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Portables Power Hardware

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

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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  • by jasonwc ( 939262 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:00PM (#30728580)

    I have an Asus U80 laptop ($650) with a stated battery life of 7 hours (without Wifi). I've gotten 6 hours with Wifi and 8 hours without. Even with fairly heavy web browsing and CPU usage, I can get 4-5 hours in Battery mode. Thus, while many battery life claims are bullshit, I am inclined to believe Asus. Note that Asus uses some proprietary Windows software to reduce power usage. Without the software, the battery lasted 33-50% less.

    As an aside, they also have excellent RMA service. I discovered that my laptop drive had several bad sectors. I called Asus, and after less than a 5 minute wait was talking to a human being. I explained that a low-level drive scan showed several bad sectors on the drive, and that this indicated a hardware rather than software problem. Rather than having me reinstall Windows, or some other bs, I was told I could return the laptop or the bare drive for service with a 2-3 day turnaround. I shipped the bare drive, and received a replacement 2 business days after they received the RMA drive. Not bad.

  • by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:04PM (#30728656)

    The best you will get is about 14 hours on an atom pinetrail based eee pc 1005PE currently.

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

    by at_slashdot ( 674436 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:33PM (#30729132)

    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.

  • Re:Looks nice. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:37PM (#30729214)

    The truth is that every mobile Intel CPU since at least the Pentium M has featured SpeedStep, with OS support dating back to WinXP (although widgets could enable support on Win2K). Back then, SpeedStep would dynamically clock the CPU between 1GHz and 1.6GHz based on CPU load. The voltage would also change accordingly. These days, all their products support it, even desktop and server processors. What Asus might be doing is underclocking further to try to eke out additional savings. That's not really terribly noteworthy.

    The thing that's "new" here is the dynamic real-time switching between an IGP and discrete GPU... but that doesn't produce the power savings. After all, the vast majority of notebooks ship with *only* the IGP, so they're already getting the "maximum" power savings for graphics.

    The 12 hour battery life probably comes from a variety of sources:

    1) Probably using an LED backlight, which consume less power than traditional cold cathode backlights

    2) Slight savings from underclocking the CPU more than SpeedStep normally does

    3) Various other settings might be tweaked (HDD power settings) to be more optimal than default

    4) Big battery

    5) Consciously choosing lower power components. Lower power (slower) HDDs, avoiding discrete controllers if the chipset can do it, etc.

    This notebook seems focused on getting decent performance combined with good battery life. However, for those of us who just want the good battery life and aren't as concerned with performance, it's not very interesting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:41PM (#30729286)

    To me, a highend laptop is still 3k. (and really they still are) Heck I still remember 5-8k laptops and 5-8k was a lot more money 15 years ago than it is now...

    Plus since when is an Asus laptop highend? Every Asus product I've ever had was a value purchase, and definitely subpar in the quality department.

  • by daniorerio ( 1070048 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:48PM (#30729406)
    Consumer electronics are cheaper in the states, so you can't compare like that. What ships for $1000 often costs EU 1000 (=$1450!) or even more in Europe.
  • Re:Useless widgets (Score:2, Informative)

    by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:00PM (#30729574)

    So basically it's like the task manager?

    Umm, no. The task manager only shows CPU usage as a percentage of maximum usage at either present or maximum clock speed. This widget duplicates a graph shown in the Win7 Resource Monitor and tracks the actual CPU clock speed (in gigahertz), because the auto-clocking software changes the CPU speed in response to demand. My Win7/Core2 machine does this, but presumably ASUS is more aggressive in clocking down the i7 chip.

  • by icegreentea ( 974342 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:18PM (#30729874)
    I have a T400 as well, but I can usually (like 98% of the time) switch between cards without a reboot. Are you sure you got the right drivers and stuff? I think if you remove all of the default Lenovo software, you end up with some problems. You need to keep the Lenovo battery/power management software (sweet! two battery gauges).
  • Re:Vendor promises (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brianwa ( 692565 ) <brian-wa AT comcast DOT net> on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:31PM (#30730060)
    I have the same model of EeePC; I've gotten 8 hours of usage with wifi on and moderately intensive web browsing (no movies though) and had at least 20% battery capacity to spare. I'd say it is conceivable to get close to the advertised 10.5 hours of battery life - at least when the battery is brand new. You'd have to be in a relatively dark room, the LED backlight has some pretty dim settings that save a lot of power.
  • Re:Bloatware? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jasonwc ( 939262 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @08:35PM (#30731468)

    My Asus U80A laptop uses the "Asus Power4gear Hybrid" windows software to maximize battery life. It allows you to cap the maximum CPU frequency, set Wifi and other devices to a low-power mode, and disable Windows features such as Aero. Battery life can be increased 33-50% from Windows "Battery" modes simply by using the software's default setting which uses a low-power mode for Wifi and caps CPU frequency at 60% of the maximum.

    Thus, I imagine this will not work on Linux. However, this isn't unusual. I've generally gotten worse battery life in Ubuntu than Windows, especially when using the manufacturer's proprietary software to maximize battery life, which is only available for Windows.

  • Plus since when is an Asus laptop highend? Every Asus product I've ever had was a value purchase, and definitely subpar in the quality department.

    Maybe you should rethink your definition of quality.

    SquareTrade analyzed failure rates for over 30,000 new laptop computers covered by SquareTrade Laptop Warranty plans and found that one-third of all laptops will fail within 3 years. SquareTrade also found that netbooks are 20% more unreliable than other laptops, and that Asus and Toshiba are the most reliable laptop brands. []

  • by Simploid ( 1649955 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:47PM (#30732594)
    I forgot to mention the battery results they got:

    idle: 848 mins ( over 14 hours)
    web surfing: 587 mins ( about 10 hours)
    HD video: 361 mins ( about 6 hours)

    Impressive I would say.

  • Re:Lies. Slander. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Simploid ( 1649955 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @10:55PM (#30732646)
    Your wish is granted. Anandtech tested the battery life with x264 720P video and they got about 6 hours out of it. []
  • by rve ( 4436 ) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @02:40AM (#30733994)

    I wish they would list battery life under "Heavy Use".

    I remember reading a Netbook review where it pointed out how bogus the 10 hour claims are.

    This is a pet peeve of mine. Claims of battery life have been steadily improving over the years, but in real life, in a laptop that's more than a few weeks old, the 'battery low' warning appears within an hour, 90 minutes maybe. According to the specs, the battery should last an entire trans-atlantic flight, but in reality it's low before you reach the airport. I've been disappointed so many times that I've given up on laptops altogether.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant