The Tests Showing Ubuntu 11.04 On A Power Consumption Binge
The power consumption when the CPU and GPU were busy with the OpenArena game was also frightening. There are not results for Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS since the open-source drivers for the R300 were not in a good state with the Hardy Heron, but as you can see, Ubuntu 11.04 is the biggest loser. The average power consumption is up by 21.3% with this latest release. This is rather disconcerting because that Intel EIST support in Linux has been settled for a while along with the KMS-based ATI Radeon power management support.
Here is a look at the OpenArena OpenGL performance. Interestingly, for this vintage ASIC the performance high-point was back in Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04 when using user-space mode-setting and DRI1 prior to the Radeon DRM and Mesa switching to DRI2/KMS. With Ubuntu 11.10 the performance may be better based upon advancements in the Mesa 7.11-devel branch and also some forthcoming R300g improvements with the new register allocator, etc.
If looking at a composite of the power data for the ThinkPad T60, yep, Ubuntu 11.04 is definitely in poor shape in terms of power efficiency.