British PC maker Akhter Computers has launched a computer that can run at 3GHz, yet consumes just 55 watts when in use, less energy than a light bulb.

The LoCO2PC is even more power frugal when in sleep mode, consuming just 3 watts, which is useful for organisations that leave their PCs on overnight.

The Akhter machine claims to the world's first Energy Star 4.0 approved all-in-one PC that is running the Intel Core2 Duo processor at 3.0 GHz. Energy Star 4.0 certification is the upgraded environmental standard that is mandated across the EU for all public procurement.

The LoCO2PC combines a 19 inch LCD panel, Intel Core 2 Duo processor (Conroe 65nm at the low end and Wolfdale 45nm chips at the high end), stereo speakers, DVD writer and a 250GB hard disk drive in a single form factor that is just 85mm deep. Optional features include 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi connectivity.

"It is just like a monitor on your desk, only deeper," said Geoff Pick, marketing manager at Akhter. "It uses an external power supply, like a laptop, that minimises heat issues."

The CPU is controlled by a proprietary copper pipe heat exchange system, and because there is no need for a fan, it is almost silent. "It is a very quiet machine," Pick told Techworld. "Indeed, it is so quiet that users don't notice the noise over other office monitors. They wouldn't know it is on."

Pick says that the 55 watt consumption figure is an average figure arrived at by following the Energy Star rating procedures. When running at full blast, the PC unit consumes 44 watts, while the LCD consumes 32 watts.

Akhter also says that the LoCO2PC can potentially reduce power bills to around one third that of the existing desktop PCs. In addition, it says CO2 emissions will be reduced by around 2-5 tonnes. "Organisations that select LoCO2PCs can expect to gain substantial payback through savings on their power bills, estimated at £100 per PC every year," the company said.

"£100 is not a controversial figure, it is a conservative figure" insisted Pick. "In the worst case scenario, when an organisation is running old PCs that are left on overnight, the annual savings could be as high as £250, especially if they don't have a sleep mode. Indeed, the whole system could completely pay for itself in two to five years."

Akhter has been around since 1979 and primarily sells into the local government and education markets. Pick says they are seeing huge demand for the Energy Star 4.0 certified machine from local government, despite a recent survey which said that only one third of IT executives rated energy efficiency as a key factor when buying equipment. "Basically it is going out the door before it gets in the door," said Pick. "It has outstripped expectations."

Prices range from £539 (excluding VAT) to £639 (excluding VAT), depending upon specification.

Akhter is not the only manufacturer launching integrated and green machines. Dell claims that its recently launched Studio Hybrid mini-desktop uses 70 percent less power than a typical desktop, consuming some 65 watts, although it should be noted that this machine has no built in monitor.

Meanwhile in the United States, Tangent has recently released the Tangent Evergreen 17 all in one computer, which apparently consumes only 24 watts, 72 percent less the required power consumption by Energy Star 4.0. This machine runs on either the Via Eden 1.0 GHz fan-less processor or the ViaC7 1.50 GHz processor with a low-noise fan.