What this means.

Driven mainly by two European Union directives, the U.S. computer industry is in a situation which may place ecological practices and considerations onan equal footing with profit, speed and bandwidth in the development of new equipment.

We are talking here about the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directives.

Basically, these two directives require computer makers to implement product lifecycle management programs (including free take-back programs) and the elimination of certain hazardous substances like lead, by 2008 from their production process.

In anticipation of these directives, which have been discussed for years and follow the lead of other eco-labeling, for example the U.S.'s Energy Star and Germany's Blue Angel, many companies have taken a proactive approach to the inevitable, by beginning the redesign of products years ago.

Japan's NEC in particular has taken the lead with launch of its PowerMate eco last year.

The PowerMate eco contains no lead, is made of NEC-developed, 100% recyclable "NuCycle" plastic, and uses no fan thanks to its low-power Transmeta chip and laptop components.

Hewlett Packard has also started development of a line of small-footprint variations of their PC product lines.

Call centers and hospitals are prime clients as is any ordinary Japanese office where workers are often clustered desk-to-desk in groups of eight, said Larry Miller, vice president and general manager, Mobile Solutions Division, NEC Solutions America.

"The thing the eco does represent is a very clear stake-in-the-ground, line-in-the-sand that it is absolutely possible," said Miller. "I'd like to claim that next year all of our computers will be made in the same way, but this is the first in this way and it's made because we could. So, its the first of a parade rather than the beginning of a revolution."

Overview of NEC Eco.

The PowerMate eco is the first desktop PC engineered specifically with the environment in mind while also meeting the demands of a wide variety of workplaces. The "boxless" all-in-one unit has no fan, is constructed with a lead-free motherboard and contains no boron in the LCD display. As a result, it uses less power and produces less heat than traditional PCs, and is also Energy Star(r) compliant and won't pollute the environment. NEC also designed the PowerMate eco to be highly functional by matching a 900MHz Transmeta™ Crusoe™ processor with a 20GB hard drive and 15" TFT LCD display.



* Lead-free motherboard
* All-in-one "boxless" small footprint design
* TFT LCD display radiates less heat and consumes less power than regular monitor
* Made with NuCycle™ plastics
* Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) motor in the hard drive
* No fan, whisper quiet - approximately 20db
* Energy Star compliant
* Compliant to Green Purchase Network (GPN), an environmental NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) established in 1996 by Japanese computer industry

Key Features:
* 15" TFT XGA LCD color display +/-80 degree swivel angle
* 16.5 pounds1
* 11.5" (W) x 8.9" (D) footprint
* 900MHz Transmeta Crusoe processor
* 256MB RAM (expandable to 640MB)2
* 20GB hard drive3
* Built-in 10/100 LAN (RJ-44 connector)
* PCMCIA slots (two Type II or one Type III)
* 4 USB ports
* CD-ROM Standard with DVD/CD-RW combo drive option
* ATI( RAGE™ MOBILITY™-M6 Graphics accelerator chip
with 16MB video memory
* Other ports including serial, parallel, PS2 keyboard and PS2 mouse
* Three-year limited warranty4

900MHz low power Transmeta Crusoe processor

256 MB DDR SDRAM minimum; expandable to 640MB
(128MB on system board and 512 MB SO-DIMM)

Storage Devices
Internal 20GB VersaBay hard disk drive, 24x maximum CD-ROM

TFT Color Display
15" TFT XGA LCD display (1024x768) resolution, up to 16.8 million colors (8-bit)

Interface Ports
Four USB, DC in, LAN (RJ-44), one USB keyboard, one USB mouse with scroll button, microphone line-in, line-out

Memory upgrade socket for SO-DIMM module on system board
and VersaBay IV for 8x DVD/CD-RW combo drive upgrade (replaces CD-ROM drive)

Combination Card Slot
PCMCIA Type II (2 slots), Mini PCI Type III-B (1 slot)

Dimensions and Weight
14.6 (W) x 15.5 (D) x 8.9 (H)
16.5 lbs (without AC adapter, keyboard or mouse), 16.8 lbs with AC adapter

AC Power
Input voltage 90-240 V AC, 50-60 Hz, Output voltage (18V DC, 4.44 amps)
Canadian C-UL; Energy Star(r) compliant