HP Launches Energy Star 4-savvy PCs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is rolling out new Energy Star efficiency requirements for computers, notebooks, workstations, and game consoles: the new requirements go into effect in July 20, 2007, and mandate new levels of power supply efficiency and “idle” power consumption when systems aren’t in use.

The EPA will eventually mandate two compliance tiers: Tier 1 will require a PC consume 50 watts or less when idle, and have a power supply that converts at least 80 percent of incoming electricity for use by the PC (as opposed to dissipating it as heat). (Computers and notebooks with multi-core processors and GPUs get a little more slack.) The idea behind a Tier 1 designation is to help consumers easily identify the top 25 percent of PCs in terms of their energy consumption.

Computer maker Hewlett-Packard, however, isn’t waiting for the July deadline to roll around, and today announced what it claims are the first business PCs which can be configured to meet the Energy Star 4 specifications, the Compaq dc5700, dc5750, and dc7700 series, available in minitower, desktop, and small form factor versions. The PCs are available in a variety of configurations featuring Intel Celeron, Pentium, and Core 2 Duo processors; editions of the dc5750 will also be available with AMD Sempron, Athlon 64, and Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core processors. Although many of the systems are billed as “Vista-capable,” they ship with Windows XP. Base configurations for Intel-based dc5700 and dc7700 machines include 80 GB hard drives, 1 GB of RAM, DVD/CD-RW optical drives, and have prices starting at $899 and $959, respectively. The AMD-based dc5750s come with 512 MB of RAM, with prices starting at $609.

HP says meeting the Energy Star 4 requirements can reduce total power consumption on systems by as much as 52 percent, creating an annual savings of $6 to $52 per PC in terms of energy usage alone.