PC maker Everex Systems launched a new energy-efficient laptop Thursday with a Via Technologies C7-M central processor inside, and aims to sell it at Wal-Mart Stores for under US$500.The Via microprocessor inside Everex\u2019s StepNote NC1500 provides 1.5GHz performance at very low power consumption of just 12 watts.Without skimping on hardware, the laptop runs on Microsoft Windows XP Home edition and\u00a0includes a 15.4-inch screen, built-in wireless LAN and a DVD burner. It gives users a 20 percent improvement in battery life over comparable systems, Via and Everex said in a joint statement. The two companies worked together to develop the design, attempting to create more nature-friendly products with lower total cost of ownership.New IT products aimed at lowering power consumption have been popular over the past few years due to high oil prices. Although the price of oil has come down recently to about US$60 per barrel, it stood near $80 this summer. Such costs are passed on to users in the form of higher electric bills.The laptop employs Via Enhanced PowerSaver and TwinTurbo technology to save power. The technologies enable the system to transition between intermediate power states, extending battery life.The notebook PC is available throughout the United States\u00a0at\u00a0more than\u00a02,900 Wal-Mart stores. It carries a price tag of $498. Other specifications of the laptop, which weighs 5.3\u00a0pounds,\u00a0include a 60GB hard drive, 512MB of double data rate, second-generation dynamic RAM, Via UniChrome graphics, a Lithium Ion battery.-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)Related Links:\n\n\u2018$100 Laptop\u2019 to Roll Off Production Lines in Q2 \u201907\n\nMicrosoft Vista Starter Edition Targets Developing NationsCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.