While the world oohs and ahhs to tiny laptops and green benchmarks, there is a sort of blind eye turned to the excesses of extreme gamers. This interesting article points out that as everyone else is going lighter, smaller, and more efficient, video cards are getting bigger, guzzling power, and even multiplying themselves.
A cutting edge card will draw nearly 300W at maximum, which is what we were running our entire computers on a couple years ago. Certainly performance has increased more than proportionally, but if extreme gamers are buying 1000W power supplies for their rigs, there’s something crazy going on. While hardly anyone in the world is running quad-SLI Radeon 4870s, the increasing necessity for a separate video card is driving up total power costs all the way down to the budget sector. It’s not quite “burning the rainforest” bad but as we work as a culture to reduce our energy footprint, this might be a good place to start.