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Intel, Google Head Industry Initiative For Greener Computers

Intel and Google have joined with Dell, EDS, the Environmental Protection Agency, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, PG&E, World Wildlife Fund and more than 25 additional organizations have launched the Climate Savers Computing Initiative with the goal of saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by setting aggressive new targets for energy-efficient computers and components.

The group has set a 90 percent efficiency target for power supplies which the group says could save more than $5.5 billion in energy costs.

Urs Holzle, a Google senior vice president, estimated that most PC power supplies currently operate at about 65 percent efficiency. The Energy Star guidelines seek to raise that level to 80 percent efficiency, but the new initiative sets targets to reach 90 percent efficiency by 2010, The Wall Street Journal reports.  In addition, the initiative sets a higher efficiency target in the power supply for volume servers (1U and 2U single-socket and dual-socket systems): an increase from 85 percent to 92 percent efficiency by 2010.

Power supplies with 90 percent efficiency are shipping today, according to CNET. But there is a cost hurdle that needs to be overcome.

Making a PC more power efficient in this manner adds about $20 to its retail cost, and it adds about $30 to the cost of a server, according to Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president of the Digital Enterprise Group at Intel..

Part of the initiative is to figure out ways to eliminate this price difference. Some utilities, such as California’s Pacific Gas and Electric are toying with giving consumers rebates for buying energy-efficient PCs and, eventually, volume production will eliminate any additional costs.

“By 2010, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative will cut greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equal to removing more than 11 million cars from the road or shutting down 20 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants – a significant step in reducing the emissions affecting our planet,” said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group.

“Computers have helped us make huge strides toward a more efficient world today, with reduced travel, more productivity, online transactions and more,” Gelsinger added. “But with today’s latest energy-efficient technologies, we can do even more. The commitment of the member companies that are here with us today is a firm statement to the collective resolve to make an enormous impact.”

Businesses involved in the initiative must also commit to requiring high efficiency systems for the majority of their corporate desktop PCs and volume server purchases, and to deploy and use power management tools on desktop PCs.

In a separate development, The New York Times reports that Intel is expected to cut prices on some of its higher-end processors in July to make room for new power-saving chip technology expected in the second half of the year. The price cuts will come as Intel is preparing to introduce a new chip family this fall called Penryn, which promises a significant increase in performance without consuming more power.

Initial Supporters include Intel, Google, Advanced Micro Devices, Canonical, Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, Coldwatt, Dell, Delta Electronics, eBay, Electronic Data Systems, EMC, Fujitsu, HP, Hipro Technology, Hitachi, IBM , LANDesk, Lenovo, Linux, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microsoft, Natural Resources Defense Council, NEC, One Laptop Per Child, PG&E, Power-One, Quanta Computer, Rackable, Red Hat, , Starbucks, Sun Microsystems, Supermicro Computer, Ubuntu, Unisys, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, University of Michigan, Verdiem, World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund, and Yahoo.

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