I love the way my PowerBook sleeps. It’s fast (both sleeping and waking up) and it has close to zero battery consumption. I love it so much I don’t usually shut down my laptop when I travel. When I need to go online or do some work, I just open the lid and my stuff’s still there. When I need to go, I just close the lid and stuff the notebook into my bag–it takes all but two seconds to power down to sleep mode.
I also rarely shut down my Windows-based laptop and desktop, since I use the hibernate function, instead. While Windows also has a standby functionality, it’s not as fast as the Mac’s sleep (takes forever to go to standby mode and it’s the same when waking up), nor is it as power-efficient (at least in my perception).
However, there’s a drawback with most Macs that I’m sure you’re familiar with–there’s no Hibernate functionality. This means when you lose power or remove your notebook’s batteries, the contents of the RAM will be wiped out, except for some PowerBooks that have a capacitor to retain RAM contents for a few seconds while you switch batteries. Windows’ hibernate, meanwhile, basically saves all RAM content into the hard disk and hence your compter’s state is saved even if the machine is completely powered off. You can check out the power management portion of X vs XP if you’re not familiar with the differences between how Windows XP and OS X handle these.
Some newer PowerBooks have a safe sleep functionality, which saves RAM contents to the hard drive before going to sleep. But the notebook only completely powers off when the battery level is too low to provide power for the RAM to holds its contents. While there’s a command-line hack for putting your PowerBook into safe sleep everytime you make it sleep, it could get quite cumbersome to have to go into Terminal to do this. And you would have to change the power management settings manually each time you want a different sleep mode.
Deep Sleep is a simple Dashboard widget which allows users to put their computer into hibernation mode, also sometimes called software suspend mode. This widget only works on a limited number of Apple computer models. Please read the included documentation for more details.
What’s the advantage? You can expect longer battery life in between charges, since deep sleep consumes zero battery power (except probably for the extra time writing RAM contents onto hard disc and loading it back when the computer wakes up). The drawback? Sleep and wake up times are longer.
It works on a limited number of Macs, though, and I don’t think mine is included.