Thursday, March 08, 2007

Smaller computers

Although we don't think about it much, our computers are big, noisy, hot, and consume far too much energy for our needs. My mother doesn't need a 3D graphics workstation to shop on eBay or buy airplane tickets. Mirroring the automotive industry, agriculture, and real estate, the computer industry now recognizes that there is more to life than bigger and cheaper. But, the large manufacturers are still mostly stuck with big boxes, hot chips, and loud fans to cool the whole thing off. That is the ideal environment for a niche player to innovate- enter enano. I sat down with Jorge Ruiz de Castilla, the CEO of enano computers, to discuss his little wonder.

If your curious about the name, his son was born premature (don't worry- the little guy is fine) but Jorge nicknamed him enano (little or tiny in Spanish). His son, who is now much older and bigger, is delighted that his dad named a computer company after him. Enano's name certainly brings about connotations of little in English as well Spanish, but enano is more than a stylish, small form factor computer. Consuming less power, producing less heat, and designed to fit into your mobile life, enano computer understands we don't always need 500GB, and 140W of power. And enano isn't stopping with just a desktop, they are working on innovations across the board, from laptops to servers, enano has something for those of us who want more than just power- how about style, mobility, scale, and efficiency?


The enano desktop runs at about 20-25 Watts for average computing, far below a normal desktop- my MacBook runs about 23 Watts while writing this article. The maximum power drain for the enano only goes up to 45W (the model I saw didn't go above 40W during heavy load, while my MacBook goes up to 48 under medium-high load), which is WAY below where most desktop computers climb these days. In fact the desktop far exceeds the new (smarter) energy star requirements for desktop computers (it might exceed the laptop specifications too).


The company is committed to providing a different option that fits into a more mobile, increasingly compact life. Without the huge box, heat, and noise the enano can be a part of any room in the house, wireless included. Imagine an enano tucked away under the desk, behind your TV, or even in the kitchen. You can now feel free to extend broadband computing anywhere you can think- with the worlds smallest (greenest?) desktop.

My first instinct was to compare the enano with the Mac mini - and it is hard not to compare the two. Both are small, sleek, and quite. However, after visiting the company I was impressed by their commitment to the concept of efficient computers, their work on laptops and especially their server. They see a growing divide between what people want, what people need, and what is available. Enano hopes to fill that vacuum and provide an alternative with smart, efficient, computers.

Using proven technology, in a smart package, enano delivers power saving advantages over the big box competitors, it might not save the world, but it is at least a step in the right direction. Right now, enano is a small company, developing a rapidly expanding niche market. They are quick, nimble, and dedicated to providing a more sustainable future. If you want a computer with a small form factor, customized options, produced by a company that considers efficiency an important aspect, then it might be worth your while to consider enano. ::enano computers


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