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NEC flogs Transmeta green PC

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NEC yesterday unveiled the Powermate eco, a 'green' PC, incorporating 100 per cent recyclable plastic, low-power Transmeta CPU, and 15in LCD monitor.

The materials will mean that crushing will be less environmentally unfriendly - CRT monitors in particular are filled with hazardous materials. but easier to recycle materials are all well and good - but what if there's no market for the products?

Cheaper crushing is not necessarily the green answer either: corporates can exert just as much influence by, say, extending the life of the PC stock by six months, and by ensuring that all end-of-life PCs are released into the re-use channels, rather than the scrapheap.

The Powermate eco is also quiet, so it's friendly to the office environment. But it starts at a decidedly unagressive $1,500, for which you get a 900MHz Transmeta Crusoe Processor, a 15in XGA TFT LCD flat panel display, 256MB memory, 20GB hard drive, XP Professional and (shouldn't that be Windows 2000 Professional?).

Maybe there's a total cost of ownership argument to be made, around lower energy consumption, cheaper recycling costs, less noxious waste seeping into the water table, brownie points for the green audit. But this won't be compelling - the real savings on TCO thin clients are to be had in the software, Gartner analyst Brian Gammage points. Also, he notes, there is no installed base for the Powermate eco in the US, which means higher support costs, at least initially, as the sysadmins work their way around a new box.

All in all, the Powermate eco has the smell of a concept PC. No doubt there will be a green constituency - but not yet. As Gammage says, this is an "interesting PC at the wrong price".®

NEC press release

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