How do the Acer Aspire Vero carbon neutral claims stack up?

Acer Aspire Vero 16 CES 2024
Image: supplied.

Last week Acer announced its full range of new computers and products for the year, led by the latest Aspire Vero. As was the theme with CES this year, the major focus was on AI, alongside some fairly vague claims of caring for the climate while still trying to sell lots of new shiny products.

The most interesting star of the show was the new Acer Aspire Vero 16 AI PC. What made it so interesting was Acer’s claim that the company has committed to making the product carbon neutral, following the ISO 14067 international standard for calculating the device’s footprint. The reason why that’s raising a few eyebrows is because of the devastating effect training AI has on the climate.

Examining the Acer Aspire Vero carbon neutrality

Each conversation with ChatGPT, for example, has a similar environmental effect as dumping out a bottle of water on the ground. As the use of generative AI increases exponentially, so does its carbon footprint. Running AI models and cloud servers uses large amounts of energy, casting a shadow over any hardware’s eco-friendly claims.

Going back to the Aspire Vero laptop, Acer was non-specific about how the company defines the carbon created during the life of the product. Does this include the carbon created by using the laptop to utilise Windows Copilot AI services or cloud applications, for example, or just the acute electricity usage of the device itself? Does it include the carbon released by the device as it decomposes in landfill, or is the company assuming that the laptop will definitely be recycled at the end of its life?

Acer Aspire Vero 16 carbon neutral claim
How eco-friendly is a laptop that relies on cloud-based AI services? Image: supplied.

The claim of carbon neutrality is being achieved through the purchase of carbon credits, though the announcement doesn’t specify which carbon credits scheme the company will be using. The specifics of that do matter, as some carbon credits have been exposed as fraudulent, misleading or harmful in other ways.

In addition to the carbon neutral claims and a lot of carbon-producing AI features, the Acer Aspire Vero 16 AI PC has R and E keys that are backwards to remind customers about their commitment to sustainability.

Laptops aplenty, for work and play

Also announced at CES are refreshed Acer Aspire Go Laptops, with a focus on being cheap and accessible on a budget. They all have entry-level processors (Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 7000 Series), 10 hours of battery life, and up to 16GBs of RAM. They’re designed to appeal to young students, people on a budget, and those who don’t want to do more than email.

Gamers weren’t forgotten, with new Curved OLED and Mini LED. In Mini LED, this range goes up to the stunning 57-inch Predator Z57, with a DUHD (2680×2160) resolution monity with a 120Hz refresh rate, and the ultra-wide 34-inch Predator X34 V3 with a UWQHD 180Hz refresh rate. For OLED fans, there’s the 39-inch Predator X39 and 34-inch Predator X34, both with UWQHD resolution, 240Hz refresh rate, and 0.01ms pixel response time.

Acer Nitro 17 gaming laptop CES 2024
Acer Nitro 17 gaming laptop. Image: supplied.

Remember 3D? Acer does. The company has a new 3D laptop called Aspire 3D 15 SpatialLabs Edition, showing stereoscopic 3D on a 15.6-inch UHD display. To support 3D experiences, there is a lot of AI software built-in to create “new” 3D content using an AI trained on unspecified work. It’ll have an Intel Core i7-13620H processor and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTXTM 4050 Laptop GPU.

For those on desktop PCs, there’s a 27-inch Predator Spatial Labs View 27 gaming monitor, to display 3D games, world and other content.

Acer also announced new Swift Go AI PCs with more powerful CPUs and GPUs, new Nitro 17 gaming laptops with the latest Intel Core processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX 40 Series laptop GPUs, and Predator Helios gaming laptops with Intel Core processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX 40 Series laptop GPUs.

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