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The Ongoing Open-Source Work To Enable Webcam Support On Recent Intel Laptops

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  • #11
    I'm well aware of what "effective" clocks are. I am pointing out that streaming UVC camera video uses precious little processor time.

    Let's use my Steamdeck, since it's the most mobile oriented device I have, and has good total system power reporting ability:
    - Google Meet instant meeting running with camera off: 7.8w
    - Google Meet instant meeting running with camera on: 8.3w

    So that's 500mW extra to:
    - Power up the USB camera and run all of its electronics
    - Stream compressed video content from the camera to the Steamdeck
    - Decompress the video and display it locally on the Steamdeck
    - Re-encode the video stream and send it back to Google

    Let's do another test to eliminate browser overhead and the whole streaming/re-encoding aspect
    Steamdeck sitting with VLC Running, but idle: 5.3w
    Steamdeck viewing UVC camera with VLC: 5.5w

    We're talking 200mW here. It's a small amount of power. That's about 15 minute total loss of battery life across the 8 hours nominal the Steam Deck battery will last browsing the web.

    I'm sure MIPI cameras shave a few mW by eliminating USB overhead and having the camera processing be done on the CPU, which is almost certainly on a more advanced semiconductor node than the camera electronics. That's important when you have a tiny phone battery, but becomes increasingly less important when you have the 40+ wH batteries that laptops have.

    Using MIPI cameras in laptops is just a cost savings thing.