I am not made for warmth. I also come from a country that is not often familiar with it, so that usually works in my favor. However, when the glittering summer sun comes down in Wales, it can get unbearable pretty quickly. There are a few reasons for this: air conditioning in the home is not common, nor will you find a reprieve in cleverly designed buildings to reflect heat back into the room. For the most part, though, it’s simply because the temperature gauge almost never cracks 25°C (77°F), so there’s really no need to plan ahead.
It’s days like today when I wish it wasn’t true. An ongoing bout of extreme weather has struck again at the worst of this excruciating heat, with temperatures peaking hourly to a high of 36°C (97°F) in my area.
That same heat is expected tomorrow, but will bring rain showers that raise the humidity to 11 degrees.
The UK’s meteorological authority, the Met Office, has labeled this the first-ever red extreme heat warning in the UK, with temperatures in the south east of the country in the high 30 degrees Celsius (~102 °F) and possibly 40° C in localized hot spots. It is very likely that the hottest day ever recorded on these beautiful islands will be sometime in the next 48 hours.
And that doesn’t mean PC gaming to me.
I game and work in a relatively small boxroom. There’s just enough room for my desk, gaming chair, test bench, and a pull-out sofa bed. It’s actually a room that is terribly cold in the winter because of the three outer walls and the puny radiator, but in the summer becomes a new kind of hellscape.
Beyond a certain point, that’s usually my PC’s fault. It is the only heating element in the room and it makes this one small room much hotter than any other room in my house.
The UK record isn’t the only thing likely to be broken during today’s extreme heat and tomorrow Wales and Scotland will also see some exceptionally high temperatures that could also be close to records #Heatwave2022 pic.twitter.com/eZ4qPyHzAMJuly 18, 2022
Don’t get me wrong, I love my gaming PC. The high-performance Radeon RX 6900 XT (opens in new tab) Chugging in it allows me to play games at 4K and up to 144Hz in all kinds of games. That wasn’t something I thought was possible, and certainly not pedestrianized, just a few years ago. It’s a beast that I try not to take for granted every time it comes to life.
The CPU is also a wonderfully impressive gaming chip of a fantastic generation: AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X (opens in new tab). That’s actually a pretty power-efficient chip for a gaming processor that’s that fast, at least compared to Intel’s high-end, but it’s not the most efficient AMD makes.
Maybe this 350W GPU was a mistake…🥵 pic.twitter.com/zgyj7626EsJuly 18, 2022
When combined, these components spit out hella heat. Even when idle, my CPU runs around 51°C (124°F) average Tctl temperature and my GPU around 54°C (129°F). When gaming, however, it’s the 300W graphics card I’m most afraid of, which reaches up to 89°C.
The combined heat from the CPU, GPU, five NVMe SSDs, four RAM sticks, network expansion card and PSU certainly doesn’t help reduce the heat that builds up in my office and has nowhere to go. My PC spits out heat faster than I can vent it out of the room, which isn’t very fast, but you get the idea: the heat from my PC has nowhere to go.
The unfortunate result of all this is that I don’t touch my gaming PC for the primary purpose of gaming while it’s so hot. I feel like my powerful PC flew too close to the sun, and like a silicone Icarus, it came back to Earth like a blazing fireball. Or something; it’s too hot to come up with an accurate parable for this situation.
Fortunately, given my geographic location, it won’t be long before the weather is absolutely freezing. But the volatile nature of the heat is why I’m totally unprepared for it.
We do have some tips to reduce your PC’s power consumption (opens in new tab) (and thus wasted heat dissipation), which might even help you save a few bucks. Although there is little that will make a huge difference when we are faced with such extreme temperatures as the ones we are experiencing around the world today.
Perhaps my best option is to forget all this work and take a trip to my local Gregg’s bakery; ergo, the building with the most air conditioning in my entire area. That seems to me to be a suitable excuse to at least stop working earlier. Or I can attach a liquid cooling loop to my head if needed.
While I can blame my PC for locally overheating my office space, the likelihood of hot days like these is only going to increase in the coming years. It’s because of climate change (opens in new tab).
“In a recent study, we found that the likelihood of extremely warm days in the UK has increased and will continue to do so over the century, with the most extreme temperatures expected to be seen in the South East of England,” says dr. Nikos Christidis, climate attribution scientist at the Met Office (opens in new tab)say.
“Climate change has already impacted the likelihood of extreme temperatures in the UK. The likelihood of 40°C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times greater in the current climate than in a natural climate unaffected by human influence .”
The Met Office’s chief meteorologist suggests it’s possible that heatwaves like this “are a regular occurrence towards the end of the century,” The Guardian reports. (opens in new tab).
Extreme weather will continue to affect our daily lives for years to come, and human-induced climate change will lead to more significant and widespread climate crises worldwide. Man-made global warming is increasing at a rate of 0.2°C per decade, EU says (opens in new tab). Just a relatively small increase in the global average temperature is disastrous.
Ultimately, it is we humans who hold the keys to climate change, and that means taking action where we can to reduce our own impact. That might mean looking to our hobbies, like PC gaming, for ways to help reduce our power consumption — which I’m saying because rumors of next-generation graphics cards with a huge appetite for power still do the rounds — but also how we can recycle more of our e-waste (opens in new tab). We are sitting on a pile of precious metals that is largely untapped (opens in new tab)so it’s time to think about how we’ve repurposed these rare and hard-to-find materials.
Minimum energy consumption for cryptocurrency mining (opens in new tab) has been fueled up lately, known to gobble up the energy of a country or more at some point. Non-proof-of-work algorithms that abolish mining altogether can’t come soon enough – looking at you, ethereum (opens in new tab).
Importantly, however, we must do everything we can to hold all kinds of companies responsible for the environmental pollution they cause. That could mean spending your money more wisely on those who care about you, and not giving more to those who don’t give a cent anymore.