Xbox One uses less power during gaming than PS4 -- but it's not all good news

Xbox One uses less power during gaming than PS4 -- but it's not all good news

A new report published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows that Microsoft's Xbox One is more power efficient than the PlayStation 4 when playing games. During gaming sessions, the Xbox One draws 112 watts, while Sony's PS4 sucks 137 watts says the report, which is the first to look at power usage since 2008.

But it's not all good news. Although the Xbox One is more power-efficient during gaming, it is criticized for using more power in standby mode. Due to its always-on TV mode, an Xbox One consumes an average of 300 kWh each year, while a PS4 consumes just 181 kWh. The high energy usage also stems from the fact that the console is constantly listening for voice commands.

Incredibly, the study found that, on average, consoles are consuming more power for non-gaming activities than gaming, and that current generation console are using two to three times more power than their predecessors. This is a trend bucked by the Wii U which, despite offering better graphics and boasting a faster processor that the Wii, consume less power than the version that came before it.

It is the amount of power used in standby that is of the greatest concern. Xbox Ones eat up at least 15 watts at all times, and around half of the console's energy consumption comes from periods when in standby mode.

The NRDC says that while console incorporate some power-saving features, "more improvements remain achievable and necessary". Sony's console is singled out as "the PS4 draws the most power to play games and watch videos", but is praised for "limiting power when in standby but connected to the internet".

Xbox One users may be concerned to learn just how much TV mode could be costing them. "When set up for TV viewing, Xbox One uses an average of 289 kWh/y. This is 79 kWh/y more than in traditional non-TV viewing setup. 233 kWh/y represents a weighted average. If all Xbox One owners in the United States used their consoles for watching TV, this mode alone would add an extra $300 million to their annual utility bills", says the report.

The report ends with a series of recommendations for manufacturers to consider:

  • Allow users to opt out of Xbox One's "instant-on" and voice-command, and PS4's standby features, in their initial setup menus so these high energy-consumptive modes are used only when chosen.
  • Reduce Xbox One power draw when in connected standby with voice command enabled.
  • Reduce PS4 power draw in standby.
  • Reduce Xbox One TV-mode power, and give users the option to watch TV when the console is off or in a very-low-power state.
  • On both the Xbox One and PS4, reduce video-streaming power to levels closer to that of a dedicated video player.

Are you concerned about power usage levels, or is it not something you think about?

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