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Green Computing's Future: Netbooks

Could Netbooks be the next step in reducing ecological waste and energy consumption for the personal computer user? In some ways, the answer is yes. Netbooks, in their inherent design structure, offer a more eco-friendly and energy efficent alternative to other current laptops.   Still, depending on the needs of the consumer Netbooks may not be a practical possiblity.

netbook, Green computing

First, one needs to know what is a netbook. A netbook is a labtop computer expressly designed for wireless communication and access to the internet. These computers rely primarily on web based applications and are minute in size when compared to traditional laptops. Because of their small size, usually weighing two to three pounds, netbooks consume less plastic and metal in their production. At the same time toxic materials used in computing, such as lead, are also reduced. So, in effect netbooks are the most material efficient of current computer models.

Second, one needs to look at energy. For a computer to work it needs electricity. That is an absolute. Netbooks have a very narrow aim to connect and work while on the internet. Traditional computers have a very wide aim, to serve any need of the personal computer consumer. This ranges from connecting to the internet to producing complex databases and even graphic intensive video games. Since the narrow aim of notebooks requires much less processing power, less energy is used. For example, Intel's Atom processor is used by 19 of the top netbooks. Atom posses a maximum thermal design point (TDP) of 2.5 watts; compare that with Intel's Core 2 Duo chips, which have a TDP of 65 watts.

On the other hand, netbooks do have drawbacks. The small processing power and limited memory storage of notebooks make them incompatible for any data or graphic intensive work. Graphic designers and information technology officers should look elsewhere. Likewise, those individuals concerned about computer waste must examine the individual manufacturers. Kevin Ferguson of Information Weekly came across this problem after his purchase of Acer Aspire One netbook. In the end, if you are using a computer only for checking e-mail and Facebook in the local Peets then a netbook may just be the perfect way for you to reduce your carbon footprint.

 

Comments

Interesting Take

Energy consumption seems to lie second to the needs or accomplishments one can have on a computer. Woludn't it just be ironic, but possible, that a scientist discovers ways to save electricity while using a netbook?

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Nice looks

It looks so beautiful.

Regarding the eco-friendliness of the Netbook

How easy are they to repair and upgrade?  A lot of electronics are sort of "disposable" these days.  I have drawers full of dead laptops and cell phones (I should write a post about how to dispose of dead electronics, actually!) because they don't make sense to upgrade from a price perspective.  My concern is that such an inexpensive laptop wouldn't pay to repair and once it's broken or obsolete it would just be waste.

A common problem...

I think this is not just a problem for low-cost electronics but all electronics.  Currently, the Acer I use for this site has broken twice, but been repaired twice without incident.  This may seem like alot but my Sony Vaio, a much more expensive full function labtop stopped working almost exactly when my one-year warranty expired.  So, I believe there may be problems but this can occur with any labtop.  I think as more and more companies enter the field quality will improve.

The best thing a person can do is do research about the green policies being instituted by the company who is making the product.  This is simple enough.  Just go to GreenPeace's Guide to Green Electronics and see where the company rates.

Sean Fitzpatrick is a burgeoning green entrepreneur and journalist with a juris doctor from Santa Clara University, School of Law. Currently, he is business development and community manger of KeenForGreen.com.

Eco Netbook

I think a netbook is the ideal PC for a manager or a salesman - people who are on the road regularly. Netbooks are ideal for their needs - you can check mails, surf the web or use MS Office. There is such a big variety of netbooks on the market so it's really hard to decide which you want to get.

Great Notebook ,Tell me the

Great Notebook ,Tell me the price of this notebook

The Price is around 200-250 in American Dollars

Of course, the real price may vary due to taxes.  I actually am doing a new post on a great new notebook that is eco-friendly and super cheap... I actually think it is probably one of the best buys out there.  It should be up today.

Sean Fitzpatrick is a burgeoning green entrepreneur and journalist with a juris doctor from Santa Clara University, School of Law. Currently, he is business development and community manger of KeenForGreen.com.

Netbooks are nice but Laptops

Netbooks are nice but Laptops are much better.

Babytechworks

Netbooks are pretty

Netbooks are pretty nice...

Arttechworks

Could netbooks be the next

Could netbooks be the next step in reducing ecological waste and energy consumption for the personal computer user? In some ways the answer is yes.
Yes!

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This is cool but it's not

This is cool but it's not viable for me.
Thanks for posting, anyway.

A large percentage of people

A large percentage of people only use their computer for web browsing.  These computers should be more than fine.  In fact net enabled applicaitons.  In fact, free network applications like Google Docs and Spreadsheets are making these comptures even more appealing.

But...

I agree with your comment, but for people that multi-use their computer for personal and professional aims the netbook may not be viable.  The small processors involved and the limited amount of memory that can be installed in netbooks do limit their ability in higher end computing tasks.   So, as I tried to point out in the article, it really goes to the user.  For the average college student in liberal arts or the stay at home mom, these are perfect.  For the graphic artist or the accountant running a home buisness, these may just not have enough power under the hood.  I think another great article that discusses this point is detail was writen by MJ Shoer of Seacoast Online.

Sean Fitzpatrick is a burgeoning green entrepreneur and journalist with a juris doctor from Santa Clara University, School of Law. Currently, he is business development and community manger of KeenForGreen.com.

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