I was baffled during my review of the Acer Aspire One [Portal page] at the apparent lack of power management software that should have been included with the netbook. Aside from some hardware toggles, there were no settings beyond the default Windows power options to help get the most from your battery. I reported a while back on a nice utility that allowed users to control their Aspire One’s fan, but there wasn’t much more in the way of power management.
Luckily there are people out that who are passionate enough about their technology to spend time making good software for them. Take a look at a small freeware utility called a1ctl. For its tiny size, this utility has a lot of features:
- no installation needed
- small memory footprint (~5Mo)
- complete fan management, with stopped/slow/auto fan modes
- support newest bios, from v0.3109 to v0.3305
- CPU speed management (XP only)
- fast screen resolution changes, with 1024Ã—768 scrolled and downscaled modes (XP only)
- can enable/disable webcam/ethernet/wifi to reduce power usage
- can be started with windows automatically
- option to prevent HDD clicks
- show temperature & battery in tray icon
- customizable icons & colors via .ini file
- integrated ACPIEC driver patching to prevent log writing
The best functions of the program, in my mind, are the fan management and CPU speed management options. Users will now have more control over their fan speed and it will allow the CPU to be underclocked reducing battery drain. Of course the ability to toggle webcam/ethernet/wifi is also pretty nice. If all of this wasn’t enough, it seems as though the author of the utility included a patch to a driver that allows the HDD to spin all the way down more frequently (saving more battery life of course). From the a1ctl website:
You don’t need to patch this file to make the program run correctly, however due to this chatty driver, some warnings are constantly written into a log file (due to the temperature polling) causing your hard drive to never spin down and consume power. If you own a SSD drive model, this may reduce its life span due to constant writing causing wear. That’s why it’s recommended (and completely safe) to patch your acpiec.sys driver when asked. This operation can be completely reversed using the ‘unpatch’ button in the configuration dialog.
If you are an Aspire One owner, you should probably also have this highly functional utility. I don’t have the Aspire One any longer to test it with, but fear not: Brian Jarvis of ultra mobile PC Geek says that he will be covering the software after he uses it for a few days (though that few days might be a while longer now if Brian fried his Aspire One).