Via Technologies has launched a new PC motherboard to help OEMs build PCs meeting the US Energy Star requirements.

The new pc3500 mainboard draws less than 24 watts in Idle State. This is less than half the 50 watt-requirement of the US EPA's latest (v4.0) Energy Star Program Requirement for Computers. In addition it draws only 1.09 watts in Sleep Mode, and 0.68 watts in Standby (Off Mode), easily meeting the Energy Star requirements for a Category A system.

The new board uses less than 35 watts when playing back a DVD, one of the most power-intensive computing applications.

All EU public sector PC purchases must be of Energy Star-compliant computers. Via's PC3500 is not for high-performance PCs and has only been certified for the basic version of Microsoft's Vista. It also supports Windows XP and 2000, plus Linux.

It is based on the VIA CN896 digital media IGP chipset, featuring the VIA Chrome9 HC IGP with a DirectX 9.0 3D accelerator, a 2D accelerator for productivity applications, and the Chromotion 3.0 video display engine for video processing. There is a VIA C7-D x86 processor supporting the 400MHz VIA V4 bus. This features speed-stepping gown to 400MHz. Its overall average power consumption is less than 25 watts.

The processor is said to be carbon-neutral because Via purchases carbon offsets in sufficient quantity to cover its average working price. In practise it could take decades though, for the carbon emissions caused by the generation of the electricity needed to power the processor to be re-absorbed by the four broad leaf trees needed if forestry-based offsets are used.

Via says competing desktop processors could require 28 such trees, 88 percent more, according to its new green Treemark benchmark.

The board has two DDR2 DIMM slots, supporting up to 2GB of 400/533/667MHz memory, and a PCI Express x16 slot and PCI slot for expansion cards. It also comes with four USB 2.0 ports, two SATA II/PATA connectors, 10/100 Ethernet, and eight channel on-board audio. Additional options include support for Gigabit Ethernet and S-Video and S/PDIF audio.

Richard Brown, Via's corporate marketing VP, said: "Consumers and business users who purchase PCs based on the VIA pc3500 mainboard will not only be able to significantly reduce their energy costs but also minimise their environmental impact while running all the latest software applications."

The board is intended for use in mass-market PCs. Its pricing was not revealed.