Saving power

Saving power gets more and more important in our times, not just because of saving the environment, also the marketing people found a way to sell it. But if we are talking about power saving, we are also talking about power management. A topic that should be done right or left alone.

Most people now will think of reducing the CPU speed of their machines to save power, which is not that wrong for the moment, but totally wrong for the long term view. If we are talking about reducing power of the CPU, we are extending the timespan the process takes, making the CPU to drain more power over all. To make it right, the CPU should work at full speed if needed or do nothing at all and sleep – especially on new hardware.

It got common to include the user into the process of power management, letting them decide on what to do. Honestly, this is crap: Users do not know the internal functions of the hardware as they do not need to. They are busy enough fighting their applications. Sp letting them choose, they will definitively do it wrong and be unhappy about it afterwards. A good example is the harddrive spindown time – did you ever set that up correctly?

But now another topic: Desktops and their applications and their decorations, bells and whistles. Sure, it is always nice to have a beautiful and neat desktop. I am not against it, as long as that thing doesn’t get a life on its own. Spinning 3d objects just because we can do it, is a total waste of resources – especially if the user is not here to see it. The desktop might do nice effects, true – but only if triggered by the user. The effects won’t save power, true, but they won’t constantly drain our resources.

Talking about resources on the computer, it’s not only the CPU power that eats power. There’s more in a PC. Webcams, soundcards and all that stuff that there’s in there is also worth a look.

Imagine an application plays some sound using the soundcard, taking control over it. If you do it right – as an application – you let the soundcard go after you made her play and allow it to do the things the device is supposed to: to sleep. Waking up devices on modern systems doesn’t take long at all – so the user won’t notice it anyways. It’s far more quick than me in the morning. Trust me, I know what I am talking about.

So talking about numbers, computers are far better with them compared to us. So I would say it’s part of their work to care about power management. Making people do this would require configuration and miracles. Imagine, the computer would monitor the user in front of it – as everybody of us got a different way of working – and do the best way of energy saving, providing the resources to the user they need.

Letting the computer do this means, the user shouldn’t worry or even think of that topic. It’s taking that load off the users shoulders to do it right.


2 thoughts on “Saving power”

  • Hey, what would you say about e.g. Firefox with multiple tabs opened and
    a couple of flash advertisement running in every such tab?
    I would say: this sux.
    My CPU is at about 50% or more just because of flash adds that I don’t even see (because Firefox window is minimized)… :(

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