Is Linux Power Management Getting Better Or Worse?
Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 23 September 2010. Page 4 of 4. 21 Comments

The x264 performance though has at least improved when running subsequent Fedora releases on the ThinkPad T60 and T61.

Unfortunately, for our last test the only meaningful results could be collected for OpenArena from the Lenovo ThinkPad T60 with the ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 (R500 class) graphics. Fedora has only recently begun toying with the Nouveau Gallium3D driver as an option for providing OpenGL support for NVIDIA GPUs, which means our ThinkPad T61 with its NVIDIA Quadro NVS GPU went without 3D acceleration. With the old Mobility Radeon X300 there were open-source GPU driver bugs with OpenArena in all releases besides Fedora 13.

Fedora 11 was ugly in terms of the power consumption when encountering an OpenGL workload with the ATI R500 GPU, but the situation was improved in Fedora 12 and since then the power consumption rate has been about the same since that point even as the ATI Radeon kernel mode-setting / DRM driver gained some initial power management support in the Linux 2.6.35 kernel that's used by Fedora 14.

From these battery power consumption results from the past five Fedora releases using three different notebooks, it does not appear that the power performance is vastly improving -- or at least just not in the past two years for the selection of hardware we used. The Lenovo ThinkPad R52 tended to go through the least amount of power when running Fedora 14 Alpha, but the notebooks with newer Intel hardware did worse so we will have to wait and see how the final release performs. Coming up next we will be looking at the battery power consumption rate as we test each major Linux kernel release and that testing will be on a greater selection of hardware (netbooks including) as we look for any definitive changes in the power consumption rate of Linux. We will also be trying out Intel's historical MeeGo/Moblin releases to see how its performance-per-Watt has changed with their intended Atom hardware configurations.

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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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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