AOpen Powermaster: The Motherboard of All CPU Power-Saving Solutions?

Modern PCs can do all sorts of things, from boosting office productivity to serving as a reasonably-priced yet intelligent central system for a home theater entertainment center. But one thing PCs don't do well is to cut down on their consumption of power and energy.

While its true that there's a never-ending search for desktop performance, market leader Intel is especially guilty of paying scant attention to energy saving functions and designs. Likewise, we had to wait until recently to learn out how its smaller competitor, AMD, could use lower clock speeds to achieve equivalent performance levels. This gives AMD the opportunity to attack Intel's market share by offering a CPU design that is more energy efficient, and thus more friendly for the environment.

Leading component makers, especially Intel, have sometimes had difficulties adapting their desktop product lines to quickly changing market conditions. Notebook builders, on the other hand, have long since switched over from cheaper, but more power-hungry desktop processors like the Pentium 4 to the more expensive Pentium M, all in the interests of extending battery life. If only the Pentium 4 had the same power-saving functions as the Pentium M, Intel wouldn't be able to justify the higher prices typically charged for its Centrino offerings.

AOpen has tackled this problem head on, and has custom-built a motherboard that is designed to automatically reduce the processor's clock rate as soon as processing loads lighten. As a consequence of lowering clock speeds, power consumption and cooling requirements both drop measurably. Our tests proved that theory translates nicely into benchmarks that serve as quantifiable proof.

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