Like a shock to the news, PC gamers were banned from roughly high-power gaming PCs in 6 U.S. states – California, Colorado, Oregon, Hawaii, Vermont, and Washington. This sounds shocking at first, but the story is more nuanced than that.
Well, but what is it about? Around 2017, an energy law was drafted and is now coming into force. There is a so-called Expandability Score (also ES for simplicity), which calculates how much ES a given machine falls in based on its power consumption: a high score means good, a low score means terrible. If the machine range is above 690 ES, it meets expectations. But if the ES range is low, then either the configuration needs to be optimized. Otherwise, it is disabled.
This is clear so far, but the legislation has its oddities. California gamers consumed a total of 4.1 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2016, which equates to $ 700 million, or $ 213 billion, an amount arguably brutal. Consoles accounted for 60 percent of this number yet were left entirely out of the new legislation. Consumption of desktops contributed 31 percent to this relentless amount.
Interestingly, the legislation only affects the electricity consumption of private households, with server farms, development companies, and other workstations wholly excluded from the law, which is also strange because California is one of the international strongholds of IT, led by Silicone Valley. And the sharpest piquancy of the thing is that the legislation only applies to pre-assembled machines. If someone wants to build a PC, it could be a nuclear power plant, and the legislation is not affected.
Dell Alienware machines are no longer available in the states below, and if someone wants to buy an Aurora R12 from Oregon, for example, their order will be canceled. The law was born for sustainability reasons but not thoroughly thought out.