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Most Game Console Power Draw Comes From Time Spent Idling

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the sittin'-on-the-dock-of-the-bay dept.

PlayStation (Games) 249

hypnosec writes "Springer Science and Business Media has discovered that during 2010, almost 70 per cent of the overall power draw of the world's consoles was thanks to idling. This total came to over 10.8 TWh of energy, equating to well over a billion dollars in wasted power. The biggest culprit for the trio of main consoles of this generation was the PlayStation 3, with its first edition having an active power draw of 180 watts and an idling draw of 167. As the report states, the Xbox 360 wasn't much better however, with active/idle draws of 172/162w respectively. Both of those consoles have got far better with their hardware revisions, more than halving the idle power consumption, but the Wii has been ahead of the curve the whole time. Its active/idle power draws were as low as 16/11w. The only real difference with the Nintendo console was whether its WC24 was enabled or not. With it on, standby power jumped from 2w to 9w."

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249 comments

God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762385)

Christ alive! It's 'You don't say (so)!' such of before...

doesn't sound like idle. (0)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762411)

do they mean that the first xbox 360 used max 172w - and when waiting to be woken up 162w? bull? wouldn't that have meant the fan going crazy while in idle?

Re:doesn't sound like idle. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762459)

oh standby power is more like 2 wats. they mean with idle a homescreen running attract mode...

Re:doesn't sound like idle. (5, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762525)

What they calculated is the cost of camping.

What is the point of gaming consoles? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762419)

What exactly is the purpose of gaming consoles today? These days, they're merely locked-down PCs that are several years out of date, and damn near impossible to upgrade. It's not the games, since many of them target every major console and non-console platform these days. It's not the graphics quality, since PCs offer much better quality imagery. It's not the controllers, because there is a much wider range of options for PCs. It's not their networking abilities, given that consoles were many years behind PCs in this respect.

While consoles make sense for the businesses who want to lock-in users, they make absolutely no sense for consumers. PCs are a much better option in every way possible.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762593)

Except for playing multiplayer games from the comfort of your couch.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39763511)

How is that a troll? Parent is correct. I can't play a 4-player game on my pc without having other computers present.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (5, Insightful)

nautsch (1186995) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762595)

It's the ease of use. Simple as that.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (5, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762635)

A locked-down hardware and (for the most part) software specification that developers can optimize too. Consoles are older hardware that is much better utilized.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762785)

I second this. I hate fighting with computers. My Wii just works, and will always just work.

Hold On... (2)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 2 years ago | (#39763667)

While this may be true with the Wii (as in I haven't really looked into it, ever), have you forgotten about the issues other consoles have had with games, where it works on some consoles but not others of the same type?

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762647)

What exactly is the purpose of gaming consoles today?

For me the purpose is Mario and Zelda ^_^

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762679)

How much would you have to spend today on a PC that's equivalent to, say, an XBox 360? How much does the XBox cost?
There's probably more to it than cost, but last time I checked PCs weren't sold as loss-leaders.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762899)

5 to 6 hours a day on PC average... watching shows, playing games, wasting time, typing out documents, surfing the web, listening to music
0.5 hours a day on console on average

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (5, Informative)

julesh (229690) | about 2 years ago | (#39763289)

How much would you have to spend today on a PC that's equivalent to, say, an XBox 360? How much does the XBox cost?
There's probably more to it than cost, but last time I checked PCs weren't sold as loss-leaders.

That's an interesting question, bcause the XBox's processor is not directly equivalent to a PC processor. Because it's an in-order execution system, it doesn't really compare well to PC processors jusrt by looking at its specs. It may be a 3-core 2-instruction capable processor, but in reality most code likely only fills one of the instruction slots at a time (similarly to the original Pentium). Whereas modern PC processors tend to be able to handle 2 or even 3 instructions per cycle a lot of the time. So it may be best to think of it as being similar to a modern CPU with about half the clock speed. Although there are still significant differences. A quick review of old documents on it suggests a 21-stage pipeline, which is longer than current-generation PC processors, and means mispredicted branches are going to be slower comparitivlely. It also has a much smaller cache than modern PC processors, and it's 21.6GB/s memory bandwidth is comparable to the very low end of current desktop processors. All-in-all, thererfore, I'd expect any modern dual-core budget processor (e.g. a Celeron G530) to outperrform it in most tasks.

The onboard graphics on a Celeron G530 processor is considered comparable in capability to ATI cards from 3 generations later than the ones that are most similar architecturally to the XBox 360's graphics chip, so this basic PC should substantially outperform the XBox 360 in graphics performance.

So, processor: £36.24 (dabs.com). Add to that processor a budget microATX motherboard (£34.99), 2GB RAM (4 times as much as is in the XBox 360, but the smallest amount available these days) (£11.97), case & PSU (£19.99), hard disk (£34.99) and optical drive (£11.99), and the total is *very* similar to the cost of an Xbox 360 (about £1 more expensive than the cheapest deal I see for a new 360 on google shopping). For a machine that outclasses the 360 in most respects (perhaps even all respects... it is very hard to compare the CPU performance).

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (4, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | about 2 years ago | (#39763763)

The question should be rephrased:

How much more do you have to spend on your computer for it to match the power of an XBox 360?

Because today, you already need a computer.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762715)

Far "better" DRM. That's about it.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762757)

Hmm, well, cost, bandwagon , exclusivities, they just work, networking features, family friendly (at least it can be), small

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (4, Interesting)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762761)

many of them target every major console and non-console platform these days.

Many AAA games come out on consoles first. They may or may not come out later on PC and when they do the PC versions that seem like an afterthought (poorly optimised, poor controller configuration options etc). Of course at the time of the console release there is usually no indication as to whether or not a PC version will come out later.

What exactly is the purpose of gaming consoles today?

When a game developer targets a console they will generally design their game to run well on that console. So if I buy a console early in it's generation I can be reasonablly confident that new games (with a few exceptions from shitty developers) will continue to run well on that console through it's lifecycle. Reviewers will be using the same hardware specs as players will so if a game plays well on the reviewers system it will play well for users too.

With PC gaming it's far more of a crapshoot, yes the graphics etc can be better than consoles but if your hardware specs aren't high enough the experience can be a lot worse. Furthermore neither CPU or GPU vendors label their products in a way that makes it easy for the customer to determine whether his CPU/GPU is better or worse than the one a reviewer used.

Oh and most PC games now have some form of online activation which often includes anti-resale measures (at the very least you don't know if the previous owner has posted the key somewhere online that could result in it being blacklisted). Console games can for the most part still be resold (some console games are starting to make DLC and/or online multiplayer access free for the original owner and chargable for subsequent owners but i've not yet seen a console game where the main single player game can't be resold).

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (-1, Flamebait)

ratbag (65209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762859)

1. Mario, Zelda, GT5
2. No PC in my living room, thanks
3. No PC in my house, in fact (by the old-school Windows/Linux definition of "PC").
4. No upgrades once I've bought a games device.
5. As few patches as possible (although my PS3 and 3DS both break that rule)
6. Biggest screen in the house is (just) our living-room television. It cost substantially less than the next biggest (a 27" Cinema Display) but is just fine for games. Games in the house, work in the home office. Separation of work and home life maintained. Games with my wife (oh, be quiet), work alone.
7. I'm not interested in FPS games (see 1 above).
8. My computers (all Macs) are for work or media. They're optimised for that purpose (many cores, resilient storage [some fast, some slow, all redundant and available], mucho-RAM, video cards that support Aperture/Final Cut Pro X) and run my software very nicely (Xcode, NetBeans, iTerm, vim, ssh, Aperture/FCP/Lightroom, Cisco AnyConnect). My console runs its software really well (GT5 mainly, plus LBP2), out of the box. No conflicts between the two, ever. No rebooting or tweaking the video settings to make things work, just pick up the controller and play, or grab the keyboard and work.

So that's eight ways a console is better for me and absolutely makes sense for me. I'm "locked-in" to the extent that I can use/buy any software I want for my Mac (even Windows software should I be insane), but I have to play the games that some publisher produces for my console of choice. I have "missed' precisely zero PC games. So where's the lock-in?

YMobviouslyV.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

pandronic (1275276) | about 2 years ago | (#39763021)

even Windows software should I be insane

Aren't we feeling snobbish today

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

ratbag (65209) | about 2 years ago | (#39763169)

Possibly a little snobbish:), but then again there's not been a piece of Windows software that I've needed in the last few years except the management consoles for our trading platform (Orc) and Excel/Visual Studio to write custom code for our traders to query Bloomberg in innovative ways.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 2 years ago | (#39763737)

Looking at your points closely, only numbers 1, 4, and 5 are actually the only relevant ones in a sense, "this is why a console is better for me".

Point #2 - No one said you had to have a PC in your living room.
Point #3 - A Mac is a PC, arbitrarily defining a Mac as not a PC doesn't count.
Point #6 - I'm not even sure what point you were trying to make.
Point #7 - See above.
Point #8 - Who cares?

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

pandronic (1275276) | about 2 years ago | (#39762945)

When current gen consoles came out you had to shell out a lot of money to get an equivalent PC in terms of gaming performance. That's because the hardware and software are highly optimized to run games. Also there are just a few configurations that developers have to target (which leads to further optimization). Don't forget the fact that consoles are also heavily subsidized in the hope that they'll make their money back out of game purchases. At the moment, I guess current consoles are kind of behind the times in terms of hardware and you could build an equivalent gaming PC for about $500-$600, but this argument won't stand for very long considering that everybody is prepping their next gen machines.

Next, there's the fact that everything just works. No 15 minute installs and dicking around with options. You put the disk in and it works. Don't forget that most people are scared of complicated electronics like PCs. This is pathetic, considering the huge role computers have in our lives, but that's an entirely discussion altogether.

Lastly, it's the fact that consoles also are socializing tools. It would be pretty hard for Joe Sixpack to setup his PC in his living room both as a work machine and also as a gaming machine and get some extra controllers for his friends.

So, to conclude, consoles make sense because people are bad at technology or lazy and because they offer a better cost/result ratio due to subsidizes and heavy platform-specific optimizations. That being said ... there's a torrent [piratebay.se] of possibilities to get games from not so-official channels. If you take that into consideration, then a PC is a much better deal.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

satcomjimmy (1228562) | about 2 years ago | (#39763015)

It's a PC you don't have to support yourself, worry about constantly upgrading hardware on to play the next game or clean viruses off of. Win-Win-Win for simplified stress-free game play.

Less upgrading (1)

allo (1728082) | about 2 years ago | (#39763023)

there is no "you need more ram", but only a "needs at least a ps2". so you do not need to upgrade too often.

Re:Less upgrading (-1, Troll)

sl3xd (111641) | about 2 years ago | (#39763441)

To expand on your list:
* No need to worry about upgrading the video card
* No need to worry about upgrading RAM
* No need to worry about upgrading the Motherboard
* No need to worry about upgrading the CPU
* No need to worry about upgrading the Disk Drive
* No need to worry about upgrading any peripherals
* No worrying about the massive money pit called a "gaming rig"
* No worrying that you're "missing out" by not constantly upgrading your system
* No worry about losing a competitive advantage by not upgrading your system
* No worrying about compatibility

I used to be a big PC gamer (for about 20 years, actually), but got tired of the constant expense & fight with the hardware, software, and drivers to keep my system upgraded to the point I could play the games I wanted to. I grew tired of sitting at my gaming PC when I got home from work - in essentialy the same posture & environment as my cubicle.

Consoles remove most of that problem. Wanna play CoD while laying on your side? With a console, it's no problem. With a gaming rig, it's not so easy, if at all. Is a new "must have" game coming out? There's no need to upgrade the system to play it; just pop in the disc and rock.

The bottom line is consoles are far cheaper, I don't have to deal with "spec fanbois" constantly boasting (or moaning) about hardware in their system, and consoles "just work".

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39763157)

What exactly is the purpose of gaming consoles today? These days, they're merely locked-down PCs that are several years out of date, and damn near impossible to upgrade.

That is the point. When I go home and decide to spend some of my limited time on playing games I don't want to mess around with a recalcitrant Windows machine. I want to play games. If they weren't several years out of date and impossible to upgrade they would have all the headaches of PCs.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

KillAllNazis (1904010) | about 2 years ago | (#39763211)

As someone who uses his PC to run my current gen games (90% of the ones I want come out on PC), Gamecube, Wii and GBA games (gotta love emulators), as well as watch TV shows and movies, listen to music, browse the internet and do anything else a computer can do for about £350 I concur.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39763231)

That's easy.

Open tray. Close tray. Press one button on controller. Play game.

vs.

Install updates. Reboot. Install game. Install game updates. Reboot. Install more updates. Reboot. Install new driver. Reboot. Start game, game crashes. Find solution. Perform solution. Reboot. Start game. Switch to browser to find a server to play on. Enter server. Connect and select opponent. Play.

Some of us want to play a game RIGHT NOW and only for 15 or 20 minutes. With a PC, you'd spend that time fucking about. With the console, you spend that time playing the game.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (2)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 2 years ago | (#39763785)

Because you never need to install updates on a console and reboot it either, or deal with the headaches of games not working properly.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | about 2 years ago | (#39763861)

Updates for a console are done automatically. What headaches are you talking about that can be in any compared to what you might have to deal with on a PC?

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#39763711)

First off, they are cheaper* than an equivalent PC. It's only $200 for a 360 and $300 for a PS3, and they come with a naturally more comfortable** input device. It's easier for most people to hook up a console to a large TV and sit in a comfortable couch. Games require less fiddling and you don't really need to interact with the system OS if you don't want to--and even if you do, it's basically impossible to screw things up. There are also many console games that never make it to PCs--or, if they do, they are often riddled with invasive DRM.

For myself, at the start of a new console generation, I prefer console gaming by a long shot. As the years go by, however, my purchases shift back toward the PC.

(I am assuming a completely legal, non-piracy approach to gaming on all fronts here. If you start allowing piracy, PC gaming becomes cheaper, but that's a terrible argument anyway.)

*The price disparity is typically much higher at the start of a console's lifetime, but goes down over time.
**More comfortable, but not necessarily better. That depends on the game.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#39763713)

they're merely locked-down PCs

You answered your own question. Locked down means less piracy, no choice but to use the official online service and buy games through it, no mods or hacks etc. Almost every company wants to lock you into their revenue stream to bleed you dry, and a locked-down platform is the best way to do that.

Re:What is the point of gaming consoles? (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | about 2 years ago | (#39763827)

While consoles make sense for the businesses who want to lock-in users, they make absolutely no sense for consumers. PCs are a much better option in every way possible.

Turn on console. Put in game. Play.

They make perfect sense for consumers.

incorrect much? (-1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762425)

This total came to over 10.8 TWh of energy, equating to well over a billion dollars in wasted power

What a load of bullshit. 10.8 TWH = 10,800,000 KWh @ my local rate (which is fairly average) of $0.126/KWH = $1,360,800, not billions.

Re:incorrect much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762479)

This total came to over 10.8 TWh of energy, equating to well over a billion dollars in wasted power

What a load of bullshit. 10.8 TWH = 10,800,000 KWh @ my local rate (which is fairly average) of $0.126/KWH = $1,360,800, not billions.

Never underestimate the ability of people to exaggerate statistics.

That being said, perhaps it is closer to the stated amount if you factor in all costs. Do you think the all electrical companies run cost-free and bill consumers for 100% of their internal costs? I highly doubt it.

Re:incorrect much? (1)

nautsch (1186995) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762615)

Do you think the all electrical companies run cost-free and bill consumers for 100% of their internal costs? I highly doubt it.

Yes they bill you for more than 100%. Otherwise they would run at a loss.

Re:incorrect much? (1)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762705)

They bill you exactly as much as they want, has nothing to do with cost of production.

Re:incorrect much? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762731)

No they don't run cost free and yes they do bill consumers for every penny of their costs. What were you trying to ask?

Re:incorrect much? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762481)

10,800,000 kWh is 10.8 GWh not 10.8 TWh. 10.8 TWh is 10,800,000,000 kWh which would be $1,360,800,000 at your rates. Also, does that rate include distribution charges or only generation charges?

Re:incorrect much? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762753)

10,800,000 kWh is 10.8 GWh not 10.8 TWh. 10.8 TWh is 10,800,000,000 kWh which would be $1,360,800,000 at your rates. Also, does that rate include distribution charges or only generation charges?

That includes everything. It's the consumer's cost.

Re:incorrect much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762863)

My appliances only use positive and negative charges. Why do they bill me for this other stuff?

Re:incorrect much? (1)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 2 years ago | (#39763225)

My appliances only use positive and negative charges. Why do they bill me for this other stuff?

When you start using free quarks for power. Inside a neutron star.

Re:incorrect much? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762489)

You're off by 3 orders of magnitude. 1 TWh = 1,000 GWh = 1,000,000 MWh = 1,000,000,000 kWh.

Re:incorrect much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762493)

ummm, you might want to check your math and add another 3 zeroes. TWh = 1,000,000,000 KWh (T,GGG,MMM,KKK,WWW). So, if you add another 3 zeroes, you do indeed have $1.36 Billion at your local rate (which usually goes up as your consumption goes up, doesn't it?).

Re:incorrect much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762499)

10.8 TWH = 10,800,000,000 KWh @ my local rate (which is fairly average) of $0.126/KWH = $1,360,800,000, not billions (plural) until you look at more than one year.

ftfy

Re:incorrect much? (2)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762503)

Sorry, you're off by a prefix. 10.8 TWh = 10,800 GWh = 10,800,000 MWh = 10,800,000,000 kWh * $0.126/kWh = $1,360,800,000 = $1.3 billion.

Re:incorrect much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762555)

So 100 slashdotters double-check the summary's math. 99 confirm the math and don't post anything. 1 gets it wrong and writes an "incorrect much" post. How do we solve this incompetence bias on a forum?

Re:incorrect much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762631)

This total came to over 10.8 TWh of energy, equating to well over a billion dollars in wasted power

What a load of bullshit. 10.8 TWH = 10,800,000 KWh @ my local rate (which is fairly average) of $0.126/KWH = $1,360,800, not billions.

I think you missed another set of zeroes.

10.8 TWh = 10,800,000,000 kWh

At your rate of 12.6 per kWh, that costs $1.36 billion.

PS3 controller charging (4, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762441)

What truly shocked me about the PS3 was to find that attached controllers do not appear to charge unless the console is powered on.

This is an absurd state of affairs and has, apparently, persisted through hardware revisions. The device itself can power on overnight from standby and sync with the PS network/download patches etc, but you need to wake the thing to charge the controller. This encourages the device being left on 24x7 with all the expense and environmental consequences that go along with that.

Re:PS3 controller charging (2)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762495)

What truly shocked me about the PS3 was to find that attached controllers do not appear to charge unless the console is powered on.

That shocked you? Were you shocked when your I-Pod didn't charge when it was plugged into a powered off PC? Are you shocked when your car battery drains when the engine is off?

There's a reason why they sell charging stations for Wii-motes and PS3 controllers. And why they sell wall charging units for mp3 players and tablet PCs. And why you can purchase a battery maintenance device for your car as well.

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762639)

"Were you shocked when your I-Pod didn't charge when it was plugged into a powered off PC?"

No, because my USB port I use has power when the computer is off....

Re:PS3 controller charging (3, Informative)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762655)

I'm not sure about an i-Pod, but my phone can charge when plugged into a powered off PC's USB, because the USB keeps giving power as long as the power supply is in the net.

Re:PS3 controller charging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762739)

that depends on the computer, and it's often a bios setting whether or not keep usb power on when computer is off/sleeping/hibernating

Re:PS3 controller charging (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762665)

There's a reason why they sell charging stations for Wii-motes and PS3 controllers.

Yes, and the reasons is "more profit".
Why can't a console be made to work like one of those, to you apparently magical, charging stations?

Re:PS3 controller charging (5, Insightful)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762703)

I think what surprises him (and me too, frankly) is that when the PS3 if powered 'off', it's not really off, merely in more of a sleep state. There are still active parts of the machine doing things like keeping the little red LED lit on the front, the bluetooth circuitry is active waiting for someone to hit the power button on a controller, etc. There really is no reason that they couldn't keep the USB ports powered up as well. I've often left my PS3 on overnight to charge the controllers, and then forgot to turn it off for several more days afterward.

I think one of the real culprits here is code, OS, and library bloat that causes boot times on consumer devices to be in the seconds or 10's of seconds from a cold start. Even my TV takes about 5-10 seconds after I hit power before I can actually watch anything. The lazy way to mitigate this is to not ever really power down, but just appear to. There really is no excuse to take this long to boot into what should be a minimal OS from flash memory. This laziness costs consumers cold hard cash, albeit over months and years.

Re:PS3 controller charging (2)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762891)

Were you shocked when your I-Pod didn't charge when it was plugged into a powered off PC?

No because USB ports on PCs were not intended for charging.

Are you shocked when your car battery drains when the engine is off?

No because there are good technical reasons for that. Further the car is designed for the battery to be charged while driving and the battery is large enough that having it run out is rare unless there is a fault with the car.

However I don't think either of these cases are relavent to the PS3. Lets consider the specific situation of the PS3.

* The PS3 already has provision for a standby mode where most of the hardware is powered off but some remains powered on.
* The power needed to charge controllers is very small compared to the consoles total normal operating power and well within what it would be reasonable to expect a standby section of a PSU to provide.
* The cable supplied with the controller is far shorter than the cable supplied with previous playstation controllers and while it is possible to play with the controller attached by the cable the short cable strongly discourages this (yes you can buy a longer cable but at least when the PS3 first came out long A-mini B cables were somewhat tricky to find).
* The controller and the PS3 were designed and sold as a package, this clearly isn't a case of unfortunate interactions between products designed and sold seperately.

IMO given these facts not allowing controllers to charge while the system is in standby mode is clearly a design flaw.

There's a reason why they sell charging stations for ....... PS3 controllers.

Yes sony fucked up the design of the console so third parties had to step in to fill the gap.

Re:PS3 controller charging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39763081)

Check the Ipod charging claim - if your PC supports 5VSB then it is in fact possible to charge USB devices while the machine is powered off. The power supply continues to provide a 5V line to the USB bus until you switch it off at the mains (or disable 5VSB in the bios).

Re:PS3 controller charging (3, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | about 2 years ago | (#39763671)

That shocked you? Were you shocked when your I-Pod didn't charge when it was plugged into a powered off PC? Are you shocked when your car battery drains when the engine is off?

As others have said, it's perfectly possible to deliver a current from the USB ports when the PS3 is asleep. Plenty of laptops can and do manage this.

Secondly, a principle purpose of the USB ports is charging - unlike those on most computers, since most computers do not come with accessories requiring charging via a USB port. Using your example, my iPod will charge if plugged into a car adapter, it will charge if plugged into a USB wall adapter and it will charge if plugged into my laptop, whether or not it's asleep.

Thirdly, even when connected to a powered USB port - such as a mains USB adapter or a powered USB hub, the accessories will not charge unless the PS3 is on. It's not just the current, these devices were actually designed to make charging unnecessarily difficult without leaving the PS3 on or paying extra for an unnecessary charging device.

Yes, design like that is shocking.

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#39763787)

Were you shocked when your I-Pod didn't charge when it was plugged into a powered off PC?

Yes. There is no technical reason why it should not, unless you hammer the wifi constantly. Playing MP3s and keeping the screen lit just doesn't use that much power, and the hardware is already optimized for low power by virtue of being related to the iPhone. Most other MP3 players charge from a normal USB, as do most phones.

Are you shocked when your car battery drains when the engine is off?

I leave my car off for four or five weeks at a time at least once a year and it suffers no ill effects. Eventually the battery will drain but I have never heard of a normal car on sale in Europe needed a "battery maintenance device". Then again US cars seem to need a lot of maintenance and parts that European models don't. Must be the climate or something.

The reason games consoles suck at idle is that the OS doesn't implement much power saving. Even at the "desktop" idle screen everything is composited by the GPU, and as a consequence it runs flat out all the time.

Re:PS3 controller charging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762497)

I thought that was ridiculous, and instead of buying one of those plugin chargers, I just rotate through my controllers (I have 3). Only one has rumble, so I mostly use that, but if it dies I have a standby controller. Generally the batteries last a long time, so even if I had 3 people playing simultaneously there's always some charge left in all of them.

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762511)

What truly shocked me about the PS3 was to find that attached controllers do not appear to charge unless the console is powered on.

This is an absurd state of affairs and has, apparently, persisted through hardware revisions. The device itself can power on overnight from standby and sync with the PS network/download patches etc, but you need to wake the thing to charge the controller. This encourages the device being left on 24x7 with all the expense and environmental consequences that go along with that.

Agreed. So set new efficiency standards and start fining the shit out of manufacturers who can't or won't comply. It's the only way the product itself is going to change, since electrical consumption has never made it into any marketing propaganda. Clearly there's no other drive towards efficiency from that standpoint.

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

skipkent (1510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762661)

While we're at it, why not pass a one-child policy, that will keep consumption down. It's their loss, they're paying for the electricity, they bought the device, they decide on how to use it. There is no need at all for further regulations.

Re:PS3 controller charging (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762805)

I see no problem with a "waste" tax. There's already a gas guzzler tax [wikipedia.org] , so why not an "electricity guzzler tax" on electronic devices as well? As the vast majority of our electricity generation (at least in the U.S.) is fossil-fuel based, in essence, devices that waste electricity are really just as bad in the long run as cars that get ridiculously low gas mileage. Probably more so, because most households only have one car per driver, but dozens of electronic devices sitting there chugging power all day when they're not even being used.

I know how much some people hate regulation these days, but this would be a tax that only effects those that chose to consume those inefficient devices. I would have just as much sympathy for someone complaining about that as a smoker bitching about cigarette taxes. Stop fucking smoking, and viola! No more cigarette taxes! Don't buy an electronic device that eats electricity like The Nothing from The Never-Ending Story and you'll never have to pay that energy waster tax.

I think taxes are an excellent way to encourage people to modify their behavior when they otherwise wouldn't. I know many people that quit smoking solely because the cost of a pack of their cigarettes went from $2.50 to $7.00 over the course of a few years. Not a single one has ever said to me "Man, I wish cigarettes were cheaper so I could start smoking again". Adding taxes would make all these otherwise external costs regarding pollution be felt by the end user, which is necessary in this day and age. In a perfect world, people would make these decisions even if it's not their own backyard that's turning into a polluted hell-hole, but as we all know, homo sapien is a selfish creature that easily buries it's head in the sand when the effects of their behavior doesn't directly negatively impact their own lives. Pollution is a perfect example of this.

Re:PS3 controller charging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762659)

If that wasn't the case, so it could charge the controllers when it wasn't awake, then it would be drawing even MORE power dumbass.

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762683)

What truly shocked me about the PS3 was to find that attached controllers do not appear to charge unless the console is powered on.

I was surprised, too, especially after I woke up the next morning after I brought it home and found it had turned itself on to download updates and then never turned itself off. We actually make it a point now to glance at the PS3 every morning before leaving to make sure it's not just sitting there in standby mode of it's volition.

They have the console set up to wake up on it's own and download patches and such, but having the controllers charge via USB while powered off was too difficult or not an important feature to them? Especially given that you can't swap batteries at all? Plus, since my console is over 20 feet away from the couch, there's no way I can just plug it in and continue using it, so I was forced to buy extra controllers to swap in.

Luckily for us, the vast majority of our PS3's usage is in the form of watching Bluray discs and Netflix, so 99% of the time we're using the PS3 remote (which uses regular batteries). Still, Sony should have thought that through, imho.

Re:PS3 controller charging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762871)

In other words your console is unused for ~14-16 hours a day, don't you think flipping a mechanical switch wouldn't be worth it?

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 2 years ago | (#39763483)

If there was an actual mechanical switch on the PS3 (as the PS2 had) that completely powered the unit down, absolutely. But I've got my entire home theater running through a power cleaner/conditioner UPS which obviously isn't going on to be placed on a switched outlet and wouldn't like constant power cycles probably anyway.

With the amount of money these consoles cost, there's really no good excuse as to why they can't be made to be more energy efficient, especially when they're not actively being used. The removal of that mechanical switch from the PS3 was pretty dumb. The Xbox 360 should have had one as well. When my PC is powered down for more than a day or two (i.e., when I'm on vacation) I hit the main switch on the PSU as well (and unplug my expensive electronics completely). Every little bit helps, especially with summer coming and the increased demand of our air conditioner.

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762695)

It's interesting you point this out in this thread. Because if you attach a controller to your 360 to charge it, the 360 goes into a special mode to charge it. In this mode on my original 360, it took about 40W. It would leave the mode and go to true off/standby when the controller was charged.

I dunno about encouraging the device being left on 24x7. If you owned an original PS3, you'd have noticed it was so damn loud you couldn't really leave it on 24/7 unless you had a separate wing of your house to put it in.

Get a separate charger or just have two controllers. Use one until it runs out of juice, then plug it into the PS3 to charge and switch to the other. Even though your PS3 is off most of the time, it's on and charging that controller when you are using the other. So you'll always have one charged.

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

donaldm (919619) | about 2 years ago | (#39763347)

What truly shocked me about the PS3 was to find that attached controllers do not appear to charge unless the console is powered on.

You are joking right? Using the PS3 to actually charge your PS3 controller is IMHO stupid and wasteful of electricity unless you are actually playing a game and then there is the inconvenience of the USB charging cable. The best way of charging your PS3 controller is via the USB cable by plugging it into your PC or laptop (takes about an hour to fully charge) or even a USB mains charging station (some mobile phone USB chargers may not work if they do great). By doing this you can save on your electrical bill. My laptop consumes less than 10 W of power with the lid down and will still charge my controller(s) - yes I do have two controllers as well as two USB cables and you don't need the Sony branded ones either any standard USB to mini USB cable will work.

If you charge your controller on something other than your PS3 you will see all four leds flash and when they stop flashing the controller is fully charged, however you do have to "pair" your controller with your PS3 again which takes about 10 seconds. That is connect your PS3 controller to your PS3 via the USB cable, switch on your PS3 and then press the centre button then when the flashing stops (about 5 seconds) remove the cable and your are good for about 10 to 15 hours plus of gaming.

Of course the above tip will be wasted on people who 1) can't read or 2) don't care since they don't pay for the electricity consumed.

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 2 years ago | (#39763745)

You are joking right? Using the PS3 to actually charge your PS3 controller is IMHO stupid and wasteful of electricity unless you are actually playing a game and then there is the inconvenience of the USB charging cable.

For someone who is quick to judge others' reading ability you seem to be having some comprehension difficulties yourself.

My very point WAS that using your PS3 is a stupid and wasteful way to charge accessories BECAUSE of Sony's inane design decision that the USB ports don't deliver a current while the PS3 is asleep. Having to power up a desktop computer consuming 100+ Watts to charge your accessories in an hour is stupid and wasteful.

PVRRe:PS3 controller charging (1)

spikestabber (644578) | about 2 years ago | (#39763403)

Most PVR's have USB ports, I use those to charge my PS3 controllers due to Sony's lack of function.

Re:PS3 controller charging (1)

ninjackn (1424235) | about 2 years ago | (#39763735)

I put together a nice charging station for all my 5V devices (a fairly efficient AC to DC 5V adapter and a lot of custom cables) and found the PS3 controller to be particularly annoying. The easy USB charging devices just want to see 5V. The slighltly less easy ones (like phones) will want to see a certain value resistor placed between various pins of the usb device. The playstation 3 controller comes in as super annoying because you can't get it to charge with the above two techniques, it needs to go through the whole USB protocol to establish a connection and negotiation before it will start charging.

http://www.ralphlaurenhommes.com (-1, Troll)

pologuo (2623495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762463)

Ever heard of a sleep timer (1)

aDSF762 (865834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762467)

Hey x-box turn the machine off for me in less than 6 hours!

Switch (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762471)

I've always used a power board with a switch for my PC, and when the PC is off I also turn the switch off. So no motherboard or monitor LEDs working.

Is this a common thing to do or do most people just leave all this stuff on?

Re:Switch (3, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762505)

I did a study at work to see if we should put PCs to sleep overnight for cost purposes and it turns out even our original Pentium 4 computers only drew 3-5 watts in sleep mode so no, totally not worth it. 24/7/365 of sleep time would = $4.41 in electricity.

Re:Switch (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762547)

At work I leave it running all week to avoid reopening everything each morning.

But at home the cost of rebooting is way smaller so I turn it off, and honestly, all these monitor, speaker, etc... lights get on my nerves, I mean, even the mouse has a light that remains on through USB when the PC is off.

BTW I know I'm talking about PC's here while the article is about consoles, I hope it's not too off topic.

Re:Switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39763223)

At my work we all leave our machines running 24/7 because a lot of times we have to remote desktop from home for emergency fixes etc.

Re:Switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762509)

In case you didn't know, most of nowadays game consoles are connected to the internet when in standby, to download system updates, messages from other people (and commercial messages) in the gaming network...

Re:Switch (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762597)

I didn't know that indeed. System updates? I thought the point of consoles was that they didn't need such stuff. But I've always gamed on PCs so...

Re:Switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762605)

I don't bother with worrying about the LEDs. But back when "sleep" on winXP was still using silly amounts of power (my desktop would drop to about 30-40% of its normal power usage in sleep mode), I used to just hibernate my machine. Then I could actually unplug it if I wanted, and it would take only a few seconds to restart and I was right back where it left off. Win7 in sleep mode uses may less than XP did in my experience, so now I just sleep the computer when I'm not using it, rather than turning it off.

Re:Switch (1)

vyvepe (809573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762687)

I do the same (switch it all off).

Re:Switch (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762923)

I leave my PC on 24/365.

ps '24/7/365' is silly; there aren't 365 weeks in a year!

Re:Switch (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about 2 years ago | (#39763295)

I thought about doing that for my stuff linked to my TV--TV itself, cable box, speakers and PS3. Mainly because of the cable box which draws 25W even in standby.

Then we got switched to "smart" power meters, which lets us track energy use during which hours, and by far the biggest electricity consumer is the 5 minute hot shower. The hot water tank is electrical, and makes up over 2/3 my normal daily usage, even with all the TV, computer and gaming.

In the end I didn't bother switching the electronics off when not in use. It'll cost me a few extra dollars a year, but for practical purposes it's negligible.

Too bad... (2, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762515)

we can't do something like this [makeuseof.com] with our gaming consoles, when they are idle.

Re:Too bad... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762565)

The PS3 can run Folding@Home if you install the Life with Playstation app:

http://www.playstation.com/life/

Re:Too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762573)

PS3 does folding@home out of the box, and it's very good at it.

Re:Too bad... (1)

JohnnyBGod (1088549) | about 2 years ago | (#39762989)

That would make them not idle, no?

Re:Too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39763487)

That would make them not idle, no?

I think the point is there isn't much difference between idle and number crunching, so it might as well be doing something useful.

Always-on or always-standby electronic devices (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762581)

I wonder how much energy is lost for devices (including TV's and cars) to always be in "standby mode" listening for an IR wakeup.

That's a nice feature, but we didn't have that 15-20 years ago and I remember we went about our daily activities quite well. Plus, that would eliminate an attack vector for hackers for items like cars.

tu3girL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762619)

members aal over end, we need you been the best, long time FreeBSD Then disappeared are the iMportant discussions on That sorded,

My desktop computer uses about half as much power (1)

Rick17JJ (744063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762677)

Just for comparison my desktop computer is drawing 71 Watts right now, with the flatscreen monitor drawing an additional 38 Watts. The monitor eventually drops down to using about 1 Watt when it is in the sleep mode. At the moment I have my computer plugged into a Kill-A-Watt meter. I have occasionally had the monitor also plugged into a Kill-A-Watt meter.

I have an Intel i7 processor and am using Kubuntu Linux on this desktop computer. Of course, it uses more power than that I work it harder.

Re:My desktop computer uses about half as much pow (1)

Rick17JJ (744063) | about 2 years ago | (#39763077)

When I did the above post, I had not yet noticed where it said that the consoles got better with later revisions. So, it sounds like they probably are not as much different from my desktop computer now. When, I get a chance, I will read one or both of the linked articles to see what they have to say.

A laptop or notebook computer would probably use even less than my computer. As far as I can tell, my desktop computer does not seem to be set to go into a sleep mode. Only my flatscreen monitor clearly goes into sleep mode. However, most of the time the CPU cores are running at about half speed. My knowledge about all that is pretty limited. It is when doing something like posting on Slashdot, that my computer uses 71 W plus 38 W for the monitor.

I had to post very quickly, without reading the linked articles, before going off to do a couple of errands.

Old News + EnergyStar (1)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762781)

The NRDC has an excellent and easy to read study [nrdc.org] on console power demand. Some x-box models average draw more than two fridges. Video consoles have long been mentioned under the EnergyStar specification [energystar.gov] , but the game industry has done an excellent jog of foot dragging such that their are zero EnergyStar consoles out there. The console makers are betting that you'll not notice that you are spending more on electricity than games every year. The heart of the problem is the lack of a real sleep mode. Until they come out with hardware that can sleep like a '90s era laptop the solution is simple, just add a smart power strip [treehugger.com] that tuns on/off associated electronics for you when you turn on/off your TV. Or you can simply enable auto sleep mode by following the instructions on the NRDC site for x-box & ps3 or turn off WC24 on the wii.

A very simple thing you can do to get the attention of the console makers is to call them and ask them how much power your particular system draws when playing and when sleeping, how this will cost you where you live, what you can do reduce the power usage, how to enable deep sleep mode and when they will come out with a reduced power model. Also let the game makers know that you want them to support auto power down.

BTW, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) [nrdc.org] is really an amazing environmental group. They are just the environmental group that shows up at those deadly dull EnergyStar standards meetings and they do it with a full time electrical engineers. The NRDC engineering team is very bright and well informed. Very much worthy of your support.

cable boxes also use a lot of power but why can't (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762793)

cable boxes also use a lot of power but why can't the DRV spin down the HDD when it's off? It's not likey they are pushing out stuff to it 24/7 or at the very least some stuff can sit in ram.

An example of free market failure (4, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 2 years ago | (#39763359)

This is a classic example of free market failure. Making the consoles more efficient costs the manufacturers money. There's the cost to add power gating transistors to all the multi-core chips, use more expensive versions of the same chip binned for lower power consumption, and write the firmware to maximize power efficiency.

All this will create a benefit that the consumers cannot perceive, directly. Almost no consumers own a Kill-a-Watt, and they don't have any options because there are not many competing consoles, there are only 3, and they are not remotely equivalent to each other. (a consumer unhappy with xbox/ps3 power consumption will not get the same gaming experience on the Wii)

Re:An example of free market failure (0)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about 2 years ago | (#39763545)

This is a classic example of free market failure.

No, this is a classic example of why Americans have fat asses.

Almost no consumers own a Kill-a-Watt, and they don't have any options because there are not many competing consoles

You don't need a Kill-a-Watt to know that a device draws power when its plugged in. There are many options to gaming, such as going outside for a walk which will help solve the fat ass problem.

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