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The Nasty Battery Power Usage On Ubuntu 11.10

Ubuntu

Published on 09 September 2011 04:58 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu
19 Comments

This morning I shared some initial battery power consumption results for Ubuntu 11.10 from three different mobile devices. For all three of them, the power consumption on Ubuntu 11.10 was even higher than Ubuntu 11.04, which was already in a power hungry state. Before calling it a week to go handle XDC2011 matters, I ran some tests from a standard Intel Atom N270 netbook. Sure enough, Ubuntu 11.10 is doing a heck of a job at burning through power.

To complement this morning's results which were from a range of devices with varying CPUs and graphics processors, this testing was from a Samsung NC10 netbook with an Intel Atom N270 CPU, Intel 945 integrated graphics, 2GB of RAM, and a 32GB OCZ Core SSD.

Not only was the latest Ubuntu 11.10 development snapshot used (as of today) compared to Ubuntu 11.04, but Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS was also run on the Intel Atom netbook.

With the common battery power usage test, which applies little load to the system besides MPlayer video playback at the end, the power consumption was certainly up for the Oneiric Ocelot.


Ubuntu 11.10 was going through 16% more power with this soon-to-be-released Canonical operating system. There was little change when comparing Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS to Ubuntu 11.04, since this netbook was not working with PCI-E ASPM at any point due to having components not compliant with the PCI-E 1.1 specification.


Even when dropping the system with load via the OpenArena game, the battery power consumption rate was up by about 18%.


Between Ubuntu 11.04 and Ubuntu 11.10 is also not much change in graphics performance for the i945 IGP.


Pounding the Intel Atom N270 CPU with the multi-threaded 7-Zip compression test resulted in the battery power consumption rate going up by about 22%, while compared to Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS, the Natty Narwhal did better.


There wasn't much change in the actual 7-Zip result when running this Ubuntu 11.10 development snapshot from its stock Linux 3.0 kernel.

The power consumption situation only looks to be worsened by Ubuntu 11.10, and not improved after the situation really went awry for Ubuntu 11.04 for a number of mobile and desktop systems. Many users are also reporting excessive heat output as a result.

It's not only the power consumption situation that's worsened by this major Linux distribution update coming out next month, but the boot performance is also worse. During Oktoberfest there's an article in the queue, among others, looking at the Ubuntu 11.10 boot performance for a number of different workstations/desktops/mobile devices.

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 .
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