Dell has refreshed its online power consumption calculator and is promoting its energy-efficient PCs and workstations in conjunction with the new federal Energy Star 5.0 specifications, which were released July 1.
Dell's Client Energy Savings Calculator had been like that of other systems makers, measuring the energy consumed by particular systems and power supplies, Allen Whitley, product group marketing manager at Dell, said in an interview.
However, the newer version, announced July 27, factors in a host of other components, including the amount of memory, the graphics cards being used, hard drives and power management features, he said.
"We think this is particularly interesting, and we definitely think there is nothing out there like this," Whitley said.
The calculator looks at various configurations of OptiPlex, Vostro and Latitude systems.
Whitley and Jay Taylor, senior engineer and global strategist at Dell, said businesses are increasingly looking to vendors for more energy-efficient systems, as a way to save money and to reduce their carbon footprint.
Government agencies and larger enterprises, which at times have tens of thousands of PCs and laptops, are particularly interested in the savings that can be gleaned from more efficient client systems, Whitley and Taylor said.
Smaller businesses that may be more budget-constrained tend to opt for traditional systems rather than the more expensive ones that are outfitted with energy-efficient technologies. However, as those technologies become more commonplace, Taylor said he expects the prices will come down.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star 5.0 power efficiency specifications are designed to help businesses and consumers buy energy-efficient products. Most PC makers, including Dell, Apple and Hewlett-Packard, already are shipping systems that meet the Energy Star 5.0 standards, which EPA officials say will drive PCs to use 30 to 60 percent less power than standard systems.
Whiting said Dell's most energy-efficient models reduce the cost of running a desktop to $15 a year, and $10 a year for laptops.
Taylor said meeting the Energy Star specifications is a "substantial challenge" for Dell, as illustrated by the fact that only select models within the company's PC, laptop and workstation lines meet the specs.
The EPA uses the Energy Star label on a host of electronic devices, including printers, power supplies and, most recently, servers.
The EPA launched its server specs in May, and in June Dell rolled out two PowerEdge servers that meet those specs.