VIA has begun shipping what it claims is the first ever carbon-neutral computer processor. It's balancing the reduced carbon emissions resulting from the use of its C7-D chip with carbon removal efforts such as reforestation and energy conservation programmes, the company said today.
Running flat out at 1.8GHz, the C7-D consumes around 20W of power, VIA said, claiming the chip sets the "benchmark for performance-per-watt operation". That means lower energy consumption, resulting in reduced energy generation needs and this contribution - albeit a small one - to lower emissions of greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide in particular.
The volume of CO² emitted that can be attributed to C7-D usage can be compensated for by planting sufficient trees to suck up an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Well, that's the theory, at any rate. VIA used UK consultancy Carbon Footprint to calculate the C7-D's contribution to atmospheric CO². Each CPU will require the planting of four trees during the lifetime of the host PC, Carbon Footprint's numbers suggest. The pair said they assumed the PC's lifespan will be three years' long.
However, VIA said it would brand its processors with just such a "treemark" rating to indicate their contribution to atmospheric CO².
Cynics might claim VIA's announcement is merely a marketing exercise and merely the firm's latest attempt to differentiate its processor products from bigger rivals AMD and Intel. There's also the fact that, carbon notwithstanding, chip making is a pretty messy business, environmentally speaking. However, any effort to address carbon emissions should be welcomed, and we look forward to similar initiatives from VIA's competitors. ®