PC or console: which uses more power?

PC or console: which uses more power?

Spoiled for choice: A new PC or a games console? There are several factors in this decision that speak in favor of one or the other. The focus should be on the performance, but a look at the power consumption could also be a selection criterion in times of the energy crisis.

In the course of gamescom 2023, Civey commissioned E.ON to carry out a study. “From July 24, 2023 to August 9, 2023, 10,000 Germans aged 18 and over and 2,000 people who play video games for at least one hour a week were surveyed online,” according to the official statement from E.ON.

PC more popular than console according to survey

The most frequently specified gaming device was the stationary desktop PC – at 38.3 percent. Around 27.3 percent use smartphones and tablets, followed by consoles such as PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo Switch. Ten percent of the surveyed gamers use a laptop.

In order to find out who made the right choice, at least in terms of energy consumption, E.ON compared “various setups using an extensive data calculation” and compared their electricity requirements.

A cheap and a premium gaming PC in combination with a 27-inch monitor as well as the PlayStation 5, the Xbox Series X | S and the Nintendo Switch paired with a 55-inch SmartTV were used for the study – as well as a gaming -Laptop. The result: the low-cost PC consumed around 0.44 kWh of energy, and the high-end PC even consumed up to 0.52 kWh. The consoles proved to be significantly more energy-efficient. The mentioned configuration with the PlayStation 5 consumed about 0.33 kWh per hour. So almost 25 percent less than the inexpensive PC.

Xbox beats PlayStation on power consumption

In the internal competition between the Xbox and the PlayStation, the point in terms of energy efficiency goes to the Microsoft console. Because this one had 0.27 kWh on the meter, which is even up to 38 percent less. The energy requirement of the slimmed-down Xbox Series S version is not even half as high at around 0.19 kWh per hour of play.

If you still prefer to play with a mouse and keyboard but want to save power, you can use a gaming laptop. It was around 0.26 kWh, roughly on par with the Xbox Series X. But the leader is the Nintendo Switch, which can be used both in combination with a TV and as a handheld. Your consumption: 0.12 kWh. However, due to the hardware, the console can only be compared to the PlayStation and Xbox systems to a limited extent.

But what does that mean in relation to everyday life? Ultimately, of course, a lot depends on the length of the game. For example, if you want to experience the role-playing game “Diablo IV” in its entirety, you should reckon with a consumption of between 21 and 26 kWh for around 50 hours of play time on the stationary PC, depending on the configuration.

On the laptop it is only about half as much with 12 kWh, Playstation 5 (16 kWh) and Xbox Series X (13 kWh) are on a similar level. If you don’t want to do without your PC per se, E.ON has another tip ready for you: switch off the device and don’t put it into stand-by mode. According to the survey, six out of ten gamers (61.5 percent) do not use it at all.

Around 22.5 percent of Germans aged 18 and over use a controller or mouse and keyboard for at least one hour a week. The leisure activity is particularly popular among 18 to 29 year olds: “More than half of those surveyed (55.1 percent) consume video games on a daily basis. The majority in this age group plays between one and ten hours a week (26 percent). 8.8 percent of 18 to 29 year olds spend more than 20 hours a week in front of the screen.”


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