Dell does new eco-friendly desktops

PC maker cuts back on lead and other hazardous wastes in its OptiPlex GX520 and GX620 systems.

Dell took the wraps off of two desktop computers on Thursday that it says really get the lead out.

The company announced that its latest OptiPlex systems--the GX520 and the GX620--not only are powered by some of the fastest Intel processors, they come with lead-free power supplies, motherboards and chassis.

Dell executives made the announcement during an afternoon event in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The company used the backdrop of one of Europe's best-known vacation destinations to highlight its efforts to cut back on the amount of hazardous materials in its products.

OptiPlex GX520
Credit: Dell
OptiPlex GX520

The company said its new OptiPlex systems are good first steps toward complying with the European Union's 2006 deadline to restrict the use of certain substances, such as lead, and eliminate the use of other metals, such as cadmium. Dell said it already complies with international environmental standards including GreenPC and Energy Star.

Dell said it also is avoiding brominated flame retardants and has virtually eliminated the use of halogenated flame retardants in desktop, notebook and server chassis plastic parts. Many of the reductions in hazardous materials are linked to the shift away from cathode ray tube, or CRT, monitors in favor of liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors.

In related news, Dell executives said they plan to increase by 50 percent the amount of used product recovered from customers in 2006.

Since last year, Dell said its Asset Recovery Services program has helped the company recover 24 million pounds of used product from U.S. customers. Worldwide, Dell said it recovered nearly 66 million pounds of product during the same period.

In the OptiPlex line, customers can choose from seven different chassis designs offered for the GX520 and the GX620, including mini-tower, desktop, small and ultra-small chassis sizes. Prices for the GX520 start at $549. The GX620 starts at $579.

OptiPlex GX620
Credit: Dell
OptiPlex GX620

The PCs are powered by Intel Pentium 4 and Celeron D processors that run as fast as 3.8GHz. The GX520 can be expanded to accommodate a 160GB Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive. The GX620 has a 250GB hard-drive option.

The two new models also use Intel's latest 945G chipset, which means it can accommodate 64-bit processors including the Pentium D and security features that are hardwired into the silicon. One such security feature is Intel's Execute Disable Bit technology, which helps prevent buffer overflows, and its Trusted Platform Module software, which can prevent unauthorized systems from getting access to network data.

The GX520 and the GX620 will also ship with one of Intel's newest graphics media accelerators, which will support improvements in Microsoft's next Windows operating system, code-named Longhorn.

Dell said it expects that the GX620 will support factory installation of the Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 operating system, as well as dual-core processors, in the next few months.

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