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NEC Bows Eco-Friendly PC

It's not meant for PC power users, but NEC Solutions (America) Inc. says its new PowerMate eco is a Windows XP Professional desktop that saves power while saving the environment -- an "all-in-one, fanless ecological PC" built without the lead, boron, barium, cobalt, and other chemicals that end up in landfills from 10 million discarded PCs each year.

Cased in patented, 100-percent recyclable plastic with a built-in flame retardant free of other computer plastics' spray-on coatings' toxic gases, the PowerMate eco incorporates a 15-inch LCD monitor and takes just 11.5 by 8.9 inches of desk space (not counting the keyboard and mouse). The 900MHz Transmeta Crusoe processor on its lead-soldering-free motherboard requires no cooling fan, which reduces both ambient noise and the risk of dispersing dust in settings such as hospital workstations, while a fluid dynamic bearing motor in its 20GB hard disk results in a noise level about the same as a whisper (about 20db).

Equipped with 256MB of memory, an ATI Rage Mobility-M6 graphics controller, and 10/100Mbps Ethernet, the PowerMate eco starts at $1,599. Two PC Card slots and four USB ports handle expansion needs; a CD-ROM drive is standard, with a CD-RW/DVD combo drive available as an option.

Eric Grevstad is managing editor of sister site, HardwareCentral.