Browser Face-Off: Battery Life Exploredby Jarred Walton on September 11, 2009 6:00 PM EST
- Posted in
AMD Browser Battery Life
We stuck to the most recent versions of the most popular web browsers for testing. Our list includes Apple Safari (version 4.0.3), Google Chrome (version 22.214.171.124), Mozilla Firefox (version 3.5.2), Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 8.0.6001.18813), and Opera (versions 9.6.4 and 10 Beta 3). We included two versions of Opera simply because version 10 wasn't final during testing, although it appears there's little difference between the two when it comes to battery life. We also ran a test using Firefox with the AdBlock Plus add-on, which means the Flash advertisements didn't show up. The compromise there is that AdBlock requires more processing time up front in order to parse the HTML. Each test was done (at least) twice, taking the higher score of the runs.
Here are the results of our testing, starting with the Gateway NV52, a laptop based on the AMD RS780MN platform. Please note that unlike our normal battery life tests, we set the laptop on the Vista "Power Saver" profile instead of "Balanced", with the hard drive set to power down after 3 minutes and the maximum CPU performance set at 50%. This improves battery life on all laptops, sometimes by a significant amount.
|Gateway NV5214u Specifications|
|Processor||AMD Athlon 64 X2 QL-64 (Dual-core, 2.1GHz, 2x512KB L2, 65nm, 35W, 667MHz FSB)|
|Chipset||AMD RS780MN + SB700|
|Graphics||Integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200|
|Display||15.6" Glossy LED-Backlit 16:9 WXGA (1366x768)|
|Hard Drive||320GB 5400RPM|
|Optical Drive||8x DVDR SuperMulti|
|Audio||2-Channel HD Audio (2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)|
|Battery||6-Cell 10.8V, 4400mAhr, 47.5Whr|
|Left Side||SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro/xD reader
Microphone/Headphone Jacks (2.0 audio with S/PDIF support)
2 x USB 2.0
AC Power Connection
|Right Side||DVDRW Optical Drive
2 x USB 2.0
|Back Side||Heat Exhaust Port|
|Operating System||Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit|
|Dimensions||14.6" x 9.8" x 1.0"-1.5" (WxDxH)|
|Weight||5.8 lbs (with 6-cell battery)|
Alternate colors/models available
|Warranty||1-year standard Gateway warranty
Extended warranties available
|Price||NV5214u available at Best Buy for $500|
There are a few interesting tidbits to point out. First, the margin of error between runs is around 3% because of network issues, website content, and fluctuation in battery discharging rates. That's why we ran each test at least twice, so the results above should be accurate to within around 1%, for the best-case results. That said, the best battery life on the NV52 ends up coming from what most consider the slowest browser, Internet Explorer 8. Google's Chrome browser matches IE8 at 162 minutes, so there's something to be said for the lightweight newcomer being fast and lean. (Note that we reran the IE8 test one more time to verify the result, and it came out quite a bit lower the second time. We think there was a network glitch with the originally reported score of 175 minutes -- sorry for the confusion.) Our thought is that Microsoft has optimized IE8 better than most of the competition, since it's a major part of the OS.
Firefox with Adblock Plus places at the top, since Flash content can dramatically increase CPU usage relative to static images; most probably assumed AdBlock would help more, but it only improved battery life with Firefox by 4.3%. Opera 9.6.4 comes in after Chrome and IE8, followed by the first major gap: Opera 9 beat Opera 10 by 9%. At the back of the pack, Apple's Safari 4 web browser trails Opera 10 by 10% -- or if you prefer, IE8 and Chrome give you 24% more battery life under Windows Vista than Safari 4. As much as some people might like Apple's products, clearly Safari 4 isn't the best web browser when it comes to battery life.