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The Personal Computer Goes Green


Personal notebook and laptop computers have so reduced their size and mass for the current market that they have come to deserve the status “green computer”.  These are often expressed as “Chromebooks” (with Google's brand operating system) but also any notebook with operating system such as Windows or Linux that gives it the green computer characteristics.  A laptop or notebook is thought as an extension to the familiar personal desktop computer introduced in the 1980s.  It comprises the full QWERTY keyboard for two-handed typing considered by most as a requirement for serious task handling.


An assortment of notebook computers that are “Green”.  (From top-left clockwise, Google Chromebook, Acer Spin, HP Stream, and Lenovo IdeaPad)

A main breakthrough is eliminating both the optical and conventional hard drive and substituting one of the various “solid-state drives” that are essentially just “cards”.  (A “card” is a light removable circuit board).  Some barely have a “drive” at all with storage as little as 32GB or 16GB, enough for an operating system and a handful of Apps.  With such low storage on a PC, you are expected to connect to another computer's hard drive to access normal data storage.  For some this is ideal since maintaining one hard drive is all they care to do.  Syncing multiple hard drives was considered extra time and effort and one swears the industry never “got the syncing down”.  That’s all eliminated if you realize you don't need a hard drive on a mobile PC anymore.  This is all part of eliminating unnecessary electronics in the environment.

This is all part of eliminating unnecessary electronics in the environment.

By eliminating the optical drive, hard drive, controller circuitry, cooling fans, and half the motherboard - you have less electronic equipment to tote around, with weights going easily into the 3 pound category and under. With no mechanical drives to zap the battery, you are looking at a battery life averaging anywhere from 8 to 14 hours (depending on the number of cells).  Not bad.  This can all be for a modest investment starting at under $200.