A Look At The Windows 10 vs. Linux Power Consumption On A Dell XPS 13 Laptop
The Dell XPS 13.3-inch laptop for testing features the Intel Core i7 8550U (quad-core + HT) CPU with UHD Graphics 620, 2 x 4GB RAM, 256GB PM961 NVMe Samsung SSD, and its panel is a 1920 x 1080 resolution. For some initial basic tests I ran Windows 10 out-of-the-box and compared that to fresh installs of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Fedora Workstation 28, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Clear Linux.
To rule out any differences in the battery power usage reporting between operating systems or even differences in the threading / process control handling for querying the power data automatically, I ended up measuring the AC power usage when the battery was completely charged each time and measuring it through a USB-based WattsUp Pro power meter connected to a separate system that was recording the power data.
Each time the power usage was recorded by the Phoronix Test Suite going from a cold boot to the desktop environment, launching the default web browser and navigating to Phoronix.com, then launching the file manager, launching the PowerShell/terminal/console, and other basic desktop tasks for a total period of six minutes. On each operating system, the display brightness was maxed out as well as disabling any dim-while-idle settings.
Here's how that data looks for booting the laptop and carrying out those basic tasks:
Overall, the power use between Windows 10 and the four tested Linux distributions was basically on-par with each other. It was interesting to note though that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS had spiked much higher than the other operating systems under test. Also visible from the graph is several times where the Windows power usage was spiking. Of the Linux distributions when going by the average power use and peak power consumption, Fedora Workstation 28 was doing the best of the tested Linux distros in this basic round of testing... Though not too surprising given with the Fedora 28 cycle, there was a focus at Red Hat on improving the power efficiency / battery life.
Beyond this data, the battery life of this Dell XPS laptop has been about the same as seen under Windows 10 with the testing thus far. So overall it's a pleasant surprise with not having tested any other Kabylake-R laptops and wasn't quite sure if the Linux power efficiency would be able to run on-par with Windows 10 at this point.
A lot more Linux tests from this Dell XPS9370 are forthcoming in the days ahead on Phoronix...