Last week we delivered results looking at the power consumption of Ubuntu 11.04 versus Windows 7, which was interesting in its own right, but in this article is a brief look at where Apple's Mac OS X operating system fits in between the power consumption of Ubuntu Linux and Microsoft Windows.
Due to hardware availability, this Independence Day benchmarking was just carried out on an Apple Mac Mini with a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 processor, Apple Mac-F22C86C8 motherboard with NVIDIA MCP79 chipset, NVIDIA GeForce 9400 graphics, 1GB of system memory, and 120GB Fujitsu MHZ2120B SATA HDD.
Apple Mac OS X 10.6.8, Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1, and Ubuntu 11.04 were all tested in their 64-bit editions and benchmarked in their stock configurations. The only change to Windows and Ubuntu Linux was installing the proprietary NVIDIA graphics driver.
The Mac Mini's power consumption was monitored using an USB-based Watts Up Pro power meter with the recording being done by the Phoronix Test Suite on an independent system. The test scenarios included:
Boot / Start-Up: For five minutes the power consumption was polled on each system as it performed a cold boot followed by idling at the desktop (automatic log-in) for the remainder of the time.
Basic Desktop Usage: The power consumption from idling at the desktop to launching the respective web-browser (for Windows 7 SP1 that's Internet Explorer 9, Ubuntu 11.04 the default is Mozilla Firefox 4.0, and Mac OS X has Safari), navigating to Phoronix.com, and then launching the operating system's file manager, navigating each system's menus, etc. Just light desktop usage under each operating system.
Gaming: The power consumption while running the open-source Nexuiz OpenGL game natively under each operating system.