PC maker Fujitsu Siemens is planning a new range of 'green' PCs that draw zero power while on standby, effectively removing the practical need to turn them on and off on a daily basis.
Due for official launch at the European CeBIT Show in early March, the new Esprimo Green PC line uses a patented technology to allow the PC to enter a state of zero power consumption, while still allowing an administrator to power up and manage the machine remotely if required.
The current generation of PCs from large PC vendors generally consume around one to five watts of electricity while in standby, though the latest models from the German-based outfit — the Esprimo C/E/P5730 and E/P7935 and Celsius workstations — have reduced this to under 0.5 watts. Reaching zero consumption, however, sets a new benchmark.
Details on precisely how the company has perfected some of the tricky technical problems associated with zero power, while still allowing the machine to be activated have not been released. Exactly how long it takes for the Esprimo Green PCs to power up from their zero state and how much energy they use in full power mode have yet to be explained.
The technology is similar to that of the Scenicview P26W-5 Eco monitor announced by the company at last year's CeBIT Show. It also uses zero power in standby mode, with Fujitsu Siemens stating it intended the new PCs to be paired with such models.
The drive to cut PC energy consumption is being driven in Europe by EU regulations on power consumption due to come into force in 2010, which requires all new PCs to include a low power mode consuming less than one watt. Desktop PCs are increasingly using the same energy management features that have long been standard on laptops, such as powering down hard disk and the main CPU after a period of inactivity.
Fujitsu Siemens' decision to reduce this to zero is probably best seen as a way of distinguishing its systems from the company's rivals. Yet, it also offers some practical advantages for workers, who no longer need to remember to power workstations on and off each day. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many workers still habitually leave PCs turned on for the sake of convenience, despite warnings on how much energy this can waste over a PC's lifetime.
The new PCs will be available for sale in about three months, with details on pricing to be announced at the official launch in March.