Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ecobutton vs system standby: does the ecobutton prevail?

The ecobutton  is a button that is connected to a computer through a USB cable. By pressing the ecobutton, the computer supposedly enters a power saving mode that saves a lot of energy compared to system standby. However, there are some skeptics out there that believe that the ecobutton is simply an accessibility addon for greater convenience that allows people to simply enter standby mode, a feature of almost all operating systems, whether it be linux, Mac OSX or Windows.

I contacted the guys at ecobutton to hear what they had to say. Here is the reply:

 Thank you for your interest in ecobutton™, I have supplied a link to our FAQ’s which will hopefully answer your questions;

Q: What kind of sleep mode does ecobutton™ actually engage, is it just the normal Standby mode? 

A: The ecobutton uses the most efficient form of sleep available on your PC whilst still allowing your PC to �wake� quickly and return to its previous state with all programs still open. This is usually a deeper energy saving mode than the regular Standby mode you normally find as default on a Windows PC. . 

On most PCs there are 4 inbuilt sleep states - S1, S2, S3 and S4. With each successive sleep state, from S1 to S4 (hibernate), more of the computer is shut down. However, the majority of PCs are actually supplied with S2 and S3 disabled leaving just the most shallow sleep state (S1) and the deepest (S4 hibernate) available to most users. Most people tend not to use hibernate due to the length of time the PC takes to wake up leaving just S1 as the only convenient option.
The sleep states built into most PCs are as follows: 

S1 = Basic Standby (Shallow sleep). Typically wakes up in no more than two seconds
S2 = Less power consumption than S1 and greater than in S3. Wake up is usually two seconds or slightly more.
S3 = Less power consumption than in S2. Wake up time is the same as S2.
S4 (hibernate) = The lowest power state but with a long wake up time - sometimes a few minutes or more.

Wherever possible, ecobutton� re-educates your PC to use S3 when the ecobutton� is pressed.

For more detailed information about the various sleep states please see this link
 ecobutton™ is more than just an accessibility add-on providing convenience as it gives puts the PC into the most energy saving, efficient mode available on that PC (typically S3) but it also shows the user how much money & CO2 they have saved which is a great motivation in its own right.
Thanks again


Attention - ecobutton is protected by a registered design and patent worldwide. We will take all evidence of such copies seriously and will instigate legal proceedings in such cases.
Invest in our original.
Purchasing fake or copy products means you could be breaking the law and getting inferior goods and technical support. Further information can be found at :

© 2007-2010 Invent Technology Solutions Ltd. ecobutton® is an international registered name of Invent Technology Solutions Ltd
International Patent Application PCT/GB2008/002659 / Chinese Utility Model 200890000005.2 pending. Foreign rights reserved. 
So there seems to be proof backing their claims. Maybe its time for me to get one. Conveniently, there is a retail store that sells one in Australia (Officeworks). Maybe I'll go there on the weekend.

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