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Change your Windows XP Power Profile to save energy

Yesterday we got this email from Matt Bentley:

Changing Microsoft XP power scheme settings determines whether or not power-saving CPU features are activated in a machine when idle.

All modern desktop CPU's past the AMD Athlon XP and the Intel Pentium 4 (ie. AMD A64 & Intel Core and upwards) have some kind of speed-stepping feature built into them, which is utilised via Windows XP's power management settings as per Orthogonal Thought's blog.

What does this mean? Well, basically, if we all switch our desktop computer's power scheme to 'Laptop/Portable', our computers will drop the cpu voltage and frequency when idle (provided the motherboard supports it, and most do), saving 30w (on average) - it's like switching to an energy-saver lightbulb, essentially – and has absolutely no performance impact when not running idle.

Learn more: Intel SpeedStep, Windows XP, and confusing Power Profiles

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What a great tip and something I'd never thought of! If you're at a networked environment then it's not possible to natively roll this out to all computers using a Group Policy as it's not support by XP. But I've found a way to do it thanks to an add-on service from the Energy Star Group. Details are on Microsoft Technet Dan

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I've been performing tests on several Intel Core 2 Duo machines over the last few weeks. Enabling laptop mode to turn on speed step seems like it would be a significant cost savings, but unfortunately it really doesn't do much. The default stepping level is still very high on our machines (2Ghz machines drop to 1.6Ghz). This results in a savings from 2 watts to 3 watts on average. You can get custom software out there that allows you to set a greater stepping range, but unfortunately that isn't something built into Windows.

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