No, California did not just ban gaming computers

While true that Dell is stopping selling some models in California and other states that have adopted the same energy standards, many recent articles on the subject have been misleading.

California is not trying to ban gaming machines. ‘Gaming Computer’ is not a class of computer for this energy efficiency program. The program creates a points system for the manufacturer to follow when designing computers. The more modular a computer is (and the more components it has, such as extra GPUs or SSDs), the more energy it is allowed to consume and still meet the idle restrictions.

The energy efficiency program now requires three big things:

  • 90% minimum efficient power supplies for computers
  • Computers (desktops, laptops, tablets. etc) must default to going into sleep mode within 30 minutes of not being used
  • Limits the amount of idle power (measured in KWHr) a device can use per year, based on the ‘modularity score’ of the computer

Importantly, there is NO restriction on power used while the system is be used. 1,000 watt power supplies are fine. Want triple 3090’s and a Threadripper? It’s allowed to use more energy, even while sleeping.

No one is taking away our gaming computers. The one linked from Dell has an older, less efficient power supply than is now allowed. The other versions of the same dell computer (with the newer PSU) are allowed.

The energy policy was enacted way back in 2016 and a summary can be found here:

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