High end gaming PCs aren't the power hungry kilowatt killers that they used to be, but I still feel guilty every time I fit a 250W TDP graphics card to a new machine. Guilt of the kind that only someone who was taught by nuns can feel. Hence a more than passing interest in AOC's latest screens. They're so low power, they can be run off a USB port.
According the specs, the AOC e2251Fwu, which is being launched today, can hold its own with the best too. Highlights of the 22 inch screen include a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 5ms response rate and a 200cd/m 2 nit rating for brightness. AOC is billing its low power usage as perfect for a large photo frame, but if it really is that efficient then it's far more interesting for multi monitor set-ups that won't burn your flesh off or send your electricity bill spiralling.
I can't wait to review one of these, even thought they have me scratching my bug shiny head at the moment. AOC says the screens draw 10W max, which is impressive since I'm not aware of any LED backlit screens that draw much less than 18-20W right now - even laptop ones.
What's really puzzling, though, is that USB 2.0 is so low powered that you can't charge an iPad or Android tablet over it. USB 2.0 can power devices up to 600mA at 5.25V, while even USB 3.0 only support 900mA (by my maths, that works out to 3.15W and 4.75W max respectively). Dedicated charging ports can deliver more power, but these are exceptionally rare in domestic computers except for Macs, which provide extra power pins (for the iPad) capable of delivering 1100mA at 5V.
All interesting, but none of them close to what LED backlights currently demand.
AOC apparently gets around the problem by using two USB cables. I haven't see it in action yet, so call me mildly sceptical, but I'm very intrigued and hopeful about these new low power screens. Feel free to point out flaws in my maths below.