Green Desktops

Mobile PCs get all of the press and all of the attention. Desktop PCs are like a middle child -- mostly ignored. I suspect many of the readers of this blog have mostly given up their desktops, but I could be very wrong. I still use one at home, but have long since given up using one at work. The one at home has multiple duties, but I use it mainly for photo editing and some peripheral and file sharing. It’s loaded up with dual HDDs (one acting as an online hot backup - no RAID though), dual core processor, 4GB of RAM and XP Pro. I also have a TV tuner card in there for recording programs to watch when I'm travelling. I could probably manage with a notebook, but for sheer ease, you can't beat a desktop. It is just too convenient. There are no cables to fuss with on a regular basis as everything is already connected. The screen is bigger, the sound is far superior, and the processing power is, in my opinion, 4x that of a notebook – mostly due to real hard disk drives and not the toy ones that notebook PCs use. Power management settings on my PC are pretty basic. The display turns off after 15 minutes of non-use, and the entire PC goes into standby after 1 hour. That way it can wake up when it needs to record something. Often in the summer, I’ll turn it off completely because there is nothing on TV, and because running the machine heats up the room considerably. I guess you could call this method quasi-green. The debate over green electronics continues to rage, and I’m always curious as to how much consideration people give to “green” when they’re making their purchase decisions. Lately I’ve paid a lot more attention to things like Energy Star and EPEAT rankings. On my own PC, I’d be willing to spend another $20 or so for green status, but I’d largely base this on electricity consumption. I think that people would like to do the right thing, but since they live in areas where they don’t see the direct effects of waste, they aren’t compelled to act – especially if acting hits their wallets. Despite all of the press releases to the contrary, I have yet to see much difference between electronics companies who claim to be environmentally friendly. I don’t care if someone in your company plants a tree for me. I DO care if your company policy is to make sure that all desk lights are turned off at night. Many consumers are savvy enough to notice when a company is doing something to make a difference and not just for window dressing on a press release. I actively avoid companies who appear to be doing the right thing but are really covering up something more nefarious. In other words, don’t plant that tree on top of the landfill you’ve been filling with mercury. What do you look for in a “green” PC manufacturer? Are you more likely to buy from a vendor with a reputation for being green? Are we wasting our time developing and promoting our environmentally friendly status?