Linux vs. Windows Power Usage
Phoronix: Linux vs. Windows Power Usage
Since publishing our Ubuntu power tests, where we had monitored the power consumption of the past six Ubuntu releases going back two years on a laptop, we've had repeated requests for a power comparison between Windows and different Linux distributions. Well, in this article are the first set of results from that testing. We've compared the power consumption of Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Fedora 7, and Ubuntu 7.10.
tests procedure suggestions
You might try testing with:
1. idle + folding@home
2. idle + playing the same video and/or audio file
3. idle + scripted FTP activity with a server on your LAN (for more controlled latencies)
4. idle + grep on a file
You'll probably want to test each of these plenty of times and have a little bit of idle time before and after the action is added to the idle state. Measure a constant amount of time that fully contains the action ie. type out "grep [Pp]attern file.txt" on a com.exe or terminal window, wait a minute, start power consumption measurement, and then hit enter and wait for just a little longer than the greatest amount of time it could take before stopping the measurement.
Also since different machines have different power saving abilities testing on multiple machines would be good.
Good But Still a Little Whimpish
Good for first start but still a little whimpish.... It's really sad when people are afraid of seeing their favorite distro performing badly.
The whole point is to compare the two similar setups (as much as possible). In Ubuntu's case, Compiz should be enabled, as most users will want Vista's 3D effects... Also, whatever services that provide a similar Windows service should be left running...like cups, etc. The idea is also to compare a "sane" setup---a system that the average user would want.
I would imagine power usage gives a hint of what to expect performance wise. The more power usage the slower...I imagine that that's usually true...
accurately measure battery current
If you really want to get an accurate reading of how much current is drawn from the battery, you'll have to get between the battery and the laptop. The best way I can think of to do that is to get an extra battery, rip out its guts, solder wires to the terminals inside the battery pack, and run the wires out to another battery. Now you can get in there with an ammeter and measure the true current draw. You have to at least verify what the laptop's internal current sensor is telling you. Otherwise it could be wildly inaccurate and you'd have no way of knowing.