AMD WANT PEOPLE TO believe they care about battery life. Intel, however, want you to know it's all too complicated for mere mortal consumers.
AMD's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Nigel Dessau, recently told the INQ he was well and truly fed up of not getting bang for his buck on notebook batteries, or, at the very least, getting as much battery juice as was estimated on the label.
It is a fair point. Currently punters looking to buy a laptop will get an estimate for battery life derived from the Mobile Mark benchmark test, which only takes a few basic productivity programmes into account, stressing the CPU all of five per cent.
That's right, open up Photoshop, run a Blue-Ray film, or even use tweetdeck, and users can watch their estimated battery time flush itself down the toilet. Oh, and Mobile Mark doesn't take "wireless enabled" into account, so if you use the Internet, you can forget those four hours the little sticker on your new laptop box promised you.
This, says Dessau, is not right, especially since mobile phone makers quote "talk time" estimates and car makers give petrol consumption per mile predictions to help consumers choose to suits their needs. Surely computer makers should adhere to the same practice, Dessau notes.
What's more, Dessau and his team of AMD bloggers and twits (twitterers, rather) have started to relentlessly evengalise to all and sundry that the industry is in desperate need of a "guard rail" system, to give potential buyers a more accurate maximum and minimum life expectancy.
One suggestion AMD has put forward for discussion on a company blog is the use of 3DMark06, taxing about 50 per cent of a system's capability, instead of Mobile Mark's five per cent.This, notes Dessau, is just a starting point for discussion, adding "We're trying to engage the community in a conversation."
Intel, however, disagrees that riff-raff like consumers should be involved in any sort of discussion, noting "There are many ways to measure battery life. We believe the best way to determine how to measure battery life is by making proposals and debating it in industry consortiums and not via blog post."
Industry consortiums, eh? Interesting. So does this imply Intel is suggesting we completely ignore corporate blogs? Is this Chipzilla's new social media strategy? If so, should we ignore Intel blogs from now on, or has the firm dumbed those down enough for us simpletons to understand?
We decided to give SpIntel another chance to explain itself. "We are always delighted to chat about benchmarking with our industry colleagues" backtracked Chipzilla's Czar of PR, Nick Knuppfer, telling the INQ Intel in fact did so on a regular basis "though the industry consortiums that do the hard job of bringing the world industry standard benchmarks". He added, however that if AMD was serious about changing the way MobileMark worked, the firm should bring its new ideas to the industry as a whole, cautioning "But lets keep the topic of benchmarking serious, not as a way of trying to win PR brownie points".
Meanwhile, Ian McNaughton of AMD told the INQ "The battery life discussion is bigger than Intel,it's bigger than AMD, it is an industry discussion. We're simply asking the question are the correct benchmarks in place to accurately represent the consumer's battery life experience' when they get their new laptop home from the store".
In our humble INQ opinion, a sit down for open discussion would certainly be a good thing, but with only two* (*cough*) players in the industry, and one of them significantly larger, it will probably never happen. That's because it's in Intel's interest to ignore the issue, and AMD spamming a few hundred people on twitter and writing a plethora of blog posts will probably not force Chipzilla to do otherwise, unfortunately.
Still, at the moment, just like a Duracell battery, this discussion seems set to keep going and going.µ
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