Computers in the home, office and other environments, such as schools, are easily one of the most guilty culprits when it comes to unnecessary energy consumption. Many people leave their computers plugged in and running when away for long periods of time, drawing down wasted power from the grid while driving up one’s electric bill. One way to address this, apart from turning the computers off, is to get machines which use considerably less power – such as those which are powered by energy from an Ethernet wall outlet.
SkinnyBytes is one such company making what are called Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) computers, though their products are mainly for businesses and schools. These computers, which consist of tablet and touchscreen all-in-one models, can run on just 30 watts of power without sacrificing performance.
How does SkinnyBytes do this? The company says it is possible through using “emerging technologies” such as solid state drives, low-power Intel Atom Processors, LED backlighting, and passive cooling technologies that require no cooling fans. All of these technologies, coupled with the fact these computers have no internal moving parts, equate to what SkinnyBytes says is reducing the power requirements by 90 percent when compared to traditional desktop computers with moving parts and older technologies.
At the heart of the PoE designs is utilization of low voltage/low current power over a standard network cable. Power over Ethernet technology is certainly nothing new, as many devices like wireless access points draw their energy from this type of connection. SkinnyBytes believes that through this type of power interface, besdies saving energy, one can save installation costs related to installing AC outlets. If you have to install Ethernet outlets, however, you’ll still have upfront costs associated with PoE computers.
In terms of hardware, the SkinnyByte computers come with Windows 7 preinstalled and make use of a touchscreen interface for interaction. The touchscreen tablets, which come with 10.1- and 8.9-inch screen sizes, are also outfitted with features like USB ports, keyboards and webcams, while the all-in-one models (15.6- and 18.5-inch displays) have no attached keyboards. These latter devices do have as features though like analog audio connectors, four USB ports and a webcam. Wireless Internet connectivity is disabled on both types in order to conserve power.