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Battery Life Tests

Since all participating netbooks used different hardware platforms, but were equipped with identical batteries, we thought it would be very interesting to compare their battery life. A comparison like that will reveal which of the platforms has the best mobile potential. Especially, since Asus claim that some of their netbooks boasts over 10 hours of battery life.

However, the manufacturer always chooses to disclose the best numbers obtained in idle mode with minimal brightness settings and after disabling everything that could possibly be disabled. Our tests were performed “in action”. We didn’t disable any wireless interfaces, set the screen brightness to its maximum, which is not excessively bright in netbooks, but on the contrary seems to be the optimal setting even in a dark room.

The first measurements were taken under maximum graphics and computational load created by Battery Eater Pro 2.70.

In this test mode our netbooks lasted between 2.5 to 3 hours. The first one to run out of power was a Brazos based computer with the most energy-hungry Zacate processor. ION netbook with the external graphics core eating up most of the power lasted 10 minutes longer. 10-inch netbooks turned out much more energy-efficient and finished almost at the same time.

The second test measures the battery life in read mode. Here we also used Battery Eater Pro 2.70 and the load was created by going through a text document. It is a very “mild” type of load, which is extremely close to idle mode, that is why obtained results may be regarded as the maximum possible battery life for our testing participants.

Here the situation is slightly different. The shortest battery life belongs to Eee PC 1215N, which didn’t make the 5-hour mark. Eee PC 1215B on the top Brazos platform modification, which lost in the previous test, stayed up and running much longer: 5.5 hours. 10-inch netbooks are again delivering very pleasing results: under this easy type of operational load they both can last over 6 hours on their batteries. By the way, it is pretty funny that Brazos platform with an Ontario processor and Intel’s Pine Trail demonstrate suspiciously similar power consumption. It looks like AMD selected this particular clock frequency for their top Ontario C-50 processor with intention to ensure that its power consumption would be identical to that of Intel Atom N570.

The next test measures the systems battery life during HD video playback in H.264 format. This time most of the operational load fall not onto the processor computational units, but on the graphics core, which provides hardware acceleration for the decoding process. We used Media Player Classic – Home Cinema

Pine Trail based netbook didn’t participate in this test, because it was not powerful enough to smoothly playback HD video without losing any frames. As for the remaining three models, Eee PC1015B with AMD C-50 processor and Radeon HD 6250 graphics core lasted longest of all. As for the 12-inch models with higher-performing platforms inside, Brazos based Eee PC1215B took the lead here. Its battery lasted 40 minutes longer than that of the platform with Nvidia ION.

The last test will show battery life during intense web-surfing experience.

The results here are surprisingly unanimous. Netbooks on the top Brazos and ION platforms as well as those on Pine Trail and Ontario show practically the same results. 12-inch netbooks lasted over four hours on battery, while their smaller brothers remained online for over five hours.

Overall, AMD Brazos with Ontario processor turned out similar to Intel Pine Trail. As for the Brazos platform with Zacate, its power consumption is noticeably higher and is comparable to that of the ION platform. However, if most of the operational load falls onto the graphics core, Brazos becomes a little more energy-efficient (in terms of battery life) than a combination of Intel’s energy-efficient CPU and Nvidia graphics.

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