Actually it's sort of the other way around. Right now, the power savings already happen, including the latency hit. It's just that these are right now blind to the actual requirements, and assume everything goes.
With this patch drivers and subsystems can put a brake on that behavior basically (which also means the power savings can be more agressive since they're less likely to run into bad behavior, but that's for a bit later).
Also, the good news is that for ALSA at least, the latency can be calculated in the subsystem; eg there is no need to adjust all sound drivers, just a few lines of code in the subsystem are enough... (the alsa patch is going to Andrew Morton today).
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