For us to refer to so-called 'green' PCs as a joke would be extremely un-PC (pardon the pun), so we won't. Instead allow us to introduce the latest example of just such a machine from Lenovo. Named the A61e, its party piece is the ability to run on solar power. That's right, not only can it produce rainbows and grow plants, but good old sunlight can also let you play Bioshock.
Even better, you'll also be able to prance around self-righteously in front of all your friends not using a green PC - an underrated activity. Looking inside the system, it seems you don't have to make much of a performance sacrifice to achieve your green credentials either. While drawing a mere 45W of electric, the A61e offers the $399 base spec of a 2GHz Sempron processor, 512MB RAM, 80GB hard drive and a read-only DVD drive.
The $799 top-spec sports a 2.1GHz dual core Athlon X2, 2GB RAM a 160GB hard drive and a DVD-RW drive. All configurations use AMD's 690G chipset and offer ATI X1200 graphics, providing the best compromise between offloading power from the CPU and draining power from, well, the sun.
Of course there is one small problem with claiming the system can be used with a solar panel and that is the need of a monitor, which will obviously have to be plugged in. Moreover, Lenovo isn't particularly forthcoming with exactly how the system is solar powered, other than saying an external module will be provided. Still, the principle is sound and that's what matters, right?
The A61e is currently shipping in the US and Lenovo can't give an exact UK launch date, but rumour has it that enviro-vangelists are hijacking an oil tanker as I write in order to bring the green revolution to our shores.