20. February 2008, 17:51 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

A study by Info-Tech, and sponsored by Microsoft, has determined that upgrading an enterprise with 5000 systems from Windows XP to Windows Vista could save close to $50,000 and reduce carbon emissions by over 100 tonnes. But what's the catch?

The catch is that systems running both operating systems use almost identical amounts of power while in use. Any power savings can be attributed to Vista's power management features default settings which automatically place the system in “Sleep Mode” when sitting idle.

The study indicated that the savings average $11 savings per system, per year. One then has to ask whether, from a purely economic point of view, if $11/year power savings offsets the costs of switching to Vista, both in terms of licencing, and in terms of third party software upgrades, hardware upgrades, increased technical support, etc.

Info-Tech used a Hewlett-Packard dc7700 desktop loaded with XP and Vista in a dual-boot configuration to conduct the study and did not include connected peripherals including monitors. The systems were tested in both high-power and low-power modes and discovered the difference in power use was within a couple of watt-hours, marginal at best.

Any savings Vista offers come from its default power settings (originally aimed at increasing notebook/laptop battery life) switching into low-power sleep or standby mode more frequently. This means that power savings are only apparent while the systems are idle. (Then again, turning them off completely at the end of the day saves even more power). The study concludes that those organizations using XP are more prone to be wasteful by not taking advantage of its power saving options as they must navigate through advanced power management menus on each computer. And of course Vista is designed for newer hardware that tends to be more power efficient in and of itself so ...

Microsoft now claims that XP does not reliably detect when a computer is idle, even when sleep mode is activated, and that Vista is more accurate by monitoring keyboard usage, processor activity, and what peripheral devices are doing. They also tout that Vista includes a Wake-on-LAN feature (doesn’t everyone?) that allows computers to automatically boot up in the middle of the night for regular updates to be installed, then power down afterwards (not on my machines thank you!). As Microsoft can now deliver its product entirely by digital means, there is no packaging or transportation used and so there is no need to worry about the environmental impact of purchasing thousands of Vista licenses. Except of course the impact on your bank account and tech staff.

It would seem that since Vista can’t seem to catch on based on technical merit, or security merit, or performance merit, the marketing folks at Microsoft have decided to try selling it as a money saver and ecologically friendly product, even smearing their own previous product if necessary. Nice try but I don’t buy it, and neither are many who can see through the smoke and mirrors, or bother to do the math. Nice try though.


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Categories: ,
Keywords: Microsoft,Vista,XP,power,ecological,savings,FUD



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