NEC Unveils Green PC

The new computer will feature a lead-free motherboard and a Transmeta Crusoe chip.

Taking a different tack in computer marketing, the U.S. subsidiary of NEC Corp. on Monday unveiled what it says is the first "ecological" PC, an all-in-one flat-panel system powered by 900MHz Crusoe processor by Transmeta Corp.

The PowerMate eco, by NEC Solutions America Inc., is built using components the company contends are more environmentally friendly than traditional desktops.

For example, the systems motherboard is made with a lead-free solder, designed to reduce potential lead-contamination at landfill sites, and the chassis is built using 100 percent recyclable plastic.

NECs NuCycle plastic chassis also is flame-resistant, eliminating the need to apply a flame retardant coating other PC makers use that produces toxic gases, the company said.

"When you hear about children getting lead poisoning from rummaging through landfills in developing Third World countries searching for spare computer parts to sell, you realize the industry has a responsibility to address these problems," said Larry Miller, vice president and general manager, of the Mobile Solutions Division of NEC Solutions America, in Sacramento, Calif.

The PowerMate eco also utilizes 900MHz Crusoe processor, a relatively cool-running chip originally designed for use in mobile and handheld products that doesnt require a fan for cooling. The lack of a fan not only reduces the risk dispersing dust that could trouble workers with respiratory problems, NEC said, but it also results reduces noise pollution inherently caused by the cooling device.

Available at prices starting at $1,599, the system features a 15-inch TFT LCD monitor, 256MB of SDRAM and a 20GB hard drive, and comes with Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Windows 2000 Professional.