Which Console Is the Most Energy Efficient?

The NRDC compares energy consumption through modern consoles.

Saving energy for console gaming has never been a big priority. But recent data from the National Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC), takes a look at three modern consoles and their energy usage in various power modes. The three consoles are the Wii U, PS4, and the Xbox One.

The NRDC concludedthat the Wii U consumes less energy than the Wii even though the Wii U has higher processing power and better graphics. While the PS4 and the Xbox One consume 2-3 times more annual energy than the PS3 and the Xbox 360.

Image from kotaku.com

What they did right

That's not to say that the consoles are completely wasteful in their consumption. All three consoles can power down in all active modes. The Wii U has active modes that draw less than 35 watts and has a connected standby mode that draws less than 1 watt. The PS4's connected standby mode draws 3 watts with USB charging disabled, and when the navigation is inactive the PS4 reduces to 12 watts after 10 minutes of inactivity. The Xbox One has a quick game resume, better power scalability, and dims TV after about 10 minutes of inactivity.


For a decrease in energy consumption the NRDC recommends reducing the PS4 power draw in standby when no device is charging. Both consoles can turn down video-streaming power levels closer to a dedicated video player. If players have an Xbox One they can, choose to opt out of 'Instant On' and other voice command features. They can also reduce Xbox One Tv-mode power utilizing the option to watch TV when the console is turned off or in a lower power state.

In conclusion, the makers of these consoles are more focused on getting these machines up and running rather than being energy efficient. But there are also minor tweaks that gamers can implement to consume less energy. With technology getting better and better, there is no reason why future iterations of these consoles will end up less efficient.  

Published May. 17th 2014
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