1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking Benchmarking Platform
Phoromatic Test Orchestration

Ubuntu 10.04 Is More Power Hungry Than Windows 7

Michael Larabel

Published on 4 May 2010
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 2 of 2 - 85 Comments

To start with are the Windows and Ubuntu Linux power results from the ASUS Eee PC 1201N netbook.

Going into this power consumption testing we figured Microsoft Windows 7 would likely be more power efficient than Ubuntu Linux due to Windows having better ACPI support and more hardware vendors catering to Windows, but we did not expect to see such a wide difference with the ASUS Eee PC. With the "out of the box" experience for each operating system, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was consuming 56% more power than Windows 7 Professional!

When both operating systems had NVIDIA's proprietary driver installed for better GPU power management of the NVIDIA ION chipset, Ubuntu "Lucid Lynx" went through less power, but Windows still did better and it turned into a 65% difference. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is using the Nouveau KMS driver by default for the open-source NVIDIA driver, which currently does not implement any power management support. See our recent articles entitled The Real Need For Nouveau Power Management and Nouveau Is Power Hungry On Desktops Too. However, even when using NVIDIA's binary driver, Windows 7 still had the definitive advantage for this ultra-portable PC.

Fortunately, with the Lenovo ThinkPad T61 the power consumption between Windows and Ubuntu Linux were not nearly as large as the Atom 330 + ION-based netbook. The ThinkPad T61 with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was consuming 14% more power than Windows 7, but when both were loaded with NVIDIA's binary driver that leverages PowerMizer and other power-savings techniques, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS averaged to consume just 4% more power.

It is unfortunate to see Ubuntu 10.04 LTS going through much more power than Microsoft Windows 7 on these mobile devices, particularly with the modern ION netbook and to still some extent the more mature Intel Penryn notebook with the NVIDIA Quadro graphics. These differences will lead to Windows users noticing a dramatically shorter battery life for those switching to Ubuntu 10.04, which is especially a problem in the netbook era. These were the only 64-bit notebooks we had at the time of testing, so unfortunately we do not know how the ATI or Intel notebook power consumption differs at this point. Fortunately, improving power management has been of interest to more open-source developers in recent times, so hopefully by Ubuntu 10.10 or Ubuntu 11.04 there will be more pleasing news to report to Linux users.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Articles & Reviews
  1. AMD Radeon R9 290 OpenGL On Ubuntu 15.04: Catalyst vs. RadeonSI Gallium3D
  2. Ubuntu 15.04 Offers Faster OpenGL For AMD Radeon GPUs On Open-Source
  3. Ubuntu 15.04 Brings Some Graphics Performance Improvements For Intel Haswell
  4. Sub-$20 802.11n USB WiFi Adapter That's Linux Friendly
  5. The Lenovo T450s Is Working Beautifully With Linux
  6. Linux 4.0 SSD EXT4 / Btrfs / XFS / F2FS Benchmarks
Latest Linux News
  1. GTX 750 Maxwell Acceleration Starts Working On Nouveau With Linux 4.1
  2. Reasons To Make A PTS/OB Test Profile For Your Software
  3. Vivaldi TP3 Browser Adds Native Window Support On Linux
  4. A Brief Update On Fwupd For Linux Firmware Updating Of Devices
  5. Upgrading To KDE Plasma 5.3 On Kubuntu 15.04
  6. Ubuntu 15.10 Plans Being Discussed Next Week
  7. KDE Plasma 5.3 Released: Expands On Widgets, Bluetooth, PM
  8. Making It Easier To Deploy CUDA On Fedora
  9. GCC 4.9.2 vs. GCC 5 Benchmarks On An Intel Xeon Haswell
  10. Intel Haswell/Broadwell Power Use On Linux Still Moving Lower
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. Ubuntu's Desktop-Next Switching From .DEBs To Snappy
  2. Systemd Kills Off Shutdownd
  3. KDBUS Still Hasn't Been Pulled, Might Not Land For Linux 4.1
  4. My Favorite Computer Desk Of The Past Decade For Less Than $100
  5. AMD Open-Sources "Addrlib" From Catalyst
  6. Qt Creator 3.4 Brings C++ Programming Improvements & More
  7. Debian 8.0 Jessie Is Ready For Release This Weekend
  8. GIMP's Porting To GTK3 Continues