Came across this earlier today.
Yep. I've definitely noticed a battery drain and higher temps. Looks like it's a major bug in the 2.6.38 and 2.6.39 kernels
Phoronix has another article on it out today, in addition to the one posted above.
This is the prequel to Mobile Users Beware: Linux Has Major Power Regression and Uff Da! The Linux Power Bug Even More Mysterious. It was written in advance of tracking down the issue to a matter in the upstream Linux kernel. Though as the Phoronix Test Suite stack is presently bisecting and analyzing the kernel during the period in question (Linux 2.6.37 to 2.6.38 ), this article is being published now and hopefully on Easter Sunday or Monday the actual offending commit will be known along with much more information. This bug has also now been confirmed independent of Phoronix by at least six separate parties that I'm aware of, with reports of Natty either consuming excessive power or a very significant increase in heat output compared to Ubuntu 10.10. These independent reports have occurred on a range of hardware -- including desktops. There is also at least one bug report on the matter for Ubuntu 11.04.
I came to natty during the last alpha and at the beginning I think this may have been the case for me but now I don't. I have a screenlet that shows CPU usage and both cores are usually at very low usage, under 5%. Who knows, my GPU may be different but if so I can't tell it by performance or battery life. My battery life is the same as with maverick and my performance better I believe. I don't have any good test data to back this up.
The link above doesn't show the kind of change described, the testing showed up to 26% shorter battery life. I think y'all may need to look deeper.
Have any of you used powertop to optimize your battery usage?
I found the bug report that Phoronix is referencing. If you look at the powertop metrics there are all kinds of things running in the background like Chromium, WIFI, touchpad / keyboard.
Of course it's registering over 500 wakeups per second..
Like Cariboo said, powertop should be used (or a utility like Jupiter that applies common powertop recommendations automatically).
This is growing way out of proportion and it isn't even an issue (IMHO).