A lowish-plastic computer

100_2942You know how I approve of using Linux to make a computer last longer. And as I’ve said before, I’m cutting back on buying electronics to save the plastic in goods and packaging. But what if you need a new computer? This is a computer I bought for someone else, and could be a winner.

It comes from ZaReason, a small producer with a good reputation for customer service– upgraded from one of their their base options — and here are the specs:

  • SKU16725 Shuttle KPC
  • Processor: Pentium Dual-Core E2140 1.6 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB DDR2-667
  • Hard Disk: 80 GB SATA2 (included)
  • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet (included)
  • Operating System: Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex (Gnome)
  • Display: [none]
  • Speakers: [none]
  • Input devices: [none]
  • Warranty: 1 Year (included)

That cost a paltry $307.00, plus $22.30 shipping, and it flies. If you can use a Linux machine, and you have everyday office needs, this might be a good option.

The computer case itself case seems to be heavy steel but does have a thick lucite panel on the front, under which you can insert your own art, making it a kind of picture frame, if you like. Makes more sense if you see the Shuttle site. It comes with cables, and these are (of course) coated in plastic. But you knew that.


Now for the packaging. ZaReason started with a case from Shuttle, so they inherited their packaging. ZaReason adds the innards, installs the operating system, adds documentation and other goodies and ship it. So it’s one carton inside another.  (Click the smaller images to get a bigger version.)

The foam peanuts were made of starch. They dissolve in water. A nice touch.

In fine Beth Terry style, I weighed or estimated the weight of the rest of the plastic.

  • large foam packing pieces, original to the Shuttle case: 4.25 ounces (trashed; this is the one real place for improvement)
  • outer box tape and inner box handle: approx. 1 ounce (boxes kept for later use)
  • the useful plastic: a corn-plastic-handled screwdriver, including the metal shaft; Ubuntu Linux operating system disk and hardware disk with windowed envelopes: 2 ounces (kept for computer maintenance)
  • zipper bags, twist ties, nonwoven cloth cover, anti-scratch cover and anti-static bubble pouch: 1 ounce (bags, ties and pouch re-used for storage; the rest trashed)

100_2945100_2946I suppose, plastic-wise, it could be a lot worse. And I like the computer a lot.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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