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Portables (Apple) Operating Systems Power Software Windows Hardware

Windows Drains MacBook's Battery; Who's To Blame? 396

Posted by timothy
from the pox-on-both-your-houses dept.
ericatcw writes "Users hoping that Windows 7's arrival will mean less power drain on their MacBook laptops may be disappointed, writes Computerworld's Eric Lai. Running Windows 7 in Boot Camp caused one CNET reviewer's battery life to fall by more than two-thirds. But virtualization software such as VMware Fusion suffer from the same complaints. Some blame Apple's Boot Camp drivers (the last ones were released in April 2008); others lay the blame at Windows' bloated codebase. With Apple and Microsoft both trying to avoid responsibility for improving the experience, Windows 7's reported improvements in power management will be moot for MacBook users for a while."
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Windows Drains MacBook's Battery; Who's To Blame?

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  • Nice title. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:05AM (#28970225)

    Windows Drains MacBook's Battery; Who's to blame?

    I blame Microsoft. Much like the title, I was expecting Windows 7 to actually recharge my laptop battery, not drain it.

    • Windows Drains MacBook's Battery; Who's to blame?

      This and many other questions can be settled with a simple googlefight [googlefight.com].

      PS: That's also how I resolve all my spelling issues.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I don't blame the MacBook. Having to use Windows drains my battery too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by euxneks (516538)

      I blame Microsoft.

      I wish I didn't have to say that sentence so often.

    • by The_mad_linguist (1019680) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @02:09PM (#28976955)

      No, no, if you actually read the article, the point is that Windows 7 drains batteries on MacBooks that it ISN'T INSTALLED ON. Just take your Windows 7 laptop to your nearest Starbucks, and watch your battery percentage climb as the hipsters around you lose theirs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:07AM (#28970249)
    This is a whole new and special kind of whining.
    /. has reached a new level.

    Waaaaahhhh!!!
    • by wampus (1932) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:57AM (#28971405)

      Offtopic my fat ass. On a side note, when did Slashdot turn into all Microsoft all the time?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by denmarkw00t (892627)

      Exactly: OH NO - the software I bought for the hardware it isn't supposed to run on doesn't work!

  • by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:09AM (#28970259) Homepage Journal

    I have a new MBP and use Fusion. I have an XP image and a Vista image loaded up. I have not noticed any unusual power drain, but that's kind of to be expected, IMO. Also, I have to question the wisdom of using a VM session for more than an hour or so on just the battery.

    I can see some instances where this would be an issue for some, but this seems like senseless "hating" to me. No, I'm not trying to troll or anything else, I'm just having a hard time figuring out why someone would spend a long-ish amount of time in Fusion running a guest OS on battery power. It seems obvious to me that there are issues running a non-native OS on a laptop designed for a specific OS...

    • by dr.newton (648217) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:15AM (#28970335) Homepage

      I agree that there would be issues, but going from 4.5 hours of battery life on OS X on a MBP to 2 hours on any other OS is a little extreme!

      I would love to be able to use Linux on my MBP as the primary operating system, but often it is impractical because of the limited battery life.

      That being said, 2 hours is about standard for any other laptop I've owned, so maybe I should think of it as OS X being uncannily power-efficient. ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ByOhTek (1181381)

        ?? My last notebook got 3.5 hours on the 6 cell battery (could have gotten a 9 cell, but didn't want too) with Windows XP or FreeBSD.

        Dunno what my new notebook will do yet, it came pre-raped with Windows Vista, and I have to clean to goo off the drive and install XP (slipstream the ICH9 drivers anyone?) and FreeBSD (7.2 doesn't have a functional NIC driver, 8.0Beta driver fails at something, not sure what), or KUbuntu (faster than Vista off of the CD, WTF, but also lacking a NIC driver) to test.

        after two da

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        >>>going from 4.5 hours of battery life on OS X on a MBP to 2 hours on any other OS is a little extreme!

        Agreed. I've been using Microsoft products off-and-on for the last 25 years... ...and they haven't made a superior product since BASIC 7.0 on my C=128. The Windows 1-to-3 releases were jokes, Win95 was decent but still inferior to the Amiga or Mac OSes, and the new Vista 6.1 (Win7) is a giant blob of amorphous code that refuses to run properly even with 1.5 gigs of RAM in my brother's computer.

    • by v1 (525388)

      There are some people that run windows on their mbp (boot camp) more than the mac environment. Just as there will be some that go boot camp because they want/need to use windows a little bit, there will also be the other few that want/need to use mac a little bit, and for them, Mac OS X is the "guest OS". Same can be said of other OSs on the machine such as linux. I know one person that uses his mbp almost exclusively in linux. He's got the thing triple booting and can drop into mac os or windows when n

    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:35AM (#28971135)

      Its typical slashdot two minutes of hate. I remember this issue being big news here and no where else with XP on boot camp. Apple updated some driver in boot camp the the issue went away. Considering 7 isnt even officially out yet, perhaps the haters should wait for some updates.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fooslacker (961470)
      Your post doesn't really have any rationale behind it but rather states your opinions such as "I have to question the wisdom of using a VM session for more than an hour or so on just the battery" and "that's kind of to be expected, IMO". My response would be why? I'm willing to listen by not just take your word for it. Explain.

      As for your comments on usage patterns and there not being a need for this sort of usage, I sometimes do .NET development in Fusion on my MacBook Pro (especially while traveling
  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:09AM (#28970263)

    Macbooks are essentially the same hardware as Windows machines, down to battery capacity. It is unlikely that a "bloated codebase" would chew through the battery like nobody's business on one x86 machine and suddenly become perfectly benign on a practically identical x86 machine. Bloat doesn't magically appear when you put an Apple logo on something.

    • by fatalwall (873645) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:14AM (#28970321)

      [...] Bloat doesn't magically appear when you put an Apple logo on something.

      Unless your talking about price!!!

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:23AM (#28970415) Journal

        You don't understand. Buying an Apple is like buying a Lexus or Acura. It gives you the opportunity to brag about your awesome machine, even though there's no real difference between a Lexus v. Toyota, or Acura v. Honda, except the inflated +33% higher pricetag.

        I still remember my friends' reaction when I pointed to his shiny-new Acura and said, "The logo on the glass says Honda. And here inside the glovebox is another Honda logo. And... yep there's a Honda logo on the wheel cover." You would have thought I just insulted his best girl. "No, no that can't be. This is Acura not Honda. That logo's wrong. I only buy the best; the best I tell you."

        I stepped back several feet.

        • Does that mean that the Volkswagen Golf I have is an Audi because half the components have the four rings logo somewhere on them. Yippee, I'm upper-class :) ;)

        • by JustASlashDotGuy (905444) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:01AM (#28970751)

          Yes and No. Acura and Honda are made by the same company, but are not the same exact car. Acura is the upper end line, while Honda is not. If you drive a TL and then drive an Accord, there is no way you will confuse the handling, finish, or features of the too. The closest you will come is if you compare the low end Acuras (IE: TSX to the Honda line). Honda makes Acura, Toyota makes Lexus, Nissan makes Infinity, etc. It's nothing new.

          I myself drive a Acura TL and refer to it as a Honda all the time. If there was a comparable car in the Honda line when I got this car, I would have gladly purchased it.

          As for thinking people just Apples because they want to brag, I don't understand that logic. Apples use a completely different OS and way of doing things; there's now cheaper priced Mac OS they can get. In some cases, Apples are better suited for a given task than MS is. Saying Apple users pay more so they can brag to Windows users, is like saying Windows user pay more so they can brag to Linux users. Each OS has their niche. Personally, I wouldn't say any single OS is better than another in every way. To each their own.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by krzy123 (1201507)
            Acura was a brand that was created purely for the NA market (because americans like shiny things/luxury brands). There cars used to be sold as Hondas in Japan. One example has always been the Acura TSX, which is a Honda Accord in Europe.
          • As for thinking people just Apples because they want to brag

            I think you a word.

            And comparing Mac OS X to Windows (price) by the same standard as Windows to Linux, you're forgetting a rather crucial detail - where as you can buy/download a copy of Windows/Linux and install it on any computer you want and not be in some kind of bind (according to various EULAs etc), that doesn't hold true for Mac OS X. Which is quite a shame, but besides the point.

          • >>>As for thinking people just Apples because they want to brag, I don't understand that logic.

            Apples used to be distinctive when they used 68000 or PowerPC central processors, but now that they use Intel CPUs and other generic video/sound cards, they are really no different from a Dell or Gateway machine except that they have an Apple logo attached. The hardware is so identical that now Apple machines can run Intel Windows, or vice-versa Intel PCs run Apple OS X.

            It's similar to how a Chrysler Seb

        • by jimmyfrank (1106681) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:01AM (#28970757)
          I bought a macbook because I wanted to run Leopard and XP. Consumer reports also rated Apple laptops #1 in all screen size categories. I'm also not poor so I spent a few xtra bucks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MightyYar (622222)

        LOL... They do have that reputation. However, last time I went shopping for a notebook it was about the same price as a similarly-equipped Dell and so I went with the MacBook Pro. To be fair, some of the features are hard to price-compare - but the pricing was within 5%.

        I haven't tried to run Windows on it - so far everything from Windows-land that I need to run works in Crossover.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gintoki (1439845)
      This is slashdot, any issue involving microsoft is automatically their fault. Why RTFA when microsoft is to blame for everything that is wrong with the world.
    • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:26AM (#28970435)

      A computer is more then just the CPU. The case of how does Windows 7 handle the hardware or the Drivers handle the hardware or a combination of both. Can really effect a system. Apple Hardware isn't more expensive then normal PC's because Apple is making so much more per copy. It is more expensive because there is a lot of little things built in that add up. Go to Dell or Lenovo and try to build yourself a Laptop that matches all of Apples features. When I say All I mean ALL, no excuses like I don't need that anyways. You will find that the prices are about the same... +/- $100.00 or so. But all those little features OS X knows about and uses properly. Boot Camp Drivers Cover most of them, Windows handles other ones. I know for an instance Windows Vista with boot camp keeps the lights on the keyboard while OS X is a bit smarter then that.

      Now comes to the question. Is the Mac made Drivers for Vista keeping those lights on. Or Vista is telling the driver to keep it on. I am betting it is both.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        I've no doubt at all that it's a driver issue.

        • But say windows tells the driver when it is initialize to turn on default vs. Turn off by default. Or windows pulls to get its status every second vs. every 2 seconds.

          • by Sockatume (732728)

            Or more likely, there just isn't a Windows driver for the keyboard light. It's a pretty exotic feature.

            • by PeterChenoweth (603694) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:37AM (#28971171)
              Nope. There is. Keyboard backlighting works just fine on my MBP when bootcamped to XP. It does not, however, automatically adjust the keyboard backlight intensity with ambient lighting conditions as OSX does. One can still manually adjust the intensity with the keyboard buttons, if desired.

              Come to think of it, I'm not actually sure the screen brightness adjusts dynamically in bootcamped XP either. It might be the same deal as the keyboard. I can't recall.

              It could be little things like that adding up. Screen brightness is a major drain on battery power. It could be that since OSX can and does (by default anyway) aggressively ramp down the brightness whenever it can when on battery power, it's able to save more watts. Where if XP can't/doesn't do that (on an Apple), you'd get more of a battery drain. Just a thought.
        • by Nikademus (631739) * <renaud@@@allard...it> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:54AM (#28970685) Homepage

          Multiple driver issues then, as running some OS in fusion isn't the same as in bare hardware, it's a whole new machine from the guest OS point of view.
          If you run windows on the bare hardware, it will use nvidia and all other real hardware drivers.
          If you run windows in fusion, it will use some "generic" hardware drivers.
          So I somehow doubt it's a specific driver problem if it happens both in fusion and on bare hardware.

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            Well, to be fair, when you're running fusion, you're running 0SX and windows, so it would make sense that it would eat up more battery power. Each emulated CPU cycle is going to take more than 1 hardware CPU cycle to emulate it. Also, because you are using generic driver's, you aren't directly using the 3D hardware, and are probably wasting a lot of power doing things on the CPU that should be done on the video card.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        But all those little features OS X knows about and uses properly. Boot Camp Drivers Cover most of them, Windows handles other ones.

        Usually power is handled by ACPI. Apple has two opportunities to fuck up ACPI, in the implementation and in the driver. Most manufacturers do it by using Microsoft's tool to configure it, which creates a sort-of-compliant situation that has really complicated linux ACPI and ruined a lot of people's suspend/hibernate support. Windows can also handle properly compliant ACPI though, of course. Apple could have created a similar situation, or they could have created an ACPI driver included with boot camp which

    • that's the same thing i thought which to me says the issue might not be win7 itself but rather whatever is wrapped around it by OSX. I had a teacher in highschool that insisted we use Qbasic even though the sonofabitch literally maxed out every machine it was run on (it was like running prime95 ALL the TIME), I think the same basic effect might be occuring here. It's not that hard to just have one bad piece of code blossom up to massive cpu usage and cause a ton of power to be used.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dwedit (232252)

        That's a problem in how the NTVDM (Windows NT/2000/XP's DOS subsystem) works. It always gives 100% CPU usage to the program, regardless of what it actually needs. Qbasic runs smooth and snappy on a 286, it just might not be using HALT instructions to indicate that it's done with what it's doing.

        • by weicco (645927)

          A program that doesn't use 100% of the CPU isn't really efficient one. I mean, it doesn't make software any better no matter how many NOPs you add.

    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:41AM (#28970577) Journal

      Bloat doesn't magically appear when you put an Apple logo on something.

      Have you ever used Apple produced software (iTunes, Quicktime, etc.) on Windows? Or noticed their memory requirements on their own OS?

      Not that MS is necessarily any better, but, yeah, Apple is one of the Triumvirate of Bloat for consumer software, in my not-so-humble opinion. The sit in their little triangular table with MS and Adobe.

    • by Lorkki (863577)

      It's possible that the drivers handling power management on one set of peripherals are better at their jobs than other ones, or play more nicely with some managerial component. With exceptionally crufty codebases there's lots of opportunities for unexpected effects; whether that has anything to do with this accusation of "bloat" depends on what is actually meant.

      Somehow I doubt most people making it know either, nor have enough acquaintance with Windows's innards to make an expert judgment.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      They are NOT the same hardware, they require Apple drivers and they are also EFI based. Other than that, you must be really optimistic about Windows developers if you compare Windows CPU/resource usage to a system built on 40 year old principles which were designed on a PDP-10 machine.

      If I compare a BSD 4.4 Lite/Mach/NeXT/FreeBSD mix to Windows 7 which defaults to Ultimate version as of today, I will see bloat. I can barely stand to Spotlight on OS X and I decided to like it when I saw Windows Search which

    • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:16AM (#28970907)

      Macbooks are essentially the same hardware as Windows machines, down to battery capacity. It is unlikely that a "bloated codebase" would chew through the battery like nobody's business on one x86 machine and suddenly become perfectly benign on a practically identical x86 machine. Bloat doesn't magically appear when you put an Apple logo on something.

      It's (probably) not perfectly benign on an identical x86 machine. Anandtech broke this story in October 2008 (http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3435&p=13), so Slashdot is picking things like this up about as quickly as usual. Have you ever wondered why Macbooks often have 50-100% more battery life than a similar non-Mac with very similar specs, including a battery of the same capacity? It's the OS. This is the one area where OSX is the unequivocal champion. Somehow its power savings are vastly better than those in Windows.

      Anand has also made some mistakes, I think, like talking about the 6 hour battery life on new Macbooks and claiming that there are no PCs that can match that time, which is absolutely false. What he needs to do to finish investigating this power difference is install OSX on, say, a Lenovo laptop and see whether battery life improves dramatically. Of course, I think that he won't publish about something that breaks a license agreement, so we'll have to wait for another site with fewer legal worries does it.

  • Not just Windows (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dr.newton (648217) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:10AM (#28970275) Homepage

    I have a MBP 5.1, one with both the on-board and discrete Nvidia cards. OS X switches between them depending on whether it is going for power savings or performance.

    The drivers for Windows XP and Linux do not seem to have this ability. When I'm doing nothing but surfing, I get about 4.5 hours of battery life in OS X, but only about 2.1 hours in Linux (Ubuntu Jaunty) and Windows XP.

    I always assumed it was the inability of XP and Linux to switch to the on-board graphics card.

    • Re:Not just Windows (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lukas84 (912874) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:14AM (#28970319) Homepage

      I have a ThinkPad W500, which has onboard Intel graphics or a Ati Radeon 3650. They too can be switched automatically or at will.

      The reason you can't do it on XP is because Apple hasn't bothered to release drivers for it.

      • That is correct (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)

        To do something like that, it must be supported by the drivers. As an example a coworker got a new Thinkpad with that feature, may have been the same one you got not sure. The switching works fine in XP. However he wanted to run the Windows 7 RC on it. There, we couldn't get it to work, I had to go in to the BIOS and shut down the Intel card. Why? No Windows 7 drivers for it. In fact at the time, Lenovo had no 7 drivers at all. All drivers had to be obtained from manufacturers of the various parts.

        Any featu

    • We have an explaination!

    • The drivers for Windows XP and Linux do not seem to have this ability.

      Is this a Mac-extended version of http://xkcd.com/619/ [xkcd.com]

      Everyone who posts xkcd links is modded up, right?
      Also

      while sleep 1; do
      grep -q "powersave" /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor &&
      {
      rmmod onboard-sound-driver
      modprobe external-sound-driver
      } ||
      {
      rmmod external-sound-driver
      modprobe onboard-sound-driver
      }
      done

      Oh you said the drivers don't have this ability.

    • Re:Not just Windows (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ma8thew (861741) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:08AM (#28972495)
      OS X does no switching. Check the 'Energy Saver' System Preferences panel, and you'll see the toggle between the two graphics cards. If you haven't touched it, it'll be in 'Better Battery Life'. Changing between discrete and integrated graphics requires logging out. Windows and Linux cannot switch to the integrated graphics card, explaining some reduced battery life.
  • Anonymous Coward (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:10AM (#28970277)

    No matter how bloated Windows is, battery life is only a function of ACPI drivers --- bootcamp's fault

    • On the otherhand if windows7 uses lots of wakeup calls then the CPU can never sit in C3 for very long, that would however not be a mac specific problem so my money is on bootcamps fault too!

    • Or maybe Windows could be asking more of the CPU, GPU & hard drive than OSX does?
    • You would be absolutely correct if Windows 7 was SUPPORTED with Boot Camp. Damn thing can't even get rid of "boot menu" as MS is fixated to partition 1 for booting.

      What suggests you that Apple is a generic PC anyway?

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:11AM (#28970285)

    FTFA: Other than that, Windows 7 has been working great on my MacBook Pro... It looks good, too, even prettier than when it is installed on PC hardware.

    This reminds me of the iPod Nano review here at Slashdot that claimed that the Nano sounded great, even in a moving convertible with the top down. (http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/09/08/1439244)

    Yes, it's the Apple magic that makes the software look better.

    How can we know that the battery isn't simply returning strange battery level information to the OS that OSX knows how to parse but Windows doesn't? What a strange review.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      Even funnier, did the author install Vista/7 to a 1.42 Ghz machine with 133Mhz system bus and 32MB ATI card and gained massive performance compared to XP?

      That is what Mac Mini G4 users experienced when they upgraded to Leopard...

      CBS should arrange a meeting with all the editors, authors of CNET and simply remind them they aren't the failed TV channel who is alive with MS money anymore, they don't have to be MS fans in absurd degree. If they don't fix this attitude soon, very soon, their cool domains will be

  • by guruevi (827432) <eviNO@SPAMsmokingcube.be> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:12AM (#28970303) Homepage

    Boot Camp just resizes the hard drive so it can accomodate a Windows install and then you are able to dual-boot your system. It's also possible to install Linux on the other side for example. So it seems like Windows has an issue with the Intel or NVidia chipset, the processor or just plainly consumes more resources than Mac OS.

    A good comparison would be to install Linux on the other side and see what it's battery life is then. Mac OS X offloads a lot (all) of the desktop rendering to the GPU while the Windows XP desktop doesn't and although Vista's top-end version does, it is offset by the amount of graphics that need to be rendered and the low-end version still doesn't.

    There is a reason that the battery dies quicker and since there is no layer of Mac OS X between Windows and the hardware I doubt it's because Apple did something wrong. It's either Windows or the Intel or NVidia drivers. You can't really compare VMWare or Parallels performance because it's running Windows on top of Mac OS X, it is of course going to consume more resources.

    • by Piranhaa (672441)

      Although I agree another OS would be good to compare with, it wouldn't be using the same Bootcamp driver that Apple provides for Windows. And Apple hasn't released an OSS driver. This would simply show that it's a software issue and not that it's a Windows code issue or a Windows driver issue...

    • by Lt.Hawkins (17467) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:18AM (#28971715) Homepage

      "Boot Camp just resizes the hard drive so it can accomodate a Windows install and then you are able to dual-boot your system. It's also possible to install Linux on the other side for example. So it seems like Windows has an issue with the Intel or NVidia chipset, the processor or just plainly consumes more resources than Mac OS."

      Not entirely accurate. Bootcamp also provides BIOS emulation, since current gen macs (not sure for how long though) use EFI.

      I haven't read the article yet (of course.) but I wonder how battery life is when Win7 (which supports EFI) is installed "Natively", i.e. without BIOS emulation.

  • by debilo (612116)
    I have a slightly dated Macbook with an integrated Intel graphics chips. Has anyone with similar specs tried to run Windows 7 on it? If so, how does it stack up against XP in terms of performance and responsiveness, and how does Windows 7 fare in a VMware session?
    • I have the 15" Macbook, and run both Win7 and XP in VMware. Win7's performance is comparable to XP's, maybe a bit better, in terms of speed, and it's not too memory-needy. Whatever build I have though (Release Candidate) is still unstable. It doesn't always boot completely, and often is prone to crashes that look to me to be video-card related. Although I have hopes, it's not quite ready for prime time.

  • HOW (Score:5, Informative)

    by FranTaylor (164577) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:13AM (#28970309)

    Can you expect "power savings" when VMware is running? You are basically running two computers at once.

    • Can you expect "power savings" when VMware is running? You are basically running two computers at once.

      Well, I use VMware to run a barebones linux machine on my Macbook and do everything from the terminal to save energy! ;).

      Reminds me of the days when I used to doublespace my ram drive for increased performance AND space!

  • by Octorian (14086) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:21AM (#28970401) Homepage

    Running Windows XP dual-boot on a MacBook Pro (what you people call "boot camp") also drains the battery a lot faster than OSX. I'm pretty sure Apple didn't put much effort into making sure all the hardware drivers worked anywhere near as well under Windows as they do in OSX. (additionally, I've seen display driver quirks and more iffy trackpad operation)

    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      Most of the drivers are standard fare straight from Nvidia, intel, and RealTek. When I installed XP on my MBP I simply installed my own drivers. Works fine but battery life is decreased. I think that probably has to do something with the amount of processing offloaded by OSX onto the GPU.
  • by mxh83 (1607017) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:27AM (#28970443)
    Apple and it's customers are the only losers if something doesn't work on the Macbook. Microsoft never claimed it would. This situation is very similar to the Palm Pre / Itunes fiasco. If you're a Palm Pre owner, just STFU if Itunes doesn't behave the way it should.
    • I tend to agree.

      I use Windows 7 regularly on my Ubuntu-powered laptop. The power management of my laptop handles the Windows 7 guest OS (running inside Virtual Box - http://www.perfectreign.com/stuff/2009/20090527_vbox_win7_70.jpg ) and have no issues with "draining battery."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323)

      Except it was Apple who changed Itunes to lock out the Palm Pre, so for your analogy to work, I'd say it's still Apple that the issue is with, not Palm.

      (I mean, by default it's obviously Apple's job with this battery issue - but if hypothetically it turned out that MS had intentionally modified Windows to drain the battery on Macs, there'd be an uproar about their action!)

  • by amn108 (1231606) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:33AM (#28970485)

    The problem is not specific to Windows or MacBooks. Many developers code as if the only machines that will run their software are permanently el-grid-connected servers or workstations. Polling loops with insane timers (like 1000hz), and they also take the advice "don't optimize prematurely" to mean "don't optimize unless you are payed for it". Re-drawing the display even if it is not needed at all, copying data structures all over, etc. No wonder batteries drain.

    In this case I believe all three are to blame - neither alone is the culprit - I mean Windows usually is compatible with real hardware enough to last couple-three hours on an average laptop battery doing average desktop stuff, MacBook is about the same. Probably BootCamp taking battery awareness too lightheartedly and/or unable to optimize for specific cases like virtualized Windows code running.

    • by zysus (123604) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:11AM (#28970863) Homepage

      I write driver level embedded code for a living. Everything from bootstrapping embedded linux to SoC level power management.

      Power management is usually the last thing to get done (if at all)... why? Because management usually sees it as icing on the cake. Attitudes are typically just make it work and we'll ship a bigger battery to make it last. Or we'll ship an upgrade in 6 months, if the product starts to take off and we decide to fund further development.

      Time to market is everything.

      Power management is also really hard to get right 100% of the time. It's really hard to debug code/hardware where stuff is shutting itself off, or worse, a controller uP is shutting you off unexpectedly.

      It has NOTHING to do with 'bad code' or 'shitty programmers'. It's just management grinding down on the engineers to do it: better, faster, cheaper, pick two. Usually faster and cheaper win.

  • Seeing as both Windows 7 and VMWare are affecting things, maybe virtualization and power saving just aren't all that compatible.

    I blame intel for this one.

  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:07AM (#28970813) Homepage

    On latest gen (nv9300 based) Mac Mini, I have installed Win7 64bit. It installed all the drivers and even clever to figure mainboard driver giving direct link to nvidia driver exe which is absolutely a very serious risk but anyway...

    The ATA chipset driver is missing from Win7 since Apple didn't really put nv9300 chipset in exact way. So, it falls down to non DMA generic MS driver. Every single byte transferred to/from disk is guaranteed to use massive CPU along with horrible (down to 15MB/sec from 70MB/sec under OS X) slowness.

    So, if Macbooks have similar issue with Windows 7, it could be same issue. As they are battery powered, it would be visible in battery life too.

    BTW, there is no point testing Windows 7 until Apple releases boot camp for Windows 7. Apple computers aren't really PCs. If MS was really clever and wanted Windows 7 to be _really_ tested, they should have printed a very clear privacy policy on screen and actually make machine report all kinds of anonymous stats. That way, they could really figure what is going on. For example, a core duo powered 2009 machine shouldn't really max to 15mb/sec with a SATA 2 drive.

    I couldn't even find something similar to bugreporter.apple.com when I wanted to report issues. All I saw is a stupid forum which beginner level MS engineers are monkeying with templates. They even made their own wrong answer as 'answer to the issue' while it would create massive compatibility problems in one occasion.

  • My wife uses a MacBook Pro and switches between Vista and OS X with Boot Camp (mostly using Vista). When the computer is idle in Vista, I've noticed it quite often thrashing the hard disk for many, many minutes and repeats this at intervals, like every half hour or so. On OS X, it never does this - sleep is sleep and the thing is always quiet. I wonder is this behaviour (whatever it's for) is the cause of the power drain?
  • by krzy123 (1201507) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:19AM (#28970941)
    http://nvidia.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/nvidia.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=2243 [custhelp.com] Pretty straight forward. Regular PC laptops with the dual/triple gpu's can use Nvidia's Hybrid SLI.
  • the battery manufacturer and apple.

    their battery doesn't last long enough under load.
    Apple's mac book doesn't keep the battery cool enough under load.

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