Dell Won't Ship Certain Gaming PCs To States Like California Due To Energy Regulations

Computer manufacturers like Dell are running into regulatory restrictions preventing them from shipping power-hungry gaming rigs to a handful of states.

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Due to regulations that recently went into effect, Dell won't ship some of its power-hungry gaming PCs to certain states because of how much energy they require.

According to the company's website via The Register, PCs like the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 Gaming Desktop won't ship to California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington because state standards won't allow them.

"This product cannot be shipped to the states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont or Washington due to power consumption regulations adopted by those states," the site states before customization. "Any orders placed that are bound for those states will be canceled."

California is of particular note, as it was the first to approve energy efficiency limits for computers in December 2016. Though the standards didn't take effect until January 1, 2019, PCs built between then and July 1, 2021 must use no more than 50/80/100 kWh per year for expandability scores (ES) of less than 250, 251-425, and 426-690, respectively. This period marks Tier I requirements. Anything assembled after July 1, 2021 must follow Tier II restrictions: consume no more than 50/60/75 kWh per year for the same ES scores. According to its product description, the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 idles at 66.29 watts and uses 563.01 watts when stressed.

The expandability score comprises of four non-active usage modes: short-idle, long-idle, sleep, and off-modes. The score is also based on the number and types of interfaces, as well as additional power requirements from add-ons like graphics cards, high-bandwidth system memory, and the like.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy nonprofit, projected in December 2016 that the new California standards would save "more than 2.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year--equivalent to annual electricity use by all the homes in San Francisco--and avoid 730,000 tons a year of climate-disrupting carbon pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants." Other states have since adopted similar standards.

In a statement to The Register, Dell confirmed that the Alienware Aurora R10 and R12 were the "only impacted systems across Dell and Alienware."

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

It's unclear if these regulations in the six aforementioned states with affect other PC manufacturers. Acer told The Register that it was looking into the situation, while HP reportedly did not respond to a request for comment.

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