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Power Manager 3 review

Verdict:

Needs Mac OS X 10.3.9

Review Date: 12 Apr 2007

Price when reviewed: (approx £13.50) + Discounts for 100-plus Macs

Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull

Our Rating 5 stars out of 5

Dragon Systems' Power Manager 3 is a utility aimed at institutional users of OS X with multiple machines, but has merit for individuals and small workgroups, too.

Both the cost of electricity and environmental considerations mean that switching machines off or putting them to sleep when not in use is becoming more and more important. However, in organisations with many Macs it's not always an easy thing to implement.

While the Energy Saver preference pane in OS X offers limited scheduling options for sending a computer to sleep, or shutting it down at a particular time, Power Manager opens up many more options. It offers the ability to schedule any power-saving action (Start Up, Wake, Sleep, Return to Login Window, Log Out, Shut Down or Restart) at any time, and at many times during any day.

The result is that you can ensure office-based Macs get switched off after their users have gone home, or class-based Macs put themselves to sleep during short breaks, or shut down during the lunch hour and boot up when lessons resume in the afternoon. The potential for energy (and money) saving is obvious.

What's nicer still is the little extra touches that have been added to make daily use of Power Manager more convenient. It is smart enough to understand that sometimes there will be exceptions, when the Mac needs to stay in use a little longer than planned. Users can be warned, and given the opportunity to delay the scheduled action.

It also flashes up a bezel-style alert at the Login screen, warning new users that it is due to shut down in a number of hours. There's a handy Menu Bar control that brings up a list of all scheduled events, along with the option to delay or cancel them.

Most home users can probably get by with what comes with OS X, but for commercial or educational Mac setups, Power Manager is good value and could save a chunk of your electricity bill.

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