New energy regulations prompt Dell to stop sales of high-performance PCs in six states

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 28
Six U.S. states have implemented new regulations on high-performance PCs, saying the energy-hungry computers contribute to increased utility fees and green house gas emissions.

Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10
Dell stopped shipping the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 to six states due to energy consumption regulations.


Following the institution of a California energy bill, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington recently adopted new energy consumption standards that impact sales of certain pre-built PCs, reports The Register.

In response, Dell recently yanked all but two of its Alienware gaming desktop models in the affected regions. The sales stoppage appears to nearly run the gamut of available configurations and includes machines with Intel and AMD processors, as well as those sporting high-end Nvidia and AMD Radeon GPUs.

Disclaimers posted to Dell's website read:
This product cannot be shipped to the states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont or Washington due to power consumption regulations adopted by those states. Any orders placed that are bound for those states will be canceled.
Dell confirmed the decision in a statement to the outlet, saying California's energy regulations are to blame.

"Yes, this was driven by the California Energy Commission (CEC) Tier 2 implementation that defined a mandatory energy efficiency standard for PCs - including desktops, AIOs and mobile gaming systems. This was put into effect on July 1, 2021. Select configurations of the Alienware Aurora R10 and R12 were the only impacted systems across Dell and Alienware," the company said.

As the regulations apply to pre-configured computers, buyers might be able to skirt the restriction by customizing their order.

A CEC spokesperson told The Register it was not aware of any vendor disruptions in California caused by the Tier 2 rules.

It is unclear if Apple's top-end Mac, the 2019 Mac Pro, falls under the purview of the states' energy consumption restrictions. According to Apple, a well-equipped Mac Pro with a 2.5GHz 28-core Intel Xeon W processor, two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo MPX Modules, 1.5TB RAM, Afterburner card, and a 4TB SSD consumes 302W at idle and a whopping 902W when its CPU is maxed out. Those figures are much higher than specifications quoted by Dell (PDF link) for an Alienware Ryzen Edition that no longer ships to the six states.

As noted by The Register, hardware requirements vary depending on device type and configuration, so it is possible that Mac Pro falls within CEC guidelines.

AppleInsider has reached out to Apple for comment.

California in 2016 approved a pioneering set of regulations regarding energy efficiency limits for computers as the state worked to meet climate policy goals, the report said. A CEC staff report published at the time noted computers and monitors accounted for about 3% of residential and 7% of commercial energy use in the state.

A subsequent study published in 2019 took a closer look at computer gaming and its effect on power consumption. According to the report, gaming PCs in California consumed 4.1 terawatt-hours per year in 2016, equating to $700 million in energy bills and 1.5 million tons carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. That accounted for one-fifth of all electricity use assigned to the residential "miscellaneous" category.

Within all energy consumed by gaming equipment, 66% went to consoles, 31% to desktops, 3% to laptops and less than 1% to "emerging media streaming devices," the CEC found. Despite accounting for a bulk of California's gaming energy toll, consoles are not affected by the new regulations.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,261member
    It more likely that consoles rank a higher percentage because there are far more of them than gaming computers. That make the comparison moot. 
  • Reply 2 of 30
    Apple could’ve run 100 mockery ads telling people why they should get an M1 Mac instead of Intel
    canukstormp-dogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 30
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,465member
    Another reason you couldn't pay me to live in California.   Those other states dont have much draw either.  
    fahlmanlkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 30
    tedz98tedz98 Posts: 68member
    Are these regulations just looking at power consumption? Or are they looking at efficiency? You can have lots of very inefficient computers that use lower levels of power. Yet there are many more of these computers than high end gaming machines. Overall it’s a stupid concept. Especially if you can bypass the regulations by purchasing a custom configured system. And what of the academics who use high end computers, even off the shelf systems, for research? Do I not have the freedom to choose PC gaming as a leisure activity? Somehow that’s being viewed as evil. Next thing you know Governor Newsom will be at my door demanding I get vaccinated and taking away my “inefficient” gaming computer. Freedoms lost. Tyranny is next.
    muthuk_vanalingamJanNLwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 30
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,446member
    tedz98 said:
    Are these regulations just looking at power consumption? Or are they looking at efficiency? You can have lots of very inefficient computers that use lower levels of power. Yet there are many more of these computers than high end gaming machines. Overall it’s a stupid concept. Especially if you can bypass the regulations by purchasing a custom configured system. And what of the academics who use high end computers, even off the shelf systems, for research? Do I not have the freedom to choose PC gaming as a leisure activity? Somehow that’s being viewed as evil. Next thing you know Governor Newsom will be at my door demanding I get vaccinated and taking away my “inefficient” gaming computer. Freedoms lost. Tyranny is next.

    Ummm, calm down Chicken Little and try reading before you start foaming at the mouth. This is about the efficiency of pre-built computers being sold by OEMs. Users are still able to upgrade their systems to whatever they want and desire. So, the entire second half of your rant is moot and asinine.
    Alex_VCloudTalkinforegoneconclusionp-dogGeorgeBMacmelgrossjony0
  • Reply 6 of 30
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,637member
    Interesting. My woodworking equipment draws a lot more than gaming PCs. I wonder when they’ll go after these plus welders, CNC machines (plasma and laser cutters) and other high current tools. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 30
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,102member
    How sad. It’s almost like who you vote for has consequences.
    JanNLfahlmanuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 30
    Gaming PCs? What about crypto miners? Or data centers that are still running "dirty power" to keep their servers running? What about all those old leaky houses with A/Cs that run all day?

    It feels like going after PC OEMs is clumsy. Dell doesn't design nor make the wasteful components like the CPU and GPU. They're not banning the sale of those parts, so it seems like a loophole. In the end, I don't think these measures will have the impact that the politicians think it will have. I also think there should be net increases in renewable energy sources so that consumption isn't always the solution.
    rob53watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 30
    killroykillroy Posts: 160member
    While we are at it, how about bitcoin mining.
    foregoneconclusionp-dogGeorgeBMacmelgrosswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 30
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,749member
    So game developers may have the plug pulled on their target devices. Time to look at a more power efficient platform?
    p-dogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 30
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 654member
    Apple could’ve run 100 mockery ads telling people why they should get an M1 Mac instead of Intel
    If you read the article it implies that the Mac Pro could be affected by this legislation as well. While it is time to start working to make things more energy efficient this bill has a massive loophole that will only aggravate people and not make any appreciable difference to energy usage. Now they will have to go online and customize the order in some trivial way -  “I’ll take it in black, not puke green thank you” - and wait a day or two for it to be delivered instead of taking it home right away. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 30
    If you follow the link in the article per the six states that passed energy efficiency standards, you'll find this quote:

    "Such concern about energy efficiency appears to be appropriate given the findings of a 2015 Semiconductor Industry Association report [PDF] that, given a benchmark system of 10-14 Joules/per bit transition, "computing will not be sustainable by 2040, when the energy required for computing will exceed the estimated world’s energy production."

    Exceeding the world's energy supply does seem like it might cause problems, no? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 30
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,713member
    302W at idle!

    I dunno about sales restrictions, but that ridiculous machine should be subject to widespread mockery.
    MplsPtht
  • Reply 14 of 30
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,450member
    Because Dell is a privately owned company Michael Dell can do whatever he wants, so he pulled high-end products from those states. i wonder how the big-time gamers in California will react to this. 

    If Dell were still a publicly owned corporation there would have been a crap-storm of major proportions and Dell stock would plummet. I sometimes wish that Apple could go private so it could give the finger to stupidity. Buy me out, Apple! I’m ready.
    KTRwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 30
    tedz98 said:
    Are these regulations just looking at power consumption? Or are they looking at efficiency? You can have lots of very inefficient computers that use lower levels of power. Yet there are many more of these computers than high end gaming machines. Overall it’s a stupid concept. Especially if you can bypass the regulations by purchasing a custom configured system. And what of the academics who use high end computers, even off the shelf systems, for research? Do I not have the freedom to choose PC gaming as a leisure activity? Somehow that’s being viewed as evil. Next thing you know Governor Newsom will be at my door demanding I get vaccinated and taking away my “inefficient” gaming computer. Freedoms lost. Tyranny is next.
    Well, to be fair excessive energy use and carbon footprint expansion are help to drive climate change is helping to send wildfires your way.

    They've got to start somewhere, and high wattage gaming systems are probably a good place to start - probably better than cycling your AC off during peak load.

    Oh, and if you haven't been vaccinated you're an idiot anyway.

    I used to think the anti-vaxxers were just endangering themselves, their families, and those close to them - evolution in action - but due to the explosion of infections among the unvaccinated we're getting mutations which can break through the vaccine's protection, spawning variants which are tremendously more infectious. Someone infected with the Delta variant supposedly sheds 1280 times more infectious particles than those infected with the original strain.

    The Delta variant comes from India, where most would get a vaccination if one were available - but in the US where vaccines are plentiful there is absolutely no excuse.

    You may not die if infected but that's not necessarily true for everyone you pass it on to - and those you infect will pass it on to others. Since no one appears to be doing contact tracing in the US, the only way to limit transmission in this country is to limit the spread through vaccination.

    Apologies for the off-topic tirade but this attitude is pissing me off.
    edited July 28 p-dogrobabaGeorgeBMacMplsPjony0applguyroundaboutnowuraharakillroyviclauyyc
  • Reply 16 of 30
    p-dogp-dog Posts: 100member
    bulk001 said:
    Apple could’ve run 100 mockery ads telling people why they should get an M1 Mac instead of Intel
    If you read the article it implies that the Mac Pro could be affected by this legislation as well. 
    The Mac Pro runs inefficient Intel x86 processors. bulk001 was referring to Apple M1 Mac machines, as you can see from the text you quoted.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 30
    p-dogp-dog Posts: 100member

    Oh, and if you haven't been vaccinated you're an idiot anyway.

    I used to think the anti-vaxxers were just endangering themselves, their families, and those close to them - evolution in action - but due to the explosion of infections among the unvaccinated we're getting mutations which can break through the vaccine's protection, spawning variants which are tremendously more infectious. Someone infected with the Delta variant supposedly sheds 1280 times more infectious particles than those infected with the original strain.

    The Delta variant comes from India, where most would get a vaccination if one were available - but in the US where vaccines are plentiful there is absolutely no excuse.

    You may not die if infected but that's not necessarily true for everyone you pass it on to - and those you infect will pass it on to others. Since no one appears to be doing contact tracing in the US, the only way to limit transmission in this country is to limit the spread through vaccination.

    Apologies for the off-topic tirade but this attitude is pissing me off.
    No need to apologize - well said! My feelings exactly as I prepare to go back into the classroom next month to teach highschoolers, many of whom have anti-science, anti-vaxx, conspiratorial parents who will not safeguard their own and other people’s children by getting their offspring a shot.
    robabaMplsPjony0applguyuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 30
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,264member
    tedz98 said:
    Are these regulations just looking at power consumption? Or are they looking at efficiency? You can have lots of very inefficient computers that use lower levels of power. Yet there are many more of these computers than high end gaming machines. Overall it’s a stupid concept. Especially if you can bypass the regulations by purchasing a custom configured system. And what of the academics who use high end computers, even off the shelf systems, for research? Do I not have the freedom to choose PC gaming as a leisure activity? Somehow that’s being viewed as evil. Next thing you know Governor Newsom will be at my door demanding I get vaccinated and taking away my “inefficient” gaming computer. Freedoms lost. Tyranny is next.

    Your point on consumption vs efficiency is a good one.
    The rest of the post is just Modern Libertarian dogma.  
    No, you live in society and you don't get to do anything you want, anytime you want and anyway you want.

    You aren't squawking about a specific policy you believe is improper but the ability of authority to exert authority.  That's what spoiled children do.
    grayfox691roundaboutnow
  • Reply 19 of 30
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,264member
    killroy said:
    While we are at it, how about bitcoin mining.

    I saw a report recently that, once China chased the BitCoin miners out of their country that they have been migrating to the U.S.
    They seek cheap energy -- and often they steal it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 30
    robabarobaba Posts: 159member
    chadbag said:
    Another reason you couldn't pay me to live in California.   Those other states dont have much draw either.  
    As a citizen of one of those “other states” let me say 

    SWEET!
    WgkruegerMplsPapplguyroundaboutnowuraharaviclauyycwatto_cobra
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