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Using PowerTOP 2.6 Saves Power, Extends Battery Life On Ubuntu 14.04

Michael Larabel

Published on 24 May 2014
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 4 - 21 Comments

With the release of Intel's PowerTOP 2.6 a few days ago I have done some benchmarking using an ASUS Zenbook Prime ultrabook to see the impact of the power consumption while running on battery for a clean, stock install of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit and then did the same tests again after having PowerTOP 2.6 optimize the system so it's in a good power standing. Beyond testing the stock Linux 3.13 kernel, then I carried out the same tests again when using the Linux 3.15 kernel in its very latest development state.

This testing done from an ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VDA:

- Do a clean install of Ubuntu 14.04 x86_64 on the Intel ultrabook followed by running the Phoronix Test Suite with several test profiles to stress various subsystems. The tests were done while running on the battery and having the MONITOR=sys.power environment variable set so the Phoronix Test Suite would chart the power usage data in real-time for each test. All packages and settings were stock for this system.

- With the above system in that configuration, I then built PowerTOP 2.6 from source and turned all of the "bad" options within the tunables area over into their "good" state. I then repeated the same tests with the Phoronix Test Suite while having it automatically monitor the power data.

- Carrying out the same tests as above but rather than using Ubuntu 14.04's stock Linux 3.13 kernel I upgraded to the latest Linux 3.15 Git kernel using the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. This was mainly to see if there were any power improvements or regressions with Linux 3.15.

The ASUS Zenbook Prime ultrabook used for testing had an Intel Core i7 3517U "Ivy Bridge" processor with HD Graphics 4000 / dual-core plus Hyper Threading / 1.9GHz base clock frequency / 3.0GHz Turbo Frequency. Other components included 4GB of DDR3 system memory and dual 128GB SanDisk SSDs.

Let's get straight to the results to see if after so many years of PowerTOP being around that it still makes an impact on the Linux battery life for laptops, tablets, ultrabooks, etc.

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