PC Makers Going Greener

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 26, 2012 — It’s often said that a PC can consume more power than an incandescent light bulb. The good news is that newer PCs, particularly laptops and modern desktops, tend to consume considerably less. However, a PC’s environmental impact doesn’t end with the energy it consumes over its lifetime — how it’s manufactured, the materials used and even the packaging all figure into a PC’s total environmental footprint.

That’s why manufacturers today are looking at a range of ways to reduce the impact and lighten the load technology places on the environment. From the software to the circuitry, all the way through how the PC is handled and shipped, the tech industry today is constantly looking for ways to make the PC ecosystem greener.

Greener technology begins with greener components. For years chip manufacturers focused on processing speed at the expense of power efficiency, but that’s all changed in the past decade. The latest few generations of processors from AMD and Intel contain effective power-management features, and more recent multicore processors can save even more power by using only the cores needed for the task at hand. Many PC manufacturers have also upgraded their PCs’ power supplies with more efficient “80 PLUS” rated units.

Software is also a critical part of keeping energy usage low. The power management features in Windows 7 work in conjunction with the PC hardware to save power, and they make it easy for users to achieve even greater savings by controlling sleep management and display management settings. Microsoft is also working hard to improve those features for Windows 8.

Other areas that are constantly being examined and improved include manufacturing processes and equipment, and even the materials and service providers used in shipping the products. Those looking for a greener PC should consider buying from OEMs or retailers that offer greener packaging and shipping practices.

This year several manufacturers are coming out with a new crop of innovative greener PCs, including those that have been EPEAT rated. Check out the slide show below for a glimpse of some of the best, and if you want to know more about what makes for a greener PC, make sure and read these five tips for reducing the environmental impact of your PC.

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