Information on Green PCs Iqaluit NU

Energy Star 4.0-rated products can lower your energy bill and reduce the amount of pollutants in the world--but by somewhat less than you might hope.

Atop Computer Co
(604) 930-4838
10083 136A St
Surrey, BC
Save On Cartridge Plus Inc
(604) 985-7838
1348 Marine Dr
North Vancouver, BC
Databoy Computer Services
(250) 627-4043
Prince Rupert, BC
Brightside Technologies Inc
(604) 228-4624
1310 Kootenay St
Vancouver, BC
Progistix Inc
(403) 294-1331
1439 17 Ave SE
Calgary, AB
Paws Computers Inc
(403) 938-6007
Okotoks, AB
Intel Corporation
(403) 516-8000
6815 8 St NE
Calgary, AB
Emj Data Systems Ltd
(403) 207-6060
Calgary, AB
Millennium Cartridges International
(604) 687-2550
Vancouver, BC
Think Ink Computer Supplies
(403) 693-0066
520 5 Ave SW
Calgary, AB

Information on Green PCs


Enano's EX7200 (top left) was the energy-efficiency king. We also tested HP's rp5700 (bottom left) and Dell's OptiPlex 755. Click here to view full-size image: Enano's EX7200 (top left), HP's rp5700 (bottom left) and Dell's OptiPlex 755. PCs adorned with green-certification logos look and work like their nongreen counterparts. But don't expect a single PC to help you rack up huge savings in your energy bill or significantly shrink the size of your computing carbon footprint. Those benefits come from purchasing in bulk. And whether you buy one PC or a thousand, you'll do more for the environment and your finances by adjusting your system's settings.

We learned this by testing five Energy Star 4.0-rated Vista PCs--three desktops and two notebooks. Dell's OptiPlex 755 Mini-Tower and HP's rp5700 Long Lifecycle Desktop are designed for use as business PCs; Enano Computers' EX7200 straddles business and consumer lines. (Enano gained a measure of fame by supplying the PCs that powered the video streaming for the Al Gore-promoted Live Earth concert.) On the notebook side, we looked at Lenovo's powerful ThinkPad T61p and Toshiba's mainstream Tecra M9-S5514.

In addition to Energy Star certification, HP's rp5700, Dell's OptiPlex 755, and Toshiba's Tecra M9-S5514 earned the stringent Gold certification of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). EPEAT rates desktops, laptops, and monitors at Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels, based on the percentage of 23 required and 28 optional criteria the product meets--for example, recycling, reduction in the use of toxic materials, and energy efficiency. While this story focuses on energy issues, all units underwent regular WorldBench 6 Beta 2 performance benchmark testing as well, and you can find standard PCW-rated reviews of them online.

Realistic Efficiency

Click here to view full-size image: Lenovo's ThinkPad T61p (left) and Toshiba's Tecra M9-S5514.Among the new requirements for Energy Star 4.0, which took effect in July 2007, are more-stringent maximum power draws during a PC's idle (on but not active) mode. The specific requirements vary by type of PC (notebook or desktop) and performance class (A, B, or C), as determined by the PC's configuration. However, Energy Star 4.0 requirements don't always anticipate day-to-day computer use. When we set out to test power consumption, our goal was not to verify the Energy Star 4.0 certification of these products but to measure their real-world power appetites.

Using our own tests, we found that the power the notebooks drew while in their idle state exceeded the 22 watts specified by Energy Star 4.0. The reason: Our assumptions about notebook use were less conservation-conscious than the ones in the Energy Star 4.0 testing guidelines. For example, we left the laptops' LCD screens and Wi-Fi radios turned on, but the EPA's testing guidelines say to turn off Wi-Fi and to power down a notebook's screen (a significant draw on power) after 1 minute.

The bottom line: How you use your PC is just as important for power consumption as the product you buy. For example, we found that if you want to lower your PC's power consumption further, you can disable overlooked features such as a biometric security chip and some Windows startup tasks during times you don't need them.

Enano's EX7200, which uses a laptop processor, consumed the least power. When idling, it drew only 24 watts. In a working state, the Enano EX7200 also proved more energy-efficient than the other desktops. The EX7200 and the OptiPlex 755 completed the WorldBench 6 Beta 2 multitasking script in about the same time, but the EX7200 used less power to do so. HP's rp5700 consumed more power across the board compared with the other units. In idle, it consumed 52 watts. But let's keep things in perspective: When we tested the power consumption of an Alienware Area-51 7500, a screaming-fast gaming PC that exhibits no discernible regard for energy efficiency, it consumed a whopping 418 watts while idling (idling, as in not doing anything at all).

How much green will a green PC save? On its own, not much. Using the EPA's model of computer usage and the U.S. Energy Information Administration's statistics on the average retail price of residential electricity, we calculated that the Alienware gaming PC costs $34.65 per year to run, while HP's rp5700 costs $6.16, and Enano's PC sets you back $3.47 annually. But multiply such numbers by a hundred or a thousand--to reflect all of the PCs in a large company, say--and the savings can add up to a lot. That might be reason enough to choose energy-efficient business PCs when buying in bulk.

That logic also holds true when it comes to a company's environmental footprint. Using the EPA conversion figures, we calculated that one Alienware Area-51 7500 is responsible for producing 568 pounds of CO2 emissions per year, while one Lenovo ThinkPad T61p must answer for just 54 pounds. That means using 20 Area-51 7500 PCs for a year is equivalent to putting one car on the road. You'd need to use 250 T61p's to equal that one car.

Green, But Quick

For mainstream business and consumer users, green PCs perform like other PCs. Dell's OptiPlex 755 earned a WorldBench score of 84--tops among the business PCs we've tested with Windows Vista. The HP rp5700's score of 67 was below average, but the PC scored well enough in other areas to rank third on our value business desktops chart.

Lenovo's ThinkPad T61p, which ranked third in our online desktop replacement notebook chart, earned a stellar WorldBench score of 81, and its battery life of 4 hours, 3 minutes is above average. The T61p produced solid graphics scores, thanks to its nVidia Quadro FX570M discrete mobile workstation graphics. Toshiba's Tecra M9, which we tested for our all-purpose notebook chart, earned a WorldBench score of 73--average for the notebooks we've tested--and an unimpressive battery life result of 2 hours, 48 minutes.

But until we can purchase solar-powered PCs, using an Energy Star-certified computer is the best way to reduce energy use and costs.

Note: For an interesting alternative to the essentially standard machines discussed here, see our review of Zonbu's energy-efficient Linux-based mini-PC.

Energy Star 4.0 PCs

See our chart of the Energy Star 4.0 PCs we tested by clicking on the icon below.

Energy Star 4.0 PCs
Value Desktop PC PCW Rating Performance Real-world energy consumption tests2 Net energy impact Bottom line
Dell OptiPlex 755 Mini-Tower1
$1272 (when reviewed)
  • WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score: 84 Superior
  • Overall design: Very Good
  • System off: 0.7 watt
  • System sleep: 2.8 watts
  • System idle: 43.9 watts
  • WB6 multitasking test: 6.7 watt-hours
  • WB6 Photoshop CS2 test: 7.4 watt-hours
  • Average of both tests: 60 watts
  • Electricity cost: $4.36 per year
  • CO2 generated: 72 pounds per year
EPEAT Gold-certified business PC is easily expandable and offers solid performance; includes remote-management and security features.
HP rp5700 Long Lifecycle Desktop
$1368 (when reviewed)
  • WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score: 67 Very Good
  • Overall design: Good
  • System off: 2.4 watts
  • System sleep: 3.1 watts
  • System idle: 51.9 watts
  • WB6 multitasking test: 10.1 watt-hours
  • WB6 Photoshop CS2 test: 12.3 watt-hours
  • Average of both tests: 70 watts
  • Electricity cost: $6.16 per year
  • CO2 generated: 101 pounds per year
EPEAT Gold-certified business PC was the least energy-efficient and least powerful of our desktop competitors, but it has a long five-year warranty.
Enano EX7200
$1500 (when reviewed)
  • WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score: 79 Superior
  • Overall design: Good
  • System off: 1.8 watts
  • System sleep: 1.7 watts
  • System idle: 23.9 watts
  • WB6 multitasking test: 4.6 watt-hours
  • WB6 Photoshop CS2 test: 5.2 watt-hours
  • Average of both tests: 40 watts
  • Electricity cost: $3.47 per year
  • CO2 generated: 57 pounds per year
Mini-PC outfitted with a notebook processor offers the best balance of power consumption and performance, but compact design is not upgrade-friendly.
Power laptop PCW Rating Performance Real-world energy consumption tests 2 Environmental impact Bottom line
Lenovo ThinkPadT61p1
$2303 (when reviewed)
  • WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score: 81 Superior
  • Tested battery life(hours:minutes): 4:03
  • System off: 1.0 watt
  • System sleep: 1.2 watts
  • System idle: 26.2 watts
  • WB6 multitasking test: 7.0 watt-hours
  • WB6 Photoshop CS2 test: 7.2 watt-hours
  • Average of both tests: 53 watts
  • Electricity cost: $3.28
  • CO2 generated: 54 pounds per year
Desktop replacement expertly combines power, energy efficiency, and battery life; its nVidia Quadro FX570M graphics card also performed well.
All-Purpose Laptop PCW Rating Performance Real-world energy consumption tests 2 Environmental impact Bottom line:
Toshiba Tecra M9-S5514
$1799 (when reviewed)
  • WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score: 73 Very Good
  • Tested battery life (hours:minutes): 2:48
  • System off: 1.4 watts
  • System sleep: 1.9 watts
  • System idle: 27.8 watts
  • WB6 multitasking test: 6.4 watt-hours
  • WB6 Photoshop CS2 test: 13.4 watt-hours
  • Average of both tests: 45 watts
  • Electricity cost: $3.53 per year
  • CO2 generated: 58 pounds per year
Touchpad and buttons on this otherwise full-featured, solid-performing, EPEAT Gold-certified model felt uncomfortable; battery life was so-so.
CHART NOTES: Prices and ratings are as of 9/12/07. Our power-consumption tests differ from those required for Energy Star 4.0. FOOTNOTES: 1 This model has a vendor-provided Power Option, which we used (in place of the Balanced setting) in performing our energy tests. 2 Watt-hours, the measurement of energy used for a task, can be converted into watts, the rate of energy consumption.