After an earlier post on low-power computing, MH commented: "I read a report a while back that 80% of the lifetime energy of a PC is in the manufacturing. If that is the case, it is more important that the chip is manufactured efficiently than running efficiently." A good point, which we were reminded of when we learned of Via's new carbon-free program. Intel and AMD get all the press, but VIA has been plugging away building efficient chips and fan-free ITX circuit boards for quite a few years. They are not the fastest chips on the block, but their new 2 GhZ chip will do what anyone other than gamers or animators might need, sucks only 20 watts, and that is only the start- They have a list of eco-initiatives that should make them dear to any treehugger's heart.These include:
Carbon-Free Computing: Via has calculated the electrical load over the lifetime of the chip and is buying offsets for the whole thing, investing in Reforestation, Alternative Energy and conservation.
Clean Computing: "VIA Technologies, Inc. is striving for environmentally friendly computing with the use of non-hazardous materials in the production of its market leading chipsets, processors, and full range of companion chips.....In traditional manufacturing processes, lead is used in the bump that attaches the silicon core to the inside of the package and to facilitate integration onto the motherboard through tiny solder balls on the underside of the package. VIA's lead-free manufacturing technologies do not require a lead bump and the solder balls now consist of a Tin, Silver and Copper composite."
Quiet ComputingWe love this- fan noise drives us nuts. "VIA's highly efficient processor platforms target the issue of PC noise at the source because they require minimal noisy forced air-cooling and can result in quieter overall PC systems especially when combined with smaller, quieter power supplies."
Solar Computing- "Increasingly governments and NGOs are looking towards alternate energy sources to power computers that enable communication and connectivity in emerging market regions where electricity supply is either not available or unreliable. However, many organizations have found that the amount of power consumed during normal PC use is too great to enable operation through alternate energy sources. VIA, through its energy-efficient processor platforms that help to reduce power consumption by over four times, is taking a leadership role to make possible complete computing solutions that are powered solely by solar energy."
We have not paid much attention to Via chips because they are harder to find and historically were less powerful than the big guys. After learning about their clean computing initiatives, we will look for them in our next computer. We bet Mac's could run on them too. ::Via Technologies