How Much Electricity Does A Gaming PC Use?

Besides the regular upfront costs of getting a full gaming PC, many people forget that gaming PCs also consumes quite some energy, which you have to pay every month. So, how much electricity does the average gaming PC consume?

An average gaming PC will consume an estimated amount of 1,400 kWh per year, equivalent to the energy usage of three refrigerators, six standard PCs, or ten game consoles. The higher the system specifications of a gaming PC, the more energy will be consumed.

According to a study by Evan Mills, gaming PCs consume 75 TWh per year, about $10 Billion in energy costs globally in 2012 or approximately 20% of total PC, notebook, and console energy usage.

How much electricity does a gaming PC use per hour?

How much energy a gaming system consumes depends on multiple factors, but mostly on the system’s specifications.

An average gaming Pc consumes 250-400W per hour running a game. When playing games in VR, or generally games with better graphics and more effects, the power consumption can reach up to 600W and more.

Not only does the system consume energy every second, other electronic devices such as monitors, mice, HDDs, and keyboards also influence the overall power consumption of a PC.

For instance, my gaming PC consumes 280 to 310W per hour during a regular gaming session.

When playing less demanding games such as Rocket League, the power consumption goes down to 120W per hour. While playing more demanding games such as Hunt Showdown on max settings, the average energy consumption is 310-330W per hour.

Without any gaming activities, just browsing the web for information, watching YouTube or streams, the system runs on 70W to 85W per hour.

Here are all the components listed that I built into my gaming PC:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600k
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super
RAM: 16GB DDR4 Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB
Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX
CPU Cooling: NZXT Kraken M22
Case Fans: 2x be Quiet! Pure Wings 2
Storage: 1x Kingston M.2 SSD 500GB, 1x Samsung SSD 840 EVO 120 GB, 1x Toshiba HDD 1TB

Please note that this system is not overclocked. With overclocking, you can unlock a CPUs full potential by letting it run on higher voltages (and thus more speed). However, increasing the voltage on your motherboard and CPU does also increases the energy consumption per hour.

Also, overclocked CPUs produce more heat, meaning that you need better cooling to make sure the processor does not run too hot after a while.

How much does it cost to run a gaming PC 24/7?

On average, I play games for about 3-5 hours per day, and additionally, 1-2 hours browsing the web, making 4-7 hours runtime per day. However, some people let their PC run for 24 hours per day, seven days a week. So, how much does it cost to let a gaming PC run the entire day?

Based on the average U.S. price of 13,26 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), running a gaming PC 24/7 with an energy consumption of 400W per hour will cost $38,19. In comparison, a system that consumes 600W per hour will cost $57,28 per month.

Here’s an overview of systems that consume different watts per hour and how much they would cost if you let them run 24/7:

Power Consumption: Monthly Cost Daily Cost Hourly Cost:
150W: $14,32 $0,4773 $0,0198
200W: $19,09 $0,6363 $0,026
250W: $23,87 $0,7956 $0,033
300W: $28,64 $0,9546 $0,0397
350W:: $33,42 $1,114 $0,046
400W: $38,19 $1,273 $0,053
450W: $42,96 $1,432 $0,0596
500W: $47,74 $1,5913 $0,066
550W: $52,51 $1,75 $0,0729
600W: $57,28 $1,909 $0,0795
650W: $62,06 $2,068 $0,086
700W: $66,83 $2,227 $0,0927
750W: $71,60 $2,386 $0,099
800W: $76,38 $2,546 $0,106
850W: $81,15 $2,705 $0,1127
900W: $85,92 $2,864 $0,119
950W: $90,70 $3,023 $0,1259
1,000W: $95,47 $3,182 $0,1325

As you can see, gaming PCs can be quite expensive; however, most systems are set in the 400W-600W area, where you can expect to pay $38,19 – $57,28 per month.

Depending on where you live, the numbers above can change quite a lot, as energy prices vary between each state and country. For instance, if you live in Louisiana, which has the lowest rates per kWh of 9.34 cents, running a 600W system would only cost $40,35 instead of $57,28 (saving of 29,56%).

In comparison, running a gaming PC in Hawaii, which has the highest rates of 28,87 cents per kWh, will cost $124,7 per month.

How can I save electricity on my gaming PC?

When I started measuring my gaming PC’s energy consumption and started calculating how much he will cost me per month, it came out to be around 22,66€, so about $26.78.

Here in Germany, the energy rates are equally to Hawaii’s, or even a bit higher, so people have overall high energy expenses. In 2020, the average rate for one kilowatt hour reached 31,47 cents.

Side note: I calculated with an average energy consumption of 300W per hour, so about 2,4kWh per day (8 hours per day), and 72 kWh per month. To measure the consumption I chose a standard energy meter, but this is not available in the US.

Now, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money every month just for your gaming PC, what can you do to reduce its energy appetite?

Change your Windows settings:

Windows provides many settings to adjust your gaming PCs performance, including a power-saving mode. This mode enables you to adjust the timing when all displays and the computer switch into sleep mode. In this mode, the system also reduces your computer’s performance where possible.

Upgrade to more energy-efficient components:

Every year, companies like Nvidia, AMD, Asus, Corsair, and co. release new components, which are usually more energy-efficient than the previous versions. Upgrading to more efficient PC parts can save you a few bucks on the energy bill, but please note that more powerful parts still consume more power.

For instance, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super runs on 215W on average, compared to the AMD Radeon RX 5700, which runs on 185W. You can even go down to 120W on average with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.

Upgrade from HDD to SSD storage:

Hard drive storage is an excellent option for storing lots of data, but they tend to consume up to 5x more power than an SSD. According to another study by Evan Mills, Norm Bourassa, and Leo Rainer, “An Energy-focused Profile of the Video Gaming Marketplace:”

More poorly performing mechanical hard drives draw on the order of 10W (1TB) while solid-state drives of the same capacity and interface draw as little as 2.6W.

Choose the right display for your needs:

Display choice strongly affects gaming power within the gaming system. While frame rate decline when switching from high-definition (1080p) to ultra-high definition (4k) resolution, PC system power requirements typically rise (in systems that can handle the added processing load). These power increases are sometimes very significant (up to 60 percent in the testing), while frame rates decline, resulting in a significant reduction in the fps/watt metric.

How much electricity does a 600W PC use?

A 600W PC, running at full power, uses 600 watts of electricity per hour. This is often referred to as 600 watt-hours (Wh). However, it’s important to note that most PCs do not run at full power all of the time. They typically use less power when idling or performing less intensive tasks.

If you run this PC for a specific period, you can calculate the total energy consumption as follows:

  • 1 hour: 600 Wh, or 0.6 kilowatt-hours (kWh)
  • 10 hours: 6,000 Wh, or 6 kWh
  • 24 hours (a full day): 14,400 Wh, or 14.4 kWh
  • 30 days (a typical month): 432,000 Wh, or 432 kWh

Is 1000 watts too much for a PC?

The wattage you need for a PC depends on the components it contains. For most users, including gamers, 1000 watts would be more than necessary.

Most high-end gaming PCs require a power supply between 500 and 800 watts. This would include systems with a powerful CPU, high-end graphics card, and multiple drives. Only in extreme cases, such as with multiple top-end GPUs for intensive tasks like high-performance gaming, 3D rendering, or crypto-mining, would a 1000-watt power supply be necessary.

It’s worth noting that having a higher wattage power supply than you need doesn’t harm your PC or increase your power bill. The PC only draws the power it needs at any given moment, so a 1000-watt power supply will not always be using 1000 watts.

However, power supplies are typically most efficient at around 50-80% load. So if your PC’s components only require 400 watts, a 1000-watt power supply might be less efficient than a 500 or 600-watt one. Additionally, higher wattage power supplies tend to be more expensive, so you might be spending money unnecessarily if your PC doesn’t need that much power.

It’s also important to consider the quality of the power supply. A good quality power supply of lower wattage can be a much better choice than a poor quality one with a higher wattage rating.

Ways to reduce your gaming PC’s power usage

There are several ways you can reduce your gaming PC’s power usage:

  1. Energy-Efficient Components: Choose components that are more energy-efficient. For example, newer CPUs and GPUs are often more power-efficient than their older counterparts. Solid-state drives (SSDs) also consume less power than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs).
  2. Adjust Power Settings: Windows and other operating systems have power management settings. Setting your PC to a power-saving mode can help reduce its power usage, especially when idle.
  3. Limit FPS: Many games allow you to limit your frames per second (FPS). By capping your FPS, you can significantly reduce your GPU’s workload and thus its power consumption.
  4. Use Integrated Graphics When Possible: If your CPU has integrated graphics, you can switch to it when you’re not gaming. This can save a significant amount of power, as dedicated GPUs often consume more power.
  5. Upgrade Your Power Supply: Power supplies are most efficient when they’re at 50-80% load. If your power supply is often running at near-maximum capacity, upgrading to a higher wattage model can make your system more efficient.
  6. Turn Off Your PC When Not in Use: This might seem obvious, but it’s an easy way to save power. Even in sleep mode, your PC consumes some power. Turning it off completely when you’re not using it can save a significant amount of energy over time.
  7. Clean Your PC Regularly: Dust can clog your PC’s fans and cause your components to overheat. This can make them work harder and consume more power. Regular cleaning can help your PC run more efficiently.
  8. Underclocking/Undervolting: This involves reducing your CPU or GPU’s clock speed and voltage. It can reduce power consumption, but it also reduces performance, so it might not be suitable if you’re using demanding applications or games.

Remember, reducing power consumption can help save on your energy bill and reduce your environmental impact, but it can also reduce your PC’s performance. It’s important to find a balance that works for your needs.

What are the different PC power modes?

Power modes in a PC are settings that manage how your computer uses energy. They are designed to balance performance with energy savings. Here are the three most common power modes:

  1. Sleep Mode (or Standby Mode): In this mode, any open applications and work are stored in the computer’s RAM rather than being fully shut down, while most of the computer’s other components are turned off. This allows the computer to wake up quickly when you need it again. However, because information is stored in RAM, it still uses a small amount of power.
  2. Hibernate Mode: This is similar to sleep mode, but instead of storing your open applications and work in your RAM, it saves them to your hard disk. This allows your PC to be completely powered down, which means it doesn’t use any power. However, because it needs to read data from your hard disk, waking up from hibernate mode takes longer than waking up from sleep mode.
  3. Shut Down: This turns off your PC completely. Any open applications and work need to be saved to your hard drive before you can shut down. When you turn your PC back on, it needs to boot up the operating system and load all necessary programs into memory, which can take some time. However, this mode uses no power.

Additionally, many operating systems offer different power plans that manage how your PC uses power. These typically include:

  • Balanced: This offers full performance when you need it and saves power when you don’t. This is often the default setting on many PCs.
  • Power Saver: This reduces your PC’s performance in order to save energy. It’s useful if you’re trying to maximize battery life on a laptop, but it might not be suitable for demanding tasks like gaming or video editing.
  • High Performance: This maximizes performance at the expense of power usage. It’s useful if you’re running demanding applications, but it will consume more energy.

Original Author:

Robert Hörgstetter

Hey, my name is Robert, the founder of this site, and I’ve made it my mission to show you and other people the best games for mobile or console, tips & tricks or how you can save money buying games.

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