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Your Guide to Green Computing Terms: Green Grid, ACPI, Hibernation and Dynamic Voltage

written by: MD Weems•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/29/2008

This part of the series on green computing terminology will take you through Green Grid, the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (or ACPI), hibernation, and dynamic voltage scaling.

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    More Green Terms To Learn...

    The next term that we will go over is another organization that is dedicated to helping computer users all over the world turn green.

    Green Grid

    Green Grid is a global organization whose goals are to advance energy efficiency in both business computing and data centers to help the ecosystem and environment. The group was founded in February of 2007 by several major computer companies, such as Dell, IBM, HPO, Intel, Microsoft, and APC and is still going strong in the fight to bring more green computing to all areas of computer usage. Since they were founded, the group has now grown to hundreds of members, including government organizations and personal users, all who have the same goals of helping the environment.

    ACPI, or Advanced Configuration and Power Interface

    ACPI, or the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface, specification is an open industry standard that was developed by several key computer companies: Dell, Toshiba, Phoenix, HP, Intel, and Microsoft. The standard was first released in December of 1996 and it defines a common interface for hardware recognition and device configuration, as well as motherboards and power management.


    Pretty much every computer user has heard about hibernate, but some still aren't sure what it is. This is actually a feature that many operating systems now have where the RAM is written to non-volatile storage, like a hard disk, before the system powers off. Then, later on, the system can be restored exactly where it was when it was shut off, so that the programs that were in place can continue to work just like there was no break. Now, hibernating and restoring from hibernation is usually faster than a complete shut down and reboot, and this can usually be done automatically, such as on a timer, instead of a hard reboot where someone has to physically turn off and on the computer. Hibernation is seen on almost all computers, but is used more on laptops and usually is set to happen when the low battery alarm goes off.

    Dynamic Voltage

    This is a power management technique that lies in the computer architecture, where the component's voltage is either decreased or increased. Dynamic voltage scaling to up the voltage in a computer is known as "overvolting", where as dynamic voltage to lower the voltage of a computer is known as "undervolting". Overvolting is normally done to up a computer's performance. Undervolting is usually to help conserve power, and is normally found more in laptops than desktops since the battery life in laptops is limited.

    In the next part of this article series, we will go through only two terms that go with green computing: computer recycling and Voice-over-Internet protocol.