One in standby. "There is no reason they should consume over 100 kWh per year, mostly in the middle of the night waiting to hear someone's voice asking the console to wake up," the NRDC writes.

New PS4 and Xbox One Game Consoles: A Mixed Bag for Energy Efficiency [Natural Resources Defence Council Staff Blog]


    Personally, I don't like to keep things in standby mode if I can avoid it. I usually leave an extra controller plugged in to my PS3 so that it's charging when I turn it on and play with the other controller.

      I agree. All of my AV kit get switched of at the wall when not in use.

    Buy a Wii U instead. Problem solved (although a million other problems are created)

    I usually turn things off at the power point over night or when I travel. Once you start stacking up a few consoles with a standby draw along with a few TVs it can quickly add up, especially with today's prices.

    On another interesting note, at night this is actually beneficial to the power industry. During the early hours of the morning generators often pay to get rid of excess electricity rather than selling it, this is fundamentally down to the fact it's cheaper to stay connected to the grid rather than disconnect.

    It's funny, the last 2-3 vid card generations they have used less power than the previous ones each iteration, and general x86/x64 processors are improving in power use constantly. PC master race wins again I guess.

    Last edited 22/12/13 12:25 pm

    "There is no reason they should consume over 100 kWh per year, mostly in the middle of the night waiting to hear someone’s voice asking the console to wake up,” the NRDC writes."

    One of the many "wait a minute..." thoughts that Microsoft seemed to have skipped on when releasing the xbone. Should definitely have a... standby standby time setting, where you tell it what hours of the day you're at work/school/asleep so it doesn't listen. Get the NSA to pay for it.

    Just unplug your Xbox or Wobblestation if it's that much trouble.

      Haha, wobblestation is the best you can come up with.

    I really like the TV into my Xbox but this is one thing that has been in the back of my mind.
    I have a Samsung Blue Ray Player / PVR / Twin Tuner thing that also links to my PC for streaming and also does apps like iView and SBS on Demand.
    It was a bit of a hassle swapping AV Inputs on my receiver just to check the score in the Cricket for example.
    Now with the Xbox One it is really cool the way I can Snap the TV in and play a game or do whatever on the same AV Input.
    The times when I just want to watch TV while not signed into Live on the other hand is the concern as the Xbox is sort of on for no reason and I know it is using power.
    I was thinking of getting a HDMI switcher adaptor so I could have the best of both worlds but I have not had much luck with quality in regards to these.

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