Banning Progress: the Incredibly Stupid Reason Dell Halted Sales of Gaming PC in California (and 5 Other States)

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

California is the land of bans. So far, this state has banned high-capacity magazines, plastic straws, single-use plastic bags and even the flaming dumpster city of San Francisco has banned Happy Meals.

Americans know California is fond of banning all types of pleasure and progress. So it may come as no surprise that the state has adopted new regulations that have ended up effectively banning a new top-of-the-line gaming PC from Dell. The reason? The new technology uses too much energy. That’s right, a highly advanced PC cannot be sold in California – the state with the fifth largest economy in the world and that is home to the heart of the tech industry – because it uses a lot of power.

California is not alone in the ban. Dell announced Tuesday that it was forced to suspend sales of its new Alienware Aurora R12 and R10 gaming PC configurations in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

When attempting to configure one of those systems, a warning message appears in bold red lettering to alert buyers that their order will not be honored if the destination resides in one of the affected states. This was first spotted by Marie Oakes, an independent content creator who highlighted the disclaimer on Twitter.

“This product cannot be shipped to the states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington due to power consumption regulations adopted by those states. Any orders placed that are bound for those states will be canceled,” the message states.

The Aurora R12 and R10 are built around the latest generation processors from Intel and AMD, the former featuring 11th Gen Core Rocket Lake CPUs and the latter wielding Ryzen 5000 series chips based on Zen 3.

Dell admitted California’s restrictions were making it difficult to pursue the sale of the technologically advanced systems and it looks like there will be even more energy restrictions to choke the PC industry coming shortly.

“Yes, 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,” Dell said.

More regulations are coming, too. On December 9, 2021, Tier 2 requirements will expand to “computers with high-speed networking capability, multi-screen notebooks, notebooks with cyclical behavior, and monitors with high refresh rates.”

How very progressive for the state that practically invented the tech industry.