Power Up

Like many New Englanders, DG and I have been impoverished by incredibly high heating bills. We have electric heat, so that gets wrapped into our electric bill. Given the high bills we’ve had the last two months, DG suggested that perhaps the new Xbox 360 was eating up a lot of power.

As I was both curious about that myself—and feeling defensive of my beloved console—I decided to do a little digging online. First up was this article, which showed that, during game use, the 360 eats up an impressive amount of power, while our Wii sips lightly at the electric tap (with the commensurate dip in graphics complexity):

Console graph

The whole article is interesting and informative, and sheds light on something I’d never really thought about before.

Of course, the real question is how this translates into higher digits on my electric bill. As it turns out, if I were to leave my Xbox 360 on all the time, the cost would be about $20 a year according to this article, whose writer based the numbers on what NStar was charging him in the Boston surburbs. Given that we live in Brighton, that’s probably about dead-on for us. $20 spread over the course of the year isn’t bad at all, and it definitely isn’t accounting for our massively high energy bills, particularly given the fact that I don’t leave my 360 on (and have also stopped leaving my PC on during the day).

So apparently the high bills are mostly heating costs. Still, it’s nice to be aware of this. The seventh generation consoles represent a large jump in energy usage, since the most power-hungry sixth-generation console (the original Xbox) cost only $8 a year. And given the size of the 360’s massive power brick, and the fact that it vents enough heat to warm our study, I can’t say I’m surprised.

  1. It’s definitely your heat. First, we had a mild winter up until mid-January when it finally got frigid which would explain why you began noticing a massive spike in the last two months. Second, electric heat is sooooooooooooooooo expensive as the electric companies get rooked by the fuel companies to keep their precious turbines churning and thus pass those expenses along to you. Those two elements conspire to rob you of your coin.

    This reminds me of a time back in college when I was writing for the Daily Collegian. I was siting in the newsroom when our Features Editor bound into the room with a massive smile on his face. He had just finished reading a study which declared (among other things) that it cost somthing like $1.75/month to keep your TV running 24/7. He said that the next time his mother yammered at him about the TV running her electric bill through the roof, he was going to tell her to go to hell. You know, now that I think about it, he never did return that following semester.

  2. With the Wii numbers so low – I wonder if we could somehow rig something up to run this thing off our kinetic movements – kinda’ like that exercise bike at the Museum of Science that illuminates the lightbulb.

    Now, where’s my key and kite?

  3. Yes, but what does your Xbox have to say for itself about this?


  4. @Ed—you know, with the money you’re saving on power w/ the Wii, you could buy a 360 in just 26 years!

  5. I was going to point out the same thing Ed did about the Arctic weather putting the kibosh on our mild Winter two months ago, but darn it all if he doesn’t have the same rule I do about not blogging — reading or writing (bad grammar, or is it just punctuation?, and all) — while on company coin.

    As for the brick putting out heat, that’s an affirmative. Heck, run that and your PC full time and it will heat the room without heat! My office here at home is always a bit warmer than the rest of the house because the box is always on… although, not as pleasant in the Summer.

  6. BTW: I mean box as in the PC box and not an Xbox. What kind of nut job leaves a 360 on 24/7? It is not like people can download Miis off there while you are goners…

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