RealTime IT News

Talton Teases With Dust-Free PC Claim

Talton Technologies doesn't quite have content on its Web site ready, nor are its patent applications turned in. But the tiny startup claims to have a solution to a major cause of PC failure.

Company founder and president Russ Russell told internetnews.com his discovery came after he and another engineering partner had their PCs quit because of power supplies that failed as a result of dust and particles gumming up the works.

"I just couldn't believe that here we are in the 27th century technology-wise and we're still dealing with dust issues," said Russell. "Filters can keep dust out, but that restricts airflow, which leads to overheating. We figured out how to do this without filters and still keep airflow."

Based in Longview, Wash., Russell says Talton is just three engineers, including himself, though he is collaborating with other companies on development.

He said a prototype unit inside a PC has been running fine, but they plan to do more testing with multiple machines in a "commercial environment" before going to the patent office early next year. Till then, he is giving out few details, but says his solution will prevent "a PC power supply from ever dying because of dust issues, which is a leading cause of failure."

He said the prototype unit has its own power supply that emits a tiny amount of heat versus what it will save. The final version is designed to feed off the computer's motherboard, just as the power supply does.

Talton is looking for partners, such as PC manufacturers, interested in building it in, and also plans to build a unit that can be retrofitted to existing PCs.

There is a component that needs to be replaced every year to two years depending on what kind of materials are used, much as inkjet printers need replacement cartridges. Russell says this kind of recurring revenue should appeal to PC makers that have few aftermarket options outside of full PC replacements.

But even if the technology is real and performs as promised, analysts aren't sure there's a market.

"I can say categorically that PC makers hate to add costs to products, especially if it solves a problem people don't realize they may have or only impacts a small percent of people," said Nathan Brookwood, a chip analyst and founder of Insight64.

Brookwood agrees that dust is a real issue, especially with so many tower PCs placed on the floor, though he notes power supplies can die for component failure and other reasons.

"And when it does die, it's usually after the manufacturer's warranty has run out."

Brookwood sees more potential as a retrofit, much as some people buy fuel additives for performance and preventative maintenance for their cars.

Russell estimates the product would cost "well below $40" in volume for a PC maker to include and says IT and computer support departments would save many times that in fewer repairs.