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Linux vs. Windows Power Usage

Michael Larabel

Published on 16 October 2007
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 2 - 13 Comments

Since publishing our Ubuntu power tests, where we had monitored the power consumption of the past six Ubuntu releases going back two years on a laptop, we've had repeated requests for a power comparison between Windows and different Linux distributions. Well, in this article are the first set of results from that testing. We've compared the power consumption of Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Fedora 7, and Ubuntu 7.10.

For these tests we hadn't used the Lenovo ThinkPad R52 notebook again, but had turned to an older hardware configuration. This is the same system from our Linux For Older PC Hardware article, which consisted of an Intel Pentium 4 1.46GHz (Northwood) processor, 2 x 512MB DDR-400, Western Digital 80GB 8MB cache ATA-100 hard drive, DVD-ROM, and an ASUS P4SGX-MX motherboard. This motherboard uses the SiS 650GX + 962L Chipset and has SiS Real 256 graphics.

Like our Ubuntu power testing, a SeaSonic Power Angel was used for measuring the power consumption of the system. The operating systems used was Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2, Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate, Fedora 8 Test 3 with a Linux 2.6.23 kernel testing release, and Ubuntu 7.10 with the Linux 2.6.22 kernel. All software was left at their default settings and configuration. For these four operating systems, we had monitored the power consumption when the system was idling on the desktop and then again while the system was being used. While not very scientific, for our "usage" power benchmarks the Wattage was recorded after launching the default web browser, mounting a CD, and loading up other common desktop applications. These benchmarks are just meant to quickly show the differences in power consumption between the four testing operating systems on the hardware configuration stated above.

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