The impact of a Gaming PC
There are a million reasons to buy your next gaming PC from a boutique builder, not the least of which is supporting small businesses and fellow gamers. One of the less obvious benefits of buying from boutique builders is reducing your carbon footprint.
In some ways, factory-built gaming PCs and those sold by boutique builders have exactly the same environmental impact. Both use the same parts that are made of the same materials, and both consume the same amount of electricity during use. The most immediate and obvious differences in environmental costs come from shipping and facilities.
When you buy a new gaming PC from a big brand, chances are that PC was put together in a factory in China. In order for that PC to get to your gaming room, it had to travel overseas and then across the country, which cost energy and fuel along the way. The factory itself also costs energy just to keep the lights on during building and testing.
With a boutique builder, they only have to ship the PC from their home to yours, and can almost entirely cut out the step of overseas shipping. The big caveat is if the boutique builder is buying all brand new parts to use in the build. In that case, the environmental cost of getting those parts from overseas evens things out. Even in that extreme case of a builder ordering all brand new parts, they are still saving energy by building in their home using that heating and electricity instead of in a factory warehouse.
Check out the napkin math below of how much carbon dioxide equivalent is saved for a typical gaming PC built by a boutique seller vs. a big brand:
|Carbon Produced in Shipping & Logistics||Carbon Produced by the facility during Building & Testing||Carbon Saved||Gaming Hours Offset|
|Factory PC||150 kg CO2e||106 kg CO2e|
|Boutique PC built with all brand new parts||150 kg CO2e||6 kg CO2e||100 kg CO2e||189|
|Boutique PC built with all second hand parts||10 kg CO2e||6 kg CO2e||240 kg CO2e||453|
|Boutique PC with brand new GPU, CPU, and RAM (Everything else second hand)||20 kg CO2e||6 kg CO2e||230 kg CO2e||434|
In other words, by buying a gaming PC from a boutique builder instead of from a factory, you are saving the equivalent of 230 kg of carbon dioxide. That’s enough to offset four people completing Elden Ring (or, you completing Elden Ring four times…)
These carbon savings estimates are extraordinarily conservative. With a boutique builder using second hand parts, they are also saving energy and resources by keeping a new part from being manufactured AND by keeping the old part out of the recycling system.
Looking to support boutique PC builders and lower your carbon footprint? Find gaming PCs from small sellers on Jawa >
The impact of just one GPU
If you build or upgrade your own gaming PC, you’ve probably already considered a second hand GPU. They save you money, and have often been the best option over the past few years with the hardware shortage. The environmental impact of buying second hand is fairly straightforward: you are saving the energy and waste that would have gone into making a new GPU while also saving the energy it would have taken to recycle the old one. Those numbers can add up quickly to a large impact.
In 2021, NVIDIA shipped over 9 million GPUs. During that time, they reported emissions of more than 2 million tonnes of CO2, which includes things like electricity, heating, purchased goods and employee commuting.
That works out to a rough average of 215 kg CO2 equivalent produced per GPU. In other words, getting a second hand GPU saves enough carbon to offset 115 hours of PC gaming!