ATI PowerPlay Reanalyzed

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 28 April 2006 at 01:00 PM EDT.

Similar to our initial PowerPlay investigation, ATI continues to hold a huge advantage with this power management technology for mobile users. When it came to the reduction of power consumption between the stock power-level and the most conservative frequencies, there was an approximate 19% reduction in consumed power. Of course, that advantage came while running GPU-intensive Linux applications, and when it came to idling the reduction was only an approximate 6%. The result that the different voltages/frequencies had on the frame-rate performance, were of course staggering, with the largest differences occurring between the first and second power-states. With fgl_glxgears, there was a 56% total drop in the average frame-rate, while Enemy Territory had dropped 58%. Percentage-wise the power-saving benefits of ATI's PowerPlay was more significant than what we had experienced when investigating Intel's Enhanced SpeedStep Technology on the very same notebook. The delta between the lowest and highest power options with the EIST Intel Pentium M 750 was 18% while idling, and 11% under CPU load. While ATI PowerPlay may severely cut down on the 3D performance of the notebook, it had the benefits of greatly reducing the power consumption/battery life, and reducing the emitted heat. ATI is certainly working hard on adding new options to their monthly driver updates, and so far, they have been succeeding quite well.

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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via