Power regulations cut off select Dell PCs from certain U.S. states

Alienware Aurora R11
Alienware Aurora R11 (Image credit: Dell)

What you need to know

  • Certain Alienware machines consume a lot of energy.
  • A number of U.S. states no longer tolerate such intense degrees of power consumption.
  • As a result, Dell no longer ships certain products to select states.

Dell is no longer shipping certain PCs to a handful of U.S. states that have tightened their rules and regulations around computer power consumption. The headline and "what you need to know" box already summarize this, meaning you're 99% caught up on the current situation, but there are a few specific details to go over in the event you live in Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, California, or Colorado.

As reported by The Register, Dell is no longer shipping the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 Gaming Desktop to select states in the U.S. If you attempt to place an order and ship the machines to any of the blacklisted zones, your order will be canceled.

In a statement to The Register, Dell clarified the situation. "[...] 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. 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."

At the time of the report, Acer commented that it was looking into the matter regarding its own products, and HP didn't provide a comment.

If you're looking for computers that aren't quite as power hungry, check out some of the other best gaming desktop PCs.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

15 Comments
  • I don't understand this. Are owners of power-hungry gaming laptops not paying for the power that they use?
  • The issue California (and other states and nations in general) presents re: Alienware is not about the monetary cost of the power consumed, but about power production sustainability as a whole.
  • It shouldn't be about 'power production sustainability'. I'm not a gamer with a honkin' system, but it is a bit arbitrary to single out PCs for power consumption. I can buy a space heater, or welding unit, or any number of appliances that take more power. If I can plug it into my 110v 15A outlet, I should be allowed to use it. I personally have transitioned my home to all LED, and consider power efficiency when I replace stuff, so I'm not just a Tim Taylor Mooore Pooower guy. It's just a lack of planning on the part of California's energy industry.
  • Just wait. They'll come for those things as well.
  • So, what if you are off-grid and can produce enough of your own power to power your whole house, including one of these nice machines? Sounds like Big business is deciding on their own what we should be able to do. So much for a free country.
  • It's not big business.
    It's the IdiotPoliticians™.
    Decades of blocking new power generation while growing the population (and mismanaging forests) has left them underpowered and relying on out-of-state energy supplies.
    This makes it look like they're doing something while doing nothing.
  • It shouldn't be a surprise that there are some states, tending to be of a certain political persuasion, that have politicians stupid enough to think they know better than a free market. Rather than let the market deal with the issue of lack of supply (of power) by raising prices so consumers use less of it, they still (seemingly) haven't figured out that their preferred strategy of picking winners and losers is no substitute. Gaming PCs are no more a threat to the electrical grid than are EVs (are they effectively going to ban these too, I wonder?), ovens, clothes dryers, refrigerators, etc.
  • Odd, I live in Wa State and cannot find any law anywhere stating that I cannot use my PC to create music or videos due to it using more than xxx watts of power. Bear in mind, my microwave uses 1500 watts, my toaster uses 900 watts, and my plasma TV uses 2200 watts, all three considerably more than my PC. However, I do know that Dell, as well as other PC manufacturing companies, cannot source high end video cards anymore. Most likely due to a trade war/ideological war with China. This entire story and the reasons for said issues smells a lot like bad sushi to me...
  • It sucks anyways. The motherboard is crap.
  • California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington...states packed with rich celebs and politicians living in houses 20x bigger than what they need and flying around in private jets. Rules for thee and not for me. It's not about "climate change"...it's about control.
  • 100% nail on the head. Control.
  • The Oldest House is calling the shots there.
  • You will own nothing and be happy. This is how it starts.
  • (Something I have had to deal with, but I'm not an expert.) This is NOT about active use of a computer system - use all the power you want. This is about consumption of power when the system is idle or not in use, aka not-active. (There are also exemptions for always devices, like servers, etc.) So if the Dell computer doesn't 'sleep' properly based on the expected energy consumption of the parts, Dell failed the very basic nature of a simple PC build. This won't affect consumers, this will make larger MFRs like Dell implement the proper sleep/away power settings along with hardware configuration changes. This doesn't change the power of computing available, it just requires companies to take power consumption seriously, and not have a system sucking power when there is no reason it should. Consumers also get the benefits of less demand on electrical grids (which is an issue) and it will save them money on their electric bill, especially users that don't realize their computer 'sleeping' in the den is using far more power than it should. Also...
    Windows has been preparing for this and similar standards since 2016. Which should make everyone ask, why in the hell didn't Dell build those systems to comply? As for the conspiracy crap or government hurting consumers, no, just no, that is not what this is, and it won't lead to communism. Regulations are often just 'education' - like put rebar in concrete building designs, something any engineer would already do. (There are place in the world without education/regulations, and they are the ones in disasters where non-rebar buildings crush and kill people, and it could have been prevented with a few pieces of rebar, if they knew when building structures.)
  • Riiight...
    So when did they last build new power capacity?
    Educates us on that.