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Thread: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

  1. #1
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    Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    Planning on coming back to Ubuntu after a little time away. I just got a new ultraportable and threw Fedora on it until 12.04 releases. Fedora is decent, but I think I'm coming back to Ubuntu.

    I am running gnome-shell currently and I'm getting pretty disappointing battery life compared to with Windows. I like gnome-shell, and Unity looks solid too, but I'm wondering if I would likely see bettery battery life with xfce or lxde. Does anyone have any experiece with power consumption on the different desktop environments? Thanks.

    Edit: And my point with this was that I would switch to Xubuntu or Lubuntu rather than Ubuntu if this would be the case.

  2. #2
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    Re: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    Unless you have too many desktop effects enabled, the DE shouldn't make that much difference on your power consumption. Things like background programs and overall power management of the kernel and drivers should make all the difference. This is also hardware dependent.

    Adjusting the settings on your distribution should help more with power consumption than switching the DE. Look at things like jupiter applet and laptop mode.

  3. #3
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    The choice of desktop environment can influence both performance and power consumption. For a more indepth analysis I suggest you read this article on Phoronix.

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag..._desktop&num=1

    The article has benchmarks on various desktops available for Ubuntu 12.04.

  4. #4
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    Re: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    I installed Lubuntu and saw an immediate difference. The battery life does not quite match Windows, but it is much better than with Gnome on Fedora. Also, my processor temp went from ~58C when browsing the web to ~50C. I realized that I didn't perform a "controlled experiment" so I installed Gnome on top of Ubuntu and saw the same results. Unity was better, but still significantly worse on battery/temp than lxde. Xubuntu is giving me similar results to Lubuntu. I'll try Jupiter/laptop-mode-tools and see if I can match or beat Windows.

    Thank you both for the help.

  5. #5
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    Re: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    Quote Originally Posted by raptir View Post
    I installed Lubuntu and saw an immediate difference. The battery life does not quite match Windows, but it is much better than with Gnome on Fedora. Also, my processor temp went from ~58C when browsing the web to ~50C. I realized that I didn't perform a "controlled experiment" so I installed Gnome on top of Ubuntu and saw the same results. Unity was better, but still significantly worse on battery/temp than lxde. Xubuntu is giving me similar results to Lubuntu. I'll try Jupiter/laptop-mode-tools and see if I can match or beat Windows.

    Thank you both for the help.
    Interesting. It seems that the OpenGL effects are taking a tow on your video card. What type of video card is it? Intel/AMD/Nvidia?

  6. #6
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    Re: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    Sorry, I meant to include all that and ask for troubleshooting tips, but I completely forgot.

    The laptop is an HP dm1-4170us. It runs a Core i3 2367m with the stock Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. I have not done any extra system configuration apart from disabling powersave on the wireless due to a bug. Is there anything I can do to decrease power usage with the hd 3000? A better driver than the i915 perhaps?

  7. #7
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    Re: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    Quote Originally Posted by raptir View Post
    Is there anything I can do to decrease power usage with the hd 3000? A better driver than the i915 perhaps?
    There is no other driver. Unlike AMD and Nvidia, Intel provides fully functioning FOSS drivers for their video cards.

    Now I have to do some tests myself, I have the same graphics. Jupiter and Laptop Mode should help, but I don't know of anything specific to the Intel video.

  8. #8
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    Re: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    So, quick update. I installed GZDoom, and I cannot get the game to work with the OpenGL renderer. The game loads but freezes as soon as I start an actual game. The game works fine with the software renderer. Any way that I can check if OpenGL is working and performing properly on my laptop? Like a simple benchmark I can install? Thanks.

  9. #9
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    Re: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    Just installed OpenBox (with just lxpanel, not the entire lxde) on my Laptop Sandy Bridge i7 + Intel 3000 HD. It just made a huge difference on the battery life.

    I am not sure what the deal is, but when I tried it on my old laptop (Intel GMA4500 + Pentium Dual Core), Gnome 2 with Compiz and Metacity made little difference.

    Well, now I know how to get more battery life out of my machine.

  10. #10
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    Re: Power Consumption related to desktop environment

    Go to the command line and type:
    Code:
    glxinfo | grep direct
    if you see
    Code:
    direct rendering: Yes
    then you have enabled hardware acceleration. You can also take a look at:
    Code:
    glxinfo | grep OpenGL

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