Power management by design: Climate Savers org offers step-by-step guide

Techie alert: New guide dissects the do's and don'ts of power management system design and optimization.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Climate Savers Computing, a non-profit of "eco-conscious" consumers, businesses and conservation organizations dedicated to the cause of greener computing technology, figures close to 90 percent of client desktop and notebooks computers still live outside of any sort of power management scheme, even those that actually have some sort of power management capability embedded into the core software or systems designs.

The reasons for this are many but mainly it comes down to the fact that this hasn't been a priority, especially since some users get kind of up-in-arms about any sort of policy that might get in the way of using "their" computer in ways they want, when they want. The management vs. productivity argument.

So, Climate Savers is trying to push the envelope by educating designers and managers about the various power management options they currently have at their disposal -- options that make power management faster and reliable without getting in the way of user experience.

The organization has published the Power Management Systems Design Guide, which covers what it calls sleep state standby (S3) technology. The guide is prescriptive: that is, it offers specific instructions about how to build and deploy energy-efficient, power-managed client platforms. So, this guide might be particularly useful to anyone who uses any sort of custom-built hardware within their organization or that is building this sort of hardware. It is meant, also, for software developers and was timed for the release of the Ecma Network Proxy Standard, which essentially helps ensure that a "sleeping" devices still maintains a network presence.

The guide highlights the contributions of Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, LSI, Lenovo and MIcrosoft. Its focus is helping technical sorts guarantee that desktops and laptops can transition in and out of lower energy states more seamlessly. Why do you want to do this? Because a sleeping client uses three to five watts of power versus 50 watts that are used in the idle state.

Here's the skinny of what's in the guide:

  • What you can expect out of S3 in terms of user experience and latency
  • System recommendations for the best S3 reliability
  • Information about how this effort marries up with the Energy Star 5.0 specification
  • Information about the Network Proxy Ecma TC32-TG21 Standard
  • Reliability testing tools for S3

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