Microsoft is investigating additional Xbox Series X power-saving modes that may affect console performance. Soon you’ll be able to choose to lower your in-game resolutions and frame rates to save on your energy bill.
Microsoft has sent Xbox Series X|S owners enrolled in the Xbox Insider Program a questionnaire asking the console’s player base about their energy usage. The list of ‘power saving features’ of questions asks for detailed information about improvements and additions to the Xbox Series X power saving modes, as reported by Windows Central (opens in new tab).
Microsoft asked whether the respondent is concerned about their energy bills while gaming for a long time, and whether they would adjust the hardware settings to mitigate these problems. The company has suggested making adjustments such as “changing the resolution, frame rate, visual effects or GPU.”
The hardware manufacturer is also considering automating features such as resolution and frame rate when the game is left idle to save on power consumption. However, the questionnaire shows that Microsoft has also considered the negative effects of performance degradation. While we’ve been discussing power-saving Xbox Series X updates for the past few months, it was related to lower standby wattage, not for active gameplay sessions.
One of the suggested questions asks for an answer to this statement: “I am concerned that enabling power-saving features may negatively affect my gameplay experience”. It hasn’t been outlined by Microsoft as to whether or not these features would be implemented in a future software update, but the company has considered options here, whether that means moving from dynamic 4K to lower resolutions like 1440p or 1080p and the maximum FPS capped remains to be seen.
How much money can the Xbox Series X power-saving modes save?
The Xbox Series X is quoted (opens in new tab) such as using 153W of power during active gameplay. If we take recent averages of electricity costs (opens in new tab) If you take that into account, you’ll spend about 2.26 cents/ph (with the console running at full speed). In the UK, however, those rates rise to 5.20 pence/ph. As the average (opens in new tab) Xbox Series X users played on their consoles for two hours every day for a week, that’s a total of 31.64 cents in the US and 72.83 pence in the UK. The console consumes 0.5W in standby mode, which is significantly more energy efficient than the 13W in sleep mode.
A power-saving mode that relieves the console’s RDNA 2 GPU could significantly reduce wattage per hour. The AMD graphics powering the Xbox Series X, a custom Scarlett processor, is technically capable of delivering up to 200W TDP on a 320-bit memory bus. Undervolting is certainly possible with this hardware, where less power means lower performance, as graphics cards using the hardware can do, especially in the best gaming laptops. As for how much this will affect game performance, that remains to be seen when this update comes to fruition.
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