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By: Carl Nelson [02.21.07]


Power Usage in Console

So we know how much power these consoles hog when playing video games and watching movies, but what about browsing around in the console? Both the PS3 and XBOX 360 support direct downloading of demos and games from their respective online services. Also, both work as music players (although I still haven't figured out how to stream media from a PC to the PS3).

We also threw in the power consumption results of the PC; basically it was just sitting in Windows, without any high load programs running.

How much power is being used when downloading all those demos and playing music?

Well if you were thinking of leaving your console on 24/7 I bet you'll be reconsidering that! You'd be spending hundreds of dollars each year to keep the PS3 going!

It is interesting to note that the PS3 (and PC) uses about the same power to play a DVD as it does to run the console, while the 360 uses 30 Watts more power to run the console as opposed to playing a DVD. The ever-efficient Wii continues to impress!

Power Consumption in Standby

Now here is something you can't avoid; power draw while the console is turned off. Don't expect anything significant here though; these results are included just to complete the article.

Nothing significant here; you're looking at spending about $0.20 USD a month to keep the PS3 plugged in, which isn't much. The Wii requires 10 Watts to run Connect24 (which will connect to Nintendo's online service and notify you of system updates) racking up a cost of about $1 a month which is nothing too significant, but still about 5X more than if it were just turned off. Turn Connect24 off, and it's back down to normal.

So now you know approximately how much power the 3 new consoles consume. Some of the more interesting notes to me were:

  • In video games, both the PS3 and XBOX 360 were relatively low compared to a mid-to-high range PC.
  • The Wii is amazingly efficient, using no more than 18 Watts in any of our tests (although it really shows in visual quality in games)
  • Both consoles are power hogs when it comes to playing movies.
  • XBOX 360's Dashboard console is power-hungry (and slow). PS3's is slick and uses a lot of power, but no more than playing a DVD.

Neither the XBOX 360 nor PS3 really came out as a winner or loser when it comes to power consumption levels. The PS3 requires a bit more all around, but not much to write home about for now. Things may certainly change with future firmware updates (especially if either console adds DVD upsampling to the mix).

If you are really interested in saving the earth while getting your game on, get a Wii (just be sure to disable Connect24)

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