Green PCs: A First Step

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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)
Review
  • 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)
    Review
  • 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)
    Review
  • 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)
    Review
  • 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)
    Review
  • 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.
    Click the "Review" links in the chart to read detailed reviews of these products, and see where they rank on our value desktop PC, desktop-replacement laptop, and all-purpose laptop charts.
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