Compaq Computer, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies, and Toshiba Corporation announced this week that the companies had agreed on the specifications for ACPI 2.0, a new rendition of the power management technology that was first introduced in late 1996. ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) 2.0 will provide more flexible power management schemes for systems ranging from desktops and notebook PCs to the largest enterprise servers; the original specification primarily targeted desktops and notebooks.

"ACPI 2.0 is an example of how the PC industry works together to advance computing platforms across the board," says Pat Gelsinger, the vice president and chief technology officer of the Intel Architecture Group. "The new specification provides support for Intel's forthcoming Itanium processor as well as enhancements for both mobile and desktop PCs."

ACPI 2.0 adds support for the Intel IA-64 server architecture, multiple processors, and device performance states to enable longer battery life, lower power usage, and lower temperatures. In many ways, it emulates features from Intel's SpeedStep technology, which is used in Pentium III chips for laptops to ratchet down the speed of the processor when it's running on battery power. For servers, ACPI 2.0 supports hot-pluggable microprocessors, memory, and PCI/PCI-X cards.

ACPI 2.0-compatible systems are expected in late 2001 and Microsoft will build support for the specification into Whistler, the follow-up to Windows 2000 that is also due in late 2001. For more information about ACPI 2.0, please visit the ACPI Web site