A Closer Look At The Linux Laptop Power Use Between Ubuntu, Fedora, Clear & Antergos

Written by Michael Larabel in Computers on 22 July 2018. Page 1 of 4. 14 Comments

Earlier this month I posted some results when looking at the Windows 10 versus Linux power consumption using a Kabylake-R Dell XPS 13 laptop and testing Windows 10, Ubuntu 18.04, Fedora Workstation 28, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Clear Linux. For some additional numbers, I took three other distinctly different laptops and tested them on a few Linux distributions to see how their battery life and power efficiency compare as additional metrics to complement this earlier data.

In this latest Linux laptop benchmarking comparison were Antergos 18.7, Clear Linux 23850, Fedora 28, and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS being installed across the three laptops under test today and benchmarked in their out-of-the-box configuration while running off battery and the Phoronix Test Suite automatically polling the battery discharge rate during the benchmarking process.

The three other laptops I had available for testing, which obviously is quite limited, for this comparison were the ASUS UX301LAA, ASUS UX32VDA, and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

ASUS UX32VDA - The oldest laptop in this comparison and is an IvyBridge laptop with Intel Core i7 3517U processor, 4GB of RAM, dual SanDisk 128GB SSDs, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and a 1920 x 1080 panel.

ASUS UX301LAA - This is a Haswell laptop with Intel Core i7 4558U processor, 8GB RAM, dual 128GB SanDisk SSDs, and Haswell ULT graphics and a 2560 x 1440 display.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon - This X1 Carbon is from the Broadwell days and features an Intel Core i7 5600U, 8GB of RAM, 128GB Samsung SSD, and Intel HD Graphics 5500 with a 1920 x 1080 panel.

Each of the four Linux distributions were tested out-of-the-box. The only major change to note that was made for this comparison was ensuring the screen brightness was maxed out across all of the OSes/laptops, disabling the screen dimming while idle, and ensuring any automatic suspend setting was disabled. This was done just to ensure the screen brightness settings weren't responsible for any of the differences. The four tested Linux distributions worked fine across the three laptops with the exception of the IvyBridge UX301LAA not working with Clear Linux: it would install fine but UEFI problems prevented the system from ever being able to boot the Clear Linux installation after multiple attempts. The UX32VDA Haswell laptop meanwhile had issues with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS: previous Ubuntu releases worked fine on this laptop but consistently the Ubuntu 18.04.0 Ubiquity installer would be crashing when trying to install on this laptop, having tried multiple times and using the same Ubuntu 18.04 installer media as was used on the other laptops.

With this Linux laptop battery life testing on Antergos / Clear / Fedora / Ubuntu were idle power consumption tests as well as a variety of load benchmarks.

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