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Surprising Power Consumption Of Ubuntu 11.04 vs. Windows 7

Michael Larabel

Published on 29 June 2011
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 3 of 9 - 22 Comments

The biggest power difference for the ThinkPad T61 is when playing back the 720p HD OilRush trailer in YouTube with Adobe Flash. The power consumption during the video playback process is roughly 56% higher on Ubuntu 11.04 than it is under Windows 7. Both operating systems were using the Adobe Flash Player 10.3 release. Under Windows, there is GPU accelerated playback under all major graphics driver/adapter configurations while in Adobe Flash Player 10.3 for Linux it is only supporting NVIDIA VDPAU. The ThinkPad T61 has a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M GPU that supports the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix, which was being utilized during the playback process. However, at least for this hardware configuration, the system was burning through significantly more power than under Windows 7.

When running the Nexuiz game, the Ubuntu 11.04 power consumption was also slightly higher than under Windows 7 for the ThinkPad T61 notebook.

Also to the advantage of Windows 7 were the Nexuiz results for the Quadro NVS 140M system. Under Ubuntu 11.04 with the proprietary NVIDIA Linux graphics driver it was putting out just 11.55 FPS at 1600 x 900 while the Windows 7 Pro SP1 with its NVIDIA driver equivalent was managing 46 FPS. Usually the OpenGL frame-rates tend to be close between Windows and Linux when the proprietary NVIDIA blob is used in both situations, since their codebases are largely shared, but it wasn't the case in this configuration.

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