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Windows Operating Systems Software Microsoft Portables Power Hardware

Vista Eating Battery Life 379

LWATCDR writes "It looks like more issues with Vista drains notebook batteries. Using the Aero interface really eats into your notebooks battery life. Of course one of the new 'features' of Vista is supposed to be better power management. This provides a great opportunity for a showdown. How long until someone loads Vista on a MacBook and compares run time? It would provide a flat playing field now that Apple makes Intel-powered notebooks."
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Vista Eating Battery Life

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  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:56PM (#18992777)
    processor intensive process uses more energy. turn it off. duh.
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by secPM_MS ( 1081961 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:16PM (#18993103)
      The more stuff you have running, the shorter the battery life. I am paranoid, perhaps a side-effect of decades in security, and I am not interested in glitz. The first thing I always did with Vista was to turn off Glass and go into advanced security settings and optimize for performance. I then turned off the Vista sidebar. Battery life under such conditions is better than XP.

      I am now running LongHorn Server Beta 3 on my notebook, running as a standard user. Glass and Sidebar are not even available, and my battery life seems to have gone up significantly, I assume because fewer processes are running. IE is hardened on server and it is certainly more secure. And yes, I have enabled the wireless functionality and search indexer. My desktop does look much like Win 2K.

      Security tends to go up as you run less functionality. It appears that battery life does so as well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by QuietLagoon ( 813062 )
        IE is hardened on server

        Still wondering why you need a security-challenged web browser on a server, hardened or not.

        • by Twanfox ( 185252 )
          A Terminal Server, where users use thin clients and run programs off the server? Hmmm.
        • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

          by secPM_MS ( 1081961 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:30PM (#18993323)
          Actually, if you configure it for security, IE7 is probably less security challenged at this point than Firefox or Opera. The low rights / protected mode does add some additional barriers to exploits.

          I would note that locked down as it its, it does break a lot of web sites. Paranoid as I am, I typically have explicit distrust keys for Flash and I disable all multimedia to avoid parser errors.

        • All primary web browsers are security challenged. Or do you intend to dispute various security issues in e.g. Firefox in the past, just to pick the main OSS browser? I really haven't seen *that* many exploits for IE 7 yet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

        IE is hardened on server and it is certainly more secure.

        ...How do you stand the constant popup dialogs telling you that the site may not display properly and the majority of websites just simply not working?

        Then you try to download another browser [] to get out of this insanity and you're constantly getting the bloody popup to add the site to a trusted list. Which doesn't work because each time you click the link you get another random mirror!

      • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

        by skiflyer ( 716312 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:47PM (#18994639)
        What I'd like is a way to do this in power manager.. I really like Aero and the other glitz... but I'd like it turn off at x% remaining battery if it's going to cost me battery time. Personally I'm running it on a brand new laptop so I have no comparison, and I'm far too lazy to make all the adjustments and see if it changes.
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:45PM (#18993543)

      processor intensive process uses more energy. turn it off. duh.
      When I was a kid, I didn't understand that the air conditioner in a car requires more engery, and operating it requires more fuel. In fact, some adults don't understand this.

      Processor intensive tasks using more engery is something an average user does not understand.

      Though this is the first time I have heard the aero interface uses more engery, it would not shock me if it does. If so it would be yet another case that Microsoft technicaly had a good idea with very poor execution, and ignoring larger existing issues... like for example on a laptop the annoying tendancy of loading unnessicary .dlls cluttering up physical memory making it nessicary to swap to disk, something that should be avoided on a laptop.

      • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by e2d2 ( 115622 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:39PM (#18994513)
        Why would it be assumed that it's poor execution? Is there some open source guru out there that can do better? if so how?

        See all that is rhetorical because it's based on an assumption that the implementation is incorrect, yet I've never met a developer that can add glitz to an OS desktop without consuming more resources so I see no reason for such assumption.

        As for "better power management", that means the power settings configured by the end users. IE Do you want it to hibernate under certain conditions, etc. These can now be setup across networks by admins to shut down or hibernate/sleep all machines during off hours, such as on weekends. It also means notifications to running software of an impending shutdown or sleep state. Those new features are all related to management of the machine by the user. It has nothing to do with the OS using more or less power in any particular state.

        Sorry guys, but this is just another "gee I wish I could find yet one more way to bash MS" story. If there is a legit grievance then hell I'll chip in, but this doesn't exactly get me up in arms hearing that *shocker* more GUI effects = more resource usage. That's common sense.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dhasenan ( 758719 )
        My god, Microsoft made an option for their displays that takes more processing power, and using it drains your battery quicker! Such a feat of poor engineering!
  • The last time.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by SQLGuru ( 980662 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:57PM (#18992793) Journal
    The last time someone posted a question about "How long", it was answered in the first post.

    Unfortunately, I don't have a Mac, or I'd do it. But maybe this counts: viewid=2215 []

    • Re:The last time.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dal20402 ( 895630 ) * <<dal20402> <at> <>> on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:02PM (#18992873) Journal

      At least last time I tried to run Vista on my MBP, part of the problem was Apple drivers that weren't optimized for power saving. The processor ran at full speed all the time (where on OS X it used SpeedStep) and the HD would never spin down. Thus I don't know how much of the fault is Microsoft's and how much is Apple's.

      With that in mind, I got about 60% the battery life from Vista that I got from OS X.

      Still, though, OS X's decent battery life gives the lie to the idea that "it's a processor-intensive process. Duh." If the Aero interface is eating battery, then why isn't Aqua, which is just as full of eye candy?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:54PM (#18993705)

        Still, though, OS X's decent battery life gives the lie to the idea that "it's a processor-intensive process. Duh." If the Aero interface is eating battery, then why isn't Aqua, which is just as full of eye candy?
        i'm no programmer, but the fact that Aqua renders nicely on my ancient G4 tower whilst Aero requires a box on steroids probably points to the underlying issue.
      • Code Quality. (Score:3, Informative)

        by twitter ( 104583 )

        Still, though, OS X's decent battery life gives the lie to the idea that "it's a processor-intensive process. Duh." If the Aero interface is eating battery, then why isn't Aqua, which is just as full of eye candy?

        Probably because Aqua and X are more efficient than Aero and all the DRM nonsense that M$ has put into Vista. You don't have to do the user any good while you spin their processor. Enlightenment, KDE and Gnome also have nice eye candy without cost to battery life.

  • by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:58PM (#18992801)
    Obligatory Slashdot car analogy:

    That's like saying you're expecting great savings from a fuel management system on a V12 Aston Martin.

    • by jeevesbond ( 1066726 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:02PM (#18992881) Homepage

      That's like saying you're expecting great savings from a fuel management system on a V12 Aston Martin.

      Shame this Aston Martin runs like it's got the engine of a Lada though.

      • I know the car analogy isn't supposed to make sense, and your comment was funny, but in this case it's true - when you install a new OS it's like buying a new car without an engine and having to use the one from your previous car. So yep, your Aston Martin really does have the engine of a Lada though.
    • by cpu_fusion ( 705735 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:25PM (#18993255)
      Vista is a Pinto with a jet engine mounted on it backwards, painted Zune Brown, with a dealer-installed decal on the side that says "XTREME!!!"

      Note: not a troll nor flamebait; just having fun here with the analogy. :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, but I would assume that a V12 Aston Martin also do not perform sluggishly.

      Vista is alike a 1960 WV with guys doing drugs in the back. Forget about gas mileage 'cause you've spent all your money getting high and tasting colours and you ain't go nowhere.
  • by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:58PM (#18992819) Homepage
    and Microsoft's marketing team would still sell it by the bundles.
    • by Kythe ( 4779 )
      Yep. And you'd have MS fanboys claiming XP ate kittens, too, back when it was introduced.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cgreuter ( 82182 )

      and Microsoft's marketing team would still sell it by the bundles.

      Well, the kittens are really bad for your mouse.

  • obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Odiumjunkie ( 926074 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:59PM (#18992841) Journal
    Vista is trying to drain your laptop's battery. Cancel or Allow?
  • by SevenHands ( 984677 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:00PM (#18992855)
    I would have had first post, but I had to plug in my laptop.
  • by metlin ( 258108 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:02PM (#18992879) Journal
    The one thing I will agree to is that Apple notebooks have some of the best battery lives I've seen.

    Everytime I've used an iBook or a Powerbook, I'm amazed at how long the battery lasts. While some other brands (e.g. Dell) have decent battery life compared to others (e.g. HP and Toshiba, at least in my experience), I'm always knocked off by Apple notebooks' battery life.

    Now if only Apple notebooks had two mouse buttons instead of hacks around it. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dal20402 ( 895630 ) *

      Also, Apple laptops seem to treat batteries better, at least from my anecdotal experience. Most of the Dell/HP laptop owners I know end up with horrible battery life after not that many cycles. After the same amount of use, my Mac laptops have typically only lost a bit of their capacity. (My current MBP with 180 cycles on the one-year-old replacement battery has about 90% of its original capacity.) Whether this is due to better power-management software, better battery design, or better battery cooling, I c

    • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:11PM (#18993029) Homepage Journal
      I never had a PPC unit, but the dual core x86 units aren't that great, 3 hours at best. My four year old Compaq gets about 2.5 hours.
      • I get three hours from my MBP (Core 2 Duo) in the garden with the screen brightness at full. If I'm inside, or in low light conditions and can get away with turning the backlight back down, I get about four hours. This is a bit better than my old PowerBook, but the battery is physically much larger in the MBP.
    • "Now if only Apple notebooks had two mouse buttons instead of hacks around it. :)"

      You have a second mouse button on the touch pad as long as you have more than one finger on your hand.
    • by arrrrg ( 902404 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:15PM (#18993087)
      My Macbook Pro never got more than 3.5 hours of battery life. In contrast, the Acer I had before got 5 hours out of the box, and that could be upped to 8 by swapping out the cd drive for a backup battery. Battery life is probably my biggest complaint with my Macbook Pro.
      • Good on the Acer - I also get 3.5 or so on my MBP, but I get less than 2 on a thinkpad. I get about 45 minutes on the Dell I had before that :D

        Maybe I should check out Acer?
  • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:04PM (#18992935)
    There are more things than aero which drain the battery in vista:
    aero is one of the factors, but, there is a lot of additional startup disk processing even after the ui has been started
    the drm which is in there left and right adds additional processor cycles
    the desktop search adds an additional processing overhead etc... etc...

    or ot sum it up added automated features simply need energy!

    The battery drain is less annoying than another load of idiotic features, UAC for instance is what sudo and the osx do but solved in a totally idiotic fashion, the new explorer is a lousy clone of mac osxs pathfinder (basically a clone of the worst features of finder and pathfinder), the system cofiguration tool setup is outright confusing with display settings for instance being distributed into 5-6 various tools some dont even have the slightest to do with the display settings.

    the new start bar is outright annoying to hell, the search is inelegantly solved and annot be put into the tray where it really belongs, no decent desktop switcher, startup times are longer than a fully configured linux.
    The Expose copy is outright useless, Vista home allows you to backup for a restore you have to upgrade to ultimate, the wireless configuration is lousy as hell. The half transparent border effect causes motion sicknes... etc...

    The only positive thing I really noticed is once it is loaded programs startup in no time, netbeans takes about 4 seconds openoffice around 3 and that on a 5200rpm notebook drive. There seems to be some serious app caching going on which optimizes the load times, especially java programs benefit tremendously from it. Tomcat 0.8 seconds, netbeans 4 seconds awesome.

    • Actually UAC isn't really idiotic, and it doesn't solve the problem in a way thats appreciably different than sudo. It basically does the same thing. The administrator account actually runs as a user, and the UAC will raise it up to administrator for certain tasks.

      The thing with UAC is it shows all the security problems, in terms of ACLs and required permissions, that exist in Windows today. People find UAC annoying because they're using software which requires admininistrator privileges. They find it a
      • There are several problems with UAC, the main problem is that the dialog pops up constantly with old software hence basically renders the entire access control pointless! You cannot customize uac to the level that you basically say once uac has been granted to a certain app for a certain critical op, the dialog should not popup anymore, you cannot really trim it down in a significant way it is either uac full or no uac at all. The main problem in the way Microsoft solved the entir thing is, that the dialo
        • by Rycross ( 836649 )
          I can't say I've ever had UAC pop up more than once for a certain app or op. I wonder if it has problems if a process launches other processes? I know that I encountered problems with Macromedia installers on a Windows XP box using "Run As..." (which UAC is probably using at least partially), because the installer would launch other installers in such a way that the permissions for the new process dropped back down to user level.

          I think there should definitely be a way to flag programs as "Don't show me U
    • by Shados ( 741919 )
      Thats interesting about the app caching btw. I've noticed Visual Studio and most .NET apps are zippy quick on Vista, but I figured it was because since Vista uses .NET a lot itself, that all the librairies were already in memory, but if it has the same effect on Java, MS must really have optimised something in there that helps such runtimes...
      • There probably are two factors. Microsoft probably preloads a load of .net dlls (I am sure the minute disk thrashing after the entire ui is there is partially caused by some of those things) but also it really seems they did a serious caching to ease the pain of apps which have to rely on a load of dependencies.
    • the drm which is in there left and right adds additional processor cycles

      Look, I know that DRM is really unpopular, but could we not have absolutely ridiculously stupid assertions like this that DRM is affecting everyting "left and right" and is somehow running down the battery in a noticeable way?


    • by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @05:10PM (#18995065)

      the drm which is in there left and right adds additional processor cycles

      Do you have any fucking clue how DRM works on Windows Vista? It's not some magical happy service that's running all the time. It's integrated into the kernel and into Windows Media Foundation and the Windows Media Framework. Of course, it's integrated into the Kernel and Windows Media Framework on XP too.

      XP has many of the same DRM and DRM-esque features as Vista (WGA/Activation, Secure Audio Path, Windows Media DRM, Signed drivers, ICT support). Try playing an HD-DVD on XP with a licensed player and a card/monitor that doesn't support HDCP. Try playing a Region 2 DVD on an XP system where the RPC1 or RPC2 region has been set to Region 1. Try playing a copy of T2 Extreme HD on XP without registering it.

      Yes, there are new DRM technologies in Vista. But just like the DRM features in XP or - god forbid - Mac OS X, the solution is obvious: don't buy into bullshit DRM.

      I don't have an HD-DVD drive for a very good reason - I don't want to put up with bullshit DRM. Once the DRM has been cracked (truly cracked - not just cracked for movies released prior to date X), I'll consider getting a drive. Until then, I watch plain old DVDs using VLC and my region-hacked drive.
  • by GroundBounce ( 20126 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:07PM (#18992973)
    I've started turning off XGL on my laptop when running on battery since it noticably eats into the battery life. This is really just FUD, it's not just a Vista issue.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      That is what I was wondering. To be honest I expected Linux to not do well with battery life since power management hasn't been a big priority for Linux. I want to see OS/X vs Vista on an Apple notebook. Sort of an Apples vs Apples comparison.
    • It's not just Aero it's the way it hits the disk so much - it has processes in there that for example after writing to a directory it decides to scan the disk and cache the whole directory. Fine in theory but when you've got the disk thrashing for 5+ minutes at a stretch that eats battery on a laptop.

      Switching all the search/cache crap off is really hard - there are several services you have to kill, and they're not all obvious.

      I switched aero off after about a day. Non aero looks pretty identical to me a
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:11PM (#18993039) Journal
    Whenever you mouse over it, or anything basically happens with it your cpu gets spiked. I'd be interested in seeing if disabling the sidebar helps with battery life. Someone should also compare if certain widgets are causing problems.
  • Disk indexing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shados ( 741919 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:12PM (#18993051)
    The indexing is most definately one of the main issues, I'd dare say even more than Aero. I have 2 fairly noisy SATA drives in RAID 0 (on a desktop machine though), and since I've moved to Vista, they're driving me insane. I have more than enough RAM to turn off swap completly without any issues on Vista, yet I hear the disks scratching sound almost continually.

    Thats the only issue I've had with Vista so I guess its not a big deal, but...
  • by Lazerf4rt ( 969888 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:13PM (#18993057)

    I don't know about notebook users, but when I purchased and installed Vista, Aero was not initially running. I had to go select it from the Themes area of the Display control panel.

    So when they write the following:

    When Aero is turned off, battery life is equal to or better than Windows XP systems. But with it turned on, battery life suffers compared with Windows XP.

    Seems like more of an issue with educating users. Although, maybe someone will develop a miserly mobile GPU that's optimized for what Aero does.

    Finally, this part of the article is a bit screwy:

    Microsoft said it commissioned a study (click here for PDF) that found no difference in "responsiveness," or application load time, between a notebook with Aero disabled versus one running the fancy graphics: implying that Aero doesn't put too much of a load on the system.

    I don't think the study implies that. It just says that application load time is unaffected. Aero's going to draw more power through the GPU even when applications are not being loaded...

    • by Rycross ( 836649 )
      It was on by default for me, but I had the Ultimate edition. I believe Vista will grade your computer based on its hardware and if its too low, then it will disable Aero by default.
      • Damn, and I had just purchased a Core 2 Duo system with an NVIDIA 8800 GPU. And it disabled Aero. Kind of a slap in the face. :-) Oh well!
        • by Rycross ( 836649 )
          Beats the heck out of my AMD X2 4200 and GeForce 7800 GT, so I think we can write this down to a problem with Microsoft's detection code.
        • Well, you need the 8800 drivers. :-p

          Vista was released before the Geforce 8800 wide availability, so you have quite high expectations. ;-)

          You should be able to get them after a Windows Update check.
  • Not so (Score:5, Informative)

    by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:18PM (#18993125)
    according to Tom's Hardware []. There is no difference in power consumption between XP and Vista w/ Aero.
    • Re:Not so (Score:5, Informative)

      by morcheeba ( 260908 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:15PM (#18994047) Journal
      That test is severely flawed.

      First off, it's a desktop, measured at the AC adapter. If a standard laptop took 150W, then the battery would only last 20 minutes. Clearly, laptops take less power overall and the differences caused by the CPU's load will be amplified.

      Second, it measures the power at only two points - no load and full load. I suspect that no-load between XP and vista is about the same because they are basically doing nothing. You need a real-use benchmark to compare the two.
  • Oh FFS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:19PM (#18993149) Journal
    Sheesh... "If you run the spiffy, high-overhead, bells and whistles interface, you know, the one that uses more CPU and GPU, then your battery life may be shortened." Fucking shocking. I'm shocked. I had no idea that if I use my laptop more, and if I use more intensive applications, that my battery life would be shortened. Wow. I thought batteries, just, yanno, powered things for a set amount of time, and I could play games, burn dvds, run my wireless, and turn on Aero, and it would last exactly the same amount of time as it would if I just left it sitting there.

    Seriously, the story here shouldn't be "aero drains your battery". It should be "For the first time since laptops became popular, MS is offering an OS that will actually last longer, when properly configured". Vista w/o Aero lasts longer on a laptop than XP. That's pretty damn impressive, actually.
    • Just got a new laptop for a professor. It claimed a 5 hour battery life but I'm always skeptical of such claims. Well, after a trip to Australia, he tells me it walks the walk. He said that the battery life was superb, easily working all day at a conference (being put to sleep during down times) with power to spare. That's with Vista on it with Aero enabled. Maybe you'd get even better battery life with Aero off, but it seems like there's nothing really to complain about as it stands.
    • Re:Oh FFS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:46PM (#18993553) Journal
      With OS X, battery life went up for some uses when moving from the older versions that didn't have Quartz Extreme to those that did. While it used the GPU more, it used the CPU less. Moving windows no longer triggered redraw events (which cost a lot of CPU cycles), and compositing on the GPU, which has dedicated silicon for it, was cheaper (in terms of power) than using the CPU.
  • by coryking ( 104614 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:22PM (#18993205) Homepage Journal
    I'll probably get modded down for this, but who cares....

    Since it actually puts your video card to good use, Aero makes things faster, not slower. Would you want your fancy game to use some generic CPU instead of all the specalized functionaly provided by your GPU? Why should your OS be any different? Unless your hardware sucked, you would be a fool to turn Aero off--it just makes your CPU do more work!

    What this power consumption business really means is hardware manufacturers need to optimize the parts of the GPU that Vista uses so they consume less power. In a year, new "Vista-Ready" laptops will probably use the same, if not significantly less power than their XP optimized counterparts. Less power you say? Hell yeah! Vista has all kinds of goodies for power management that didn't exist in XP; my desktop computer now suspends itself to... something.. after 5 minutes and will instantly wake up. Dunno if XP could that, but it sure as hell didn't on mine. It was default behavior on my Vista install.

    Further, Aero is definitly not eye candy and I'd even argue that it is the first version of Windows that *doesn't* have eye candy. The user interface is crisp, snappy, and far more elegant than anything before it. You barely notice the OS is even there; XP & 95 are very "in your face". I personally love Vista - I dare say that when running on proper hardware it really makes you feel the PC has come of age. All prior windows versions feel clunky in comparison.
  • by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:23PM (#18993209) Homepage Journal
    I got a Compaq Presario laptop with Vista Home Premium about two months ago. It's not a killer laptop, just an Athlon Turion 64 at 2 GHz with 1 GB RAM, but it's sufficient for why I wanted a laptop. Just listening to MP3s through Media Player would shoot the CPU level up to a consistent 35-50% CPU utilization with Aero active. The battery obviously didn't last too long. I finally got so fed up with it that I shut off Aero, dropped the system back to a 2000/XP theme, and installed WinAmp. Listening to the same MP3s that way had the CPU going at around 5-10%. Even when I'm just using it for audio editing or photo editing, now I can use it for a few hours as opposed to about an hour with Aero active.

    I will give Vista credit in that the laptop comes back very quickly from sleep mode whereas that never worked well for me in XP, but that's about it. Vista with Aero is the plant from "Little Shop of Horrors" -- FEED ME!!!
    • Eeh...?? That's not Aero's fault, but has to be some sort of Compaq driver issue.

      Why is pretty simple -- my Aero is not sharing your behavior.
      I just checked on Vista: HD movie played at 10% CPU consumption with Aero Glass.
  • Mac OS X vs Classic (Score:4, Informative)

    by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:23PM (#18993211)
    The same happened with the transition to Mac OS X. Although they have improved power management with the various upgrades, on my old tibook G4 I could get a half hour or more extra battery life running mac os Classic than I could in OS X.
  • by theheff ( 894014 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:35PM (#18993393)
    Vista (with Aero) battery life, under normal conditions, is about 2/3 of the battery life that I get when running OS X on my Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro. I've noticed that Vista does have very good CPU power-savings; it doesn't use full processing power until it is necessary. What I can't figure out is why XP/Vista makes the MacBook Pro run so much hotter. OS X definitely has the higher RAM usage, and CPU usage is nearly the same, yet OS X runs cool and quiet while both Windows installations I've had run warmer. Maybe it's a driver inefficiency or something... it also did this on a Core Duo MacBook I owned. Hmm.
  • I know that the thinkpad power manager drivers were very beta when Vista was released. This lead to extremely short battery lives - like %50 that of a properly configured XP machine.

    The OS has an enormous amount of control over power consumption - from cpu, gpu, and memory speeds to hard drive caching, lcd refresh and brightness. If these drivers suck - then so will the power consumption.

    As updates trickle out from Lenovo, it's improved greatly, but not close to XP. With more intensive GPU requirements of A
  • 'feature' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wbren ( 682133 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:45PM (#18993539) Homepage

    Of course one of the new 'features' of Vista is supposed to be better power management.
    Why did the submitter put the word 'features' in quotes? Was he trying to convey a negative connotation? Couldn't be, this is a Microsoft story on slashdot. See, better power management really is supposed to be a new feature of Vista, and it's a legitimate feature (unlike the increased DRM 'feature').
  • by ThinkFr33ly ( 902481 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:46PM (#18993561)
    When you go on batter power the power settings switch to "power saver", by default.

    The "power saver" profile turns off Aero, although keeps desktop compositioning enabled. (I think.)

    The article wasn't clear on whether or not it was the Aero theme (with all the pretty transparencies) or the desktop compositioning, that was causing the power drain.
  • Conflicting Stories (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DJ-Dodger ( 169589 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:56PM (#18993731) Homepage
    The fine folks at the Tech Report did a report on this months ago and found the difference between Aero and non-Aero was only about a watt. They don't disprove that Vista uses more power than XP, but I'd say they prove Aero isn't the culprit if that's the case. Oh and I at least trust the Tech Report guys - ZD Net hasn't inspired a lot of confidence lately. []
  • by sebsa ( 1090691 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:19PM (#18994141)
    I would never pay for it, but I got this OS parody via MSDN for free, so I gave it a try. Sure, it ate my batteries, but this was not the worst. Try this: 1. Plug in a mouse, then "shut" the laptop. Vista goes standby 2. Remove the mouse. Whenever I did this, Vista started the cpu fan (swooooooosh), showed the desktop (I guess, it was shut, but you could see "light"), played the "USB Device unplugged sound", and went back to standby. I don't know if this has been fixed in the meantime, but this was one major reason to switch back to xp. I won't try vista again until service pack 5 or so.
  • by abc_los ( 638007 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:32PM (#18994381)
    ...should read "Vista Eating Life". I know a part of me dies everytime I hear about Vista.
  • by Philodoxx ( 867034 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:37PM (#18994481)

    I get approximately 30-45 minutes (unscientifically tested) more battery life from OS X.

    What boggles my mind the most of all is that Vista has no provision for automatically disabling the Aero interface based on the power source. I'm sure the power disparity would go away if Aero would disable itself as soon as I switched over to battery power. As example: I can hear a fan (presumably GPU) kick into high gear just sitting on the desktop doing nothing. To me that is completely ridiculous and Microsoft should be investigating a way to fix it.

  • Turn it off (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:47PM (#18994663) Homepage Journal
    I recently purchased a Fujitsu P7230. I couldn't avoid paying the Microsoft tax, even though I was going to run Ubuntu, so I got Vista Home Basic, which was the cheapest option available. I used it for a few weeks before installing Ubuntu, so I could learn about Vista. I might not use Vista full-time, but it would be a good experience. Besides, if I have to pay for it, I'm going to get something out of it.

    The P7230 is an ultraportable laptop with incredible battery life. If you fill both battery bays and enable CPU frequency scaling, you can run it for 8 hours without plugging it in. In Vista without Aero (which this machine can't really handle anyway), I would get up to 11 hours of battery life. In Ubuntu I can maybe get 9. I still use Ubuntu full-time, but don't tell me that Vista has worse battery life. Turn off your useless eye-candy if you care about your battery. I'm sure beryl would kill my battery life even worse.
  • How is this news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by s_p_oneil ( 795792 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @05:13PM (#18995127) Homepage
    Almost every Vista post has had people mentioning battery life problems, with or without Aero. Here are the main battery-related problems I've encountered personally:

    1) Vista's extra behind-the-scenes tasks make your CPU and hard drive work harder.

    2) Sleep and hibernate are broken (causing you to waste battery life doing full shutdowns and startups).

    3) Aero puts the graphics chip into 3D mode, which makes it rev up to full speed (and full power consumption). The graphics card companies haven't done as much work on their mobile chips to save power as Intel has, especially when it comes to 3D mode.

    My laptop's battery life was almost 50% lower in Vista (compared to XP with SP2). I say was because I switched it back to XP.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury