At a Glance
- Efficient operation; Clean interface; Tiny footprint
- Limited hardware support; Pricey; Minimal website
Leash and curb your unruly drives with this utility.
In an era of increasing software bloat there’s something to be
said for a small, efficient application that goes about its
business without fanfare or distraction. Drive Power Manager weighs
in at a mere 1.5 MB fully installed and has a single function: To
provide component level access to hard disks and optical storage
devices, allowing highly granular control of power usage,
performance, standby, and noise settings. The interface is
simplicity itself, with all functions available via a single window
per drive. Drive Power Manager applies changes immediately, with no
Laptop users are always seeking to extend battery life, and it’s
here that Drive Power Manager makes its biggest impact as hard
disks and optical drives can represent a significant power drain.
With disk power usage properly leashed, useful improvements in
operating time can be realized. Default battery management systems
can address some of these issues, but often fall short in practice,
compromising usability. Since Drive Power Manager allows discrete
settings for each drive’s features, finding a sweet spot to
accommodate individual usage patterns is a snap. Of particular note
is the welcome ability to cap peak RPM and quiet optical drives, a
virulent problem with laptops, where a spinning DVD can make an
entire system vibrate like a coin-op bed in a cheap motel.
Drive Power Manager also include a series of speed enhancement
options, but these have a more modest effect on system performance.
Both real-world usage scenarios and synthetic benchmarks show few
objective gains, but subjective impressions are another matter.
With drives taken off standby and idle timeouts reduced or
eliminated, notebook systems felt more responsive, avoiding the
irritating wait involved with disks spinning up or recovering from
sleep modes. The trade-off for this is decreased battery life, but
for a user who spends much of their time plugged in at a desk,
that’s not a problem.
For all its tight coding and efficiency, there are some issues
with Drive Power Manager. Better hardware support would be welcome,
as some older drives seem to register correctly but return errors
when changes to settings are attempted. Check out target system
compatibility with the fully functional, time-limited trial version
to avoid potential problems in this area. The addition of profile
settings that automatically adjust for ac/battery usage would also
extend usefulness, rather than forcing portable users to perform
manual adjustments each time they unplug. Website support is also
thin and could use an overhaul. These are relatively minor issues,
however, given the overall usefulness of the package. Laptop
aficionados, especially those who spend a lot of time on the road,
will find Drive Power Manager worth a closer look.