Ubuntu 11.10 Power Consumption Up By As Much As ~50%
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 9 September 2011 at 09:15 AM EDT. 12 Comments
The Linux power regressions are not over. The power consumption with Ubuntu 11.04 dramatically increased due to a PCI Express Active-State Power Management change. This was after another major power regression in an earlier upstream kernel release. The Linux PCI-E ASPM support is still not improved, so the 11.04 power regression remains in Ubuntu 11.10 and other upstream Linux distributions shipping Linux 2.6.38+, but that's not all. The power situation in Ubuntu 11.10 is dramatically worsened.

When testing a clean install of Ubuntu 11.10 compared to a clean install of Ubuntu 11.04 on three different notebooks, for all three notebooks the Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" power consumption was dramatically higher.

For an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 notebook with NVIDIA graphics, Ubuntu 11.10 is going through 10% more power on average.

For an Intel Atom 330 netbook with ION graphics, the power consumption is up by 4%.

With an Intel Sandy Bridge system, the power consumption with Ubuntu 11.10 is up by 52%. In other words, the battery life can be dramatically shortened with Ubuntu 11.10 compared to Ubuntu 11.04, not even to Ubuntu 10.10 that is on a pre-2.6.38 kernel.


And the system table...


Ubuntu 11.10 is using the Linux 3.0 kernel and not the Linux 3.1 kernel, which is drawing even more power. Changes with the Intel graphics driver are responsible for some of the power increase on the Sandy Bridge notebook, but still for the two other systems without Intel graphics, Ubuntu 11.10 only worsens the Linux power situation.

More testing after Oktoberfest with a greater number of notebooks and desktops as measuring their AC power draw via the Phoronix Test Suite. The power situation won't be improved at all in Ubuntu 11.10 since there isn't any fixes/improvements upstream and anyways the Ubuntu 11.10 kernel freeze is happening next week.
About The Author
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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 10,000 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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