in the city
Ubuntu gutsy, fglrx and battery life
I have a Thinkpad T60p, which is a nice top-of-the-line laptop with a Core2Duo and an ATI FireGL V5250 video card, but the battery life hasn’t been so good, especially when compared to my older T40, which easily lasted through cross-country flights on those rare occasions when I traveled in that fashion.
I updated to Ubuntu gutsy yesterday, which has Intel’s nifty powertop utility included. That revealed a number of power-hogging things I hadn’t really been thinking about, but my power usage stayed up over 20W and powertop was showing nearly 150 wakeups per second, all the time.
ATI’s proprietary driver has been flagged as a power hog by the people behind powertop, but I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I disabled it and tried powertop again. I’m down to 13.5W and 10-11 wakeups per second at idle; this extends my estimated battery life by over 2 hours!
Other people have noticed that newer versions of the fglrx driver are much improved, but unfortunately the released versions don’t yet support the FireGL cards.