Gaming is already an expensive hobby, and with prices always on the rise, you’re probably trying to save as much money as you can, especially on your electric bill. Answering how many watts does a gaming monitor use has quite a few variables to consider.
You’ll want to factor in the manufacturer’s skill in energy efficiency, the display panel type, and even how active or idle the screen is to get close to an accurate reading!
While we know that is a lot to do, we’ve spent years working with monitors (including CRTs) and have plenty of information to share to ease the hurdle of knowing how much energy your display uses.
How Many Watts Does a Gaming Monitor Use?
How You Can Confirm the Power Consumption of Your Gaming Monitor
So, we know the expected average, but how the heck would you be able to reliably know how much power your gaming monitor is actually consuming? We have two ways to validate, which include reading up on the make and model of your display or using some affordable hardware to measure wattage.
Starting with the manufacturer route. If you know the model of your display off-hand, performing a search for the model number with the words power consumption should return an answer for your particular brand.
For example, we were really interested in upgrading one of our screens and researched the LG UltraGear 27-inch display. To look up how much power it consumes, though, we entered LG 27GP850-B power consumption, which provided a number of results.
Truth time. Did you know that a large percentage of brand-new electronics leave the warehouse with some kind of defect? For example, every hard drive that comes off the line and then sold to consumers has a percentage of bad sectors but still operates as normal.
We wanted to give this PSA as while a manufacturer may specify a certain wattage, it’s possible your gaming monitor is drawing more than it was designed to. That’s why if you really want to confirm what your monitor is doing, we recommend two hardware validation options:
- Check your power meter outside
- Purchase a digital electricity monitor
So, one of our writers lives in a very hot part of the world. As such, their air conditioner is always running, and it’s near impossible to figure out an individual device’s cost from the power meter outside. However, if you’re confident in the wattage that your other plugged-in devices are consuming, you can do some math to figure out how much your monitor is using.
Now, the easier way (which we would highly recommend) is to purchase a digital electricity monitor. These are typically less than $20 US dollars and work as a “pass-through” between your monitor’s power cord and the power outlet.
On the models we’ve used, as you leave your gaming monitor on, it will count how many watts are being drawn at any time. Some will even give a readout of KWh, so you don’t have to do any guesswork.
If using a monitor, we recommend having the display plugged in but idle for an hour and then check how much power is consumed. This will be your base power consumption. Then play a graphically intensive game on your gaming monitor for an hour and check once it’s done. This should be your high point.
That’s it! You can see why we really like the monitors over following a manufacturer’s expected performance or trying to read the meter outside. If your device is drawing more than you’d like, though, it may be time to look for a more energy-efficient gaming monitor.
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Energy Efficient Gaming Monitors – What to Know About LCD, LED, and Energy Star
So, you bought a gaming monitor to play games on, right? So the monitor sitting at its lowest power state for a long time is just not going to happen. However, picking a gaming monitor that has a lower energy consumption at its peak can save your wallet some grief in the long run.
Before we dive into how to find an energy-efficient monitor, let’s discuss what causes gaming monitors to reach their highest points of energy consumption. Your graphics card provides pixel data to your monitor, so it knows what to light up, with what color, and when to do it. As such, anything that is more graphically intensive (taxing on the GPU) will directly influence how much power your monitor is drawing.
So, for example, if you play a lot of games that have ray tracing or strong HDR effects, your screen is being asked to process far more than a blank word document would take. This additional processing requires more power to be consumed. Oh, screen brightness also directly affects power usage.
So, with that out of the way, let’s discuss LCD versus LED.
LCD gaming monitors consume more power than LED gaming monitors on average. This is due to how their backlight works. OLED, on the other hand, consumes even less than both but currently still has a lofty price tag.
So, knowing LED gaming monitors are better for energy, the next consideration should be–Does it have the energy star certification? When looking at gaming monitors and power consumption, seeing this sticker is a good sign–It means the device is that much more energy efficient!
Once you find a gaming monitor that meets your requirements while boasting a lower wattage per hour, you’re well on your way to lowering your monthly costs. Of course, not everyone can go out and buy a brand new monitor, so we also have tips for how to lower your consumption with your current display.
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Tips to Lower Energy Consumption on Your Gaming Monitor
This may be our favorite section as we just love providing tips on how to work with what you already have. Here’s a breakdown of our best advice to lower energy consumption:
- Adjust the brightness/settings of your display
- Turn off HDR and other unnecessary graphical effects in the game
- Limit your frame rate
- Turn off your setup when you’re done gaming for the day
Let’s start with the easy one. Lower your brightness to an acceptable level. Be sure to adjust your room lighting as well, and you’ll notice a modest decrease in consumption. Most monitors are also equipped with an eco-friendly (energy efficient) profile. While we’re not fans of this setting, as it can cause other odd behavior (such as the screen turning off or dimming randomly), it can be used to lower energy use.
The next useful thing is to adjust your in-game settings. Sure, it looks better with HDR, ray tracing, and blooms but does it actually add much to the game? By tweaking your settings a bit, the load on the GPU will go down (lowering the energy consumption there), and the processing needed for the monitor will also decrease.
Third, limit your frame rate! The human eye can notice frame rate differences above 60 FPS, but not many do. If you are one of the many that can’t really tell the difference between 60 and 144 FPS, or if you’re not playing competitively, cap your frame rate so the screen doesn’t have to refresh as often. This will lower its energy use as well.
Finally, turn your gear off when you’re done. If you’re looking to save electricity, shutting down your whole system and then flipping off your surge protector (you have one, right?) will immediately lower its consumption. This is a great way to save money while you’re away from your station, as your computer and monitor’s idle power states won’t drive up your bill.
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Thanks for joining us on our adventure through gaming monitor power consumption. Remember that most monitors pull between 40 to 70 watts an hour, and you can confirm this consumption using the manufacturer’s site, checking your power meter outside, or using an affordable electricity monitor.
If you’re looking to lower your consumption, purchasing an LED Energy star monitor will be your best bet, but you can also adjust the brightness of your screen, cap your frame rate, and of course, just turn everything off.
We really hope you found this helpful. If you did, be sure to share this with your friend on social media. If you have other additional questions, feel free to use the comment section below, and we’ll be more than happy to help you out. We love hearing from you!