Thin clients use 50% less energy
With each passing year, computers get smaller and more advanced, effectively
saving space, maintenance and energy. The big winner is thin clients, as they consume up
to 50% less electricity and succeed in helping protect the environment. Their role is to
input and output information only. For researchers from the Oberhausen-based Fraunhofer
Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT, thin clients are proving
valuable to consumers and businesses alike.
|An IGEL thin client device|
Researching the production, use and disposal phases of conventional PCs and thin clients
on behalf of German manufacturer IGEL Technology GmbH, the UMSICHT team found that thin
clients use between 40 to 50 watts of power, vis-à-vis conventional models that use about
85 watts on average.
"Energy consumption when in operation was up to 50% lower than for conventional PCs," said
Dr Ing Hartmut Pflaum. "In view of climate change and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, this
is an important factor." Other Fraunhofer experts added that people should rely on thin clients
for their computer power, if they are seeking to cut back on electricity usage and decrease CO2 emissions.
The researchers showed that the production of one kilowatt hour of electricity with the existing
energy mix in Germany releases 0.63 kilograms of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Thin client users obtain information that is stored on a central server together with most of
the operating system. Users benefit because new or updated software automatically runs on all
the thin clients that can access the server.
Despite the fact that thin clients and conventional PCs are mass-produced in Asia, the IGEL-produced
devices weigh only a third as much as a PC, and take up only 11%-20% of the space that a PC does.
With regard to the economic factor of thin clients, researchers found that the use of these devices
will help companies save a lot of money. "If a company uses thin clients, it can save 44%-48% in
comparison to the use of PCs with a software distribution system," said IT manager Christian Knermann.
"Compared to a completely 'manual' workstation, the savings can be as high as 61%-70%."
The economic data was collected in an earlier study where the researchers examined an institute whose
size and staff was similar to those of an SME.
Another study on the IGEL device is on the cards. The researchers will assess a manufacturer in
China and a waste management company overseeing the disposal of the thin clients. Knermann noted
that this study will help them better understand how much waste is produced, how much energy is
consumed and the level of emissions released, during the generation process.
Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT
IGEL Technology GmbH
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