How do you choose a new desktop PC? Once upon a time, buying decisions typically came down to megahertz and performance. Then Apple and others shifted the debate to design. But, let's face it, the majority of today's desktops look nice enough and most have excess performance for daily web browsing, Office and even video and photo editing. After the performance and design wars, today's logical battleground is power consumption. That's why I've rounded up the Top 10 most energy efficient desktop PCs money can buy.
I'll be honest. This thrifty ten is highly unlikely to save you hundreds of pounds a year -- though some power users might -- simply because electricity is so cheap. Realistically you'll save tens of pounds at best.
Picking a desktop that uses fewer watts than an old skool incandescent light bulb is less about penny-pinching and more about feeling good. Feeling good that you're using less energy and doing your tiny bit to cut carbon emissions. But also taking pleasure in the elegance of low power PCs in the same way you'd enjoy avoiding bloatware like Outlook.
Plus, by buying a low energy desktop, you're sending a message to PC makers: there's money in flogging green products.
For this list, I've focussed solely on which machines use the fewest watts when running at full tilt. I've not looked at how toxic they are, how much energy they take to manufacture or favoured one operating systems over another. Windows, OS X and Linux all get a look-in.
I've not looked at business machines or Zonbu because its 'cloud'-based approach doesn't look mainstream enough to me, yet.
Finally, yes, yes, I know the greenest PC is the one you already own, but I'm assuming if you're reading this you need or want a new one.
In the future, SmartPlanet will take a look at energy efficient monitors and laptops. For now, enjoy this list of the Top 10 Low Power Desktop PCs, in no particular order. Click on to the next photo to get started...
(Note: the watt figures quoted on the following pages are for maximum power use. Most of the time these machines won't be using maximum draw, but I've taken that as my benchmark to give you a worst case scenario).