Currently, Dell no longer ships certain configurations of its Alienware Aurora R12 and R10 gaming PCs to six US states because those product lines are likely to be outside the limits of newly certified energy efficiency requirements.
When trying to configure one of these systems, a warning message appears in a bold red line to alert buyers that their orders will not be fulfilled if the destination is in one of the affected countries. This was first discovered by Marie Oaks, a freelance creator Highlight the disclaimer on Twitter.
The letter states, “This product cannot be shipped to the states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington due to energy consumption regulations adopted by those states. Any orders placed that are binding on those states will be voided.”
The Aurora R12 and R10 are built around the latest generation of processors from Intel and AMD, with the former featuring 11th generation Core Rocket Lake processors and the latter using Zen 3’s Ryzen 5000 chipset.
Unfortunately for Dell and buyers based in affected countries, the majority of Aurora R12 and R10 configurations consume more power than local regulations allow. However, there are exceptions.
On the Aurora R12 page, the second cheapest ($1,156) configuration with Core i5 11400F, GeForce GTX 1650 Super, 8GB of single-channel DDR4-3200 RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD “complies with power consumption regulations” CES” and “Ships of all nations”. The other five customizable starting points don’t. Oddly enough, this includes a cheaper setup dropping the 256GB SSD from the mix, adding a thirstier hard drive, but otherwise it’s the same.
There are seven customizable settings on the Aurora R10 product page, and again, the second cheapest configuration only indicates that it ships to all US states. It includes the Ryzen 5 5600X and Radeon RX 5600, 8GB of single-channel DDR4-3200 memory and a 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD.
In a statement to The Register, Dell expanded the charging ban, as it relates to California’s energy requirements.
“Yes, this was prompted by the California Energy Commission (CEC) Tier 2 implementation that set a mandatory standard for energy efficiency for computers – including desktop PCs, AIOs, and mobile gaming systems. This was implemented on July 1, 2021. Configurations determined who was The Alienware Aurora R10 and R12 are the only systems affected across Dell and Alienware.”
In 2016, California became the first US state to adopt energy efficiency standards for computers and monitors. At the time, the new standards were expected to save 2.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and significantly reduce carbon pollution from fossil-fuel power plants.
More regulations are coming too. On December 9, 2021, the Tier 2 requirements will expand to “computers with the ability to connect to high-speed networks, multi-screen laptops, periodically conduct laptops, and monitors with high refresh rates.”
The formulas used to determine which systems pass hashes are described in Title 20 of the Hardware Regulations document (PDF). In summary, different annual energy consumption metrics apply to different computers, the least stringent being 75 kWh of electricity per year, for certain systems manufactured after July 1, 2021.
Going forward, there’s a whole bunch of computations that system builders will need to make shipments from PCs from July 1, but with several “extras” (such as GPUs, network cards, and other hardware) that can tweak the final computation. It is absolutely amazing.
It remains to be seen if other PC makers will halt shipments of some PC configurations as well, and how the new rules will affect upcoming models.