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Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the optimized-for-profit dept.

Windows 558

An anonymous reader writes "Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror is trying to figure out why the battery life for devices running Windows is so much worse than similar (or identical) devices running other operating systems. For example, the Surface Pro 2 made great strides over the original Surface Pro, increasing web-browsing battery life by 42%, but it still lags far behind Android and iOS tablets. The deficit doesn't get any better when Windows is run on Apple hardware. Atwood says, 'Microsoft positions Windows 8 as an operating system that's great for tablets, which are designed for casual web browsing and light app use – but how can that possibly be true when Windows idle power management is so much worse than the competition's desktop operating system in OS X – much less their tablet and phone operating system, iOS?' Anand Lal Shimpi is perplexed, too. Atwood is now reaching out to the community for answers: 'None of the PC vendors he spoke to could justify it, or produce a Windows box that managed similar battery life to OS X. And that battery life gap is worse today – even when using Microsoft's own hardware, designed in Microsoft's labs, running Microsoft's latest operating system released this week. Microsoft can no longer hand wave this vast difference away based on vague references to "poorly optimized third party drivers." ... I just wish somebody could explain to me and Anand why Windows is so awful at managing idle power.'"

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558 comments

Easy one... (5, Insightful)

unique_parrot (1964434) | about 6 months ago | (#45193093)

...because it's old and bloated!

Re:Easy one... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193245)

Because Windows has always been a gigantic pile of manure.
No amount of fiddling will change its nature. It was shit in 1985, it is still shit in 2013.

Re:Easy one... (-1, Flamebait)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 6 months ago | (#45193273)

It really is a simple question.

I just wish somebody could explain to me and Anand why Windows is so awful at managing idle power.

OK, Jeff and Anand, listen up: it's because Windows is doing things in the background.

What is it doing? Ask the engineers that built it. But there's no reason to ask stupid vague questions like that when the general answer is so obvious. Windows does a lot of things in the background, all the time. It sounds like that carried over to the mobile version. If you want to know exactly what it's doing in the background (for academic purposes, I assume, since that knowledge isn't very useful) then feel free to ask the people who designed and wrote the software instead of the general public.

Re:Easy one... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193535)

My personal guess? After all the lies in power control that Linux uncovered in ACPI, someone forgot that you have to have a "chipset driver" in order for windows to know it needs to ignore those lies and do what the driver says to do instead, and when windows 8 came out, naturally all the chipset manufacturers rushed to update all their drivHAHA WHO AM I KIDDING. No new drivers for you! You buy new motherboard for windows 8!

Re:Easy one... (5, Insightful)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about 6 months ago | (#45193583)

That's a deliberately obtuse answer and you know it. OBVIOUSLY it's doing things in the background. You'd think with 10 years of people beating on it from every angle, someone would've figured out what all these magic things are. What are users getting for all this background processing?

And if our ability to understand what's going on in the background is so poor, how can we ever trust the OS to do what we want it to? (I know the answer for a lot of folks out there is, "we can't".) It's possible to get process listings and logs, and apparently none of these explain it. But maybe someone out there that used to work for Microsoft can answer the question--you think we'd have better luck actually asking Microsoft themselves what the answer is?

Re:Easy one... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45193587)

It's not hard to determine that. Even task manager will tell you total CPU cycles/IO cycles wasted on a per/process basis.

Re:Easy one... (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 months ago | (#45193623)

OK, Jeff and Anand, listen up: it's because Windows is doing things in the background.

So, linux and OSX aren't doing anything in the background too?

Re:Easy one... (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 6 months ago | (#45193657)

Alas, you have managed to correctly but uselessly answer the question (in classic MS fashion). Apparently the other OSes get by without all that idle activity, so why not windows. Is it incapable of it or is MS just unwilling?

The question was 'why is Windows so awful at managing power", not 'in what way does Windows squander power'.

Re:Easy one... (5, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 6 months ago | (#45193567)

Opening up a covert connection to Fort Meade and transmitting all the user's actions via that channel takes a lot of extra power.

Reduce (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193105)

Windows sucks power?

No my friend, Windows just sucks.

Re:Reduce (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193419)

Windows sucks yes, but so does Linux drivers with power management.
Why is this a story on slashdot? Why did this comment get a mod point?
Its like the mods enjoy pissing people off with sensitive stories, knowing they will get to mod a bunch of bullshit up and down.

Re:Reduce (0)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#45193499)

Pretty sure Windows generally gets (sometimes substantially) better battery life than Linux.

The author is a massive troll for comparing Surface Pro hardware (which runs a full blown i5 processor) with iOS and Android hardware (which is typically far lower power both in terms of wattage and processing).

This just in: Windows Server 2012 installations typically use far more power than a Nexus 10 tablet! ZOMG!

Re:Reduce (5, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 6 months ago | (#45193559)

The author is a massive troll for comparing Surface Pro hardware (which runs a full blown i5 processor) with iOS and Android hardware (which is typically far lower power both in terms of wattage and processing).

He's also comparing it against a MacBook, which can have exactly the same i5 processor. See the part in TFS about how running Windows on Apple Hardware doesn't actually change the deficit?

Pretty sure Windows generally gets (sometimes substantially) better battery life than Linux.

Depends on what you're doing. My laptop gets better life on Linux than it ever did in Windows, but all I do with it is surf the web. It doesn't require a lot of processing power, and Windows wastes a lot of clock cycles running stuff it doesn't need to accomplish the task.

Re:Reduce (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 6 months ago | (#45193581)

Same issues are seen between Surface 2 / iPad and Surface Pro 2 / Mac Air... Windows just generally has shitty battery life. Even when you run OS X and Windows on the same exact machine, the difference is substantial.

Power management is HARD. (5, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | about 6 months ago | (#45193111)

Watch the WWDC sessions on power management in iOS and Mac OS X. You'll get an idea of how much work Apple put into this over the last decade or so.

-jcr

Re:Power management is HARD. (0)

moonwatcher2001 (2710261) | about 6 months ago | (#45193371)

Watch the WWDC sessions on power management in iOS and Mac OS X. You'll get an idea of how much work Apple put into this over the last decade or so.

-jcr

Math is hard.

-Barbie

Re:Power management is HARD. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193589)

Now let's forget our troubles with a big bowl of strawberry ice cream!

Re:Power management is HARD. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193415)

But... but.... but.... Apple doesn't do anything but change the color of their product and sell it as new. Samsung and Google are the only innovators.

RE: Apple power mgmt (2, Interesting)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about 6 months ago | (#45193627)

This is sorta like Apples and Oranges, but... on my 6-year old MacBookPro that I cling to and administrate servers from, the power management is far better on the several-years-old Snow Leopard OS than when I boot it up to the even-more-years-old Windows XP 32-bit.

So much so, that when I fire up XP it goes into TURBOFAN MODE and CPU temps still climb into nutsack-roasting level. 90 to 100 C for the CPU temps (Core2 Duo) have occurred without too much heavy lifting. So forget about the battery life, there is no use without the power cord. It's more an issue to be concerned with the physical limits of the rest of the hardware, like when does it melt?

Re:Power management is HARD. (0)

orthancstone (665890) | about 6 months ago | (#45193683)

I imagine Apple is working hard to tailor OS X to their limited hardware selections. I don't have any impression MicroSoft is currently doing the same. Both Surface releases look more like a tag along to the relevant Windows 8 release rather than the other way around.

Historically inefficient OS is Inefficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193117)

... film @ 11.

Re:Historically inefficient OS is Inefficient (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 6 months ago | (#45193183)

Except, historically, Windows has generally given a better battery life on the same hardware than Linux. I guess Android's user space may be more efficient than the typical Linux install.

Re: Historically inefficient OS is Inefficient (4, Insightful)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 6 months ago | (#45193271)

Not in my experience. Over the past twenty years I've run Linux on a large number of designed-for-Windows laptops; I've never seen worse battery performance under Linux than under Windows, and on some machine (including my current Asus Zenbook) considerably better.

Re: Historically inefficient OS is Inefficient (2)

farble1670 (803356) | about 6 months ago | (#45193513)

battery life was absolutely terrible for me w/ linux. measured in minutes not hours. windows was at least 150% better on the same system (which still wasn't great).

Re: Historically inefficient OS is Inefficient (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 6 months ago | (#45193671)

Our netbook went from something like eight hours of battery life running XP to about six running Ubuntu. However, it came with some kind of additional power management software from the manufacturer, so it had probably been carefully tweaked for their hardware.

From the look of the Linux diagnostics, much of it was timer expiry in Firefox waking up the CPU a couple of hundred times a second.

Re:Historically inefficient OS is Inefficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193359)

The difference is Android prioritized a good mobile experience (including battery life) and Microsoft prioritized leveraging their desktop dominance.

The results are decent mobile experience in Android, and the abomination of Win8 Pro/RT

Simple (2)

linear a (584575) | about 6 months ago | (#45193125)

Sheer love of evil! Seriously, though - all the massive background processes. Probably a decades-old stack of services and whatnot they don't have the corporate continuity to be able to change at this point.

Found yer problem (5, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 6 months ago | (#45193131)

Ah ha: "I just wish somebody could explain to me and Anand why Windows is so awful at managing idle power."

You make the mistake of thinking that just because the device isn't doing something at the user's direction, that it is idle. How do you think the NSA is getting all of their number crunching done while they shake the bugs out of their Utah data center?

Re:Found yer problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193263)

Well Windows Phone 7 seems to be great when it comes to power management.

Android is awful. (Suppose WP8 will be as bad as the rest).

Re:Found yer problem (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 6 months ago | (#45193393)

Well Windows Phone 7 seems to be great when it comes to power management.

Android is awful. (Suppose WP8 will be as bad as the rest).

You're right, my WP7 phone (a Lumia 900) lasts way longer than my Galaxy S3... Never mind that WP7 can't run any apps in the history of ever (most notably it cant run a microsoft account-capable version of Skype, a microsoft product) but hey the battery will be there when I NEED it...

Re:Found yer problem (1)

tkdack (325771) | about 6 months ago | (#45193541)

You're right, my WP7 phone (a Lumia 900) lasts way longer than my Galaxy S3... Never mind that WP7 can't run any apps in the history of ever (most notably it cant run a microsoft account-capable version of Skype, a microsoft product) but hey the battery will be there when I NEED it...

But will it work as a phone when you need it? Perhaps the experience has been enhanced for those that just want a mobile voice communications device (only one with a pretty touch screen and useless tiles).

Re:Found yer problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193431)

what year did you come from and if you don't know, it is currently late 2013.

Could it be ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193139)

That they just don't give a shit? If they prioritised it, it would indeed be better.

Its a full desktop OS... (1)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 6 months ago | (#45193171)

...and android is tailored for power savings on mobile devices.
 
I have a surface pro, it doesn't have fantastic battery life but I can get a hell of a lot more number
crunching done on a charge than on an android tablet. Mind you I bought it for use as a mobile
photo/video editing tool, if all you need is a web browser then you don't need a full featured OS.

Re: Its a full desktop OS... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193223)

It looks like some people missed the part near the end of the post where they explain how Windows power usage is abysmal even compared to the desktop version of OS X.

Re: Its a full desktop OS... (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 6 months ago | (#45193429)

It looks like some people missed the part near the end of the post where they explain how Windows power usage is abysmal even compared to the desktop version of OS X.

It looks like some people missed the part where no tablet runs OS X.

Stupid troll submission (5, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | about 6 months ago | (#45193575)

Only on Apple hardware, which requires Apple drivers for power management, and surprise surprise, Apple sucks at Windows drivers (and always has). In one particular, the Windows power management drivers for my friend's MBP don't suppose variable fan speed control. It always runs full speed. No shit, that's going to waste battery life... On the flip side of the coin, though, Hackintoshes get worse battery life than Windows on the same hardware. This entire "article" is stupid; anybody who isn't blinded by fanboyism and has used the systems in question could tell you that.

Surface Pro [2] has worse battery life than an iPad or Android tablet for a simple and bloody obvious reason: Core i5 CPU. Not some power-sipping little ARM chip with passive cooling, but full laptop-grade 64-bit processor. Even completely leaving aside the obvious (to anybody who is not an idiot, which apparently excludes the submitter) differences between a desktop OS (Win8.x) and a mobile one (Android or iOS), there are very obvious reasons for the battery life difference.

Re:Its a full desktop OS... (1)

unique_parrot (1964434) | about 6 months ago | (#45193275)

the title could have been aswell : " why is windows wasting so much flash memory on my tablet??"
or "why is windows having the worst update system on tablets and smartphones?"

Re:Its a full desktop OS... (1)

Old97 (1341297) | about 6 months ago | (#45193301)

Mac OS X is a desktop operating system - OpenBSD. And no, I don't experience any lag as things "wake up". So now what do you say? Windows simply doesn't consider power management as a priority. Why does it keep polling every connected hard drive? It's an antiquated core with features continuously layered on. It needs a rewrite from ground up.

Re:Its a full desktop OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193479)

have you tried doing your number crunching on another computer and using remote access to do that? Works great and so the battery life on the tablet remains great.

it sounds like you do number crunching lots and lots of time so you really should look into off loading that not only to get better battery life on your tablet(not sure if that'll help any MS Surface though) but you'll also highly likely to get far quicker results back from the desktop or server doing the number crunching.

x86 versus ARM Processors (0)

SlashdotWanker (1476819) | about 6 months ago | (#45193177)

It's the difference between running super low wattage ARM tablet processors and desktop class processors with better power management. You don't see iPads running crysis 3 natively yet, so why is it surprising that the much faster processor take more juice?

Re:x86 versus ARM Processors (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193255)

It's the difference between running super low wattage ARM tablet processors and desktop class processors with better power management. You don't see iPads running crysis 3 natively yet, so why is it surprising that the much faster processor take more juice?

Try reading TFA. It points out that while running on the same hardware (MBA) Windows still takes a 40%ish hit in battery life.

Re:x86 versus ARM Processors (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 6 months ago | (#45193491)

Unoptimized drivers, most likely. Apple has the benefit of being able to tune pretty much everything. And I doubt they put too much effort into their Windows drivers.

Re:x86 versus ARM Processors (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 6 months ago | (#45193599)

And Microsoft has the exact same benefit of being able to tune everything in the Surface Pro 2. They're just as vertically integrated on that as Apple is on the MBA.

Re:x86 versus ARM Processors (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 6 months ago | (#45193637)

Because the Apple-provided Windows drivers for power management on their hardware are shit. They always have been, for as long as Boot Camp has existed. They tolerate running Windows, but they don't put much effort into making it run well (and/or they are just incompetent at NT drivers, which admittedly are a pain in the rear). Things like the fans being always at 100%, non-variable, is just one of the hassles Windows users of Apple hardware have to put up with. It's not just the power management either; everything from the storage drivers to the video drivers (for their not-quite-standard video cards) has had issues. 40% battery life loss isn't a showstopper; it's a marketing point for running their OS instead.

On the flip side, try running a bare-metal Hackintosh. The power management is abysmal, because Apple doesn't make drivers for anything except their own machines. Windows will do much better on such a platform.

RTFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193425)

It's the difference between running super low wattage ARM tablet processors and desktop class processors with better power management. You don't see iPads running crysis 3 natively yet, so why is it surprising that the much faster processor take more juice?

Right there in the summary:

...but how can that possibly be true when Windows idle power management is so much worse than the competition's desktop operating system in OS X [...]None of the PC vendors he spoke to could justify it, or produce a Windows box that managed similar battery life to OS X.

Listen to the hard drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193179)

I've always been aware of Windows almost constantly accessing the hard drive on a desktop system, I would imagine constantly accessing flash storage will also have a detrimental effect.

iOS has some pretty strict rules for background applications which are designed to improve the battery life, I can't imagine Windows is anywhere near as brutal.

How do you compare for phones? (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 months ago | (#45193187)

I am not aware of a phone yet that can run more than one operating system. Comparing a windows phone to an iPhone is a pretty useless thing to do as their hardware is quite a bit different.

Re:How do you compare for phones? (2)

gnapster (1401889) | about 6 months ago | (#45193467)

The Nexus 4 can allegedly run both Android and Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/phone [ubuntu.com]. I have not tried it, and I don't think there's a dual-booting bootloader yet, but it sounds interesting.

I know they both use the same kernel (more or less), but the software ecosystem is probably quite different, including the power management.

Re:How do you compare for phones? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 months ago | (#45193551)

The Nexus 4 can allegedly run both Android and Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/phone [ubuntu.com]. I have not tried it, and I don't think there's a dual-booting bootloader yet, but it sounds interesting.

That is useful to a small extent, but if the purpose is to compare windows phones and apple IOS phones then it doesn't really get you there. From my understanding they are saying "apple phone gets X hours of battery life" and "windows phone gets Z hours of battery life" but the two phones are quite a bit different in terms of hardware, and neither can run the other's software, which makes the comparison dicey at best.

Bloat, bloat, bloat (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#45193199)

Much like Jay Leno, they've built up a LOT of legacy bloat over the decades.

Re:Bloat, bloat, bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193651)

but every release of the operating system they said it was rewritten from the ground up. lol

Multitasking support (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193221)

Because it has full Multitasking support as opposed to the limited, surprise suspend support in iOS and Android. If anything, compare to Symbian (s60) which had virtually the same level of multitasking as Windows (though obviously extremely weaker hardware)

Re:Multitasking support (2, Informative)

SkimTony (245337) | about 6 months ago | (#45193355)

Funny you should mention Symbian - my S^3 phones had the best battery life of any of my smartphones, regardless of platform, without having larger batteries than their iOS/Android/Windows Phone counterparts.

The solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193233)

Microsoft's answer to the blue screen of death was to reboot the OS in the background while preserving the screen so that the user doesn't get pissed.

There are 9 reasons for this problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193241)

1) M. 2) I. 3) C. 4) R. 5) O. 6) S. 7) O. 8) F. 9) T.

This is ridiculous! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193243)

Why do Windows 8 tablets running on an Intel i5 x86 CPU have lower battery life than tablets running ARM processors with restricted multitasking? I wonder..

Seriously, Windows 8 tablets running on Intel Atom CPUs manage to meet or exceed battery life targets made by Apple's iPad. I think that's pretty fucking impressive myself.

But I forget, this is Slashdot.

Re:This is ridiculous! (0)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 6 months ago | (#45193307)

Slashdot? No...

THIS IS MICROSOFT SHILLBOT WANKFEST!

*kicks OP in the face and he then falls into a well*

Re:This is ridiculous! (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 months ago | (#45193333)

> Why do Windows 8 tablets running on an Intel i5 x86 CPU

Actually, the newer Intel CPUs are supposed to suck a lot less when it comes to power consumption. Atoms just suck in general. The fact that they don't draw any power is hardly anything to write home about.

Re:This is ridiculous! (1)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about 6 months ago | (#45193593)

Even when comparing to OS X on Haswell, battery life under Windows underperforms rather badly. ...Which you would know if you had read the article.

Re:This is ridiculous! (0)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#45193591)

Actually, TFA talks about running Windows 8, touted and designed as a tablet OS, on the same hardware than Mac OS X, an desktop OS.

But bashing Slashdot for allegedly bashing Microsoft might be more fun, right?

Superfetch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193251)

Disable the Superfetch service. All it does is kill your battery by producing unnecessary disk activity and filling memory with the contents of files you're not even using.

Re:Superfetch (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#45193633)

Windows Search can also be disabled, if you don't search much. (This seems to break things a bit under Win8, but under Win7 it's a good tweak for low-performance systems.)

Questions (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 6 months ago | (#45193291)

A few questions that would be interesting to know the answers to:

- Is the power consumption deficiency the same across all hardware or does it close the gap on certain pieces of hardware?
- Is the consumption deficiency gap the same on tablets vs laptops vs PCs?
- How much can Windows 8 be tweaked to save battery life (IE: disabled unneeded services)?
- Does it manage power of certain pieces of hardware better than others (SSD vs HDD, AMD vs Intel)?
- Do drivers make a difference in power consumption?
- How many hamsters have heart attacks every time Windows 8 is benchmarked?

Because Windows. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193293)

There is no other reason to it.

Windows is terrible at power management, terrible at memory management, terrible at idle processing, terrible at BEING idle, writes log files CONSTANTLY, does so much stupid shit in the background all the time, stuff you usually cannot disable even from administration programs in the OS that needs to be disabled from tweaking programs and the like, etc.

Windows is just filled with crap LITERALLY NO SINGLE PERSON WANTS but Microsoft.

Windows won't be good until they ditch Windows and rewrite it entirely.
Fuck developers, get with the times, most devs code is terrible and ancient as it is, usually with a few tweaks to make it work on Win Vis7a onwards. (RT can get wrecked though)
These are the devs that have flooded our registry with crap, that have flooded out documents with crap, that have flooded our program settings / data folders with nonsense and worse, destroyed the desktop of over a billion people.
They don't deserve a hand being held. They should be left to walk on the road alone. Hopefully they get hit.
I have no sympathy for developers with terrible code practices. There is "working code" and "production code", don't mix them!

The Answer is Simple (really it is) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193295)

MS's new OS is a single-OS to rule them all, and at it's heart, it IS a desktop operating system (Metro-UI notwithstanding). Desktops are plugged in 24/7 so power management has (always) been an afterthought. It will take some heavy-lifting on MS's part to start to dig into that area (or more likely, create that area) of code to start to truly address pluggless-battery-operated devices.

It's the applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193313)

Why does Firefox still hog the CPU at 99% just sitting there? Why does my RC airplaine simulator hog the CPU at 99% when I minimize it?

Re:It's the applications (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 months ago | (#45193409)

That's a good question considering the fact that I've never seen Firefox take up the entire CPU on any desktop platform. Quite often Windows will seem obviously bogged down and there aren't any performance metrics to account for it. Can't even point a finger at the competing web browser.

Re:It's the applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193521)

Are you looking? Just open the task manager. Firefox very often hogs one cpu. I think it's the Flash plugin because when I kill it the usage goes down. The simulator I don't know.

Re:It's the applications (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | about 6 months ago | (#45193665)

Might want to enable flash click-to-play? Or just disable flash entirely. It does nothing useful.

How about we compare apples to apples? (2)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 6 months ago | (#45193395)

Comparing Android or iOS on ARM to Windows (or OSX or Linux) on a full i386 platform is simply meaningless. Why do it?

Actually it's apples to windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193501)

They're comparing windows on x86 vs OS X on x86.

Re:How about we compare apples to apples? (1, Informative)

aiken_d (127097) | about 6 months ago | (#45193523)

That would be meaningless, if someone were doing it. Where did you see that?

Re:How about we compare apples to apples? (1)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 6 months ago | (#45193585)

Article summary: "For example, the Surface Pro 2 made great strides over the original Surface Pro, increasing web-browsing battery life by 42%, but it still lags far behind Android and iOS tablets" Surface Pro (I have one) is a full Intel netbook running full Windows 8 or 8.1 in a tablet package. The valid comparison is the Surface RT to iOS and Android OS devices not the Surface Pro.

The (linked) Aandtech article on battery life... (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 6 months ago | (#45193401)

The (linked) Aandtech article on battery life pretty much answers its own question.

Surface pro and surface pro 2 completely destroy everything else in the benchmark ratings. It means haswell doesn't manage lower power scenarios nearly as well as ARM, but Intel never has.

For a comparison to iOS they'd need to well, actually have on on their chart. I can certainly see the argument that Windows is worse at power management than other OS's on the same hardware - but without hard numbers in a chart that's a tough case to make, since you're comparing different review sites to each other. Comparing different hardware is missing out on a lot - for most computing needs they're benchmarking Haswell is massive overkill - which might just be it, it literally cannot slow itself down enough (with either MS or intel drivers being the culprit) to save even more power.

Or windows is doing background stuff that other OS's aren't. Whether those provide any value to justify reduced battery life or not is debatable, but the answer seems to be 'probably not'.

It still isn't 'microsofts hardware', it's hardware from some 3rd party vendor they soldered together in a case and put their own sticker on it. Yes, it's up to MS to try and ride the cases of Intel and whomever is supplying their displays and SSD's to find ways to save power, but it's ultimately up to the 3rd party guys (who also sell parts to the rest of us) to actually make the drivers for their hardware.

Re:The (linked) Aandtech article on battery life.. (2)

jcupitt65 (68879) | about 6 months ago | (#45193649)

Read down a little further, he compares an MBA and a Surface Pro 2 running anad's wifi web browsing benchmark. The hardware is very similar, but the MBA lasts about twice as long.

It's the Windows advantage at work (1, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 6 months ago | (#45193447)

Literally. Microsoft touts all the capabilities built into Windows as advantages. The software and services to do all that are integrated into Windows. They aren't easy to remove. And the more things you have running, the more work the box has to do (even when it's idle, those services are still working in the background) and the more power it consumes. Android, OTOH, doesn't have all those services integrated into the OS, and it's a lot easier to remove unneeded services when they're separate components that you can just take out of the startup scripts.

Virus Scanning (3, Insightful)

ohieaux (2860669) | about 6 months ago | (#45193451)

I know that my virus scanning service seems to be running at 2-5% most of the time. And, my process list looks a mile long.

I think we expect our windows devices to be real computers and load them up with full applications. Then, we expect them to sip juice like Android. Can't comment on the OSX. My netbook on linux is 5 years old and doesn't have much of a battery left.

Everything is a top priority! (1)

atom1c (2868995) | about 6 months ago | (#45193459)

You know when you tell your boss, "but, clearly I cannot make EVERYTHING happen in the release this week!" Well, this is the same thing.

Everybody wants everything to be their top priority in every release. Blowhards complain that improved power management is not a 'feature' that they'd pay for; meanwhile, other pundits complain that Microsoft is on its last legs because they keep prioritizing touch-based compatibility above things that people are willing to pay for (like power management).

The last time Microsoft made a company-wide concerted effort to tackle a problem, the result is still widely deployed a decade later and critics complain about it every day (Windows XP Service Pack 2 with its built-in firewall and antivirus technology as part of its Secure Programming initiatives).

So ask yourself this: Do you really want Windows 9 to be the next Windows XP (that gets installed and never upgraded from) or do you want more cowbells?

not a fair comparison (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 6 months ago | (#45193503)

You say you are comparing on the same hardware, but there is no hardware in common for all the OSes you state. Sure, there is the option to run windows on a Mac that normally runs OSX, but that's hindered by 3rd party drivers, so it's not a fair comparison. Comparing windows to IOS that runs on a totally different processor architecture even, isn't close to a fair comparison. Comparing WindowsRT to IOS may run on the same architecture, but again, no identical hardware where both are optimized for.

I'm no windows fanboy, but right now, you're just not making sense with your comparison. Windows isn't bad at power usage. It may not be great, but it's not meant to be as energy efficient as the phone/tablet OSes and the hardware it's running on isn't meant to be as efficient either. Compare WindowsRT to apple or Android devices with similar hardware specs and battery size and then you may have a point. I seriously doubt you'll see a big difference there, but if you do, please come back and tell us all about that.

Tight Ship (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 6 months ago | (#45193613)

You say you are comparing on the same hardware, but there is no hardware in common for all the OSes you state.

Doesn't matter. There is no comparison between disjointed hardware and software on one side, and Apple's start-to-end products on the other. That's what this is about, not how everything out there compares directly. It's also why Apple is able to deliver such stellar battery life across the board.

Because it's not ARM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45193565)

For those of you who didn't click the article link, do so now. At the beginning there's a chart that shows a comparison of some of the most popular tablets in regards to there battery life when web browsing over WIFI. When you look at the Surface 2(not the pro), it's scores right in between the Galaxy Tab 3 and the Nexus 10, being only 0.10 an hour shorter than the Nexus 10.

Putting the Surface Pro on that list and saying it's Microsoft's fault is wrong.

Not liking TFA or conclusions (2, Interesting)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 6 months ago | (#45193663)

Comparing operating systems running different hardware is a meaningless endeavor.

Comparing on the same hardware is better until you take the logical leap of drawing general conclusions from it.

When you use the conclusions above to draw additional conclusions about what you think would happen your ability to predict or be taken seriously takes a hit.

My 5 year old lenovo draws ~7 watts on battery with the 14" display on and 7200 RPM platter spinning. I am able to observe consumption difference from battery manager in detail when I turn hardware on and off.. run applications..etc.

The answer is likely knowable if only there was willingness to spend more time (thinking), measuring and working the problem and less time (talking) drawing conclusions.

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