Did Linux Power Consumption Improve At All This Year?

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 28 December 2015 at 08:47 AM EST. 15 Comments
As part of our end-of-year testing, a Phoronix reader had inquired about whether Linux made any strides in 2015 for improving power efficiency or extending battery life for any broad number of mobile Linux systems.

The short answer, as far as I've seen through my testing, is no. There were no major breakthroughs this year for extending Linux battery life nor any magical optimizations/fixes like a few years ago with the wide-spread ASPM issues. There were continued improvements to Intel's P-State drive and the generic CPUfreq driver along with some new CPUfreq drivers in the ARM space and various processor-specific improvements, but nothing really incredible.

I don't have data offhand for a wide number of laptops comparing power use throughout the year, but this weekend using a high-end Intel Haswell ultrabook at least did Ubuntu 14.10 vs. 15.10 (and a third run with Linux 4.4) to at least confirm in a narrow sense.
Haswell Power 2014 vs. 2015
When running the same tests, there was slightly higher power use from the same hardware using the newer Ubuntu Linux release. All of those details on that lone ultrabook from this OpenBenchmarking.org result file.

Related Tests From This Month: How Intel Laptop Performance & Efficiency Evolved From Nehalem To Broadwell

Have you experienced any Linux power improvements or regressions this year? If you have, please share with us in the forums. If there is enough interest or belief of some change for select hardware, I can try reproducing that on my end if I have similar hardware available. But long story short, there wasn't anything huge and widespread on the Linux power management front in 2015.
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About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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