This isn't so much a review as it is just first impressions on a new EarthPC my organization purchased from Boston's Tech Networks
. It is not a review because I have neither the tools nor expertise to conduct one, although if any of you have instruction on how to do things like measure actual power consumption, etc., I'd be happy to carry it out to the best of my ability (and time).
We purchased a version of their "Super" setup, minus the GeForce (which, IMO, is not very Earth-y) and with an upgrade to Windows XP Pro. I'm not sure what market they are targeting with this line of computers, as the Super, in its default config, seems neither a good gaming machine nor a very good office computer (Windows Pro seems compulsory for that application). They were, however, happy to configure the system to these up/downgrades.
A small but annoying detail - we couldn't get them to drop the mouse/keyboard combo, which we would happily have forgone to recycle several of the dozen floating around in our office graveyard. (They did downgrade it not be wireless, tho). Also, through some miscommunication our administrator ended up ordering the LCD monitor which I had struck from the spec sheet. Not sure how that happened, but we figured we needed one anyway and kept it.
I didn't bring my camera in today, and I won't be back to the office until Weds, but the system looks like the picture posted on their website -- a fairly serene white Antec case, plus an "EarthPC" and a Tech Networks badge.
Front view. Glossy. Three badges. The button LED is a trendy (and annoying) blue. I've only got one optical on this machine, so the second cover has nothing behind it. The third hides the 7-in-one card reader.
Rear view. You can see it's a pretty airy PSU, but the case fan is small (I think that's an 80mm?)
There's the vaunted PSU. Anyone ever heard of "Enhance"?
Mobo layout. I assume this is a microATX board.
This being SilentPCReview, a quick word about the noise level. My office is pretty loud, as I'm next to a noisy airshaft, and my other PC has the volume of a jet engine, so it's hard to evaluate this. The system was certainly a lot quieter than mine -- with all the din, it may as well have been silent. When I put my ear to the case vents, I did hear a rhythmic whirr-whirr-whirr which made me wonder if the CPU fan was unbalanced.
System + Power Settings
I'll report on the power supply when I have more time to take the thing apart and take pictures, but for now I'm taking their word for it on the 80%+ efficiency PSU. Now for more mundane matters:
You can see I got what I ordered:
This is the first dual-core machine I've ever really looked at. It was neat looking at the Performance tab of Task Manager and seeing two graphs. Nothing new for the rest of you, I'm sure.
Would welcome any comments on the E6300 from a green perspective. I take it "E" stands for "Extreme" and not "Environment"... where does this thing stand on the power (coal): power (computing) ratio?
This was my big test of just how much these guys really cared about the "Earth" in "EarthPC", and they passed, somewhat:
It really, really irks me
that Windows doesn't, by default, turn off your monitor or hard drive when idle. Especially since it does turn on your so-called screensaver. I'm glad to report that EarthPC is configured, by default, to turn off your monitor after 20 minutes. Not terribly aggressive, but much better than all those monitors you see in other people's offices when you're walking around at night. A bonus would have been to also idle the hard drive -- not sure why they didn't do that.
Here, btw, is the screesaver config:
I never understood why that's even needed any more, but there it is.
I wish I could run both benchmarking and power-consumption tests. Any advice?