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Ubuntu 12.04 Is A Mixed Power Story

Michael Larabel

Published on 4 April 2012
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 5 of 15 - 3 Comments

Next up are the results from the Lenovo ThinkPad W510 notebook with an Intel Core i7 "Clarksfield" processor and NVIDIA graphics. With this slightly older but still relevant notebook, we are able to go back to Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS in the testing process.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is great for the ThinkPad W510 notebook when it comes to power usage. The idle power consumption with Ubuntu 12.04 on this Core i7 notebook is 20.7 Watts compared to 33.7 Watts in Ubuntu 11.10 or 27.3 Watts in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. In Ubuntu 10.10, the idle power consumption was 22.1 Watts. The reasoning for the big improvement with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS compared to 11.xx and 10.04? It is due to the properly fixed PCI Express ASPM support. The proper PCI-E ASPM fix that was committed to the Linux 3.2 kernel is the biggest reason for the improvement, but as you can see it's even lower than Ubuntu 10.10 as the last release where ASPM was working on this hardware previously, so there's also some other optimizations too that drop the idle power use by over one Watt.

The Nouveau Gallium3D performance for the NVIDIA Quadro FX880M GPU is not any better in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS compared to Ubuntu 11.10, but the power consumption is lower by 7.5 Watts! This will lead to a significantly longer battery life. Releases before Ubuntu 11.10 could not be tested since Oneiric Ocelot was the first Ubuntu release shipping with the Nouveau Gallium3D driver by default to provide for OpenGL acceleration.

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