HP's newest Energy Star PCs ship with Windows XP

Dennis Faas's picture

Hewlett-Packard's (HP) newest energy star PCs won't ship with Windows Vista. In order to comply with the new Energy Star 4.0 business desktop computer standards, the Compaq dc5700, dc5750 and dc7700 will be loaded with Windows XP Pro, despite the fact the HP recommends Windows Vista Business.

Ted Samson, a writer with InfoWorld, interviewed Todd Kruse, the global desktop product manager at HP.

"We will introduce Windows Vista configurations that are Energy Star 4.0-ready in the near future. Because we were able to begin testing all the components including the 80% efficient power supply with Windows XP earlier, we are much farther ahead in confirming compliance with XP combinations."

"Also, there will be demand for Energy Star on both operating systems as some customers may want to wait for the first Microsoft service pack before they deploy Vista."

Kruse went on further to explain that there are plenty of hardware considerations when developing a PC that meets the more stringent Energy Star 4.0 guidelines which take effect in July 2007. These guidelines "apply mainly to a PC's efficiency in idle mode, not how well it runs under a maximum workload."

The EPA doesn't expect more than 25 percent of PCs to meet that standard, whereas currently 98 percent of the systems on the market meet the current one. It's all about raising that energy-efficiency bar.

An energy star qualified computer uses 70% less electricity than computers without enabled power management features.

The energy star specifications for computers was revised on October 20, 2006. The specification includes new performance requirements to qualify for the energy star rating for desktop and notebook computers, workstations, integrated computers, desktop-derived servers and game consoles, and will go into effect on July 20, 2007. This document (in PDF format) from the Energy Star site details the new specifications.

There are 3 categories of Energy Star 4.0 PCs: Category A, Category B and Category C. The HP systems are category B systems, meaning they must have multi-core processor(s) or greater than one discrete processor, a minimum of 1GB of system memory to meet the new ES 4.0 requirements, and they can't use more than 65 watts while in idle mode (waiting for input from the user).

According to Kruse, it took some effort to come up with configurations that would meet that standard. "In some configurations, you may not be able to add graphics cards and a network card. You really need to measure the energy consumption of every configuration and determine if it's Energy Star compliant."

HP isn't the only major manufacturer still offering Windows XP. Both Dell and Lenovo are offering low-cost pcs in China with Windows XP, though both companies also "recommend Windows Vista". One Dell unit is also offered with a Linux operating system.

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