AMD Nile: Improving Battery Life

We've railed on AMD's battery life in previous reviews, and rightly so. If you can't build a faster laptop than Intel, and pricing isn't significantly better, you need to at least offer comparable battery life. The T235D addresses all of these areas to varying degrees, but let's look at battery life specifically. Thankfully, Toshiba includes a larger-than-normal 61Wh battery with the T235D, which puts it in direct contention with the 63Wh batteries of the M11x and the Acer 1810T.

Battery Life - Idle

Battery Life - Internet

Battery Life - x264 720p

Relative Battery Life

So, we're still not at the 8+ hours that CULV laptops get, but we're finally hitting 6.5 hours in our idle test and around 5.5 hours in our Internet test; you can even last long enough for nearly two full-length movies (just shy of four hours). For a thin and light laptop, that's definitely acceptable. If we factor in battery capacities, the Acer 1810T is still our leader (at least, our leader after Atom), with 15% to 45% more life per Wh than the T235D. Switch to the M11x R2 and it's a lot closer: the two contestants are tied in x264 playback, while the M11x leads by 10% to 15% in the idle and internet results.

As for the old Congo platform, if we compare based on relative battery life (i.e. factoring in battery capacity), the T235D beats the smaller Ferrari One by 6% to 24%. The difference between the T235D and the U230 is even greater: 27% higher Internet life and 37% more Idle/x264 run-time. All it would take is something like the ASUS UL series' 84Wh batteries and the T235D could reach around nine hours of mobility.

One final note is that the battery in the T235D says it's a 61Wh model in one place, but it also lists a voltage of 10.8V and 5300mAh. Multiply those out to get the wattage and it looks like the battery would be better classified as a 57Wh 6-cell, which would improve our relative battery life measurement from 5.31 up to 5.68. (Oddly enough, the online specs list the T235D as coming with a 48Wh battery; we're not sure if we got a "special" battery or if the spec pages are simply wrong, but hopefully it's the latter.) Of course, battery capacities are a bit tricky—I know I have some 2500mAh 1.2V AA Energizer rechargeable batteries that suck compared to some equivalently rated 2500mAh Eneloop rechargeables. Without a lot more detail on the internal workings of the batteries all we have to go off are the manufacturer ratings on the back, as well as our real-world battery life test results.

General Performance – Targeting CULV What about Graphics Performance?
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  • stmok - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    From page 2: "Unfortunately, if you're looking for a more potent IGP from either company, you'll want to wait for Intel's Sandy Bridge and AMD's Bulldozer architectures."

    => While the mainstream version of "Sandy Bridge" will have an IGP (coming in early 2011); AMD's Bulldozer won't.

    The one's with IGP are AMD's "Ontario" processor (Bobcat cores), and "Llano" processor (K10.5 based, Athlon II-like configuration + Radeon HD 55xx/56xx-based IGP)...These will be the Fusion processors that AMD will bring to the table in late-2010 and early-2011.

    Bulldozer-based Fusion processors are expected to come in 2012.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Corrected. I said Bobcat in the other places (AFAIK), but I did mistakenly put Bulldozer in there.

    Also worth note is that Bobcat isn't just mobile Bulldozer for a change... it's a real reworking for mobility. In fact, not only is it not like Bulldozer, but it's a pretty major change even from K10.5 and K10. More on this in the near future....
  • Roland00 - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    There are currently some leaked slides saying NDA until tommorrow, furthermore AMD is one of the participants of Stanford Hot Chips Conference. In the program material for the conference there is this detail for Tuesday August 24

    5:00 - 6:30
    Session 7: New Processor Architectures (Session Chair: Bevan Baas, UC Davis)
    # AMD "Bulldozer" Core - a new approach to multithreaded compute performance for maximum efficiency and throughput
    Authors: Mike Butler
    Affiliations: AMD
    # AMD's "Bobcat" x86 Core - Small, Efficient and Strong
    Authors: Brad Burgess
    Affiliations: AMD
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    You can get our HotChips write-up here, now:
  • zshift - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    "The Turion II K625 processor comes clocked at a relatively tame 1.5GHz.... The K625 bumps the clock up to 1.7GHz while the K325 drops to 1.3GHz, making the K625 a good middle-of-the-road choice."

    I believe the second mention of the K625 was supposed to be referring to a different model.
  • Roland00 - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    K665, 1700 mhz
    K625 , 1500 mhz
  • matt b - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    I've been asking for a Nile platform review and Anandtech delievered! I'm glad that your reviewed the k625 too - it seems like the best Nile option, though the K325 1.3 is not much different. It was a good, balanced review. I've seen this one at Office Depot - it's been at $500.00 more than once now. If only Office Depot carried any color other than red.
  • maniac5999 - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    The link from graphics to conclusion didn't appear for me, not sure if it was just a firefox hiccup or if it's missing.

    Anyway, good article. What is really interesting is the difference in graphics performance between the HD 3200 and HD 4225. Is there any underlying architectural difference, because with the same number of shaders I'd assume that the 3200 at 500mhz would beat the 4225 at 380mhz.

    While the platform looks nice, i still think 12" is the magical size for an ultraportable. Oh, and if you sent back your U230 and want to get some numbers for it, please message me and I'll be glad to run numbers for you. (I think I run low 40s on average in SC2 with my 3200 turned up to 3300 speeds)
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    I missed the page title for the LCD, which messed up the links. That's corrected now.

    As for the HD 3200 and HD 4225, they're very similar but 4200 series uses UVD2 while 3200 is UVD1. 4000 series is also DX10.1 versus DX10 on the 3200. Per clock performance of the 4200 appears to be higher as well, but I don' t know exactly what changed in that area.

    For U230 SC2 numbers, we'd need to send you our test file as well, if we're to keep things apples-to-apples. We did send that one back to MSI, sadly, but I'm not sure if there's much need to retest all the old laptops. We'll be dropping the older stuff from the charts as we move forward and focusing on the newer laptops. Given the pricing and availability, there's not much reason to buy a U230 over the T235D now. I suppose if you want 12", but in that case what you really want is a U230 update with Nile.
  • maniac5999 - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    well, it'd probably be nice to have a better datapoint for the last generation AMD Ultrathin platform than that turd 'Ferrari One' It would also help us determine if the 4225 is really more powerful than the 3200 or if all those games are just handicapped by the slow Ferarri One processor.

    It's completely up to you, If you send the file I'll take out my extra 2gb of RAM and run the benchmark.

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