Nick White on Aero and battery life

Nick White, Vista's Product Manager, has responded to an article entitled "Vista, Aero, battery life . . . and Doom" by Dwight Silverman, the tech reviewer at the Houston Chronicle, regarding the impact that the Aero theme has on battery life and performance. White emphasizes that to fully maximize battery life, window transparency is turned off when the machine is put into a power-saving profile but Aero is not because "in the end, doing so is not going to save you much more power".

White agrees with Dwight (yeah, I had to make it rhyme) that the Aero theme makes the GPU work harder and therefore uses more power. However, he states it's "really not that much more" noting the power needed for a notebook's display (15-25% of the battery) to Aero's (1-4%). He believes that saving the extra power is not worth losing "the cool features that make Windows Vista fun to use, such as Flip 3D, taskbar previews, window transparency and so on".

White mentions that battery life varies widely depending on the workload the machine is running. He also underlines that testing the impact of software features on battery life is exceptionally tricky, even by benchmarking standards. He claims this is because the charge a battery requires can vary on a multitude of factors, including the battery technology, how recently the battery was power-cycled, how old the battery is, and even the temperature of the battery when it was charged.

Link: Vista, Aero, battery life . . . and Doom
News source: Windows Vista Blog

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14 Comments

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I would imaging santa roasa + LED backit display = not a problem, obviously you'd still get a little more battery life out of XP on that compared to vista+aero, but then you could still always turn aero off (and apparently get longer life than XP).

or go the whole hog and go back to win95 and maybe it'll last longer than both as it can barely do anything (or maybe not as it wont have proper APM)

With my HP DV9035 with Wireless On and streaming a video, and having that Dream thing running i get about 2.5 hours. Witch i think is dam good for a 17" screen laptop.

Raa said,
No, my old HP laptop used to do the same thing if a 3D application was run.
Yeah but he did say "regardless of settings" which to me indicates he has used it both enabled and disabled in which case I agree theres a problem somewhere.

I still switch to the mobile-power profile when I use my notebook so that it can switch off Aero. I hope they integrate this into the power settings so that Aero can be switched off automatically when you're on battery power instead of you having to go to a completely different profile. There's a small little application floating around that can detect when you switch power sources and do it for you, but really...it should become part of Vista.

MioTheGreat said,
Aero isn't being shut off in that profile.

Just transparency, which is apparently the most battery draining part.

F**k. I may just turn off Aero completely and leave it at that regardless if it's on outlet power or battery.

Toology said,

F**k. I may just turn off Aero completely and leave it at that regardless if it's on outlet power or battery.

Well what was your oppinion of the battery life while just disabling the transparency? You didnt seem bothered with the life until someone mentioned it then.

I guess it depends what 1 - 4 % (if right) makes up in terms of time. For me I'm prob looking at 2 - 8mins max anyway if thats the ratios your going with.

Toology said,
There's a small little application floating around that can detect when you switch power sources and do it for you, but really...it should become part of Vista.

As far as I'm aware, unless they changed that from XP, wich I doubt, you should have both a battery and a "plugged" profile and windows will switch between these automatically if you plug it in or not.

HawkMan said,
As far as I'm aware, unless they changed that from XP, wich I doubt, you should have both a battery and a "plugged" profile and windows will switch between these automatically if you plug it in or not.

No, it hasn't changed but none of the profiles--even the mobile--turn off Aero when you're on battery. It's not even an option. The application I speak of runs in the background and does turn off Aero.