Similar to the mixed boot performance results for Ubuntu 12.04, the power consumption results are also mixed. For some hardware, Ubuntu 12.04 is the most power efficient Ubuntu Linux release in recent history while for some other hardware the Precise Pangolin is continuing in a power binge.
Following my warning last week of On Old Hardware, Think Twice About Ubuntu 12.04 and then If You're Lucky, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Can Boot Faster, up now is my latest look at the Ubuntu 12.04 power consumption numbers from a Precise Pangolin snapshot taken after the beta two freeze. There is also some performance benchmarks in this article to correlate against the power consumption differences.
The power consumption is one of the areas that Canonical engineers were paying special attention to for the 12.04 LTS cycle after the very notorious and widely reported Linux power consumption problems of 2011. Read How Ubuntu 12.04 Is Trying To Drop Power Usage for some additional context and my many power regression articles.
This power consumption testing is being done from the line-up of notebooks used in the boot articles. Unfortunately the USB-based power meter normally used for the desktop/workstation power measurements is currently having issues on Linux 3.2+ kernels, so for this article it's just a mobile-focused power consumption look while running on battery power. All testing and monitoring was done using the Phoronix Test Suite with OpenBenchmarking.org serving as the collaborative back-end.
First up are the results from the HP EliteBook with an Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge CPU.