Can Your PC Replace Your Space Heater in Winter?

Paul Lilly

Space heater and gaming PC face off against the cold

Computers can put out some serious heat, especially gaming systems. If you think yours doesn't, try stressing your components for a length of time ( Folding@Home will do the trick) and you'll feel hot air being expelled through your PC's exhaust ports. It begs the question, do you really need a space heater in the winter time, or can your PC effectively (and cost efficiently) heat up a room?

The folks at Puget Systems were determined to find out. After all, if your gaming PC produces the same amount of heat as a space heater, you suddenly have a valid excuse to blow off your honey-do list and frag your friends during the winter months instead.

Puget pitted a $25 HC-0114T 1000/1500W space heater against a gaming system configured with an Intel Core i7 4960X processor, Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard, Corsair Hydro Series H60 CPU cooler, 16GB of Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 Low Voltage RAM, 3 x Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan graphics cards in SLI, Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, and a Seasonic X-1050 1050W power supply all crammed into a Fractal Design Define R4 chassis.

The two 'heaters' faced off in a 10-foot by 10.5-foot room (940 cubic feet of total volume) with all incoming and outgoing ventilation blocked off. Surrounding rooms were kept at 70F.

So, what happened? The space heater and gaming rig produced roughly the same amount of heat when drawing the same amount of wattage from the wall outlet, which isn't terribly surprising. Still, it answers the question of whether a high end system can effectively heat up a room or not.

"If your house is freezing and you already have a high performance gaming computer -or you simply want to know that your gaming addiction isn't actually increasing your power bill in the winter- our testing shows that a PC is just as efficient at creating heat as a space heater," Puget Systems says . "In fact, you could even set the computer to mine bitcoins to make a heat generator that helps pay for itself!"

At the same time, Puget Systems points out that if the only goal is producing heat, a $25 space heater is many times cheaper than a tri-SLI gaming system.

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