Windows 7 Offers Battery-Life Improvement

Windows 7 RTM Review showed us how well it is when it comes to Performing as compared to Vista, XP.
We were happy there. But there’s one more thing with windows 7 that will delight users switching from Vista — 25% improvement in Battery life.

Ruston Panabaker, Microsoft’s principal program manager of strategic silicon partnering, shows how later builds of Windows 7 were able to let the processor enter low-power states for longer periods of time, saving more power.

Microsoft themselves showed us Live test to prove Vista is crap — Two identical laptops playing the same DVD, with the Windows 7-equipped notebook getting 20 percent better battery life than one running Windows Vista. In general, users can expect newer systems running Windows 7 to offer 10 percent to 20 percent better battery improvement when watching a DVD.

“We’re achieving a very significant amount of battery savings,” said Microsoft principal program manager Ruston Panabaker.

Microsoft and Intel declined to say just how much overall battery life improvement Windows 7 might offer as compared to Vista, saying there are too many factors that can influence such results. May be this will spoil Vista’s image. Do they need to ?

Ruston Panabaker, Microsoft's principal program manager of strategic silicon partnering, shows how later builds of Windows 7 were able to let the processor enter low-power states for longer periods of time, saving more power.

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

“I don’t want to state a number,” Panabaker said at the event, which was organized by Intel and Microsoft.

Microsoft and Intel showed these power consumption improvements results for a system running Windows 7, left, and Vista. The left chart shows consumption while the system was idle; at right when playing a DVD. The event was designed to outline the joint work that the two halves of Wintel have been doing to make Windows 7 perform better in areas such as virtualization, power management, and performance.

On the performance side, Microsoft and Intel showed a reference system that can boot up in 11 seconds, although again real-world performance is likely to vary a lot based on what’s inside the PC and how well tuned it is. For instance, the system shown Tuesday had a solid-state drive and other high-performance componets.

The move comes as Microsoft gears up for the October 22 launch of Windows 7.

Perhaps the most encouraging thing for Microsoft is the fact that Intel itself is willing to use Windows 7 within its own corporate walls. The chipmaker has been an XP-only shop throughout Vista’s life. In an interview here, Intel VP Stephen Smith said that Intel had some internal applications that weren’t Vista-compatible and the benefits of moving to Vista didn’t justify the costs.

By contrast, Smith said several hundred people inside Intel are already running Windows 7 on their corporate machines.

Playing a DVD, a Windows Vista Ultimate system, left showed an estimated battery life of 4.14 hours, but the Windows 7 Ultimate system on the right showed 5.5 hours.

Playing a DVD, a Windows Vista Ultimate system, left showed an estimated battery life of 4.14 hours, but the Windows 7 Ultimate system on the right showed 5.5 hours.

The Secret

While dimming a screen’s brightness is one simple way to save power, Microsoft realizes that there are also other more advanced methods of reducing power consumption, such as increasing the system timer. By increasing the system timer from 1ms to 15.6ms, battery life can be increased by 10-percent. During moments of idle usage however, dynamically altering the system timer to improve battery life could make a lot of sense.

It was unexpectedly found during tests with the new Apple MacBooks that battery life was more than doubled when using the Apple Mac OS X than when compared to using Windows Vista. While wireless Internet browsing for example, a MacBook Air could achieve 4.98-hours of battery life, but when using Windows Vista on the same notebook, only 2.55-hours could be achieved. This result proves, Vista was weird.

MAC OS X Vs. Windows Vista as per AnandTech:

Wireless Internet Browsing DVD Playback Heavy Usage
MacBook Air (OS X) 4.98 hours 3.93 hours 2.7 hours
MacBook Air (Vista) 2.55 hours 2.05 hours 1.75 hours

Note that this is the same hardware and with the same brightness settings under both OSes. Vista’s power management was set to Balanced and the display was set to never turn off under both OSes; the hard drives were free to spin down if possible.

Verdict – Minimum 25% Improvement in battery life over Vista (with dimming).

Here’s a Video which demonstrates this –

Sources: Cnet, Anandtech, Tomshardware

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