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 Post subject: new online store for custom environmentally friendlier pcs
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:39 pm 
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I'm opening a new custom computer shop online at www.cadepc.com. I'm making it as green as possible right now, with some ideas in the works for even better systems (using smaller form factors).

I'm interested in getting feedback, and I've seen some great discussions in this forum over the past few months I've been checking in.

Thanks.


Last edited by alterna on Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:15 pm 
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Bring it on!

Would love to have a look around, what is an enviro PC, I guess it is less power and noise?

Sounds like it is right up this sites alley.

I bet your hoping to get onto the front page or the adverts...sneaky, I can tell. :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:05 pm 
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Go ahead. You're listed as a vendor and your web site appears to demonstrate a commitment to the environment.

I'll rely on our intrepid users to go through your web site and pick through what they don't think is green :twisted:


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 Post subject: definately tell us more!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:05 pm 
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Posts: 271
I think it's great you are taking a green approach. I'm pretty sure everyone here would be excited to hear about new approaches to computing and while you might *currently* be selling computers to a niche crowd, I think power consumption is going to be a serious factor for everyone in the future.

I'd really like to hear you philosophy behind green computing - and also how you got to this point (what made you want to sell green computers?)

recently I discovered how nice mobile chips are for desktop use - and any information on power consumption for your computers would be very interesting to read about.

tell us all about it!!!


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 Post subject: Here's my store...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:35 pm 
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My store is called Cade PC and is located at www.cadepc.com - please have a look around.

The environmental benefits come from two factors - the PC itself and the running of the business itself. The philosophy behind the PC design is to use parts that combine quality, environmental improvements, longevity, and flexibility. I want the systems to be repairable, upgradable, and expandable so the entire system can last as long as possible (avoiding pitfalls of proprietary parts/connectors). The power supplies are all 80 PLUS and the parts are all RoHS. As mentioned in an earlier post, I hope the industry will evolve so that we can produce better machines overall, some of these advancements are relatively minor. We also offer customers the option of including a donation towards carbon credits as part of their custom PC design (going towards renewable energy programs only - not the reforestation efforts we feel are less valuable).

The other benefit is the company's management. We employ a variety of 'green' business practices (carbonfree program members of carbonfund.org, use of recycled office products, we recycle 'techno-trash' through greendisk.com, and many others).

Thanks for any feedback!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:08 am 
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I commend you on your business, especially for approaching responsibility from a multitude of angles.

I've just one small suggestion to consider. Might it be possible to list on the site the option of a laptop hard drive (say, a 160 gb 2.5" drive instead of the 250 gb 3.5" for the base system)? To my knowledge, no store has ever offered laptop hard drives in any pre-built system.

Whilst only a detail in the bigger picture, 2.5" drives consume about 2/3rds less power over their lifetime, are a smaller amount of landfill at the end of their lives, and presumably require less energy/materials to build in the first place.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 4:43 am 
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How much power do your systems actually consume? How much more efficient are they to comparable systems? I think transparancy is crucial in this. Of course this is totally subjective, but if I were a potential customer I'd really like to know how much watts the sytem consumes at idle and load. I also find the E6300 way too powerful for average users. You could do much better for a classic computing/budget/basic/office-PC.

Other than that I think your website looks fantastic and very professional! Very inspiring stuff, to me personally.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:34 am 
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Eunos wrote:
I commend you on your business, especially for approaching responsibility from a multitude of angles.

I've just one small suggestion to consider. Might it be possible to list on the site the option of a laptop hard drive (say, a 160 gb 2.5" drive instead of the 250 gb 3.5" for the base system)? To my knowledge, no store has ever offered laptop hard drives in any pre-built system.

Whilst only a detail in the bigger picture, 2.5" drives consume about 2/3rds less power over their lifetime, are a smaller amount of landfill at the end of their lives, and presumably require less energy/materials to build in the first place.

Actually, the SPCR/endpcnoise system offer notebook drives as an option.

Also, if we assume that the HDD, like the CPU, sits mostly idle most of the time, the power difference is more like 7~8 times. Our own measurements show, typically...

5400rpm 2.5" -- 1W / 2.5W (idle / seek)
7200rpm 2.5" -- 1.5W / 4W
7200rpm 3.5" -- 7~8.5W / 11~12W

Congrats for your new site, btw. It looks good! :)

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 Post subject: thanks for the comments
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:11 pm 
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I will post some wattage numbers soon. I'm making sure that I will meet the new Energy Star spec that is coming in June.

Notebook drives, and other parts for that matter, are something I'm considering for the future. I'm also looking at the mini-ITX form factor for future designs.

There are many factors that go into a decision of what products to offer: power consumption, materials used, weight, price, and performance to name a few. Plus, if you use 'out of the ordinary' parts it may make it more difficult for customers to repair/upgrade their machine over time (or to have my warranty company agree to service the parts!). Also, I have to keep the different number of products I offer low enough that I can keep 'control' of them (maintain inventory, working knowledge of product, sourcing, price updates, return/defect handling, etc.).

I have learned it is easy to come up with ideas for a computer business, and infinitely more difficult to make them happen! So, start small and keep working...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:20 pm 
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Your environmental policyis far more complete than 99% of small system integrators, which I commend you for, but there's one thing you don't appear to offer -- a take-back program for your customers. This is something the big guys (Dell& HP specifically) seem to be taking seriously. They both stated in Dec that they would take back all the computers they sell in China, for example.

Any thoughts?

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 Post subject: take back program
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:45 pm 
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Quote:
but there's one thing you don't appear to offer -- a take-back program for your customers.


I thought about offering one, but my conclusion was that it is better for people to drop their computer at a local facility than to mail it again. I provide a few resources for people to find local recycling programs, but I should probably do a better job of explaining the concept and importance of recycling along as well as "beef up" the information about recycling programs nationwide.

One other thing I've considered is the liability issue. Most PC recycling centers have policies and practices to ensure the safety/deletion of any data that may be on the systems. I'm a little concerned about being an intermediary in this process and any liability that may come with it. If I do setup a take back program I would have to work something out so that I could have customers send their PCs directly to a recycling facility. I will consider this for the future, maybe as a "back up" option for people without access to local recycling options.


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 Post subject: Re: definately tell us more!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:42 pm 
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nzimmers wrote:
I'd really like to hear you philosophy behind green computing - and also how you got to this point (what made you want to sell green computers?)!


Thanks for the great questions. My philosophy is quite a bit different than my actual 'actions' at the moment. I would love to sell computers that are quite a bit different from the ones I am actually offering. Ideally most systems would be more along these lines: pico/mini form factors with tiny power requirements, running a streamlined (open source) OS, built using a corn-plastic biodegradable case and a power supply so efficient no real cooling is needed (and the corn-plastic won't melt!).

For now, I'm stuck making many compromises based on my available time and resources - and the desire to keep as wide as possible a potential customer base in a very competititve market dominated by a few huge companies.

I came to the 'green' computing marketplace in a rather backwards fashion, I guess. One way to put it: I'm not a 'techie' with green aspirations, instead I'm a 'greenie' with tech aspirations. That is, I'm an ecologist by training and profession who started building computers as a hobby. Like many of us foolishly do, I'm now trying to kill the passion for my hobby by turning it into a business :x

So, I'm well aware that I'm far away from my ideal, but I plan on incorporating improvements as I go. One day I'll get somebody to make me a custom corn-plastic case! :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:34 pm 
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You've got to start somewhere and somehow. The trash alone from building a PC, much less keeping it running or considering the materials, is sometimes appalling (I want everything in plain cardboard boxes--don't even bleach them! And make the anti-static bags reusable, Seagate! :evil:). Somehow we've got to get concrete examples, and not just what somebody did in their spare time with shoe strings, their Erector set collecting dust, and some Stretch Magic :); but actual sold and supported machines.

There's been a lot of planning, and there are demo boxes shown off at tech shows, but exceptionally little in the way of practical even remotely 'green' computing of any kind. I'm not a rabid greenie, but there is just so much waste, even when you try to save things. Obsolescence alone dooms piles of equipment, and bloated software dooms more (go Linux! Quite a few distros will breathe life right back into PII-era systems, while using modern software).

You obviously have to compromise, as you're going against the grain (oh, the horror of puns!). Many separate pieces exist, but getting them together and working reasonably well, especially as it concerns a working business, is another matter entirely; and you are on the ground floor.


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 Post subject: Marketing, PR, Features
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:21 am 
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I hope this turns out to be a dream come true for you -- I very much wish for your success, as I think smart capitalism and environmentalism should be in collaboration, not competition.

In your shoes, I would target the nonprofit / social change niche very aggressively -- aim for high-level partnerships first with environmental nonprofits themselves (NRDC, Sierra Club et.al.), then the foundations that support them, nonprofit tech consultancies (I can think of several here in Boston) and then the vendors that already cater to nonprofits (TechSoup jumps to mind).

You want the top-tier nonprofits first because they are the ones that have the budget to pay a little extra, as well as the need for pristine images. Lower-tier nonprofits (like my own) are trying to scrape by, but you can get them over time.

I would look at the first few partnerships as PR opportunities for both yourselves and the nonprofit -- this is the kind of thing that, with the right spin and publicist can get onto the NPR airwaves and drive individual consumers and mainstream companies to your business. But IMHO, I think your top priority is to nail down the B2N (Business to Nonprofit :) ) market because that would give you a stable, reliable revenue stream with a much lower cost of customer acquisition. Consumers are very expensive to reach and can be awfully fickle in their tastes. Additionally, you'll get invaluable credibility by being able to say "Exclusive vendor to the NRDC" which will help you land for-profits seeking a greenwash, which is when the real money will roll in 8)

I really do wish MikeC would launch GreenPCReview, because I think this topic needs more attention. As a vendor, you can make some splash, but you obviously have some self-interest in the matter. A separate organization would be much more credible for PR purposes.


***

Finally, some feedback from my own perspective trying to get my organization to buy our next computer from you:

1. I want shipping and handling information up front, BEFORE I sign in. Make me set up an account at the last possible minute, please!

2. I need an "email this" feature so I can send the spec's I spent 10 minutes setting up to my director and fiscal manager.

3. From a marketing perspective, the site looks really generic. Apropos to the comments I made above, I want the site to be much more explicit about its values -- you can water that down later when you establish your market, but right now your goal is to distinguish yourself from your competition. I want to be able to show this to my boss and say, "Here's why we should buy from Cade instead of from the PC assembler we've been buying from for ten years.":

* The text on the page should explicitly state "Socially and Environementally Responsible Computing for Value-Minded Businesses and Individuals." "Quality, Performance, Reliability" are important features, but they are not the reasons why I would buy your computer over your competitors.

* Next to "Environmental Policy" I would also put a link to your "Social Responsibility" page.

Good luck!!! Keep us updated on how you are doing and let me know if I can be of help!


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 Post subject: ... more feedback...
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:35 am 
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Location: Cambridge, MA
In addition to shipping cost, I want shipping time. Before I buy, let me input my zip code and you tell me how much it will cost to ship, and how long I have to wait.

On your home page, your "Featured product" is a graphcis card. IMHO your core market doesn't care about graphics cards; they want to see the greenest (and coolest) thing you've got. Serve up something truly environmental and, preferably, something really funky-looking. Or just a graphics-heavy link to an inside page that explains why your computers are so much better than the competitors'.

Rotate that "ad" with one describing your positive social values. (Not really sure what those are but I'd buy it).

Here's a thought about "reduce/reuse/recycle" -- one of the things we always get tons of leftovers of are keyboards and mice. Wouldn't it be uber-cool if you could offer "recycled keyboards and mice" instead of new ones? More than just gimmicky - it solves a real problem! Plus, you might partner with a local job placement agency to employ people to collect and disinfect these products, giving you a double-halo whammy of goodness.

Also, in your earlier post you describe the host of factors that support your materials selection. Dish it! Barring MikeC's launch of that other website, I'm starving for information about Green computing. For advertising and PR purposes, nothing would circulate around the relevant corners of the blogosphere faster than real, hard information, packaged nicely and digestably. Tell me exactly your decision-making process so (a) I trust you, and (b) I realize that, crap, I ain't gonna do all that work for myself -- please, build it for me!

Finally, as to your point about appealing to a wide market, I would reiterate my recommendation that you target a very focused segment first. Spend time talking to them (us?) about their needs and figure out what compromise between environmental "green" and dollar "green" we are willing to make. You might be surprised how far an environmental group like Greenpeace might go with some of your crazier ideas.

I do believe it's easier to go from crazy to mainstream than vice versa, especially in a cutthroat, commodity market like computers. Look at Alienware: they started with a "no compromise" attitude (and lots of attitude!) and nailed their niche. You've got a tight-knit niche here dying for products!!! It's all yours!!!


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 Post subject: I've got a lot of work to do...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:31 pm
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Quote:
Finally, some feedback from my own perspective trying to get my organization to buy our next computer from you:


Wow! Looks like I have some work to do.

Quote:
I want shipping and handling information up front, BEFORE I sign in. Make me set up an account at the last possible minute, please!


I agree. I'm adding this to my list of future site changes. It will take a little time to get to, though.

Quote:
I need an "email this" feature so I can send the spec's I spent 10 minutes setting up to my director and fiscal manager.


Probably a good idea for the future. For now I guess they could be printed or pdf'd, and the config will stay in your shopping cart permanently if you have created a user account.

Quote:
I want the site to be much more explicit about its values


Agree 100%. Although I've always planned on running the business in a 'green' fashion, I originally was not going to market the products or company that way. I have mixed feelings about "green" computers. I abhor the greenwashing craze sweeping through businesses of late, and I feel like I am engaging in the practice by explaining the environmental 'benefits' of a huge piece of aluminum and steel that is destined to suck coal-fired energy as people shop all night on amazon.com for tons of useless junk. Can you feel my guilt! :oops:

That said, I do think I need to get past my guilt and make sure I provide good information about the company and computers. Look for an update soon (tonight?).

Quote:
In addition to shipping cost, I want shipping time.


I had to temporarily disable this while I update some of the shipping control features of the website. It will return very soon. Keep in mind there is a build-time delay of up to 5 days before the item ships.

Quote:
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:35 am Post subject: ... more feedback...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On your home page, your "Featured product" is a graphcis card...


Good point, but I'm not sure if there are any really great enviro products - just slightly less harmful!! I will see what I can do to highlight 'good' stuff when possible. I've seen some keyboards and monitors from Sweden that are made with wood cases. They are beautiful - maybe I will import a few to sell? (not sure if they're that much better for the environment, but nature lovers should appreciate them! We'll see..

THANKS for the feedback.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2003 4:01 pm
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Location: Victoria, Canada
You should edit your first post to include the web link. That way, casual thread viewers will not have to discover it several posts later.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:59 pm 
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Lets call this the where are the letter A products post. :lol:

Acer LCDs
AMD processors
ATI video cards

I understand you are early in your company progression but I hope to see some variety and true choice as the lead changes hands every so often.

You should be able to field some very low cost low price AMD options somewhere in your lineup.

From a technical standpoint Intel's integrated graphics are first place in quantity but third place in performance. It would be much greener if your "Classic Computing" platform didn't push people toward another platform to get a mid range graphics solution.

The "Powerful Productivity" system could get away with the cheaper discrete graphics so unless you have a green reason to prefer the card with the higher price I'd change the default config to the 7600GT instead of the 7900GS since the dollar cost and idle power are lower on the 7600GT.

Finally the "Guaranteed Gaming" configuration. Is the Corsair HX520 not green enough? I suppose it isn't 80+ certified but given the much higher peak efficiency it ought to be an option at least.

Code:
Model       Output (W)  40      65      90      150     200     250     300     400     500
        Efficiency
Earth Watts 430         70.8%   75.6%   78.3%   81.0%   83.5%   83.2%   82.4%
     HX520W             67.7%   72.5%   77.1%   81.0%   84.5%   85.2%   85.1%   83.7%   81.3%

         Noise (dBA@1m)
Earth Watts 430         22      22      22      22      24      29      37      .
HX520W                  22      22      22      22      22      22      22      29      43


We could give the Earthwatts 500 the benefit of the doubt and assume it is slightly more efficient at higher loads than the 430 watt version but I doubt the difference is enough to make the Corsair option less attractive to a gamer. Especially when you consider the noise difference at the 250 to 300 watt level.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:42 pm 
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Quote:
recently I discovered how nice mobile chips are for desktop use - and any information on power consumption for your computers would be very interesting to read about.


My "classic" system (base system) is running at 2W OFF, 3.5W Standby, and 63W Idle (original post had 65W but power saving was not properly enabled in my Vista image - woohoo 2W less now!). This is just enough to keep it qualified for ENERGY STAR status when the new, more stringent specs come into effect in June.

I think this is decent for a system with its features (specs: E6300, 800MHz DDR2, DG965OT, WD2500KS HD, EarthWatts 380, Samsung SH-S183L SATA DVD, Zalman Z1 fans). I am interested in creating lower-wattage systems and would very much like to hear suggestions from this group of experts on the best changes to make without sacrificing too much performance or pushing the price through the roof.

On a related note, I have read many reviews comparing the efficiency of AM2 procs with C2D procs. Somewhat confusing. AM2s idle lower, but C2Ds are more efficient at load and were reported to have better performance-to-watt ratios. Hmmm. How does this relate to actual performance 'in the field?'

Anyway, please fire away with any suggestions for improvements.


Last edited by alterna on Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 9:03 pm 
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alterna wrote:
My "classic" system (base system) is running at 2W OFF, 3.5W Standby, and 65W Idle. This is just enough to keep it qualified for ENERGY STAR status when the new, more stringent specs come into effect in June...... Somewhat confusing. AM2s idle lower, but C2Ds are more efficient at load and were reported to have better performance-to-watt ratios. Hmmm. How does this relate to actual performance 'in the field?'

From an operational energy efficiency point of view, 65W idle isn't very green. Lots of PCs can do much better -- ie, below 50W.

In the vast majority of systems, idle power is the single most important factor. Few office systems run more than 10% full load in the time that they are left on. I bet most home computers are not much different, and don't reach 50% even for nutty gamers and power users. (Research on PC user energy profiles is coming.) If you're in a real production environment where machines are pegged to the max for days then maybe a 10% edge in speed could be a serious advantage (maybe animated film production, etc). But for the vast majority of users, the most significant difference will be the difference in power consumption at idle. Assuming identical components except for the CPU, the AMD systems draw less power in idle. This usually means less avg. power draw.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:58 pm 
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A few thoughts/reactions from grazing over your site.

Could use a little more mention of the benefits of quiet computing.
I realize that quiet computing isn't your main focus, but if you think in terms of the users local environment removing noise pollution is one way of improving it. If you are already going for low power consumption,
adding in low noise might not be too hard, then it could be another way of differentiating your systems from the rest. (A link to a quiet computing sight, like silentpcreview, or quiet computing wouldn't hurt ;-)

How come there isn't an option for Linux, or no OS?
(At least on the basic machine - I haven't looked at the others.)
If somebody is upgrading and already has a license for the OS they want, they may not want to be forced to get yet another copy of Windows.
Would help reduce resources used by not creating another OS disk
(not to mention saving on price.)

Similarly, an option for an open source office suite would be nice.

Carbon offset - why 1 ton? Is that a pitance compared to how much carbon will be generated to power this thing? Is it overkill?
Give some scale of comparison - How much is that in terms of KW-H, or how long you could run my system, or shipping weight? Would be more relevant if it were also given in terms of approx emissions from shipping the computer and/or how long can run computer for that amount of carbon. (Of course there would need to be a lot of assumptions/approximations in such a calculation, but your average person probably has no clue how much 1 ton of carbon is in terms of KW-Hours.)
Here is a chance to educate people about effects of power usage -
take advantage of it. (Even better would be if it would calculate power usage for the configuration I had selected, and give it to me in
watts, $ (use typical electricity rates, or let me plug in my rate) and carbon emissions. Let me see the cost of that fire breathing graphics card etc in total cost to run the beast.)

In terms of the longevity goal for your systems - do your cases have dust filters on the intakes? (Not clear from the description.) Though I don't have statistics on this, I would be surprised if dust was not one of the major causes of computer problems. (Fan failures, erratic operation due to overheating, etc.) If your cases do have filters, you might want to add cleaning the filters regularly to your list of general computer tips.
If not, might see if there is evidence that having periodic dusting increases computer life.

It would be nice if you had a few links about environmental computing (especially about the hazardous materials used in IC/PCB/ etc. fabrication, florescent tubes for LCDs, scanners, ...).
At least add a few good links so they don't have to hunt around to find out more about 80plus, RoHS. Even better if you can do a brief explanation of what nasties are used in computer manufacture, how yours are improved (and what could be done even better).

Also the printers could use better coverage in terms of what toxics (if any) are involved in ink/toner production.

It doesn't seem to indicate which computers/components are or aren't compliant with the RoHS directive. (Just saying incorporating components could be anything from one card to everything. Would be nicer to know which items are "greener".)

Strange that you don't seem to mention batteries.
For instance - the "help me decide" text for the cordless mouse/keyboard option makes no mention of the batteries that must be involved. If want to go green, should point out that a corded solution is greener, (doesn't involve heavy metals like Cadmium, etc. used in batteries, nor the extra materials and bother of making/recycling batteries and a battery charger, and more energy efficient (no losses in charging the batteries, then discharging them again, etc.))
Rather than just suggesting using rechargeable batteries, you could offer them (and a charger) as an option/accessory.
What about the laptop batteries - how green are Li-Ion batteries vs other sorts?
What sort of CMOS batteries are used (both in laptops and in desktops)? How green are they?

(Lest this sound too critical I think it is great that folks are taking on these problems, these are just the suggestions for improvement that struck me while browsing your site.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 2:48 am 
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If anything is sold in the EU these days (new), it has to be RoHS compliant, so 99% of new hardware these days is (unless it won't be sold here, maybe some NTSC TV cards or similar).


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:55 pm 
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Quote:
From an operational energy efficiency point of view, 65W idle isn't very green. Lots of PCs can do much better -- ie, below 50W


I know it's not "dark green" - but how about "light green"? Based on the info in SPCR's ENERGY STAR article it still seems like this system will be in the upper 20-25% of systems in the coming year.

I'm all for going as low-power as possible, but I'll blame a bit of my reluctance on my customers :twisted:. For example, the last 4 systems I have been asked to build were 2 hard-core gaming machines, a video editing workstation, and a CAD workstation (of course these consumed even more power!). My computer experience has always been 'power' oriented even though my personal 'beliefs' are quite different. I am just now trying to meld my 'green' philosophies with my computer building.

So, what is the next build I should offer to give a greener choice? I've been considering a simple addition like adding an AMD 65W CPU option, or going a little more adventurous and adding a N4L-VM/Core Duo/Core2Duo build with 2.5 inch HDDs.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:09 pm 
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Location: Upper left hand corner, USA
Had a couple of additional thoughts.

Giving specific information about the toxics content of the components would help make it clear that you have taken care to research the matter, and help educate your customers. (I would rather see admission that certain items contain lead/whatever than blanket statements that RoHS components are used. - Gets away from greenwashing, etc.)

Another specific item I would like to see covered is whether the cables you use contain lead in the insulation? (For most users the external cables (power, keyboard, mouse, USB, etc.) are probably of most concern, but for somebody working on them it would be nice to know about the internal cables as well.)

If you haven't already, you might want to investigate the toxics communities - both as a resource for information to help make your computers greener, and, if you can cut out a lot of the chemical nasties in your machine, as a possible market.

I know a few people who have multiple chemical sensitivities -
helping one of them get a computer or monitor is a major pain. But I have learned a lot about the toxics involved in high tech devices (lead in cable insulation, outgassing from plastics, circuit boards, ...)

The emissions from one's electronics - chemical as well as sonic and thermal form a significant part of the users environment.


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 Post subject: Re: I've got a lot of work to do...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:21 pm 
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Location: Cambridge, MA
alterna wrote:
Agree 100%. Although I've always planned on running the business in a 'green' fashion, I originally was not going to market the products or company that way. I have mixed feelings about "green" computers. I abhor the greenwashing craze sweeping through businesses of late, and I feel like I am engaging in the practice by explaining the environmental 'benefits' of a huge piece of aluminum and steel that is destined to suck coal-fired energy as people shop all night on amazon.com for tons of useless junk. Can you feel my guilt! :oops:

Don't let your guilt get in the way of running the business; let it steer you to running the business well! People need to buy computers, whether you (or I) like it or not. They may as well be greener than the alternatives.

If it makes you feel better, by all means devote entire pages of your site to why recycling or extending the life of an existing product is much better than buying a new "green" PC. It would also make you a lot more credible: "Please, don't buy anything!!! But if you do, buy from us!" :)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:04 pm 
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Location: Upper left hand corner, USA
Another thought - it is nice that you offer a duplexing inkjet.
How come the no duplexing laser? Using both sides of the page is a basic
part of reducing waste.
(Also, the help me choose item for printers under your systems
should point out the environmental/cost savings of using a duplexing printer.)

(Related note - should offer individual color ink cartridges separately also.
Not much savings in being able to replace just the empty cartridge if
you still have to buy extra of the others.
For instance, in a setting where use spot color (e.g. redline, or have a logo that uses some colors more than others) one may use up colors unevenly.
It is wasteful to have to buy all the color cartridges if only need more
of one.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 11:23 am
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Does manufacturing four times as many cartridges count as an environmental benefit? Sure you're saving ink, but I suspect the environmental cost of requiring four times as many cartridges outweighs the small savings in ink, especially as each cartridge contains a circuit board and print head of its own. Surely you'd be better off offering single-cartridge models with refillable inkwells...?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2003 4:01 pm
Posts: 281
Location: Victoria, Canada
alterna wrote:
Quote:
From an operational energy efficiency point of view, 65W idle isn't very green. Lots of PCs can do much better -- ie, below 50W


I know it's not "dark green" - but how about "light green"? Based on the info in SPCR's ENERGY STAR article it still seems like this system will be in the upper 20-25% of systems in the coming year.

I'm all for going as low-power as possible, but I'll blame a bit of my reluctance on my customers :twisted:. For example, the last 4 systems I have been asked to build were 2 hard-core gaming machines, a video editing workstation, and a CAD workstation (of course these consumed even more power!). My computer experience has always been 'power' oriented even though my personal 'beliefs' are quite different. I am just now trying to meld my 'green' philosophies with my computer building.

So, what is the next build I should offer to give a greener choice? I've been considering a simple addition like adding an AMD 65W CPU option, or going a little more adventurous and adding a N4L-VM/Core Duo/Core2Duo build with 2.5 inch HDDs.


That's the tough thing about true green computing for hardware nerds. All other things being equal, the lowest power system is also the slowest. Luckily, things aren't always equal, and at least we have process shrinks and instruction set optimizations to speed things up without demanding too much extra power.

That said, the greenest current system right now would be some single board computer. Integration is the innovation that brought all this chip craziness on in the first place, and it means lower power, among other things. Of course, you are not likely to get a lot of customers unless you know a lot of people who run manufacturing operations so that means sticking to standard desktop form factors.

I think if you are really serious, you should offer AMD based systems. Mike is right, idle matters most for nearly every computer that is operated directly by people (excludes servers and any rendering machine). Continue to offer the C2D for your performance geared customers, but at least offer AMD as an option, and explain the difference. Most people who would be buying from you are probably smart enough to understand.

What would be decently green is a 65W X2 or one of the newer Semprons, on a lower powered mATX motherboard, with a notebook drive and a high efficiency lower wattage PSU. Better still are the mini ITX / pico PSU type setups, but the performance/$ goes down fast with those things, making them a hard sell excepting hobbyists who generally buy parts not systems.


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 Post subject: Listening to your feedback...
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:31 pm
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Quote:
What would be decently green is a 65W X2 or one of the newer Semprons, on a lower powered mATX motherboard, with a notebook drive and a high efficiency lower wattage PSU. Better still are the mini ITX / pico PSU type setups, but the performance/$ goes down fast with those things, making them a hard sell excepting hobbyists who generally buy parts not systems.


Thanks largely to the 'encouragement' from people on this thread, I have just finished testing a new rig I will be selling on the website very soon.

The new systems use AMD Athlon 64X2 65W CPUs and the Asus M2A-VM motherboard. The base version comes with a 3800+ CPU and idles at (edit) 45 watts (Antec EarthWatts 380W PSU). That's 18 watts less than our base Core2Duo system at idle.

Thanks for all of the feedback and prodding. BTW, I've also added OpenOffice as an option. It will be a while before I get to Linux, though!


Last edited by alterna on Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:15 am 
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Well done, alterna!


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