back to article Dell won't ship energy-hungry PCs to California and five other US states due to power regulations

Dell is no longer shipping energy-hungry gaming PCs to certain states in America because they demand more energy than local standards allow. Customers seeking to purchase, for example, an Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 Gaming Desktop from Dell's website and have it shipped to California are now presented with a message …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Responsibility

    It's interesting that consumers are not allowed to have powerful computers, but at the same time companies that are pushing adverts online are not required to deliver it in a such way to minimise power consumption?

    This is again a huge asymmetry of power between the customer and a big corporation.

    It looks like the legislators are looking at low hanging fruit, pat themselves on the back how great they are for the environment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Responsibility

      "It's interesting that consumers are not allowed to have powerful computers"

      *sigh* They're not saying that. They're saying your PC can't consume lots of power *at idle*.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Responsibility

        Have you actually read the document? Check the Table V-7

      2. Arthur 1

        Re: Responsibility

        Actually idle power consumption is all of one sub-sub-sub-section in these regulations, which otherwise principally deal with annual power consumption totals and also regulate the power supply power factor, efficiency, total output and the like.

        They also define an "expandability score" which determines how much power you can use. It's mostly based on things like number of USB ports and number of PCIe ports. So, basically all you need to do to get around the regulation is casually tape one of those 1->8 PCIe breakout boards miners are dumping for nothing to the side of the computer since the maximum documented score is 690 and that board alone can score over 700. You could probably coal fire your computer if you did that.

      3. Piro Silver badge

        Re: Responsibility

        Read the legislation, or hell, visit Dell's USA website, which clearly states than many models can simply *not be shipped to certain states* due to their total power consumption being too high.

    2. jason_derp Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Responsibility

      "It's interesting that consumers are not allowed to have powerful computers, but at the same time companies that are pushing adverts online are not required to deliver it in a such way to minimise power consumption?"

      If you were rich enough to be a shareholder of one of those companies, you'd understand.

    3. aki009

      Re: Responsibility

      I sense another wave of government-driven outsourcing happening here.

      When various government regulations made manufacturing in the USA too expensive, China became the obvious candidate, polluting on behalf of everyone else. That suits China just fine, as captive countries are good.

      Now that government regulations are reducing the performance of private computing devices (because that's what these caps ultimately will achieve), that processing will merely shift to data centers where no caps exist. This suits the owners of such data centers just fine, as captive consumers are good.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Responsibility

        Repeat the same logic with solar + wind power and EVs, and maybe you can get an idea of where we're going.

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  3. xyz123

    Another law written by Intel to try to push its frankly god-awful "gaming" XG cards, that are slower than a Geforce 560 released in 2011.

    Low power, and incapable of even running Minecraft at minimum settings, XG cards are going to face lawsuits as they're in no way "gaming" components.

    1. Snake Silver badge
      Alien

      Yes, we know.

      Everything is a plot by the Evil Empire of Andromeda to restrict your righteous choices of [insert freedoms here].

      Living under their rule is such a massive inconvenience for you.

  4. Synkronicity

    Dell is ridiculous. I bet they can't ship them because versions of these things only come with 1000W power supplies even though the components only eat up 350-500W max. None of their component sourcing makes any sense until you realize that half of the business is up-selling a warranty and the other half is boxing up e-waste to a supply-starved market.

    1. sev.monster Bronze badge
      Boffin

      I'm very confident that Epic Gamers would be able to take a Gaming Laptop(tm) and crank up their CPU, GPU, and RAM overclocking, turn on all pointless rainbow RGB LEDs on every single component and set brightness to max, increase the already blinding brightness on their HDR 4k 240 fps screens (despite using dark themes 24/7 and playing casually), turn up the shitty built-in speakers to 100% volume with a +10dB compressor for added pump, turn off all thermal throttling with fans at max, and be able to make full use of a 1000W charger.

    2. FILE_ID.DIZ Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Actually, if you bothered to read the full article the law constrains quote "short-idle, long-idle, sleep and off-modes " power consumption.

      It sounds to me that if you're playing a video game with 4 x GPUs with a 2KW power supply plugged into a 20A wall socket, that's allowed. What is not allowed is for an idle system to exceed specific power limits.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The pdf linked in the article only gives a maximum, annual power consumption. It links to another document, where the maximum idle power is specified. Dell have not said exactly which of these requirements their PCs did not meet, but it seems to me that your proposed gaming system would also not be allowed.

        As a side note, the maximum annual power consumption (50kWh/year) works out to an average value of 6 Watts. I wonder how compliant PCs implement this - do they shut down for the year once the limit is reached?

        1. big_D Silver badge

          heise in Germany have a bunch of reference self-build systems each year and often complain at motherboards & PSUs not being able to get below 11W on idle - and therefore usually get dropped from the reference designs.

          Stand-by and soft-off are another problem, they are supposed to use less than 0.1W, under EU guidelines, but many exceed that, some devices come in at over 5 - 6W in stand-by, let alone idle!

          Also, the annual rate would probably be for so many hours turned on each day, so many hours at full power and so many hours a day in soft-off or stand-by modes. (I haven't had time to read the document yet, but many similar laws or recommendations assume an 8 hour working day/40 hour working week for average consumption figures, for example.)

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            It seems like we are not far from having a requirement to install something like Tachograph in the power supplies with power budgeting and so on, so that if you exceed your daily allowance you won't be able to use your computer fully.

            1. jason_derp Silver badge

              "It seems like we are not far from having a requirement to install something like Tachograph in the power supplies with power budgeting and so on, so that if you exceed your daily allowance you won't be able to use your computer fully."

              Either you have far greater faith than a reasonable person should in the capabilities and competencies of governments and their cooperation with technology manufacturers, or there's some law or statute that I don't know about that could reasonably pave the way for such requirements (without applying a slippery slope argument).

              1. Arthur 1

                That is the sort of thing that California voters vote into law without the guidance of any experts in the field, lawyers or legislators. Ballot initiatives are nice and all, but only if you educate your population first.

                Given that it's California, I'd be frankly surprised if this ballot initiative isn't already circulating.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  I have not yet seen such an initiative circulating.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " I bet they can't ship them because versions of these things only come with 1000W power supplies"

      If you bothered to click through on the product link, it's a Ryzen 7 5800 with a RTX 3060Ti and a 550W PSU...

      1. Synkronicity

        If you bothered to look at the customization, there are two choices of PSUs: 550W and 1000W. There are video cards that will not work with 550W so you need to upgrade to 1000W when 750W will do just fine.

    4. Geez Money

      The problem is that the last two generations of everything have gotten significantly more power hungry, RTX 3090 can suck down 360-400W by itself when it's really going. The 3080 and 3070 are also needier than usual. Because Intel had to stretch 14nm so far they've started really sucking down the juice too, Tom's Hardware hit ~330W on their 10900k without overclocking. AMD is now making CPUs in a weight class that didn't exist in their portfolio in probably 20 years and they really pull power in their high core count configurations. So a lot of higher end Alienware machines are suddenly needing more power. The "right size" power supply for a gaming machine is now like 550-850W and that just isn't a size range Dell is likely to have needed a lot of in the past, so they probably repurposed what they had already sourced for beefy workstations. It might not make sense to immediately source new stuff if the working theory is that when everyone gets their next gen processes going power consumption will trend back down for a while.

      The solitary thing Dell actually does really, really well is power supplies. Even low end Dell machines will have 80+ Gold/Platinum power supplies sourced from reputable ODMs.

      1. Eric Olson

        <quote>AMD is now making CPUs in a weight class that didn't exist in their portfolio in probably 20 years and they really pull power in their high core count configurations.</quote>

        It hasn't been 20 years; I built my first PC using the Athlon T-bird which was released in...

        Oh.

        No way...

        Oh GOD!

        When did I get so old!

        1. Updraft102

          First one I built was a MS-DOS machine primarily, though it also did run Windows 3.0 for playing around. Back then, everyone knew serious work was done on DOS. I was in my first year of uni then...

          Better? You're not all that old!

          1. jake Silver badge

            Back then, MS/PC-DOS was seen as a toy used by glorified secretaries. Real work was done on MCP, VMS, RTMOS, UNIX, TENEX, TOPS-10, RSX-11, OS/360, MVS, TMX, VRX, EXEC 8 / OS 2200 and the like.

            1. aki009

              I think you are pronouncing consulting fees incorrectly. Here, let me correct it for you: "Real consulting fees were reaped on MCP, VMS, RTMOS, ..."

              1. jake Silver badge

                We were discussing doing work back in the day, not how much it cost to do it.

  5. PBealo

    What will this do to Intel as compared to AMD?? AMD CPUs are generally low power compared to similar performance Intel CPUs.

    This could be interesting!

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      It all depends on idle power consumption because that's what the law is about, so even if one is significantly more efficient under load, this law doesn't care. When running at idle, a lot of things consume power other than the CPU, which is probably why gaming computers are the ones that don't fit within the bounds. Only if one manufacturer can make large enough cuts in their processors' consumption when idle will that make a difference, and it's more likely that the PC manufacturers will find a way to make the more power-hungry components run better instead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The pdf linked in the article is only concerned about total annual power usage.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Total *idle* power consumption

          I'm not quite sure what the reference assumptions are for active, long idle, short idle and soft-off hours/year though.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Total *idle* power consumption

            The full details are here:

            https://energycodeace.com/site/custom/public/reference-ace-t20/index.html#!Documents/section16053statestandardsfornonfederallyregulatedappliances.htm#vcomputerscomputermonitorstelevisionssignagedisplaysandconsumera5.htm

            Although it's still not clear how manufacturers are supposed to limit usage to 50kwh/year. If standby consumes 0 watts, you still only get 190 watt hours per working day (261-day working year).

            1. Geez Money

              Re: Total *idle* power consumption

              I think most machines will qualify for a lot of the complicated adders and multipliers and so on. Even still it seems unlikely to produce enough power per day for any reasonable duty cycle on a gaming machine.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Yes, for the stated power states:

          "The standards [PDF] specify energy consumption targets that cover four non-active usage modes – short-idle, long-idle, sleep and off-modes – tied to the device's "expandability score" (ES), based on the number and types of interfaces, and on additional power requirements arising from add-on capabilities (graphics cards, high-bandwidth system memory, etc.)."

          The power consumed while idle is important to these standards.

      2. Piro Silver badge

        They give an annual power consumption limit. If you cared to check the legislation or even just look at Dell's website, you'll see that. It is NOT about idle power.

  6. Hotears

    "10-17 J/bit" .. either no proofreading or the author has no sense of a joule. Let's convert some of the numbers mentioned to SI:

    50kWh/year = 5.7W

    100kWh/year = 11.4W

    And here I was proud that I'd gotten the fibre cpe, switches, server, APs, and house heating controller down to 54W total.

  7. stiine Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Where are LLNL, LBNL, and SLAC-NAL

    They are in CA, as are SpaceX and Scott Manley, oh no.

    If companies are people, then companies in California are fucked.

    1. Arthur 1

      Re: Where are LLNL, LBNL, and SLAC-NAL

      As far as I can tell all major corporate entities are currently vacating California as fast as they reasonably can.

    2. Sudosu

      Re: Where are LLNL, LBNL, and SLAC-NAL

      How about Pixar, ILM and any other studios that do CGI or computer editing work?

  8. vektorweg

    Sell it as an electric heater

    its not wrong.

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Sell it as an electric heater

      That's not going to sell on the West Coast any more. I barely ran BOINC last winter because there was no need for its heat.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Linux

        Re: Sell it as an electric heater

        With the standard American corporate office air conditioning system setting, you usually need some sort of heater under your desk to stop your toes going black and dropping off through frostbite. I think the setting is labelled "mid-winter in the Antarctic" on the dial.

        If you need a big fat heater to make your workspace habitable, you might as well get your employer to buy you one with built-in CPU cycles, rather than sneak your own oil-filled radiator in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sell it as an electric heater

          The standard American office is unpleasantly hot. The temperature is rarely set below 72 degrees, and almost never set to a comfortable 66.

          I was at one office recently where I did the absolute minimum to get the systems up to the point where I could finish remote, because it was almost 80 degrees in that hellhole of an office.

          I don't work well while sweating.

  9. jake Silver badge

    As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

    What self-respecting gamer would purchase a box-stock gaming rig from Dell in the first place? Shirley all y'all who invest in that activity with that kind of money will be building your system from scratch anyway, right?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

      building your system from scratch

      Exactly. So much for Cali-Forn-You's "RULES" and their "REGULATIONS" and their "UN-FREEDOM". (I'm about ready to LEAVE this state, but if I stick around long enough maybe I can help it return to sanity...)

      Gamers are often hardware hackers too. Overclocks, etc.. Right? So a custom system is TOTALLY expected for a hard-core gamer (and NOW a requirement, THANKS Sacramento! What a bunch of MAROONS they are in Sacramento!!!)

      1. EarthDog

        Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

        I hear TX is a libertarians paradise.You might move there. No earthquakes either...

        1. Geez Money

          Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

          Libertarians don't want or agree with this guy, thanks.

          1. Updraft102

            Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

            Some of us do. Not the "left" libertarians you'd find at Reason, but those of us who follow the Barry Goldwater "paleolibertarian" model, sure.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

              Libertarian (n) - A Republican who smokes weed.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

          While our Bob might hold a few libertarian views (as do I), he's not libertarian any more than I am.

          I'll take a once in a decade or three earthquake over regularly scheduled tornadoes. The wildfires are getting a trifle annoying, though.

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

            Lobby your state gov to force local electrial utilities (PG&E?) to maintain their transmission hardware properly, and to allow brush clearance under power lines (details are a bit hazy... something about it being illegal to cut down trees, therefore brush clearance is basically impossible within the law).

            Apparently transmission line breakages falling onto the uncleared brush below is a/the major cause of Cali wild fires, and PG&E have gotten away with barely maintaining their stuff for decades.

            Meanwhile Cali suffers rolling blackouts whenever the wind picks up, in case more lines break and more fires start, and the switch to renewables means unreliable baseload. I suspect a lot of reasoning behind these power reduction mandates is because it's easier and cheaper to force people to use less power than it is to build and maintain proper, reliable electricity production and supply.

        3. Brad Ackerman
          FAIL

          Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

          If the GOP weren't lying through its teeth about wanting small government, TX would indeed be a libertarian paradise. Make sure to try the unicorn brisket when you go there, because we don't have that stuff in the real world.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

        The more people that leave the state the less demand for housing and so on. I'm all for that -- housing is expensive here not because of 'guvmint' but because there's such a large demand for it. So please LEAVE if that's your fancy. "Returning to sanity" won't work, you see -- we've had a Republican lock on state government in living memory which was dysfunctional; its signature achievement was Pete Wilson's electricity distribution liberalization that caused both power prices to rocket and supply to become uncertain.

        As for the computer rigs, a couple of things. First of all, you can actually power off your computer, you don't have to keep it running 24/7. You could go into idle mode if you were not running Windows but my experience with Windows is that its far too active far too much of the time -- so just pull the plug.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

          There will always be demand for housing here, alas. It's the weather.

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

      Why think of all the bad things when life is so good?

      Why help with an 'am' when there's always a 'could'?

      Let the whales worry about the poisons in the sea

      Outside of California, it's foreign policy

      I don't want changes, I have no reactions

      Your dilemmas are my distractions

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

        ::sighs::

        I act locally as best I can. But the herds of sheeple are ineducable. As they are everywhere on this muddy rock we call home.

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

      Are you not sensing the direction this is travelling?

      They first do it with ready made systems, next you will have restrictions on building your own system.

      This could come in many ways, for example, your cart with parts won't be able to exceed certain power budget. They can create a registry of who bought what parts, so that you wouldn't be able to stage your build etc.

      Next thing is that your build would require a license, to ensure it meets the regulation and you wouldn't be able to turn it on legally.

      They could get a deal with electricity providers to detect excessive power consumption and you could have visitors to check your computers.

      Most of these schemes are already working, but for different "problems" and they could just repurpose them.

      They could even go as far as banning selling parts to consumers altogether. To build a computer you would need a license and be a business owner.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

        They could get a deal with electricity providers to detect excessive power consumption and you could have visitors to check your computers.

        One does not need visitors, one just needs regulations requiring 'smart' meters. Sorry Citizen, you have exceeded your electricity ration. Would you like to buy more? Additional credits are available at 3x market rate for electricity guzzlers such as yourself.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

          Makes you wonder how we'll be able to charge our EVs to go anywhere.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

            Well, government will be wanting to recoup the costs of building the charging infrastructure and the loss of revenue from petrol/diesel, so expect that circa £9 charging bill (https://pod-point.com/guides/driver/cost-of-charging-electric-car ) to be more like £66 (ie. the current price of 50 ltrs) or more if you want a fast charge etc.

            Naturally, expect the current generation of smart meters being rolled out in the UK to not be smart enough to broker the supply negotiation between EV and network, so you'll be spending much time queuing at places with public chargers...

            Obviously, in California this would be seen as a business opportunity.. whilst here in the UK ...

            1. Charlie van Becelaere

              Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

              "Naturally, expect the current generation of smart meters being rolled out in the UK to not be smart enough to broker the supply negotiation between EV and network, so you'll be spending much time queuing at places with public chargers..."

              Was I the only one to read that as smart meters being about to bork the supply negotiation?

        2. ITMA Bronze badge

          Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

          "Would you like to buy more? Additional credits are available at 3x market rate for electricity guzzlers such as yourself"

          Are you talking "standard market rate" or the "variable according to demand" market rates which "so-called smart meters" are ultimately designed for:

          When there's demand, the price goes up, priced by the second.

          That's where it is going - and here in the UK we have a tax payer funded, government backed "smart meter roll out programme". Backed by most of the most competitive tariffs being restricted to having or accepting both a smart meter and payment via direct debit.

          At least Dick Turpin made it clear he was going to rob you rather than claim was going to "save you money" (the central tenet of the marketing BS behind the UK roll-out).

          Want to REALLY save money on your energy bill? Ues your eyes, read your own (standard non-smart ) meter and learn to SWITHCH THINGS OFF.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

            That's where it is going - and here in the UK we have a tax payer funded, government backed "smart meter roll out programme". Backed by most of the most competitive tariffs being restricted to having or accepting both a smart meter and payment via direct debit.

            Yup. But as I often say, such is politics. The curious thing is energy has enabled us to do so much, whether at work or at leisure. It's an input cost to just about every human activity, so the more expensive energy gets, the more expensive things get.. Which is I guess a good or bad thing depending on how one views things like inflation, energy poverty or just poverty in general.

            Californians and Texans have been learning about this economic truth in the last year or so. They've been sold fancy 'wholesale' energy tariffs, which may have been great when there was a surplus. When there's not.. Well, that's just business. Caveat emptor etc.

            Politicians have been vaguely honest about this though, mixing the truth and the barefaced lies. So they've promoted 'renewables'. The 'renewables' lobby have encouraged this because they earn billions from generous subsidies the politicians make us pay. The lobby tells us that 'renewables' are so cheap! Yet oddly, our energy prices keep rising.

            So the solution is obviously 'demand management', which means when your 'smart meter' flashes red, you might want to turn out the lights.. before the 'demand management' turns them off for you to avoid blackouts..

            1. ITMA Bronze badge

              Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

              I still don't have a "smart meter" and refuse to have one.

              Not because of any of the "tinfoil hat" claptrap reasons - simply because they are a massive con.

              They are nothing to do with energy efficiency or saving consumers money. They are all about being able to impose finer and finer granular control over pricing - i.e. maximising revenue.

          2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Re: "Save you money" BS...

            I do like baiting the smart meter providers on this one, when they call offering this magical device. So how does it save me money? Umm.. err... see your consumption... ummm... turn things off... use less... ummm...

            My things are on because I want them on, or need them on. I consume what I need to consume. My bill tells me how much I'm using. Don't need a dumb smart meter for help with any of these.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

        Yes, I fear they are working on that. I do not believe it will survive the court system.

    4. Piro Silver badge

      Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

      Way to miss the point

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: As a Californian, all I can sat is "Who cares?".

        I do not think I missed the point. I believe the lawmakers have missed the point. I'm contemplating making a run to Nevada and bringing back a truckload of Dell computers to re-sell (they are "used" at this point) through a friend's computer shop in Mountain View.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    6 states is not 50

    I presume driving to a Dell outlet in Nevada or Arizona to make your purchase is still possible in the Land of the Free...?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: 6 states is not 50

      Yep, Reno or Vegas for some things. Tijuana for others.

      Coming back from Nevada you might get checked for having fruit in your lunchbox. (do they still do that?)

      1. Flywheel Silver badge

        Re: 6 states is not 50

        fruit in your lunchbox

        Scuse me Sir, Is that a MacBook in your lunchbox?

      2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: 6 states is not 50

        Will high-performance workstations and gaming rigs become the new contraband? Will we start seeing gaming Speakeasys with flip-over tables where there's a decent PC on top and shitty one beneath? Prohibition went really well. Why not try the same with computing.

        Welcome to California, Sir. Anything to declare? Any food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, medications, firearms, ammunition, money over $10K, Dell desktop PCs?

    2. Arthur 1

      Re: 6 states is not 50

      Yeah, states in theory have a lot of powers, but as marijuana legalization has once again shown us, as soon as something's legal anywhere in the US it's going to be everywhere. Unless they deal with things like land that can't be moved state laws de facto have really minimal teeth.

      1. Updraft102

        Re: 6 states is not 50

        Marijuana is still illegal in every square inch of the US. The federal prohibition is still very much on the books.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: 6 states is not 50

          "The federal prohibition is still very much on the books."

          Indeed. The Feds can, at any time, seize any and all assets belonging to a pot growing operation, including the property (owned or leased/rented!). And they will start doing so as soon as it's politically expedient. No way in hell I'd invest in something built on such a precarious base.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: 6 states is not 50

      Yes. The inspection stations primarily deal with agricultural products (plants, livestock, and bees), although they will report other obvious illegal activity to the CHP. I suspect they will just wave an 18-wheeler full of computers on through.

  11. 45RPM Silver badge

    Sad, but we need to get to a point where everything has enforced limits on power consumption. You can have your 4x4 urban tank, but it mustn’t use any more power than a Mini. Ditto computers. Failure to limit consumption in all areas will quite literally bring about the end of a human habitable world.

    The good news is that such limits will encourage innovation - and if Apple’s M1 is anything to go by, we can still enjoy high performance compute.

    I say this as a hypocrite. I have a Ryzen gaming box - which can do graphically amazing things. Oddly though, my kids seem more attached to old Nintendo games (SNES era) - so perhaps we need to get back to the idea that it’s the gameplay that matters, not the graphical sparkle. I’m not an expert on such matters though.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Megaphone

      we need to get to a point where everything has enforced limits on power consumption.

      NO. Why would a FREE person say such a thing? And WHO has the kind of rights / authority to make THAT kind of "one size fits all" determination? You need to think through ALL of the implications before you go off making blanket statements like this. No 2 people's needs are the same, nor are their wants, or their ability to pay for the necessary power consumption.

      I hear there's a war on pickup trucks in Canada. Only a CITY DWELLER who does not live 20 miles from the nearest store (or place to dump your trash) would try to ban one of the most USEFUL utility vehicles in the world, particularly for farmers, ranchers, contractors, or anyone living in a rural area.

      And that's just ONE example. No doubt, there are MANY. And NOT being able to mail order a high end computer that consumes LOTS of power because that's what the fastest machines do... is ANOTHER.

      The last thing ANY of us need is for a nameless activist bureaucrat to determine FOR us what we CAN and CAN NOT HAVE.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        For the hard of thinking, we don’t have a choice. And if selfish self professed freedom warriors want to guzzle fuel and wreck the environment for everyone else then it is only right that this should be legislated against.

        Remember, if I had absolute freedom then I would also have the freedom to pop over to your gaff and perform a lobotomy with a rusty hacksaw, and you would be free to come over to my place and be similarly beastly. Absolute freedom is an illusion and most of the time when you act freely you restrict someone else’s ability to free. If you eat the cake then someone else can’t.

        Anthropogenic Climate Change is a reality. We can’t undo it by wishful thinking or burying our heads in the sand. We need to take action - smaller families, reduced travel, less meat consumed, fewer power- guzzling computers. And the fact that some people, like you, rail against this and crap on about the impact to their freedom just underlines the need to legislate.

        If people can’t be trusted to act decently then laws need to be written to force them to. I only wish that people could be trusted and the laws unnecessary - but that too is wishful thinking.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I assume you also demand CO2-neutral manufacturing of all of the electronic gadgets and screens that we get through at an enormous rate. It's obviously unsustainable, and if I have to eat nuts and mushrooms, you can't have a new phone every year or two that takes 100s of kWh to manufacture. The same goes for TVs, computers, tablets, smart watches, etc etc.

          1. 45RPM Silver badge

            Nuts and mushrooms are very nice, but they needn’t form the backbone of your diet. Everything in moderation. As to a new phone, my current phone is 7 years old, and my laptop is only new because work insisted (my previous laptop was 10 years old). I can’t see the point in mindlessly buying crap just because it’s new when the old stuff still works perfectly fine.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Very true. Yet none of the ideas currently being foisted on us to "save the planet" involve buying less crap. In fact, we are being obliged to buy more - how long do you think it'll be possible to get by with a very old (or no, in my case) smartphone, given the wanton app-ification of everything? I wonder what the Tesla charging app support is like for older phones.....

              Until we are all limited to one new electronic item purchase every decade, I'm going to keep cycling to work and eating burgers.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              You also forgot your Ryzen-powered computer that you mentioned elsewhere, and I assume the collection of monitors and TVs you own.

        2. Arthur 1

          "We need to take action - smaller families, reduced travel, less meat consumed, fewer power- guzzling computers."

          Just so you're clear, making your life suck in these ways not only will leave you sadder than necessary, but also make no difference in climate change. Ask any reputable climate scientist and they'll tell you the same thing: personal choices, even in aggregate, just don't do enough damage to matter. The real problem is mostly industrial/commercial but those guys have lobbyists so instead you don't get plastic straws anymore (responsible for a vanishingly small portion of the plastic in the oceans, btw, unlike illegally discarded commercial fishing gear which is responsible for about /half/).

          The only thing you're doing by eating nuts and driving a Prius is flexing on your neighbours. You haven't made a difference. Sorry. If you want to make a difference lobby your local legislators to go after the actual problems.

        3. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Boffin

          Anthropogenic Climate Change is a reality.

          No, it is NOT:

          * black body radiation cools the earth by losing energy through IR radiation out into space

          * a greenhouse gas prevents that from happening to some extent

          * CO2 is *horrible* at absorbing black body radiation corresponding to actual temperatures on earth, and is only 0.04% of the atmosphere (and is at equilibrium).

          * Water, on the other hand, is very very GOOD at it, and can be 1% ofr more of the atmosphere, and changes by huge amounts ALL of the time.

          * Nobody is trying to control atmospheric water, because it's obvious we can't. So CO2 is blamed, for other-than-scientific reasons, even when water can make 100 times the difference whenever it changes, which it does all of the time.

          These are scientific facts and are easily confirmed. I challenge anyone to refute them. Until they are refuted, the science is NOT settled on anthro-climate-change.

        4. jake Silver badge

          "For the hard of thinking, we don’t have a choice."

          Or so you've been told. Do you believe in a bearded sky-fairy, too? How about the Easter Bunny? Santa?

        5. conel

          How about we build nuclear power plants and have as much energy as we want.

          That way we won't need the one-child policy above.

        6. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: We need to take action...

          We need to take action - smaller families, reduced travel, less meat consumed, fewer power- guzzling computers.

          Bollocks. Utter bollocks.

          We have the technology to resolve all current issues, and provide plentiful energy, food and water for everyone, now and in with future projected population growth, without needing to burn a billion tonnes of carbon to do it nor return everyone to tthe dark ages.

          But the kind of, dare I see it, freedom, those solutions provide do not control the populace through fear-mongering and forced action. Politics is built on control and fear of something bad happening if you don't don't what they say. Take away those levers of control, and political power is lost. Which is why the obvious solutions (mass tree planting, nuclear power, vertical farming, agricultural-scale greenhouses, ocean fertilisation which vastly increases local fish stocks) will never be implemented at the necessary scale. All are proven to work, but vital political control is lost.

          What you're advocating isn't societal progress, it's a forced return to an agrarian lifestyle, and will lead to vast resentment and social upheaval.

      2. Flywheel Silver badge
        Facepalm

        last thing ANY of us need is for a nameless activist bureaucrat to determine FOR us what we CAN and CAN NOT HAVE

        You're missing the point Bombastic Bob: "nameless activists bureaucrats" are not calling the shots on this one - it's the Planet!

        The Planet has been warning us for decades that it's not happy about our destructive ways, and, having given fair warning it's decided to take action. The aforementioned bureaucrats have very little actual power in all this - they'll be fried to a crisp chip along with the rest of us.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          @Flywheel

          "The Planet has been warning us for decades that it's not happy about our destructive ways, and, having given fair warning it's decided to take action."

          I am fairly sure that has been the argument since the days of sacrificing virgins.

          1. 45RPM Silver badge

            Re: @Flywheel

            Anthropomorphic hyperbole aside, the argument is correct. The planet is being messed up by us and physics will ensure that we can no longer live here. Well, physics combined with our own stupidity and selfish inability to change because “boohoo, I’m a special snowflake and I deserve to run my gas guzzler and eat nothing but meat because freedom”.

            The warning signs have been clear for decades for anyone with the wit to read them. No need to sacrifice anyone - we just need to stop being so damned greedy.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: @Flywheel

              Anthropomorphic hyperbole aside,

              How dare you! Don't you realise that humans are responsible for the weirding ways of the weather? If we don't act now, Gaia will kill us all!

              .. the argument is correct.

              Luckily for humanity, most of the anthropomorphic hyperbole is incorrect.

              The planet is being messed up by us and physics will ensure that we can no longer live here.

              I think you mean politics. The physics ensures we'll be fine. Roughly 1.2C warming per doubling of CO2. If the IPCC's physics are correct and that relationship is logarithmic, we've already seen all the 'post industrial' warming, and would have to burn every scrap of carbon on the planet to get the next 1.2C.

              But such is politics. So California bans PCs because they're not PC, and they're gas guzzlers. Especially at night, on calm days where gas needs to be burned to provide electricity. But other energy consumers are available. So as California's electricity supply shrinks, it'll be looking for other revenue generating.. I mean carbon neutralising measures.

              So first they come for your PC, because that's a gas guzzler.

              Then perhaps they'll come for your AC, because heating/cooling requires lots more energy.

              Then perhaps they'll come for your car, because ICEvil, and EV's good! But no fuel duties. And an EV consumes considerably more electricity than a PC..

              1. Helcat

                Re: @Flywheel

                "The physics ensures we'll be fine. Roughly 1.2C warming per doubling of CO2. If the IPCC's physics are correct and that relationship is logarithmic, we've already seen all the 'post industrial' warming, and would have to burn every scrap of carbon on the planet to get the next 1.2C."

                That's CO2.

                What people have been missing is a far more potent greenhouse gas. One that's going to cause the planet to burn if we don't act. Oh, but we did act, and in 2010 we saw the results and they were good... until around 2012/2013 when someone decided to carry on with no regards to the world's health.

                If you're puzzled, I'm talking about Ozone. We saw the ozone layer start to recover in 2010, but a few years later, out in the middle to far east (around India/China - but that does not mean either of them are responsible, just that this is the area the increase was noticed) CFC levels started to rise again and the ozone layer has started to erode again.

                Yes, there are IPCC reports on Ozone recovery. That's where I got the above from.

              2. renniks

                Re: @Flywheel

                Tell that to the people of Tangier Island - disappearing beneath the waves at a rate of approx 8 acres per annum.

                California is in a desert - how can they not be getting a load of electricity from solar? Still doesn't excuse the amount of water taken from the Colorado River to irrigate crops in a desert though

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: @Flywheel

                  Tell that to the people of Tangier Island - disappearing beneath the waves at a rate of approx 8 acres per annum.

                  It's fine. After all, Obama's bought a large beach front mansion on Martha's Vineyard. So I guess he's not too concerned about sea level rise.

                  But here's a thing, and a rather spectacular thing at that-

                  http://www.advanceddivermagazine.com/articles/crystal/crystal.html

                  Like the other caves on Abaco, Ralph’s Cave experienced various periods of growth when it was above sea water level. Some of the formations are as old as 350,000 years, and others as young as 13,000 years. Accordingly, these caves have a fascinating mixture of transparent soda-straw stalactites and stalagmites..

                  Ok, so Abaco's even futher south of the extent of the Laurentide sheet, but it's also further below current MSL.. So what gives? I mean I know it's been a staple of geology that glaciation leads to falling sea levels, and deglaciation, rising.. But for some reason, and awful lot of press has been written about 'rising sea levels' as if this is something.. unexpected.

                  Of course if you're say, a Bbc 'science' editor, it probably is. But then the Bbc's science correspondents aren't, nor ever have been scientists, so they're easily confused. Or perhaps mislead..

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: @Flywheel

                    Just to add a real-world data point ... My family owns an iron ring mooring point driven into the rock on the Noyo River, in Fort Bragg California. We've owned it for coming up on`150 years. According to my Great Grand Father's, Grand Father's, Father's and my own planting diarys, the water level at the lowest and highest astronomical tides haven't changed significantly in that time frame (it does vary a couple inches up and down over the decades, but statistically, it hasn't moved).

                2. jake Silver badge

                  Re: @Flywheel

                  Tangier Island is a sandbar, and has been losing area since the 1800s. Blaming it on supposed sea-level rise is disingenuous at best.

                  California has many ecosystems, desert being just one of them, at about 16%. Well, several of them, actually ... California holds several different types of desert. We're not getting most of our power from solar for the same reason you aren't. Total Cost Of Ownership says no.

                  Agree on the Colorado River water ... We have plenty of our own water to feed ourselves, no need to feed the rest of the nation.

              3. jake Silver badge

                Re: @Flywheel

                "So first they come for your PC, because that's a gas guzzler."0

                My PCs and the rest of the human living quarters here at the Ranch will be run off-grid by this time next year. Solar, with home-made alcohol burning gensets to charge the batteries when it's cloudy or dark. How will "they" know how much power I'm consuming?

                I have not yet made up my mind if I'll take the machineroom/museum/mausoleum/morgue, machine-shop and print-shop off-grid or not ... I'll probably keep the three-phase for that old junk, at least for a couple more years[0] ... but I'll make up for it by running my traction engine more often. (She runs on old, junk wood that would be burned for disposal anyway ... might as well get some work out of it!)

                [0] Have you priced 3-phase solar kit recently? And I though the price of high-grade coal was ridiculous!

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: @Flywheel

                  [0] Have you priced 3-phase solar kit recently? And I though the price of high-grade coal was ridiculous!

                  Yup. Decent single-phase kit is expensive enough, and can become a 'wear' item when doing TCO calculations for going off-grid. Especially if you want to keep a spare. And as you say, creating 3-phase power adds to the cost. Especially if you need to make sure phase angles are well managed to avoid blowing up your kit. A friend looked at doing this and found rotary phase convertors seemed the best option.

                  But sounds like you're having fun going off-grid. If you've got a steam traction engine, I'd probably use that as a generator. But if you've got land, you've got the potential to do stuff like wood gasification or making your own ethanol. Going steam punk would be neat, give or take the time needed for start-up, but a good way to generate a decent amount of power for the shop.

            2. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @Flywheel

              @45RPM

              "Anthropomorphic hyperbole aside"

              Fact. People have always been complaining Gaia is upset in some form or another. And its always been justified by opinion of observations misunderstood. The best part is we look back at those as clueless, yet repeat the same efforts.

              "The planet is being messed up by us and physics will ensure that we can no longer live here."

              The planet being messed up has various interpretations and degrees of truth. Physics will endure we no longer live here in some way or other even if its a meteor or whatever. Historical and modern religion wont change that.

            3. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

              Re: @Flywheel

              The Earth's climate is naturally dynamic, and with quite extreme natural variations. The assumption that any climate change that is occurring or is assumed to be occurring now is solely due to Human activity is somewhat hubristic. Ultimately, Humans are unimportant little blobs of mostly carbon crawling around the planet's surface (no offence to those who have a belief in a chosen deity that they think says otherwise).

              That said, Humans have been affecting the environment and hence the climate for probably our entire existence. I believe the current explanation for the formation of the Sahara desert is natural (wobble of the Earth or some such about 6000 years ago), but that local grazing practices have contributed towards it's expansion (and that was long before industrialisation and the widespread use of fossil fuels).

              Humans created the dust bowl in the US in the 1930's, and the Soviet's were responsible for the drying up of the Aral Sea.

              It is recognised that building large dams affects the environment/micro-climate of the area they are built in.

              In inventing agriculture, we, as a species, have completely changed much of the planet's landscape, with corresponding changes to moisture (evaporation) and drainage patterns, etc. In domesticating various plant and animal species we have also, through selective breeding, been undertaking genetic engineering for several thousand years, creating whole new breeds, and eliminating natural traits from various species.

              The entire UK landscape of Green and Pleasant Land that we now tend to look on as something to be protected because it's 'nature' is in practice a human created environment, resulting from large scale deforestation.

              There are a number of good reasons to reduce our use of 'fossil fuels', and one of them may be that their use causes climate change and that climate change is a bad thing and has to be stopped. But I note that quite recently, the BBC deleted from their website on climate change a section on 'benefits of climate change', under pressure from a self-selected band of 'climate defenders' (who, I suspect, are often motivated more by baser politics than true concern for the environment).

              It should be of great concern to anyone that believes in evidence-based decision making, who considers facts and reason to be the foundation of discussion and identification of technical solutions, that contrary opinions have to be silenced, contrary evidence has to be suppressed.

              Humans have, throughout our existence, modified environment (and climate), sometimes accidentally/ignorantly/stupidly, often times deliberately, intelligently, and for our benefit.

              The current 'climate emergency' has been too heavily politicised and monetarised. Sadly, it makes any debate as to what is actually the best course of action impossible, too many people have views that are too entrenched / self serving.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: @Flywheel

                They were growing wine grapes between Hadrian's and Antonine's Walls 1800 years ago. People were ice-skating on the Thames in the early 1800s.

                The climate changed radically for those to happen then, and then it changed back. Nobody knows why. To suggest humans are causing it is hubris ... at best. At worst, it's an attempt to profit from what may very well become a natural disaster by selling snake-oil "fixes" for the unfixable.

                The fact is, we just don't know. Anyone who claims otherwise is anti-science.

            4. jake Silver badge

              Re: @Flywheel

              "and physics will ensure that we can no longer live here."

              We live at the South Pole, and we live in the Mojave Desert. I'm fairly certain we'll manage to survive this blip in climate data.

        2. 45RPM Silver badge

          Upvote for common sense.

      3. Arthur 1

        One guy...

        Couple fact checks:

        "I hear there's a war on pickup trucks in Canada"

        You hear wrong and should discard the source that told you so. One guy wrote one article and the coal rollers are already up in arms, geez.

        An article was written pointing out that pickup trucks that spend their entire lives in cities are worthless and dangerous (significantly more so than normal cars). He noted that due to the need to turn pickup trucks into small cities on wheels trucks like the F150 now have a FORWARD BLIND SPOT (that's the sort of thing you capitalize btw) big enough to fit a normal car, and also they weigh 3x as much as a normal car with the same capabilities (in a city) which obviously is a waste of fuel and pollution.

        "Only a CITY DWELLER who does not live 20 miles from the nearest store (or place to dump your trash) would try to ban one of the most USEFUL utility vehicles in the world, particularly for farmers, ranchers, contractors, or anyone living in a rural area"

        Which is why he was explicitly calling for pickups to be limited in urban areas where they're useless and dangerous.

        "And that's just ONE example. No doubt, there are MANY. "

        Since your first example wasn't true, care to provide another? Perhaps the ridiculous fascists who have banned you driving your pickup trucks indoors at the mall are a good example? After all trucks should be able to drive anywhere with no limitations cuz muh freedums.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: One guy...

          The "coal-rollers" are fucking idiots.

          All that black smoke is incompletely burned fuel, signifying wasted power.

      4. AaronCake

        I'm replying to this from Canada and have never heard of any such thing.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Geez Money

          There was a single article published in an opinion column in one newspaper in Edmonton of all places. Unfortunately it went viral with a certain set as "proof" of things. More unfortunately the relationship between his rant and fact is just par for the course in same set.

      5. DanceMan

        "I hear there's a war on pickup trucks in Canada"

        Only in the Faux News version of Canada. Hockey on tv would not exist without pickup commercials.

        1. jake Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: "I hear there's a war on pickup trucks in Canada"

          I'm glad a Canuck said it, or a Californian would have had to :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It takes over 1000kWh to manufacture a laptop, or 10,000 charge cycles of its 100Wh battery.

      If we're going to start worring about how much energy we are using (which we should), we really need to look in the right place.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        I can’t comment on the accuracy of this figure - but it doesn’t much matter because I agree with you. Not only that, but any devices built must be easily repairable (it takes far less energy to repair than it does to recycle). But energy consumption matters too. It all matters.

        But if the device is idle, it shouldn’t be using much power at all - if it does then it’s badly designed and this needs to be fixed.

    3. codejunky Silver badge

      @45RPM

      "Sad, but we need to get to a point where everything has enforced limits on power consumption."

      Why? We pay for the electricity so we can use it, not so we cant. And thanks to outright unthinking rules energy saving lighting was forced on everyone which caused problems for theatres. Obama's regulations led to larger SUV's. EU rules on energy use have borked our toasters, kettles and vacuums.

      Some people need powerful computers, some people want them and trying to ban them just screws with the people who have to get around the rules (probably build their own and import parts that get banned).

      "Failure to limit consumption in all areas will quite literally bring about the end of a human habitable world."

      How? So far we are causing a lot of destruction and pollution to make 'green' solutions which shockingly coincide with the cost of energy shooting up. The green march is what made Germany more polluting as it uses the dirtiest form of coal and subsidises fossil fuel use while subsidising the green stuff that dont work.

      Power can be generated in relatively small plots and pretty clean. But that wont please the greens.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: @45RPM

        Vacuums, for instance, are much better now since manufacturers were forced to adapt and innovate.

        The problem with stuff like kettles though, is if you half the power available, then to do the same job you have to use the other thing that can't be restricted - time.

        If it takes a kWh to do a job then it will, give or take, proportionally more time to do it with less Watts. You save nothing.

        If we had stuck with the old fashioned hoovers but with weaker motors, it would take much longer to clean up and the no power would be saved. Luckily these devices were forced to improve and this is how it's supposed to work.

        Of course screen refresh cannot go by this measure, so gaming PCs are a different story.

        1. 45RPM Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM

          Yup. The whole kettle and toaster thing was worrying me as I had my breakfast, and they took all the power that my solar panels could deliver. Fine in summer then, not so great in winter. I wonder if new alloys might be more efficient at turning power into heat? Otherwise, I’ll have to change my breakfast diet for half of the year.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @45RPM

            > I wonder if new alloys might be more efficient at turning power into heat?

            I'm sorry, you lost all credibility with that. Converting power into heat is the only thing that is absolutely 100% "efficient". If heat production is your goal, and you think the proces could somehow be "inefficient", where is that power being lost, and in what form?

            1. 45RPM Silver badge

              Re: @45RPM

              Light. Peer into any toaster and you’ll see the element glowing away happily. Presumably it’s also glowing in other parts of the em spectrum that I can’t see. So if all of that energy could be turned to heat (ir part of the em spectrum) then my toast would be cooked faster and for less power consumed.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @45RPM

                Put a mirror over the top, and you'll capture that tiny fraction of energy lost as an orange glow.

                Elements that emit only in IR are in common use for interior building heating - I assume that the only reason they are not used in toasters (maybe apart from cost) is that the higher element temperature helps make a nicely crisp piece of toast. After all, the colour of emitted light is an inescapable result of the temperature of the element. That is, unless you know some fancy new laws of physics.

                Also, unless your element is glowing white-hot, it's not even emitting in all the portions of the EM spectrum that you *can* see. Your toaster is not losing power in the form of high-energy UV radiation - the emitted spectrum is strictly defined by its temperature to be within certain values.

                1. 45RPM Silver badge

                  Re: @45RPM

                  Convection as well. I imagine that most of the heat isn’t going into my bread. It’s rising up above the toaster and heating my kitchen.

                  The more I think about it, the more inefficiencies I can see in toaster design.

                  I don’t know how the kettle might be improved - but I’m sure it isn’t 100% efficient.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @45RPM

                    Well, you'd better start thinking about ways to make your new alloy convection-less. Or, make that mirror I suggested better insulated ;)

                    Seriously though, the planet is in trouble, and you want to make TOAST?? How selfish are you???

                    1. bob42
                      Joke

                      Re: @45RPM

                      Are you saying life is not all about toast? Aaah... so you're a waffle man!

                  2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: @45RPM

                    Convection as well. I imagine that most of the heat isn’t going into my bread. It’s rising up above the toaster and heating my kitchen.

                    The more I think about it, the more inefficiencies I can see in toaster design.

                    Well, what's wrong with heating your kitchen? That heat is work your AC won't have to do. If you've superinsulated your home, that toast-heat won't exit your home and be conducted/radiated away to space. But if you have superinsulated, you may want to avoid toasting due to the moisture content of the bread. Whilst airborne, that moisture will greatly amplify your kitchen warming, and once the moisture turns into condensation, it may lead to harmful molds.

                    Luckily there are ways to prevent toaster warming from killing you, or your loved ones. Failure to comply however may result in large fines for carbon polluting. First we'll come for your cigarette smoke, then your toast. Smoke gets in your eyes, politicians get in your wallets.

                    But what you need to do is follow some simple physics. Reduce convective losses by simply inverting your toaster. Less heat will radiate away to space. To make the process even more efficient, fill your toaster with CO2. This is scientifically proven to re-radiate thermal radiation and will greatly improve your toaster's heating efficiency.

                    There are also other simple modifications that can be made. Once your toaster is inside a sealed environment, convective losses have been reduced. All that heat is now trapped inside your toasthouse warmer. But I hear you say, if CO2 is only a weak toasthouse gas, how can I make it even more efficient? Well, luckily the solution is simple. Remember that water? That's right! H2O is an excellent amplifier of toasty warming, with your combination of CO2 and H2O trapping 4/4 of the thermal radiation inside your toaster!

                    You have the physics, you can toast it! You could even make further modifications to your toaster to make it even more efficient. So toaster's heating water from the bread. You want hot water for your tea/coffee. So why not capture that condensation and drink it! You could also consider making that hyperefficient by putting your toaster inside a vacuum so it boils water with even less energy!

                    And don't forget, if you're outdoors and jonesing for a toasting, just carry a few slices of bread, a toasting fork and wait for some Teslas. They're perfect for outdoor cooking!

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: @45RPM

                      I hear that methane is a much more effective toasthouse gas.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: @45RPM

                        I hear that methane is a much more effective toasthouse gas.

                        True, but I'm thinking of solutions that ordinary Americans can be encouraged to implement. Some Calfornians, such as the Pelosis are fortunate enough to have the space, but how many people have the space in their kitchens for an sustainable, organic methane generator?

                        Ok, so when citizens are all happily eating insect and vegetable proteins instead of meat and dairy, there will be a lot of unwanted cows. So adoption to keep as a pet is of course an option, with easy payment plans available to buy methane offsets. This will allow ordinary Americans to grow vineyards, almond plantations and other water intensive crops, which can then be used to make biofuels!

                        And of course if you're one of those ordinary Americans who can't afford, or fit a cow in your kitchen, the new, mandatory vegetable friendly diet will help you and your family to generate your own supply of methane!

                        1. TimMaher Silver badge
                          Flame

                          Re: organic methane generator

                          Put a bog in the kitchen? (Uk. Bog = Toilet).

                          Icon ——-> power generation.

                        2. jake Silver badge

                          Re: @45RPM

                          "but how many people have the space in their kitchens for an sustainable, organic methane generator?"

                          All of them.

                          Note that you didn't specify volume of production.

                    2. jake Silver badge

                      Re: @45RPM

                      "If you've superinsulated your home, that toast-heat won't exit your home and be conducted/radiated away to space. But if you have superinsulated, you may want to avoid toasting due to the moisture content of the bread."

                      Nah. Look up "Air Exchanger". They work a treat. I've been making toast with impunity in my super-insulated home for many years now. The silly contraption even allows me to fry fish without pissing off the fair mrs. jake ... without ever opening a window. Can even take long, hot steamy showers without running the risk of peeling paint and wallpaper. Recommended.

            2. 502 bad gateway

              Re: @45RPM

              What a naive response, you must have a perfect toaster that as 45rpm notes doesn’t dissipate energy in the none IR/heat part of the EM spectrum nor does it heat its own components nor any space or items placed above it. The next time you see your 100% efficient toaster you should hold your hand directly above it for the entire duration of a toaster cycle. Do let us know how the experiment went afterwards please.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @45RPM

                I should know better than to argue on the internet with people who think it's ok to put casual threats of violence into simple misunderstandings of fairly inconsequential things, but there we go.

                Toasters work by Joule Heating, and directly convert electrical energy into thermal energy (as does any other resistor). The primary effect is that the element gets hotter, and also begins emitting blackbody radiation as proscribed solely by its current absolute temperature. The relative proportions of the emitted wavelengths are described by the black body curve, which constrains the vast majority of emitted energy within one order of magnitude of the peak. Thus, our toaster element almost entirely emits EM radiation around the IR band, as well as gets very very hot. It's also impossible to do anything else.

                How that energy is contained, as you point out, is a different matter. The insulation on toasters isn't great.

                However, as it is a climate emergency, I suggest that making toast is a very wasteful use of precious energy and resources.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: @45RPM

                  However, as it is a climate emergency, I suggest that making toast is a very wasteful use of precious energy and resources.

                  But it doesn't have to be this way.

                  So due to global warming, our energy is getting both more expensive, and more plentiful. So ultimately all we'll need to do is hang the bread out of the window at dawn, and the IR radiation bouncing down off those killer CO2 molecules will toast it for nothing.

                  Otherwise, there's arbitrage. Simply calculate the cost of toasting 2-4 slices of toast using peak rate electricity (ie solar). If that's more than the cost of a reply-paid envelope to say, Nevada, the solution is clear. Or this could be a business opportunity. Set up a website that allows Brits to pick the preferred shade of toastiness, and a Nevada entrepeneur could arrange to ship you your toast 5-7 days a week.

                  Works for HelloFresh(ish), should work for toast.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @45RPM

                    Someone who thinks outside the box - excellent! We need such solutions for the upcoming climate catastrophe.

                    There is another solution - we just need to use a little bit of fossil fuels to toast the first piece of bread. In fact, we'll set just the corner on fire. Then, that piece of toast can be used to make another piece of toast, and in fact, as many pieces of toast as you want, for free!

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: @45RPM

                      I've got a rather large Fresnel lens (bought from Edmund Scientific in the late '60s). It will toast bread in a matter of seconds, using nothing but sunlight. Of course you lot in the UK would find that kind of option fairly useless most of the time ...

                  2. jake Silver badge

                    Re: @45RPM

                    I often toast my breakfast bread by doming it in the bread oven after baking the day's loaves. Seems to work, and beats firing up the 22,000 BTU salamander in the kitchen ...

                2. jake Silver badge

                  Re: @45RPM

                  "I should know better than to argue on the internet with people who think it's ok to put casual threats of violence into simple misunderstandings of fairly inconsequential things, but there we go."

                  I have seen no threats of any kind. What the fuck are you talking about?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @45RPM

                    I don't know why you're jumping to someone else's defence, but I was talking about this comment:

                    you should hold your hand directly above it for the entire duration of a toaster cycle.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: @45RPMeed you soal into a battery

            Feed you solar into a battery (preferably lithium iron phosphate), and then convert to AC from that. Only fools try to run high power equipment directly from solar panels.

            Besides, there is no need for all that tech to make toast. The Victorians had a little thing called a toasting fork. They work nicely. If you prefer, look up "camping toaster". It'll work over any source of enough heat, from your hob to a campfire to the exhaust pipe of a tractor.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM

          @werdsmith

          "Vacuums, for instance, are much better now since manufacturers were forced to adapt and innovate."

          Unfortunately not. Nowhere near the power required for the business owner I know who has gone through 3 low powered (given them away) because they are not capable of replacing his now broken yet actually did the job vacuum.

          "The problem with stuff like kettles though, is if you half the power available, then to do the same job you have to use the other thing that can't be restricted - time."

          Very true. Still about the same amount of energy so no saving.

          "If we had stuck with the old fashioned hoovers but with weaker motors, it would take much longer to clean up and the no power would be saved."

          I accept weaker motors could be a waste of energy if they used more power but the loss of actual suction ability due to these restrictions may possibly have some benefit to those who do a light vacuum but not those who need a powerful one.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: @45RPM

            @codejunky

            I was thinking about domestic hoovers where my new one makes light work of any job it faces.

            I agree it wouldn't last 5 minutes in a commercial role, but its suction run rings around any other domestic one I've owned and its form factor makes life easier and therefore takes a fraction of the time.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @45RPM

              @werdsmith

              "I was thinking about domestic hoovers where my new one makes light work of any job it faces."

              Understandable. And thats what the regulation seems to be thinking of but not accounting for a world outside the limited uses of the few who think about it. I wouldnt have thought about the problems caused by changing lighting rules yet thats the knock on effects of bad regulation. We only find out after the fact.

            2. tip pc Silver badge

              Re: @45RPM

              A few years back I bought a new head for our 2006 2kw+ Miele bagged suction cleaner. It started lifting the carpet up.

              I bought a fearless powerful bag less Miele that came with the same head I bought for the old machine. No more lifting of the carpet but it does clean well with the roller and flat heads, no where near the same power with the brush and flat heads though.

          2. Anonymous Coward
        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM

          "If it takes a kWh to do a job then it will, give or take, proportionally more time to do it with less Watts. You save nothing."

          In fact, you'll be worse off. Depending on the quality of the insulation it loses heat whilst it's above room temperature. During the elongated time to boil it will be losing moreheat which will take more energy to replace.

        4. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM

          "is if you half the power available, then to do the same job you have to use the other thing that can't be restricted - time."

          Yes. But in ecomomics, time has a value as well. And it's not the same for every one. So what you have built is a kettle for poor people.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: @45RPM

            "But in ecomomics, time has a value as well."

            Not according to the IRS ...

        5. jake Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM

          "Vacuums, for instance, are much better now since manufacturers were forced to adapt and innovate."

          I dunno ... Modern shopvvacs don't hold a candle to the one my Grandfather bought and installed in his woodshop (for dust collection) back in the '50s. I still use it. Likewise, the "whole-house" vacuum system in my parent's house in Palo Alto, installed as the house was built in '55, works far better than modern variations.

      2. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: @45RPM

        The green stuff really does work though. Wind works (fake news from the MAGA and Fox crowd notwithstanding), Solar works, tidal, hydro and geothermal work. We need to grow up. We need to be more power efficient, and we need to wean ourselves entirely off of fossil fuel.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @45RPM

          "The green stuff really does work though."

          To a point.

          "Wind works (fake news from the MAGA and Fox crowd notwithstanding),"

          Yes, it does work, but unlike a fossil fuel power station you can't predict exactly how well it'll work. Most wind-dependent grids need a lot of fossil fuel backup (mainly natural gas) so that if you get a combination of temperature extremes and no wind the lights don't go out. Gas plants are favoured as they can be spun up and down reasonably quickly

          "Solar works"

          While industrial level solar systems do seem to be pretty good your average UK domestic solar install is only there to rake in feed-in tariffs, rather than make any real difference

          "tidal, hydro and geothermal work."

          Tidal isn't really cost effective at the moment, even the largest current installs are pretty insignificant at a power grid level. Hydro is great if you've got the topography and space to build it (unfortunately the environmentalists have turned against it due to habitat loss) and geothermal only works if you've got the geology available to make the best use of it.

          "We need to grow up. We need to be more power efficient, and we need to wean ourselves entirely off of fossil fuel."

          Unfortunately the reason we use fossil fuels is that they're very, very good ways of storing energy. A 25ltr/5 gallon drum is enough energy to take a modern diesel car 250 miles, and unlike an electric car battery its light enough to be picked up by one person.

          1. 45RPM Silver badge

            Re: @45RPM

            If you have a mix, plus stored energy backup (lots of technology to choose from), plus more efficient devices then I think we’ll be able to rub along just fine without fossil fuels. Give it twenty years and I reckon fossil fuel will be largely a thing of the past. The problem is, we need to reach that happy state faster than twenty years.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @45RPM

              Ignoring the manufacturing energy cost of everything we import (which is basically everything we use, from solar panels to TVs), as well as industrial use, the UK uses 100 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year for domestic and transportation needs, with one "tonne of oil equivalent" containing around 11MWh. Assuming that all of that needs moving to "CO2 neutral" sources, we need something like 1000TWh of energy per year.

              Also assuming an avarage output of 5W/sqm, or 5MW/sq km, for solar (the reported value for a solar farm in Bavaria), you'd get 44GWh per year per sq km of solar. You'd only need to cover 1/10th of the UK in solar panels for this to work!

              Solar panels have an energy payback time of around 2 years, which means we can easily estimate how much power it would take to manufacture that 23,000 sq km of panels - it's just twice the total annual output, or 2,000TWh. I'm sure China will gladly burn the approx. 280 million tonnes of coal needed to manufacture that lot, it's only 0.2% of their reserves. Obviously, once we covered 1/10th of the UK in solar panels, we'd have to dedicate a fairly large amount of that energy output to manufacturing new solar panels, as they only last a decade or two.

              As my somewhat flippant back-of-the-envelope maths shows, "a nice mix of energy sources and reducing the standby power of our devices" does not even come close to a fraction of the scale of the problem.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: @45RPM

                "Solar panels have an energy payback time of around 2 years"

                But the entire system takes from 20 to 30 years to pay back. I've run the numbers. Solar basically pays for itself just in time to fall apart.

                Note that this is not necessarily a bad thing!

                Note also that this is for a smaller installation ... your home in California, where we have lots of sunlight, for example. Wiring up a small town (or larger) quickly becomes a logistical nightmare.

            2. Dave 15 Silver badge

              Re: @45RPM

              You can use these renewables as part of the process to create 'fuel from air' - both carbon engineering and beacon farms in the UK do this. Then the liquid fuel created has the same energy storage capability as fossil derived fuels, but is carbon neutral (the co2 you produce when burning was absorbed to create the fuel), doesnt require mass changes in transport or even power generation and represents a good way of storing the energy.... indeed store enough and we can remove all co2 from the air

              1. Geez Money

                Re: @45RPM

                Not sure why you're getting downvotes but carbon neutral synthetic fuel is a big emerging technology and definitely addresses an issue that nothing else does so have an upvote.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: @45RPM

                  It's an emerging technology, sure, but what it produces is hella-expensive, and will in no way affect the energy issue in my (or your) lifetime. Sure lures in the suckers investors, though.

                  Better to use alcohol production for vehicle fuel, and use the petroleum for more durable goods. (I have trucks running on both Ethanol and Methanol, both produced here at the ranch. The Government hates this, for obvious reasons, but what I am doing is legal).

              2. tip pc Silver badge

                Re: @45RPM

                “ You can use these renewables as part of the process to create 'fuel from air' - both carbon engineering and beacon farms in the UK do this. Then the liquid fuel created has the same energy storage capability as fossil derived fuels, but is carbon neutral (the co2 you produce when burning was absorbed to create the fuel), doesnt require mass changes in transport or even power generation and represents a good way of storing the energy.... indeed store enough and we can remove all co2 from the air”

                You realise that carbon from fossil fuels originated from the air millions of years ago?

                Also, if you removed all CO2 the lands wouldn’t have anything to help photosynthesis and would die.

                CO2 is literally plant food.

              3. jake Silver badge

                Re: @45RPM

                There is no such thing as a renewable energy source. Entropy says no. Using such a word indicates you have little scientific background, and probably don't understand the details of what you are talking about. See Al Gore, Greta, et alia.

            3. Geez Money

              Re: @45RPM

              Nothing that flies or has to travel long ranges can get by without fossil fuels at the moment, the most practical replacement is fuel cell technology that's only starting to mature and even that isn't as good. ex: By a conventional approximation of power required to lift a given mass of helicopter, one where every single component was also 100% battery in addition to its function would be able to hover something like 1-1.5 hours? That's using cutting edge batteries.

              In some application it's very, very important how much power density you can get.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: @45RPM

                "Nothing that flies or has to travel long ranges can get by without fossil fuels at the moment"

                I have a truck that just made an 800 mile round-trip, towing a trailer with three horses in it outbound. The truck runs on Ethanol that I made here at the Ranch. All other fluids in the truck are fully synthetic. No fossil fuels used at all (except probably in the plastics in the dash, under the hood/bonnet, etc.).

                1. runt row raggy

                  Re: @45RPM

                  synthetic oil is made from dinosaur squeezings.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: @45RPM

            Faux News changes it's tune as the advertising money changes. Most intelligent people ignore them.

            MAGA (Muppets Annoying Genuine Americans) are pretty much voiceless and out of the loop. Don't give them a platform and they will dry up like the pond scum that they are.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM

          @45RPM

          "The green stuff really does work though. Wind works"

          Not really. Wind wont work until there is some sort of energy storage that works. So far not going well. Its also expensive, polluting and highly destructive. The only time it seems to 'work' is when there is a storm.

          "Solar works"

          Actually I will half agree with you on that. In the right places yes but Spain fell heavily in debt for implementing a solar plant (too expensive to run) and god knows how many people in the UK have been scammed having these things attached (sometimes in the wrong direction) thinking they will pay for themselves only to find no hope.

          "hydro and geothermal work"

          That is true. But hydro gets the greens in a frenzy for the damage it will cause to the environment. That leaves geo.

          "We need to grow up."

          That I agree. In this MMCC co2 madness we had a huge insulation drive in the UK. I just read an amusing piece that the UK could suffer more heat related deaths over the decades due to climate change. So why the hell did we insulate our homes if we are gonna boil?

          If we were to grow up we would realise that we need electricity. Forget smart meters with kill switches, monuments to the wind god, mirrors to the sun god and however many doctored charts, stupid claims and daft adverts of drowning dogs and actually accept the requirement is to generate cheap reliable energy. If they want to swallow the MMCC co2 theory they can tax co2 a little (which would cost less than this costs us now) and let power stations be built.

          "We need to be more power efficient, and we need to wean ourselves entirely off of fossil fuel."

          Efficiency develops over time. Why we would want to wean entirely off fossil fuel I dont know. But how many times have the numpty's from around the world flown to their meetings to claim we have x days to save the world? Made me laugh back when Brown was claiming that and it started under Blair.

          1. Mr. Flibble

            Re: @45RPM

            "So why the hell did we insulate our homes if we are gonna boil"

            Good insulation works both ways....

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @45RPM

              @Mr. Flibble

              "Good insulation works both ways...."

              Unfortunately in the UK there is a good amount of bad insulation jobs making the houses little use beyond fungus habitat. Instead maybe we will just get a good market for AC units.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: @45RPM

                A well insulated and sealed house requires proper equipment for heating/cooling, ventilating, and humidity control. None of these are exactly rocket surgery ... but I can understand why "getting a little man in" who understands these things might be an issue in the UK.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: @45RPM

                  @jake

                  "but I can understand why "getting a little man in" who understands these things might be an issue in the UK."

                  Unfortunately there were a lot of cowboys around and it didnt go well (older houses apparently suffering most).

          2. tip pc Silver badge

            Re: @45RPM

            In the early 90’s I was told we’d run out of fossil fuels by now.

            Considering how frequently hydrocarbons are found in the solar system / universe I wonder how much of the hydro carbons we consume are from deceased life on earth. Ironically if fossil fuels where actually from naturally occurring hydrocarbons then there would be a stronger argument for not releasing that carbon.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: @45RPM

              "In the early 90’s I was told we’d run out of fossil fuels by now."

              They were saying we'd be out by the year 2000 back in the '60s.

              For the rest of your comment, get thee to a library. Do some research.

              1. tip pc Silver badge

                Re: @45RPM

                While your on your way to the library have a search on Google and educate yourself on what a hydrocarbon is and how prevalent they are in just our solar system,

                An example from space.com for you

                https://www.space.com/4968-titan-oil-earth.html

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: @45RPM

                  While you're wasting your mind listening to whatever alphagoo decides is TRVTH today, perhaps ask yourself why all of our earth-bound fossil fuels contain all kinds of traces of organic life, and there are no "pure" organic deposits here on Earth, whereas none of the extra terrestrial hydrocarbons seem to have any trace chemicals signifying life (as we know it), and all seem to be relatively pure.

                  1. tip pc Silver badge

                    Re: @45RPM

                    Finding uncontaminated hydrocarbons here on earth would be tricky indeed.

                    We started by discussing that popular concepts described that sources of earth hydrocarbons should have ran out by now. Kind of shows that when it comes to hydrocarbons things that where a sure bet actually aren’t.

                    The established concept is that current hydrocarbons come from deceased animal remains.

                    Experiments have shown saturated hydrocarbons can be formed in the earths crust

                    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090726150843.htm

                    https://phys.org/news/2011-04-hydrocarbons-deep-earth.html

                    The research was lead by insignificant US institutions so likely has no merit.

                    I do struggle the concept that dinosaurs on masse descended into common pits to die, where somehow covered and over millions of years their common remains formed crude oil to be found by us 5 to 10 miles below our now surface.

                    I can get behind the same concept happening to trillions of tiny sea creatures dying en masse creating a layer many feet deep that gets buried by additional layers. The ocean floor must have been far deeper back then.

                    My prediction is that more noise will be made that actually more of our “fossil fuels” are actually from synthesis by the earth than by dead ancient creatures.

        3. osmarks

          Re: @45RPM

          Nuclear is the best solution, given its high energy density, lack of need for batteries or anything like that, and basically-renewableness. Unfortunately, people are idiots about it and for whatever reason the costs keep going up.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @45RPM

            Nuclear is the only thing even close to allowing us to continue something like our Western lifestyles in a CO2-neutral (ish) way. And if we did that, we wouldn't have to bother with expensive solar panels and the like.

            But no. Apparently the solution to global warming is to purchase endless amounts of semiconductor-laden goods.

        4. Dave 15 Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM

          None of them work... all fail under some conditions. Germany increased its total CO2 output pretty much in line with its installation of renewables (and considerably hiked the price of electricity).

          However the worst is transport. 'Oh lets use renewables to charge batteries and power ourselves with that'.

          News flash... Rolls Royce are trying to build an electric plane to take a couple of passengers 100 miles... cross the Atlantic with a 747s load like that... not going to work too well is ut?

          But Tesla can drive 300 miles on a charge.... but my holiday therefore requires me to stop and idle away for half an hour (if I am lucky enough to find a charger) at an awful and expensive motorway services.

          How many batteries for that container ship from China?

          Not to mention the scrapping of billions of tons of existing transport and the building of millions of harging points, the installation of millions of miles of cable and what the hell do the Africans who cant run a fridge on the unreliable energy manage to do?

          Fortunately there IS a way... fuel from air (carbon engineering are a company already doing this) which allows us to be carbon neutral without changing anything!

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: @45RPM

            News flash... Rolls Royce are trying to build an electric plane to take a couple of passengers 100 miles... cross the Atlantic with a 747s load like that... not going to work too well is ut?

            I don't think RR intend this to be a commercial product.

            But this is a first step. The process of getting something working and then learning from it, developing and improving it. Applies to all EVs at the moment. There are EV cars now appearing that are way better than just 10 years ago. Need to take a first step, see what works and what needs to be improved. If we just listen to the whingers and do nothing, where would be be?

            1. Geez Money

              Re: @45RPM

              What exactly is the next step? The limitations in all electric aircraft designs are the same: battery technology isn't there yet. Unless RR plans to increase the energy density of batteries approximately 10x in the next few years there's nothing for them to innovate or prove here. We know electric stuff can fly, you can hardly go to a park without seeing evidence of that today, it just can't fly for very long and it can't carry much outside its batteries.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @45RPM

          "We need to be more power efficient,"

          This is the crux: Everyone can agree on efficiency and cost saving. No mattet if you're an enviroMentalist or some flat-earth-anti-science thinker. Saving money is saving money. Something we can all unite around!

        6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM

          You omit to mention nuclear power. For the whole of my long adult life we've been shoving far more fossil fuels up power station chimneys than need be, not because their were adequate available renewables to replace it for most of that time but because of opposition to nuclear put us far behind the curve, both in terms of supply and of technology development.

          1. Geez Money

            Re: @45RPM

            This is one of the great ironies of global warming that nobody talks about, it's a problem created by environmentalists in the 60s and 70s. Had they not shut down nuclear plants based on nothing our ability to generate power and our need to consume it would have grown together, instead they demanded we re-enter the 1930s and stay put, so we did. These are the consequences.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: @45RPM

            Renewables aren't. Entropy says no.

            However, you are quite correct: The Hippies probably fucked up the entire planet permanently with their leading the charge against nuclear power.

        7. jake Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM

          Wind is a no-go. It costs too much, is an eyesore,, and the greens hate it.

          Tidal slows the planet's rotation down, and changes the moon's orbit. It's not sustainable. (Remember, there is no such thing as "renewable energy", entropy says no.)

          Hydro works in places where it's possible ... if the greenaholics allow it. Which is unlikely to happen in North America on any large scale, ever again.

          Geothermal is VERY location dependent if you want a positive TCO.

          Solar is FINALLY a viable solution ... if you are willing to make an investment that just about pays for itself just as the equipment is wearing out to the point of needing replacement. Think of it as (roughly) paying your entire electricity bill in one lump sum for the next 30ish years worth of power (plus a bit for a new battery halfway through). Note that it only works for small estates ... for larger installations it quickly becomes too complex, and a maintenance nightmare.

          The only viable, long-term, mass-production option we have for energy is nuclear.

    4. jason_derp Silver badge

      "Failure to limit consumption in all areas will quite literally bring about the end of a human habitable world."

      People need to stop saying that like it's a bad thing!

    5. Mr. Skeezix

      I find your faith in the man-made god of science disturbing

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for some "creative selling" I think

    "Hi, I'd like to order one of your Dell EnviroDisater 2000s please..."

    "Certainly! Where would you like it sent?"

    "California, land of the heathen please!"

    "Ah, we can't sell you one of those sorry, however we can sell you our EnviroDisaster 2000 Western States Component kit. It comes with everything the regular EnivroDisaster 2000 comes with, but it requires some self-assembly."

    "How much self assembly?"

    "Well we ship all the components in a container that's very, very similar to the EnviroDisaster 2000 case and shipping box, but you have to plug the PSU to Motherboard plug in yourself"

    "Why?"

    "Well its not a computer if it won't boot, so we can sell it to you!"

    "Great! How much?"

    "Only $150 more than the standard device"

    1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Re: Time for some "creative selling" I think

      I know you're joking, but GM got around gas guzzler tax on some Corvettes (for a few years, before they updated the V8 and roughly doubled the fuel efficiency -- a V8 getting 35MPG? Yes.) by shipping them with this "skip shift" thing, you had a 5-speed transmission (maybe 6-speed, but given how long ago possibly 5), but it would force shifting from 1st to 3rd (mechanically locking out 2nd gear) under several conditions -- unless you bought a $5 option that was a resistor they plugged in to disable skip-shift, or just bought your own resistor and plugged it in.

      Dell probably literally could just sell the computer not fully assembled, if they could trust their customers to actually plug the PSU into the motherboard.

      1. Geez Money

        Re: Time for some "creative selling" I think

        Honestly not a bad idea.

        Dell's enterprise kit all has hot swap power supplies that you can just shove in and they work. Nothing to wire. Wouldn't even be surprised if they redesign the next gen Alienware to use those and just ship it separately.

  13. Alf Garnett

    This is another sign that California is going down the toilet. Instead of building more power plants, they're trying to reduce demand. This may work for a while, but eventually they'll get to the point that there won't be enough electricity to go around no matter how much consumption is restricted. Try to build a dam there and some environmental extremist group tied up the proposal in the courts for decades. Try to build a nuclear plant and they bitch and moan about that. Try to build a power plant that uses concentrated sunlight to boil water and they'll piss and moan about the stupid bird that flies too close to the focal point and cooks itself. Build windmills and they gripe about the birds that fly into them and get chopped up.

    All these proposals will do is make the computers more expensive. People who can afford them will get them. All someone needs is a friend or relative out of state who will cooperate. John in L.A. has it shipped to his mom and dad who already escaped California and live in Phoenix. They either ship it to him, bring it to him if they visit or he goes there. Someone living close enough to the state line will have it shipped to someplace out of state then drive there to get it.

    The shady black marketeer who used to sell drugs will start selling computers and Dr. Seuss books.

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      To be fair, California does have this little thing running through it called the San Andreas Fault.

      So I can understand why they are reluctant to have nuclear power plants built within California itself.

      This would not be a problem if neighboring states without earthquake issues were not also afflicted with anti-nuclear hysteria. Federal intervention is what is required to keep America's economy and national defence running smoothly while halting carbon emissions.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Here's a shocker: California is a big place. There are plenty of places nuclear plants could be built in California which would not be subject to major earthquake damage. Rancho Seco comes to mind.

        The real reason is the ex-hippie greenaholics running the place are irrationally anti-nuke.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Instead of building more power plants, they're trying to reduce demand. "

      Too young to remember the real cause of an actual California power crisis back in '00/'01 ?

      1. Geez Money

        As I recall it was the red tape he's talking about that most people pointed to. What exactly are you claiming?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          A totally free, unfettered and unregulated market. + Enron = MASSIVE FRAUD/FAIL ?

          1. jake Silver badge

            I think you mean "A totally free, unfettered and unregulated market lead to Enron which was a MASSIVE FRAUD, almost from inception."

            IMO, the current crop of energy companies here in California are just as bad, but at a lower dollar value and thus managing to stay under the public's radar. If the public ever wakes up, the State PUC will really have it's hands full. Again.

    3. Geez Money

      "All someone needs is a friend or relative out of state who will cooperate. John in L.A. has it shipped to his mom and dad who already escaped California and live in Phoenix. They either ship it to him, bring it to him if they visit or he goes there. Someone living close enough to the state line will have it shipped to someplace out of state then drive there to get it."

      It's actually a solved problem even easier than this. The internet is full of reship services that do nothing but receive packages and reship them to places the original seller wouldn't ship to.

  14. chivo243 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    All arguments aside

    If you can pay your electricity bill, why is Big Bother interfering?

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: All arguments aside

      Because the free market does not have a way to monetize externalities. Government intervention is necessary, therefore, whenever externalities exist.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: All arguments aside

      Because the greenaholics are afraid that someone, somewhere, is having fun. Can't have that, now can we?

  15. Potemkine! Silver badge

    the total energy consumption by general-purpose computing continues to grow exponentially and is doubling approximately every three years

    That's impressive, and totally unsustainable, unless we got fusion-based reactors in the next years and we started to build a lot of them right now.

    Of course there must be regulations to reduce energy consumption. The only other alternative is a sharp rise of electricity price, making energy (even more) available only to the ones who can afford it.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @Potemkine!

      "Of course there must be regulations to reduce energy consumption. The only other alternative is a sharp rise of electricity price, making energy (even more) available only to the ones who can afford it."

      A price rise being the only way to truly address the problem. Regulation will just make everyone poorer and short of electricity. The solution comes from better source or more efficient use which comes from prices. Green regs is making energy more expensive and harder to generate, which of course leads to higher prices. Regulate the other end too and all that is left is a power shortage.

      1. Rentard

        Re: @Potemkine!

        There is nothing greener or cheaper than nuclear energy. That's why the left keeps banning it. Can't have cheap power eh?

        1. Geez Money

          Re: @Potemkine!

          "That's why the left keeps banning it. Can't have cheap power eh?" Fact is in this case (and virtually all social causes, left and right) that solving the problem would prevent them from campaigning on solving the problem. This is why both left and right love to pass laws that look superficially like they solve an issue but actually are carefully designed to make it worse.

  16. quartzie

    Crypto Currency impact coolly ignored

    It seems to me that in all this green push, they willfully ignore the growing impact of crypto currencies and the newest bitchain abomination - NFT.

    Since the tech industry considers Crypto "cool", it doesn't matter that it consumes enormous amounts of power for 0 real value.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thinking outside the box

    What Dell needs to do is hire some consultants from the California firearms industry to think "around" this problem. Those guys are used to figuring out how to barely comply with the letter of the law, while still giving users what they want. Google "bullet button" to see what I mean. There are some clever, clever people out there. Sadly, none of them work for Dell anymore.

  18. Boothy Silver badge

    The R10 - Avoid it according to Gamers Nexus

    Gamers Nexus on Youtube recently reviewed the R10 pre-built, in a video titled "Hilariously Bad Alienware R10 Ryzen PC"

    The tagline was "Dell has led the way in our latest prebuilt testing: The company has continually set new bars in prebuilt quality. For Dell, no bar is too low. The Alienware R10 takes us to new depths.", so you can guess where this is going.

    They did a full tear down, lots of issues.

    Very poor case design, very little airflow, some people saying they've drilled holes in the case to let more air through.

    The cooler, despite having a water drop icon with the text 'CPU' on the case, therefore implying it was water cooled, was actually what looks a budget Intel air cooler (tiny thing, something you'd use in a low core count budget build), fitted in a custom manner to an 8 core Ryzen chip, and was not good enough to cool the CPU, especially in the poor airflow case.

    The CPU ran at over 92c under load, with out of the box settings. causing thermal throttling. You can't even replace the cooler easily, as it's a custom setup, and the case is very cramped inside (despite being huge on the outside). As a test. GN opened the case, and just had a fan blowing air into the case, no change to the CPU cooler, and tempts dropped to 76c!

    Their final conclusion: Utterly Incompetent

    1. Robert 22

      Re: The R10 - Avoid it according to Gamers Nexus

      If the system is throttling under load, you are not getting the processing power you paid fo.

      I'll add that with proper cooling, one could probably save a significant amount of power by undervolting the CPU.

      1. Boothy Silver badge

        Re: The R10 - Avoid it according to Gamers Nexus

        Not sure if undervolting is an option on the R10, as apparently the BIOS doesn't include any of the standard CPU settings that AMD provide.

        For example, if you enable overclocking in the R10 BIOS, which typically also enables other advance settings for the CPU, the only new option available to the user is XMP for the memory. Nothing at all for the CPU itself!

        You might be able to do it in say Ryzen Master, but that then means you're running additional software to do the tweaking, and in general it's better to do the changes in BIOS rather than software (to avoid bloatware/slow startup etc).

    2. Geez Money

      Re: The R10 - Avoid it according to Gamers Nexus

      Yeah basically the only good parts in there are the CPU itself and the power supply. Even the GPU is garbage because of the garbage card it's on, and Dell's consumer case designs are just a random mishmash of parts from their actually thought out enterprise designs so no surprise to anyone on the airflow mess I would hope.

      If you've ever torn any consumer Dell apart nothing Steve says should be surprising (they're all more or less the same with the same issues) but it's good he's getting it out there more. I really appreciate the effort he and Linus are going through to do more pre-built reviews. They're a huge market and unlike the DIY market there's basically no consumer guidance available at all unless you "know a techie".

  19. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Efficiency?dre

    Efficiency is about the energy conversion to something useful, not about the energy consumed. Same for washing machines, cookers, fridges, vacuum cleaners etc. IF my 5kw vacuum manages to get dirt off the floor and your 1kw doesnt then I would say mine is efficient and yours a waste of energy.

    If my cooker cooks and yours leaves me with lukewarm food and food poisoning then mine is more efficient even if it takes a shed load more power.

    If my computer gets the work done in half the time using twice the power it is just as efficient providing that it is off when not in use.

    Its about time that politicians stopped trying to think and started trying to ask, they are no damned good at thinking that is for certain - highly inefficient.

    For computers they also need to tackle the software and software engineers. Try putting C++ through clang and see it force you away from using arrays and pointers to using classes that try and avoid a newbies mistakes but cost many times as many processor instructions to achieve it - meaning the software will be slower, require more power and negatively affects the efficiency of the over all machine.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Efficiency?dre

      "If my computer gets the work done in half the time using twice the power it is just as efficient providing that it is off when not in use."

      What if that work is shoving more frames of raytraced rendering into 1 second so a bedroom nurd can feel he is actually in a firefight?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Efficiency?dre

        What if?

        Not my cuppa tea, but at least it keeps 'em off the streets at night.

    2. Nunyabiznes

      Re: Efficiency?dre

      I came here to comment on software efficiency. We could use a lot less hardware if software was written better on average.

      Of course, some of this is market pressure to provide more "bling" in everything also. Why do I need glitzy crap on a page when I'm looking for a list of parts? <Insert your example here> Because someone in marketing did research and found most punters want more glitzy crap. Form over function by demand.

      1. Geez Money

        Re: Efficiency?dre

        There is enormous pressure on software developers even at the major tech companies to solve problems in the fastest to write way. Basically dev time is worth so much more than electricity or data centre space that the request is always to just get it out the door no matter how shitty it runs. Nobody wants to write garbage that they know is garbage, but it's often that or find a new job where you'll be asked to do the exact same thing.

  20. Rentard

    These legislators are nuts.

    They could have saved more power and production resources by banning cryptocurrency, without hurting users.

    (Most crypto isn't owned by legitimate individuals but corpos, and power thieves)

    1. Geez Money

      If leave crypto alone and just ban NFTs specifically you'd probably already save more power than this legislation will. And literally nobody will fight you on banning NFTs, they're beyond stupid and pointless and generating one takes something like as much carbon as most people emit in a year.

  21. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Now if only ...

    ... manufacturers would stop shipping cars to California. Or any of thousands of products that they claim causes cancer in lab rats.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Now if only ...

      If they stop selling cars in California, your cost will rise with the decrease in per-unit profits.

  22. GotThumbs
    Facepalm

    Simple solution/work around.

    Build your own or have a friend build it for you if you can't.

    How many videos/guides about building a custom computer are there on the web?

    Californian Liberal Politicians have such little Common Sense, that they don't consider how easy some work-arounds are to their 'rules' will be.

    What I find amusing is that people who are specifically wanting to buy those 'high-end' systems, will simply work with a family member/friend who lives in a different state to have it shipped there first.

    Nothing prevents someone acting as an intermediary between Dell and the buyer.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Simple solution/work around.

      I think you mistyped. Shirly you meant "Politicians world wide have such little Common Sense, that they don't consider how easy some work-arounds are to their 'rules' are."

      But even then, they know full-well. They only put the rules in place to ensure the voters who put them into power actually vote to keep them in power. They are catering to the Lowest Common Denominator. There isn't much an individual intelligent voter can do to battle the mindlessness of great unwashed, regardless of the country or state you live in.

  23. Jim-234

    So soon, owning your own high performance personal computer will be the mark of some kind of dangerous underground freedom loving rebel.

    I guess for everybody else, they can just have systems that can't hardly do anything and have to connect to some corporate owned server somewhere that does all the backend processing but it's all good as long as the corporations are the ones using up all the energy and not the citizens.

    Classic example of trying to ration pie to people instead of getting back in the kitchen and making as much pie as everybody wants.

    If it wasn't all about politics, you could make plenty of power so there is no shortages, in a way that doesn't pollute the planet.

  24. 502 bad gateway
    Childcatcher

    Doing my bit for the planet

    Having recently assembled a new PC, previous one was getting on to 5 years old, I can fully understand California’s issue with the power consumption of mid to high end gaming machines (GPU’s being the chief culprit). Fortunately for me only low end, low power GPU models were available (for sensible money) which helped me do my bit for the environment by making the right choice ;)

  25. VEGGIM

    I think this could affect arcade machines. Some of them consume up to 400-600w for the old ones. Some up to 1200w

    1. Geez Money

      Only if they're newly manufactured. Anything made before some date (some time in 2019 I think?) is grandfathered.

  26. John Savard Silver badge

    Problem Not Real

    There is one thing wrong with the graph shown in that article. It shows future world energy production as flat.

    In fact, one can expect that it will be exponentially increasing in the same manner as the power consumed by computers.

    After all, it's not as if burning fossil fuels is the only way we can generate electricity. It's true that there are limits to how much power can be produced by hydroelectricity, geothermally, or by wind farms or solar panels. But if we use nuclear power, in an efficient manner so that not only scarce U-235, but also common isotopes such as U-238 and Th-232, are consumed as fuel, we can have all the energy we want until alternative abundant sources, such as solar power satellites or fusion power are developed.

  27. John Savard Silver badge

    AMD Advantage?

    Currently, Intel's 11th-gen desktop parts are still built on a 14nm process. That is less energy efficient than the 7nm process used for AMD's Ryzen chips. And, for that matter, AMD Radeon video cards are also on a TSMC 7nm process, while Nvidia's are on a Samsung 8nm process, although here the difference in energy consumption is likely slight.

    Could that mean that larger AMD-based systems would be allowed into California compared to Intel-based systems?

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Terminator

    Precluding The Rise Of The Machines?

    180 comments at time of posting and no one has realised that California et al are at the forefront of defeating The Rise Of The Machines before it even gets started!

    If compute power is restricted, how can true AI ever work at anything even close to human brain speeds? At best, we might get AI robot snails which can easily be defeated :-)

  30. Gerlad Dreisewerd

    So how much carbon was consumed writing these reams of regulation?

    Maybe it's time to decarbonize government by reducing the size of government and reducing the amount of new regulations they're allowed to excrete annually. Maybe we need a requirement that two existing regulations must be voided to impose a new one.

  31. aerogems

    Good

    At least in some ways, I think this is a good thing. For far too long gaming has become little more than an exercise in slapping pretty graphics onto an otherwise steaming turd of a game. It costs tens, even hundreds, of millions to produce a single AAA game, most of which is spent on the art assets leaving very little left over for the actual... you know... game part of the game.

    So maybe if game developers can't count on PCs getting progressively faster to compensate for the higher resolution textures, they'll be forced to spend more of the budget on the actual game. And maybe, if we're extremely lucky, they'll take some of the budget from each game and use it to fund new IP. Not just another generic shooter that doesn't advance the genre past what Wolfeinstein 3D did back in the early 90s, or a carbon copy of the last installment with only a few minor tweaks (a la FIFA, Madden, Assassin's Creed, etc) that could have easily just been a DLC pack.

  32. chauhan

    What about energy-hungry tech in huge cloud data centres?

    Limit that. Cap energy consumption per unit user time.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why don't they just take a steamroller to the crypto-miners and leave he rest of us alone?

  34. T0Y

    On Dell's website there are regulation compliant models available. People can still setup with AMD 5950x with NVIDIA RTX 3090. So exactly what are the differences between the compliant and non-compliant models? I chatted with a Dell representative online and the answer was the power supply. However knowing some laptop are configured to cap the power consumption of the display card to save battery life, I'm not too sure if the same can apply to the gaming desktops.

    I wish someone can order both compliant and non-compliant models with the same setup and run the benchmark tests to tell the difference.

    It's good for the environment if we can save energy without sacrificing performance. If not it makes no sense to spends thousands on a performance capped machine.

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