More Details on Carbon Neutral PC

In February, PC World announced that they were working on a carbon neutral PC. Since then, there has been little news. Last week when the Independant ran a story on it with some new information, which CNet has summarized nicely. The case will be made of aluminium recycled from cans, and the screen surround, mouse and keyboard will be from sustainable wood (beech, ash or sapele). For energy used in the production the company will be buying carbon offsets.

It will make some power usage savings by using the case as a heatsink, avoiding the need for case fans. The power supply will also be external as on a laptop, to help keep the components cool. PC World claim that it will only use 40W, which is less than a fifth of the average desktop. They also claim that they haven't traded performance for efficiency, and that the machine will be as well featured as comparably priced computers. A price of £399 ($800) is expected, although the screen will cost an extra £100 ($200).

Peter Lyons, from PC World's parent company, was quoted in the Independent article, "In the past, environmental products have asked consumers to make a compromise. That's why they haven't been very successful -- previous low-power units have performed very slowly so they can't do as much as a standard computer. But this is going to have the same sort of power as one of the average units on sale at Christmas -- and it will cost about the same, too."

One detail that may surprise people is that it will come pre-installed with Windows Vista. Previous energy-saving PCs have sometimes come installed with some variation of Linux, because it is less power-hungry and can run on lower-power machines. However, if PC World are right in claiming that they haven't skimped on power, then this shouldn't be a problem. Also, if they want this machine to be desirable to mainstream customers, then Linux could be slightly off-putting. It would be a shame to have a green PC on the market that doesn't sell well because people are scared of using Linux. Of course, if I had my way, all PCs would be green and all computers would run Linux or OS X. ::CNet

See also ::Zonbox PC: Product Takeback Comes to Electronics ::Ilisys: A Carbon Neutral ISP for Australia