A new specification for obtaining an Energy Star label on PCs is set to be released for the first time in fifteen years. As is, more than 90% of PCs qualify for the designation, but the new spec is designed to recognize only the top 25% of the industry and targets two specific areas: the efficiency of the power supply and how much power is used in idle mode. In order to qualify for the Energy Star rating, a power supply must convert 80% of incoming electricity into PC-usable energy, whereas a typical mainstream power supply these days is about 70% efficient. Additionally, a basic PC must consume less than 50W in idle mode, while "PCs with multicore processors and powerful graphics processors get more leeway."
The voluntary program stands to make a big impact on consumers, with the public becoming more and more conscious of energy efficiency and some saying "PC" stands for "power consumption."
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