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New Ubuntu eats more power than Windows 7

Don't stick 10.04 on a netbook
Wed May 05 2010, 10:55

THE DENIZENS of have been benchmarking the new Ubuntu Linux and came up with some startling conclusions about the power consumption of the operating system compared to that of Windows 7.

The outfit monitored the power consumption of a notebook and netbook when each operating system was idling at their respective desktops with all default settings and software running for each OS.

The researchers thought that Windows' better ACPI support would give it an edge over Ubuntu but they apparently were surprised when the proprietary operating system wiped the floor with the Linux OS in terms of power management.

"Out of the box" Ubuntu 10.04 LTS consumed 56 per cent more power than Windows 7 Professional

When both operating systems had Nvidia's proprietary driver installed for better GPU power management of the Green Goblin's Ion chipset, Ubuntu "Lucid Lynx" went through less power, but Windows still did better and the difference turned into a 65 per cent. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is using the Nouveau KMS driver by default for the open source Green Goblin driver and does not implement any power management support.

Fortunately for Ubuntu the Lenovo ThinkPad T61 power consumption difference between Windows and Ubuntu Linux was not nearly as large as that of the Atom 330 plus Ion-based netbook.

The ThinkPad T61 with Ubuntu consumed 14 per cent more power than Windows 7, but when both were loaded with Nvidia's binary driver that uses Powermizer and other power-savings techniques, Ubuntu consumed just nine per cent more power on average.

The netbook used for testing was an ASUS Eee PC 1201N with an Atom 330 dual-core CPU, Nvidia GeForce 9400M Ion graphics, 2GB of RAM, a 12.1-inch WXGA display, and a 250GB 5400RPM SATA HDD.

The notebook was a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300, a Nvidia Quadro NVS 140M, 4GB of system memory, a 15.4-inch display, and a 100GB Hitachi 7200RPM SATA HDD.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS x86_64 and Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 were the two operating systems tested on the two mobile PCs. µ


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