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Sony Pledges More Accurate Laptop Battery Figures

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the trust-but-verify dept.

Portables 185

Slatterz writes "Ever wondered why you never get the 10 hours of battery life advertised with your new ultraportable? Battery life ratings have been a joke for years, so it's interesting to hear that one big vendor is picking up its game. PC Authority says Sony is abandoning the usual (and wildly misleading) JEITA method for coming up with those 10+ hour battery numbers (they're still using JEITA, but not the usual way). Interestingly, the story has links showing the old and new steps Sony takes to come up with those battery predictions. It's good to see the industry coming clean on this issue."

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How is this for marketing? (5, Funny)

Swizec (978239) | about 6 years ago | (#24917125)

Just wondering here, how would a move like this affect marketing of computers? The previous model had an up to 10 hour battery life, the new ultra better omgwtfbbq more magnificent version has "Up to 4, but we're not lying to you this time!"

Somehow I just don't see that faring well with Joe Average ...

Re:How is this for marketing? (0)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | about 6 years ago | (#24917173)

Just wondering here, how would a move like this affect marketing of computers?

Are you talking about the battery life thing or getting a fluff piece linked to /.? Either way I say it affects it pretty good.

To Paraphrase the article: The bad news: It's not the awesomest thing ever. The good: It's still pretty fucking awesome.

Re:How is this for marketing? (5, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | about 6 years ago | (#24917181)

No, I was talking about how Joe Average doesn't really care/know that some vendor quotes realistic battery life on the box while another doesn't, they just see a higher number next to the word "hours" on that other computer and buy that one instead of the one who is lying less. I know realistic battery life quotes are great for us geeks, but they must be a marketer's nightmare until this behaviour becomes standardised and mandatory for some reason.

Re:How is this for marketing? (2, Interesting)

pipatron (966506) | about 6 years ago | (#24917263)

Or until a lot of people and magazines wonder why the hell they lie to us, since we can never reach the battery time stated on the box. Like now.

Re:How is this for marketing? (5, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 6 years ago | (#24917731)

Or until a lot of people and magazines wonder why the hell they lie to us, since we can never reach the battery time stated on the box. Like now.

What are you talking about? My battery always lasts at lea

Re:How is this for marketing? (3, Insightful)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | about 6 years ago | (#24917279)

I get you, but I also doubt they would change their marketing much, I imagine instead of saying 10+, the will now say: Up To 10 Hours* As for standardized, the first thought I had when reading the summery was "who is Sony afraid to get sued by that they'd change something in a way that could cost them" Maybe they see the battery life fudging as something that may get cracked down on.

*In sleep mode.

Re:How is this for marketing? (-1, Offtopic)

Swizec (978239) | about 6 years ago | (#24917341)

*In sleep mode.

Not to be insensitive here, but Macs have changed "sleep mode" for "hibernate" years ago and I can vouch that my Mac has an infinite battery life in what the OS calls sleep mode, and I do believe that's the proper way for going about it, when it's asleep as far as the user is concerned the damn thing is off and shouldn't be wasting batteries.

Now I understand something like Windows can't get out of hibernate as quickly as a mac (or probably linux as well) can, hell when I was toying with hibernate years ago it wouldn't even come out of it at all, but that's also very wrong.

Re:How is this for marketing? (4, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | about 6 years ago | (#24917397)

This is close, but not quite accurate. Macs enter sleep mode as any other PC does. However, when they enter sleep, they also begin paging everything out so that they can hibernate if the battery gets too low while still sleeping. You can tell whether or not your mac hibernated easily. If it wakes up instantly on a key press it was sleeping. If it needs the power plugged in, and comes back to a greyscale filtered version of what you were working on and a progress bar, then it was hibernating.

Re:How is this for marketing? (5, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 6 years ago | (#24917937)

You can tell whether or not your mac hibernated easily. If it wakes up instantly on a key press it was sleeping. If it needs the power plugged in, and comes back to a greyscale filtered version of what you were working on and a progress bar, then it was hibernating.

What state was mine in? I pushed the button and it said "BRAAAAAIIIINS!!!"

Re:How is this for marketing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24918073)

Vista does the same thing.

Re:How is this for marketing? (4, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | about 6 years ago | (#24917343)

Just wondering here, how would a move like this affect marketing of computers?

They'll leave the old 10 HOURS figure, in huge numbers on the packaging. Then have an asterisks, and a tiny footnote that says "TYPICAL BATTERY LIFE: 4 hours".

Re:How is this for marketing? (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#24917685)

TYPICAL BATTERY LIFE*: 4 hours

*before asploding

There we go, fixed that for you ;)

Re:How is this for marketing? (2, Funny)

Nymz (905908) | about 6 years ago | (#24917429)

Somehow I just don't see that faring well with Joe Average ...

On the contrary, it's probably going over quite well since the likely reason for the change was customer complaints. Why, I alone have told them a MILLION times that people shouldn't exaggerate so much.

Re:How is this for marketing? (2, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 years ago | (#24917521)

Somehow I just don't see that faring well with Joe Average ...

Joe Average is indeed in a market for lemons. But you find that very often, when buying something like a laptop, he might try and ask for advice from Average Slashdotter.

Most people know at least one geek. Most Slashdotters are probably their friends' and extended families' "go to guy", for tech issues. And lets not forget IT departments and professional buyers, etc. Every geek knows battery lives are 1-1.5 hours for laptops everywhere, and if they see a 10 hour claim, they will call it out. That damages Joe Average's, and indeed Average Slashdotter's, confidence in the product, no matter how many go faster stripes they put on the casing.

This will have an effect, because right now laptop makers are not just exaggerating or stretching the truth. They are outright lying and telling great big obvious whoppers at that. Even Joe Average gets wise eventually.

Re:How is this for marketing? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#24917719)

I get more than 1.5 hours out of my MBP pretty easily. Of course to do that I often have the screen brightness right down, or just no backlight at all if I'm only using it to listen to music.

I could probably watch a whole DVD if I tried. If I was playing a heavy 3D game then I probably wouldn't even get an hour though, as it would have the CPU and GPU at full tilt, with the fans ablazin'.

So I wouldn't see battery claims of 4-6 hours as suspect, especially on an EEE PC or a little VAIO, but 10 does seem a bit hopeful unless the laptop is in sleep mode!

Re:How is this for marketing? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 6 years ago | (#24917821)

I could easily watch a full length movie on my mbp using battery, especially if its copied to the hard drive rather than having to keep the dvd reader spinning...
Unless your watching HD quality movies, the CPU will be running at just a couple of percent of one core, so the system will clock it down to the lowest rate it supports, and the GPU won't be doing much either. Most of the power will be drawn by the screen, and the newer ones with lcd backlights seem to draw somewhat less power here too.

Re:How is this for marketing? (1)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | about 6 years ago | (#24917843)

A EEE Pc can hold at 3 hours without problem, probably 4 if you turn the screen off. 6 hours is really optimistic though.

Re:How is this for marketing? (1)

amdpox (1308283) | about 6 years ago | (#24918365)

Depends which model... The 901 with the powersaving atom can pull 6.5 hours with everything turned down (but screen still on). My 1000H gets 4 hours with medium brightness, wifi, and the cpu getting a decent workout with frequent compiles, flash player under linux (>_), etc... with wifi off and screen at minimum, it stretches to 5.5 hours. That's with the stock 6.6Ah battery. The Atom seems to have similar idle power draw to the Core ULV (~2W), but at full-tilt it only draws a watt more, compared to quite a few from the more conventional chips.

Re:How is this for marketing? (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | about 6 years ago | (#24918125)

I can get 2.5 hours out of my Asus M51E pretty damn easily even with the backlight turned up and fairly steady CPU and HD activity.

Re:How is this for marketing? (4, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 6 years ago | (#24917725)

Just wondering here, how would a move like this affect marketing of computers? The previous model had an up to 10 hour battery life, the new ultra better omgwtfbbq more magnificent version has "Up to 4, but we're not lying to you this time!

The new figure is time to 0% power. The old figure was time to explosion.

Re:How is this for marketing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917733)

They'll probably just say, "Now lasts 20% longer than the previous model!" (or whatever % it turns out to be).

Or "Now with more compute power to run the latest bloated operating system while still giving you the same long-lasting battery life."

Lose-lose situation... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#24917991)

On the one hand their competitors will quote the old-style battery lives so SONY will look bad.

On the other, people will be suing them if they don't get every last second of battery life claimed under the new rules

(See, eg., the class-action suits against HD manufacturers for selling Gb instead of GiB...)

Add to this the fact that batteries lose capacity over time (whether you use them or not) and, no, it's not gonna happen.

Re:How is this for marketing? (1)

Erez.Hadad (1131843) | about 6 years ago | (#24918243)

I believe it would make sense if Sony had something up their sleeves. For example, a battery technology that *guarantees* 8 hours of usage. That would be a sales booster.

Re:How is this for marketing? (2, Insightful)

antic (29198) | about 6 years ago | (#24918251)

"It's good to see the industry coming clean on this issue."

That should be:

"It's good to see a publication suggest that one player within an industry is slightly tweaking their method of measuring this issue."

And less exploding... (1)

retech (1228598) | about 6 years ago | (#24917131)

Or at least less figures of recalls and potentially exploding batteries.

Battery capacity, not life (5, Informative)

pieterh (196118) | about 6 years ago | (#24917137)

Properly, we should be told the capacity of the battery and the consumption of the machine at highest and lowest levels.

For example, my Lenovo X61 gets between 4 and 8 hours on its large battery. The difference comes from how I tune the machine.

At least for laptops using Intel chipsets and Linux, powertop makes it very easy to measure battery life, and (more importantly) tune it. I get my 8 hours by by switching off the wifi, usb ports, killing programs that do too many interrupts, turning down the brightness, etc. Powertop shows exactly how many watts the machine is using. The battery has about 70 watt/hours so when I get it down to 9 watts, that gives me about 8 hours.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 6 years ago | (#24917177)

wifi and chipset are not the power hungry thing on the laptop, its the lcd screen that uses more power then rest the laptops parts combined on avg

Re:Battery capacity, not life (4, Insightful)

clickety6 (141178) | about 6 years ago | (#24917373)

Unfortunately, whereas I can use my computer without WiFi and USB, etc. I do find it much harder to use it without the screen being on ;-)

CPU on battery (1)

emj (15659) | about 6 years ago | (#24917391)

it would be nice to have a portable computing cluster though. Ten quad cores in your pocket would be a nice performance boost.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 6 years ago | (#24917827)

You can turn off the backlight and still see the screen, depending on lighting conditions... You save a lot of power that way.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (1)

emj (15659) | about 6 years ago | (#24917379)

No, you can easily use PowerTop [lesswatts.org] to optimize your powerusage by disabling/poweringdown Wifi, ethernet, sound and applications. So you can get your computer down from 14 Watt to 7 Watt, of course it all depends on what you need. You will see that what draws the most power is usually software not the hardware, if you run less it will draw less. It's not a price everyone is ready to pay, on the size of your computer and on functionality.

On my 12" laptop there is a 3W difference between a fully lit screen to a turned off screen. Not alot... Read the tips and trick on lesserwatts [lesswatts.org] or Pavels guide to better battery time [mff.cuni.cz] to get real experiences e.g. IDE controllers..

Re:Battery capacity, not life (1)

bodan (619290) | about 6 years ago | (#24917187)

How exactly do you shut down the USB ports? I don't remember ever seeing that among laptop-mode's settings.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (4, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | about 6 years ago | (#24917281)

Check out the guides at http://thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_reduce_power_consumption [thinkwiki.org] , they are of course mostly ThinkPad-specific, but most of it works just as fine for other centrino-based laptops. If I remember correctly it's about unloading the USB1.1 modules (unless you need them!) and telling the UBS2.0 module to power down the ports if they're idling.

it's a good general guide (3, Informative)

emj (15659) | about 6 years ago | (#24917405)

Everyone should read that, it's good for most computers running Linux.

Re:it's a good general guide (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 6 years ago | (#24917955)

Everyone should read that, it's good for most computers running Linux.

You highly overestimates "everyone's" choice of computer.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917633)

Brilliant little article there. Loads of useful tips for laptops and if you want to build a low-power server..

Re:Battery capacity, not life (1)

bodan (619290) | about 6 years ago | (#24917649)

Thanks!

Re:Battery capacity, not life (2, Funny)

antic (29198) | about 6 years ago | (#24918233)

The Church of Scientology recommends that to save power on your laptop, you not watch any videos on YouTube that criticise them.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 6 years ago | (#24917363)

Nowadays you can shut down nearly every device via ACPI. It's what "disabling" them in the windows device manager does. (But of course in a windows-typical manner, you can't find out what actually happened [eg. if something was turned off])

Re:Battery capacity, not life (1)

bodan (619290) | about 6 years ago | (#24917761)

Do you have any links detailing this a bit? I've seen references to echoing things to "/sys/devices/*/*/power/state" (I have zero such files on my system), and various tricks for specific devices, but I can't seem to find anything comprehensive. For instance, I couldn't find out if unloading a driver will {always|sometimes|never} power off a component or just leave it drawing power unused.

I have a laptop I use only few features of, and a headless server whose everything-integrated chipset consumes 40W despite the fact that I only use the Ethernet and SATA controllers. I'm sure much of the rest (video, audio, PCI slot, all ports except Ethernet) could be simply turned off, but I only managed to find how for a few small things like WOL.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917301)

Actually, it's Watts times hours ("watt-hours"), not Watts divide hours ("watt/hours").

Re:Battery capacity, not life (4, Interesting)

pieterh (196118) | about 6 years ago | (#24917385)

If you're going to be pedantic, get it right. Batteries are measured in amp-hours, and if you want to use watts, it would be "watt-hours at X volts", whatever the voltage is that the battery is supplying.

The Lenovo X61 extended battery has 4400 mAh, or 4.4Ah, so if it lasts eight hours at a draw of 9 watts, then it's drawing about 16 volts.

9 watts at 16 volts is 0.55 amperes. 0.55 amperes for 8 hours is 4.4 amp-hours.

It's more fun not having to think this much on a Monday morning.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24918355)

Expressing battery charge in mAh is misleading because it would imply that you can draw a certain current for a certain time no matter the voltage.

You can draw 2 ampere at 5 volt for an hour or 1 ampere at 10 volt for an hour. In either case it's 10 watt. Current * time = energy, and energy is exactly what batteries store. Joules.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 6 years ago | (#24917327)

Properly, we should be told the capacity of the battery and the consumption of the machine at highest and lowest levels.

You still have the same problem. Now you're simply moving the problem from calculating "battery life" to calculating "power consumption", and leaving consumers with an extra bit of math to do...

"Lowest" power consumption is tricky, because you've now got to define what parts of the machine have to be functional in this minimal state. ie. You'd get a huge boost in battery life if you shut off the LCD screen, backlight, and graphics chip.

Maximum isn't exactly easy, either... Does this include external devices drawing their power from the laptop ports? USB, Firewire, speakers, mouse, etc., it's pretty easy to drive the power consumption WAY up, with a few ridiculously power-hungry external devices.

Battery capacity is pretty trivial, and is already notated on nearly every battery I've ever seen.

Re:Battery capacity, not life (1)

pieterh (196118) | about 6 years ago | (#24917427)

So, here's a very simple, useful standardized measurement:

1. Capacity of battery in mAh, when new, after 6 months, and after 12 months.
2. Power consumption of machine when doing video playback with screen set to 75% brightness, and all ports and networks enabled ("high").
3. Power consumption of machine when surfing the web, with screen at 50%, and wifi enabled ("medium").
4. Power consumption of machine when doing word processing with screen set to minimum brightness (not off!), and all ports and networks disabled ("low").

Hard to fake, and matches users' typical use cases.

Posting a single "hours" figure is obviously rubbish, it does not count for battery decay, nor the wildly different ways we actually use notebooks when we're informed.

(E.g. until I started using Powertop to measure my battery life I did not realize how important the screen brightness was. Turn this down, turn wifi off, and you add 50% or more battery life.)

Re:Battery capacity, not life (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 6 years ago | (#24917565)

So, here's a very simple, useful standardized measurement:

The devil is in the details.

1. Capacity of battery in mAh, when new, after 6 months, and after 12 months.

You want WATTS, not just Amps, or else they can just halve the voltage and double the amps, with a trivial change to the battery pack.

Battery capacity over time varies SUBSTANTIALLY based on what level of charge is maintained over that period of time, and how many charge/discharge cycles it goes through. With certain types of batteries, how quickly it is discharged each time, and whether memory effects are mitigated by usage patterns, can make a huge difference as well.

2. Power consumption of machine when doing video playback with screen set to 75% brightness, and all ports and networks enabled ("high").

Video playback power consumption depends HIGHLY on the software being used (Media Player vs. MPC vs. MPlayer-win), the codec required to decode the video in question, and the bitrate and resolution at which the video was encoded.

Port power consumption can be screwed with as well. Even if they're "ON" doesn't mean they can't effectively shut themselves off when there's no traffic.

3. Power consumption of machine when surfing the web, with screen at 50%, and wifi enabled ("medium").

Depends on the web browser software, complexity of the pages being view, etc.

4. Power consumption of machine when doing word processing with screen set to minimum brightness (not off!), and all ports and networks disabled ("low").

Notepad or Office 2007? On Windows 95 or Vista?

Posting a single "hours" figure is obviously rubbish, it does not count for battery decay, nor the wildly different ways we actually use notebooks when we're informed.

An "hours" figure is just as useful as the tests you've described... You're just providing 5 different figures... Average them together, and you've got a single figure again.

An hours figure would still be perfectly useful, if things like advanced power management didn't jump in and screw up the test. Pretty much the same thing as happened with EPA gas mileage figures, and hybrids...

At the very least, a single figure allows you to at least compare usage time from one laptop to another. Even if neither figure is realist, as long as they're both unrealistic in the same way, and to the same degree, they're meaningful when relatively comparing one to another.

I for one can see battery-less laptops. (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | about 6 years ago | (#24917141)

I know this sounds crazy, but the battery is probably the heaviest component in a laptop. If you seriously don't need it, take the damn thing out. Also wasn't there a piece a while back about cordless delivery of power to electronic appliances? Something like that would make batteries all but obsolete.

Re:I for one can see battery-less laptops. (1)

amdpox (1308283) | about 6 years ago | (#24917287)

Wireless power isn't really practical yet (requires either painful microwave burns or huge EM fields), and I can't see it being practical at a range longer than a metre for a long while.

Re:I for one can see battery-less laptops. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917553)

For wireless power to be practical for the power consumption of a typical laptop, you'd have to trade that big, heavy battery for an even bigger, heavy tuned induction loop.

Next can we work on longevity? (5, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 years ago | (#24917165)

I have a Sony Vaio UX280 micro pc with an expanded battery, both bought 1.5 years ago. Not only did neither battery live up to their advertised battery life (3 hours standby for the orginal, 9 for the expanded), but now they are closer to 30 min and 45 min. I haven't let them run down to zero and time them, but they fall so fast after unplugging it I get my business done and shut it down. It's to the point now that I need another extended battery, but at $349 I might as well buy an Eee or similar netbook instead. Needless to say (but I'm obviously saying it anyway), if I knew the batteries didn't have the advertised life and were going to die so quickly, I would never have bought them.

Why DELL might actually be a good idea.. (1)

emj (15659) | about 6 years ago | (#24917415)

I hate DELLs, but they do have cheap replacement batteries. So if your Dell makes it past battery replacement then it's going to be cheap to buy a new one.

Unofficial batteries are often half the price though, or you can refurbish by putting in new Cells in an old enclosure.

Re:Why DELL might actually be a good idea.. (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 years ago | (#24917561)

The Dell mini with Ubuntu is one I'm considering. I'm interested in checking out the Netbook Remix, if indeed that's what it ships with. I'll have to look into the battery cost. Thanks.

Battery testing methods (5, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 6 years ago | (#24917169)

From TFA,

The old testing method: A picture showing a naked man stretching his anus to a large and disproportionate size. The Sony employee reaches into the anus and pulls out the battery figures.

The new method involves running the laptop until the battery is exhausted and timing the result.

Re:Battery testing methods (1)

MPAB (1074440) | about 6 years ago | (#24917237)

The real new SONY methrod: a rootkit that probes the battery each second. With the minor side effect of disabling the optic drive.

Re:Battery testing methods (1)

registrar (1220876) | about 6 years ago | (#24917335)

The Sony employee reaches into the anus and pulls out the battery figures.

Be that as it may, the old battery figures at least told you one thing: how the manufacturer was trying to market machine and its battery life, especially relative to other machines from the same manufacturer. If they said "it has a three hour life" you knew it was a bit crap. If they said "it has a 10 hour life" you knew it was probably about as good as you were going to get from that company.

Those sorts of marketing signals are somewhat useful, because a company usually cannot market products to the wrong niche for very long.

PS. the thing that really drives me nuts is saying how many "cells" the battery has. Since when have "cells" been a useful measure of electrical energy? Will consumers revolt if Sony doesn't specify how many "cells" worth are in a battery? And as for milli-amp hours... Ugh.

Re:Battery testing methods (1)

kramulous (977841) | about 6 years ago | (#24917669)

You realise that history dictates that you're meant to post as anonymous, right? An accompanied link or ascii images of description to be supplied also. But a nice twist, I'll grant you.

New Sony Figures (5, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | about 6 years ago | (#24917185)

Average time before battery goes flat under normal usage: 1 minute more than figures quoted by Dell

Average time before battery goes flat under Vista: 8 hours (i.e. during startup process)

Average time before battery goes flat watching DVD: length of film - 10 minutes

Average time before battery goes flat using Office: Fails during write process of important presentation

Average time before battery explodes into flame: 7 hours 32 minutes

Average time before stored spare battery goes flat: 5 seconds after it was last tested

Average time before battery goes flat under Linux:
Never. It is constantly recharged by sucking energy from the superior mind of the user

Re:New Sony Figures (3, Funny)

MPAB (1074440) | about 6 years ago | (#24917229)

They should put a big red LED counter on each battery, that way we might cut the red wire before it gets to 00:01

Re:New Sony Figures (1)

MPAB (1074440) | about 6 years ago | (#24917245)

Also it never gets flat under OSX because it recharges by the smug.

Re:New Sony Figures (1)

registrar (1220876) | about 6 years ago | (#24917349)

Average time before battery goes flat watching DVD: length of film - 10 minutes

DVD film? Over there beside the CD tape and the stone-tablet books I suppose.

Re:New Sony Figures (4, Funny)

jabithew (1340853) | about 6 years ago | (#24917589)

Er, over here in the UK 'film' means 'movie'. Or 'flick' if you're a twat.

What do you call them? Cinematograms? Moving Pictures?

Prime 95 use (2, Interesting)

nickswitzer (1352967) | about 6 years ago | (#24917193)

They should start the computer up, leave it unplugged, and run prime 95 or some other resource maximizing program to see it's potential. Then do one that does it at around 50% then idle, etc. And do this and average them, or something of the sort. I do agree with the first comment though, marketing the batteries will be weird unless there is news coverage to the general public about the new method of time calculations.

Re:Prime 95 use (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | about 6 years ago | (#24918065)

How about totalling up the maximum power consumption of the parts, working out how long it runs at that and doing "battery life: min-max*", where max is the old number?
"*: With a new battery. Battery life degrades over time so these won't be accurate in a year."

I use a text processor... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917219)

built in the 1980s.

It runs for approx 2 weeks continuously, on 4 AA rechargables, and I just dump my notes as a .txt file to my desktop.

If people made a more sophisticated version, with network capability and OpenOffice formatting, I'd buy it like a shot. Modern batteries would also run it for months.....

Tthatts nottttthin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917251)

In Vistttttttttttttta, I only get around tttttttttttttttttten minutttttttttttttes.

I always get 10 hours+ (1, Funny)

JohnHegarty (453016) | about 6 years ago | (#24917291)

Well I always get 10 hours+ of my battery , and I am never cut mid sen..

Re:I always get 10 hours+ (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917717)

Why the hell would you want to type a sen..tence?

Re:I always get 10 hours+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24918047)

Did Candlejack eat your ba

HD manufacturers next? (5, Insightful)

jeroen94704 (542819) | about 6 years ago | (#24917353)

Now all we need is for HD manufacturers to stop defining "Gigabyte" as "1 billion bytes", so my 160 GB drive is actually 160 GB (171 billion bytes), and not 149 GB (160 billion bytes).

Re:HD manufacturers next? (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | about 6 years ago | (#24917445)

Now all we need is for HD manufacturers to stop defining "Gigabyte" as "1 billion bytes", so my 160 GB drive is actually 160 GB (171 billion bytes), and not 149 GB (160 billion bytes).

Or alternatively we need RAM manufacturers to stop defining 'gigabyte' as '1,073,741,824 bytes'. If they must insist on using a power of 1,024, then they can pick a different word for it, that doesn't conflict with the usage of the 'giga' prefix to mean 'x10^9' in every other field in the world. May I suggest 'gibibyte'?

Gibibyte is dead. (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#24917667)

Or alternatively we need RAM manufacturers to stop defining 'gigabyte' as '1,073,741,824 bytes'.

It's not RAM manufacturers, it's the whole computer industry... and for a good reason, that being that computers haven't used decimal arithmetic since COBOL was new and sexy.

Nobody uses 'GiB'. It was a fad, and it's a dead fad. And in any case it should be 'Gio'... the 8-bit-byte is actually LESS of a standard than the 2^30 octet Go.

Re:Gibibyte is dead. (4, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | about 6 years ago | (#24917683)

It's not RAM manufacturers, it's the whole computer industry...

It's clearly not the whole computer industry, though, is it? Otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place. Some parts of the computer industry call a gigabyte 1,000,000,000 bytes, other parts call a gigabyte 1,073,741,824 bytes. One of these standards is consistent with the usage of 'giga' in all other scientific and technical fields, while the other is unique to computer science. To my mind, calling 1,024 bytes a 'kilobyte' was just about acceptable, since the difference wasn't so great and 'kilo' was a convenient shorthand. But calling 1,073,741,824 bytes a 'gigabyte' is really pushing it, and now we're starting to build terabyte drives and it's getting ridiculous. If you want to use substantially different multipliers from the standard, don't use SI prefixes for them. Make up your own unit names.

Re:Gibibyte is dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917957)

If you want to use substantially different multipliers from the standard, don't use SI prefixes for them. Make up your own unit names.

Great, just what we need is for everyone to make up their own names. So just how many bytes is a 100 SOBYTE (Sony) drive? Or a 100 DEBYTE (Dell) drive? How do they compare?

Re:Gibibyte is dead. (2, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | about 6 years ago | (#24918197)

Drive manufacturers do that to make their product sound better than it really is, it's all marketing.
You may not like it, but kilo and giga have always had such values in computing because computers operate using binary, 10 binary bits gives 1024 possible values. It would be quite ridiculous to use 1000 and whatever nasty kludges were necessary to achieve that.

Re:HD manufacturers next? (1)

TheJasper (1031512) | about 6 years ago | (#24917689)

Well they don't use powers of 1024 but powers of 2. ;)

Re:HD manufacturers next? (2, Informative)

samson13 (1311981) | about 6 years ago | (#24917963)

Well they don't use powers of 1024 but powers of 2. ;)

Ummm. They do use powers of 1024 because they want to match the SI prefixes reasonably closely.

1024 is used because it is a power of two making the SI approximations powers of two.

1 B = 1024^0
1 KiB = 1024^1
1 MiB = 1024^2
1 GiB = 1024^3 and on.

Re:HD manufacturers next? (1)

TheJasper (1031512) | about 6 years ago | (#24918029)

Oh...that makes sense sort of. My bad.

Re:HD manufacturers next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917457)

It's not that much of a problem with harddisks, because everyone does it, and everyone does it the same way.

A 160GB harddisk from A is just as large as a 160GB harddisk from B.

In the battery world, a 10 hour battery might last you 5 hours. But if you buy a 10 hour battery from B it might only last you 3 hours.

Re:HD manufacturers next? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917505)

sorry, but SI units define the prefix giga as 1 billion, not 1.073... billion.

Re:HD manufacturers next? (5, Informative)

asc99c (938635) | about 6 years ago | (#24917509)

Hard disc manufacturers are in the right though - mega means million, giga means billion, tera means trillion. It's the world of computers with their binary-derived values that are wrong.

This has already been discussed in great detail, and the decision was that a binary gigabyte (2^30 bytes instead of the decimal 10^9) should be called a gibibyte (GiB).

2^10 bytes (1024) is a Kibibyte (KiB)
2^20 bytes is a Mibibyte (MiB)
2^40 bytes is a Tibibyte (TiB)

There are even a few people who took notice of the decision and switched usage.

Re:HD manufacturers next? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917751)

KiBiByte? Give me a break. It's like these words were intentionally created to sound ridiculous so that nobody would ever use them.

Re:HD manufacturers next? (1)

stompertje (927012) | about 6 years ago | (#24917813)

No, they're not. Mega means large. It has been used to mean 10^3 longer than it has been used to mean 2^10 but that doesn't make the older definition the only proper one.

Re:HD manufacturers next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917977)

The problem is, all those names are plain silly.
Why not call them "KByte" (read Key-byte), MByte (Em-Byte), GByte (Jay-Byte), and so on?
Isn't it much easier?

Re:HD manufacturers next? (1, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | about 6 years ago | (#24917577)

Now all we need is for HD manufacturers to stop defining "Gigabyte" as "1 billion bytes"

But Giga does mean 1 billion. Why on earth do some people in IT believe they can define a unit prefix differently to the rest of the scientific world?

It was an acceptably lazy hack back when the difference between 1024 (2^10) & 1000 was negligible, but now units of 2^30 are common, we're starting to the consequences of such laziness.

Its not going to be long before units of 2^100 are common. I don't know about you, but I prefer to work with 10^30 than 1267650600228229401496703205376.

What's in it for Sony ?... (4, Insightful)

GrpA (691294) | about 6 years ago | (#24917377)

I find it very hard to imagine Sony doing anything altruistic at all. They are to Hardware what Microsoft is to Software.

So I'm wondering what's in it for them. Do they have some kind of new technology that when measured by the second method only, looks much better for them? Or perhaps their min-power usage number is the same as the movie-play version...

I'm only guessing, but I can't imagine Sony would be doing this just for the benefit of consumers, if they didn't get something out of it, since other manufacturers will still be using the old method of measuring this.

GrpA

Re:What's in it for Sony ?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917485)

Sony has taken a real beating in the public eye over the last few years.

Everyone hates sony. its now COOL to hate sony.

they gotta do something to fix that. or at least you would think so anyway.

'stop lying to the customers about battery life' might be the first thing they could come up with that doesnt cost them any real money.

Re:What's in it for Sony ?... (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | about 6 years ago | (#24918195)

This Anonymous Coward may actually have a point. Sony HAVE taken an absolute shellacking over the last few years, with the rootkit disaster, overpriced hardware, and the initial PS3 firmware.

They seem to have changed their attitude a lot in recent years, especially on the PS3 side, where people are surprised at how "open" the company became. On the hardware level, the PS3 is pretty open for a closed platform (normal USB/blutooth hardware, user replaceable standard SATA harddisks, etc) and the improvements in the firmware were surprising too, for example full certified DivX (And XviD) support etc.

And they have some products that are really good value, for example the LCD bravia we bought recently, is very much in the normal price range, but had an amazing amount of features, even compared to the Samsung equivalent.

God knows, maybe Engineers are once again slowly gaining control of the company, instead of the lawyers and marketing folks who seem to have previously been dominant.

OR maybe they are taking cues from SonyEricsson - a joint venture company where Both Sony and Ericsson have an equal stake. SonyEriccson phones are far more "open" and standards based than phoens such as Nokia, and once had the distinction of being the only music players in sony's range that dont support ATRAC. SonyEricsson are still very much engineering based, with the UK Head Office only providing a thin management, and marketing of the products created.

no lying? (5, Funny)

rarel (697734) | about 6 years ago | (#24917435)

So they will give the expected yield of their batteries in kilotonnes now? Right?

Re:no lying? (2, Funny)

asc99c (938635) | about 6 years ago | (#24917559)

They will run the battery realistically but give the answer in crazy units - 5.7x10^-7 millennia. And in case you want to just check the capacity of the battery, that's 550 liter-atmospheres.

Silly (1)

noundi (1044080) | about 6 years ago | (#24917459)

Why not just stick to how long the battery lasts during absolute full load? That way you know what your minimum timespan is, the rest is up to you as a user to comphensate for.

do77 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917483)

at times. From [goat.cx]

Repent for September 10th is nigh! (5, Funny)

Candid88 (1292486) | about 6 years ago | (#24917523)

There would simply be no point in selling laptops with more than 2 days battery life anymore, in 2 days time we'll all be dead anyway (or sucked into a parrallel universe to experience a fate even worse than death!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider [wikipedia.org]

Reprieve from the Governor? (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | about 6 years ago | (#24918109)

in 2 days time we'll all be dead anyway

"the first attempt to circulate a beam through the entire LHC is scheduled for 10 September 2008, and the first high-energy collisions are planned to take place after the LHC is officially unveiled, on 21 October 2008."

I guess I have six weeks to work on my tinfoil hat.

Now if only (1)

Voltageaav (798022) | about 6 years ago | (#24917711)

They'd make laptops that don't die after a year of normal use. I speant about $2K on a Viao AR-260 early last year. It only rarely left my apartment and was never dropped or abused. About 2 months after the 1 year warrenty expres, it just dies. Won't even power on.

What's the problem? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 6 years ago | (#24917721)

1) Take 5 laptops with 5 batteries.
2) Take 5 Stop watches.

I'm going to stop here, because quite frankly, if you haven't figured out where this is going then you're on the wrong website. Maybe this [bbc.co.uk] is more your thing?

Do your own statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24917773)

They get different results as they now use different usage settings from Jeita [sony-asia.com] to Jeita A [sony-asia.com] for the measurement- this doesn't mean the old results were wrong, they just made different assumptions. So this new figure may or may not be more accurate for you.

For sure this makes clear, that different usages will yield huge differences in battery time, so in order to get some information about your own situation, you will have to create some statistics on your own with software like Ibam [sf.net] .

Although it's good they changed their measurement standards for the total time, one can only hope, that they will also improve their battery monitoring: Over the time batteries lose capacity and most hardware monitoring fails to adapt to this and gets inaccurate. This is why we see so many systems dropping from "20min" remaining to "0min" remaining in a matter of seconds in the end...

Sony? (2, Funny)

Bert64 (520050) | about 6 years ago | (#24917791)

So do their figures represent "how long the battery will last before it runs out of power" or "how long the battery will last before it catches fire" ?

There are such things as 10-hour batteries (1)

achurch (201270) | about 6 years ago | (#24917799)

My Panasonic Let's Note (CF-R5 [panasonic.jp] ) actually gets the 11 hours it claims on the standard battery (well, down to about 8 or 9 after a couple years of usage, but hey, it'll still last most of a transoceanic flight). Maybe they have more standardized testing methods here in Japan?

Amusing side note: the next model [panasonic.jp] in the same line came with Vista, and only got 8 hours...

oooh! (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | about 6 years ago | (#24918279)

Oooh. One of those sweet Japanese net-books from before the net-book.

I got over that strange sense of manga-inspired culture-envy/regret years ago, but I'll tell you, I still get pangs of 'gaijin' when I happen across one of those beauties. That's some serious tech-cred, dude!

-FL

But it's not just the manufacturers... (1)

Lester67 (218549) | about 6 years ago | (#24918169)

I've seen several reputable review sites doing the same thing. "We'll charge the battery, sit the system over here doing *ABSOLUTELY NOTHING*, time how long the battery lasts, and report the result as INSANE!!!!!"

http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4569 [notebookreview.com] (quickest example)

Of course, as soon as you run a DVD Run-Time test, or an actual "real-use" battery test (Like Batterymark or MobileMark) you may see battery times that are an hour better than laptops from 2 years ago. An improvement? Yes. Worthy of words like "INSANE"? Hardly. 10 hours, if I don't touch it, does me ZERO good on a flight, or while waiting in the airport. Why not just put it in standby and report a battery life of "days", or power it off completely and report a battery life of "years". (Either way, it's just as functional, right?)

So, yes, the vendors are mixing up the Kool-Aid (tm) but shame on those in the press who continue to drink it.

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