CPU Idle Programs: These are programs that attempt to reduce CPU power consumption during no-load times. Unlike screen savers, which may actually increase CPU activity and therefore CPU temperatures, these programs attempt to lock the CPU into activities that use little power.

The three best known programs are CPU Idle, Rain and Waterfall. the latter two at least are free. Surprisingly, perhaps all three seem to work -- reducing measured power consumption by about 50% on a test Pentium. The major difference seems to be in ancillary features such as resource utilization when the CPU is being used for other tasks. There may also be differences in their performance on different varieties of CPU.

It should be pointed out that using a program such as these is not a substitute in most cases for adequate cooling although they might help with special situations like laptops or dedicated applications with know characteristics. It is possible, although unproven and quite possibly unlikely, that use of these programs may increase the lifetime of the CPU. On the other hand, CPU failure is quite uncommon.

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