Aussie distributor EDsys, has its sight firmly set on supplying its customers with computer systems that don't consume too much energy yet aren't slouches when it comes to processing ability. With its Green PC, EDsys has succeeded in creating a system that does just that.
Based on a Gigabyte GA-EG31MF-S2 motherboard, a 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU, a GeForce 8400GS graphics card, 2GB of DDR2800 RAM, and a 500GB Western Digital Green Power hard drive, it's evident that the EDsys Green PC can perform a lot of taxing tasks, even though it's not a high-end system by any stretch of the imagination. It can process those tasks without consuming more than approximately 88 Watts of electricity when it's under a full load, and only slightly more power (around 91W) when its graphics card is under a full load. It scored 1577 in 3DMark06, which means it won't do a good job of running most recent games smoothly, but it's not designed for gaming.
The graphics card is there to take some of the load off the system memory in order to give the system the best possible performance while running office and productivity applications, and it works. In the WorldBench 6 test suite the Green PC scored 108, which is a competitive score for a 3GHz system with 2GB of RAM, and it means it will easily handle the chores of a typical office. But it can handle much more, too.
Its 3GHz CPU finished a Blender 3D rendering job in only 1min 1sec, and the system consumed only 88W while doing this (both CPU cores were under full load in this test). Likewise, it took the machine only 57sec to encode 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s. Both these results confirm that the PC can be capably used for media creation, and when running at maximum capacity on both of the CPU's cores in multithreaded applications or when multitasking, it probably won't consume more than 90W (not including the monitor, of course).
When it's just idling the PC will consume 66W, and EDsys has set it to hibernate after being idle for an hour. A background utility called UniBlue Local Cooling takes care of the power management, and its responsibilities include putting the monitor into standby mode and spinning down the hard drive after a pre-determined time set by the user. With this utility running, the user is unable to change power schemes in Windows' Control Panel; it locks the power profile to 'balanced' and won't allow it to switch to high-performance mode.
Physically, the Green PC is grey and black and has a small stature. It's a mini-tower with three fans installed (including the power supply, CPU and case fans), and a side-panel duct draws air in to keep the CPU cool. The motherboard is of the micro-ATX variety, yet it has a decent range of ports and slots; it has two free PCI slots, as well as one free PCI Express x1 slot for internal expansion, and there are also plenty of USB and legacy ports on the rear panel. It basically has all the ports a small office or home office computer needs, as well as a DVD burner, but it could use a media card reader.
While the system itself does its part to help our environment, EDsys also offers a carbon offset, with two trees planted for each PC sold. The company itself claims to recycle or reuse approximately 70 per cent of its waste, and also has a recycling program in place for government and education departments in which it collects and re-uses all PC packaging after completing a roll-out. Working in PC World's test department, we see first hand how wasteful most manufacturers are when it comes to packaging (packing boxes inside boxes, for example), so we love it when companies let us know they are aware of the problem and try to minimise its effect on the environment.
When all's said and done, the Green PC is a worthy machine for any situation where a basic, yet capable PC is required, and it won't consume too much power while handling its business.