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Portables Power Hardware

Asus Promises 12-Hour Battery Life In New High-End Laptop 190

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the or-until-the-battery-catches-fire dept.
Asus' new high-end laptop could finally be the traveler's best accoutrement, touting twelve-hour battery life thanks to intelligent, second-by-second switching between the two GPUs and automatic, on-the-fly re-clocking of the Intel Core i7 CPU. All this also comes in with a price tag of just over $1,000. "ASUS's solution is different because it's user-transparent; even a novice user will get the fullest possible benefit because the laptop itself is deciding when to switch. The same principle applies to the dynamic CPU clocking. ASUS includes a desktop widget to track CPU clock speed. While using the UL80JT, I could see it moving up and down with what I did; up with program openings and CPU-intensive processes, and way down at idle. Between the GPU switching, dynamic clocking, and ASUS's other power management features, the UL80JT manages to consume less than half as much power as the unibody Macbook while browsing."
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Asus Promises 12-Hour Battery Life In New High-End Laptop

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  • Looks nice. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hazelfield (1557317) on Monday January 11, 2010 @04:47PM (#30728342)
    Why hasn't anyone come up with this before? Or if they have, where are the others?
  • Vendor promises (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday January 11, 2010 @04:51PM (#30728412) Homepage Journal

    Vendors promise all sorts of things. That doesn't make them true. I'll believe it when I see Tom's Hardware or someone equally competent test one of these things and they actually get 12 hours.

    Until then, I'll file this one under "vendors promise the world".

  • by marcansoft (727665) <hector.marcansoft@com> on Monday January 11, 2010 @04:52PM (#30728434) Homepage

    This thing is as old as my beat up Pentium III Inspiron 5000. Varying GPU clocks is also old.

    What is interesting is seamless switching between GPUs. Everything else is just marketingese for "we do what everyone else does and we actually bothered to put some extra effort into power optimization".

  • by nschubach (922175) on Monday January 11, 2010 @04:54PM (#30728480) Journal

    I can't be the only one that laughed when I read:

    "High-end laptop ... with a price tag of just over $1,000."

    Maybe I'm just still used to Laptops being well over $1000. The last one I bought was a Lenovo T61 with an Intel graphics card and it was over $1K. I wouldn't consider it "high-end."

  • by btcoal (1693074) on Monday January 11, 2010 @04:56PM (#30728506)

    This thing is as old as my beat up Pentium III Inspiron 5000. Varying GPU clocks is also old.

    What is interesting is seamless switching between GPUs. Everything else is just marketingese for "we do what everyone else does and we actually bothered to put some extra effort into power optimization".

    But enabling non-expert users to look under the hood and moderate behavior accordingly is new. Healthy skepticism aside, Asus has built up mad street cred recently and deserves the BOTD to some degree.

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Monday January 11, 2010 @04:59PM (#30728570) Homepage
    If they can do 12 hours on a laptop that, presumably, has a fast CPU & stuff - how long could they go on a laptop with a modest CPU ?

    These guys always seem to want to show speed and power in a laptop -- but what I need in a laptop is long battery life. How much CPU does it take to do a bit of web browsing, run up emacs & ssh. I have a PC at home or stuff that I ssh to if I need to do fast compiles or run databases & other heavy stuff. These guys just don't get it, I thought they had when they brought out the original eeepc -- but subsequent models have just turned to bloat (OK: I do like the larger screens, but that is all).

  • Re:Vendor promises (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:11PM (#30728788)

    Vendors promise all sorts of things. That doesn't make them true. I'll believe it when I see Tom's Hardware or someone equally competent test one of these things and they actually get 12 hours.

    Until then, I'll file this one under "vendors promise the world".

    If you want competency, you might check with Anand instead of Tom. My 1005HA EEEPC has more battery life than Asus claimed (I get 11 hours just typing in notepad with the radio off), so I wouldn't be surprised if the 12 hour claim were true. Keep in mind that the quoted number is always for minimal usage.

  • Bloatware? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by meustrus (1588597) <meustrus.gmail@com> on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:19PM (#30728910)

    Looks to me like the software to accomplish this is one of those programs the manufacturer bundles on your computer, not an architectural change. If I have to tolerate a 6 month trial of MS Office, Norton Antivirus, several dozen casual games distributed as adware, and whatever other "productivity" software they decide I want, then no thanks. Bundled software should be possible to separate from each other.

    Another important question: will it run Linux?

  • by Chirs (87576) on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:45PM (#30729342)

    There's a review at:

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/asus-ul80vt [silentpcreview.com]

    They got a runtime of 9hrs 11min while web browsing, but it was running faster than expected so they thought that 10 hrs wasn't out of the realm of possibility.

  • by robot256 (1635039) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:11PM (#30729760)

    My Thinkpad T400 has two GPUs. One is an Intel GMA4500, the other is an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400. Running with the Intel GPU cuts off a full third of my power consumption because it uses the main CPU and main memory instead of dedicated chips. But switching between the two GPUs is iffy at best and usually requires a reboot. If I get stuck on the Intel GPU then I can't play games until I reboot and switch to the ATI GPU, so I usually stay on the ATI unless I really need battery life.

    What is significant about what ASUS is doing is the PC will *automagically* switch to the high-performance GPU when you start up a game or a flash video, then switch back when you go back to word processing. This is something that has never been done before and is a major step towards making "switchable graphics" truly useful.

    That is, of course, assuming that the ASUS power management app doesn't crash all the time leaving your system in an unstable state.

  • Re:Vendor promises (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:13PM (#30729804) Homepage Journal

    This reminds me of my iPhone and Apple bullshit that the battery has a standby of 300 hours (12.5 days)... 300 hours my ass... more like 30.

    So I guess we should expect to see a "news" article on how bad the Google Nexus' battery standby time is in about 30 minutes.

    I actually read one of these Appleturfed articles today about how several "independent technology consultants" say that buying an unlocked phone is a terrible idea because you lose the "protection" that a tied-in service contract offers.

    I'm not kidding.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:19PM (#30729890) Journal
    One of the GPUs is, almost definitely, whatever GPU was integrated into the chipset. It'll be weak as hell; but use minimal power and be virtually free in terms of board space and bill of materials.

    The second GPU will be whatever they picked for when actual performance is needed. It will add cost, space, and heat; but there is really no alternative if you want to have actual power available. Odds are, it uses more power in its lowest stable voltage/clock state than the integrated GPU does at full power.
  • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @01:21AM (#30733646) Homepage
    This may be anecdotal, but Asus have delivered on most of their battery-life claims consistently so far. Most reviews of their laptops, especially the netbooks, have shown that they don't exaggerate their operation time to any significant extent. Personally I have an Eee-1005HA and I don't think I can think of a reasonable usage scenario in which it would last for less than 7 hours. If I keep the CPU at forced maximum, and have it do video playback for the entire time, it still gets over 6 hours. If I keep it at forced powersave mode and only do Flash-free browsing, I've seen close to 8 hours (which is the claim).

    If they deliver even 8 to 10 hours of reasonable usage, it would be a very big leap for a full-power laptop.

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