Friday, November 2, 2007

Wal-Mart Gets $200 "Green" PC

Of all the retailers out there, Wal-Mart probably wouldn't rate high on environmentalists' lists of green retailers. But,that's where you're going to have to go if you want to get your hands on a new self-titled "green" PC that will cost just $199.

The Everex TC2502 gPC is a low-powered and limited-spec desktop computer that runs a version of Linux called Ubuntu rather than the much more popular Windows or Mac operating system. Ubuntu is a free operating system that looks and feels much like the competition, but doesn't offer the compatibility that even a Macintosh can offer to the ubiquitous Windows PC.

Linux has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years, finding itself installed in all sorts of devices. And, there are software applications out there for the operating system that will do everything you can do on a PC, including opening and reading files from most of the applications in Microsoft's Office suite. However, Office itself is not available, nor are most games. But given the seriously lightweight nature of the specs for this machine, you'd be hard-pressed to get any modern games to run anyway.

Those lightweight specs lead to reduced power consumption -- hence the "g" in the gPC name -- which is obviously aimed at the eco-mindful consumer.

As Engadget points out, however, this computer is rather wasteful in other regards. Internally, the system uses miniaturized components to help reduce power consumption and cost, but ironically the manufacturer throws them all into a big, plastic, non-biodegradeable full-sized case. Apparently this is due to Wal-Mart research that indicates its customers consider a larger PC to be a more powerful one, a notion that will make smart shoppers everywhere shake their heads.