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Old 06-19-2011, 10:06 PM   #1
cheperico
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Less power consuming distro


Hi!

I'm new to netbooks and linux.

I have an Asus 1215b (AMD FUSION E350) and I want to install an OS only for writting offline or browsing the web (and accessing to google docs or my email account) while making my battery last as most time as possible.

Which one to choose?

Thanks!
 
Old 06-19-2011, 11:23 PM   #2
0men
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I guess the less programs the OS has installed on it in the first place..... Maybe try Puppy ? Puppy is very lightweight and can actually run in ram. It will be interesting to see what other members think. If i were you, i would install linux Mint on your laptop, easy to use, easy to update, internet ready and has LibreOffice. The little things will help your battery last longer (make your screenlight dull and configure the power settings to turn the screen off when the computer is idle..........things like that)

Good luck.

Edit: just saw its a netbook! haha sorry just been for a run and im a little dazed :P
my netbook runs for 8 hours with Linux Mint its a samsung n150plus so yours should pull a whole day too.

Last edited by 0men; 06-19-2011 at 11:25 PM.
 
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:06 AM   #3
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0men View Post
I guess the less programs the OS has installed on it in the first place.....
And why should a program that lies on the harddisk consume power?

Have a look at wattOS, its intention is to save power.
 
Old 06-20-2011, 03:52 AM   #4
cascade9
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Long version- you've got a brand new release laptop, using a GPU intergrated into the CPU system (which AMD is calling an APU). A lot of the kernel code to make everything work properly has only starting going into kernel 2.6.38, that is ongoing with kernel 2.6.39. Driver work from the open source and AMD catalyst closed drivers is also ongoing.

You might get the intergrated HD 6250 video working with the AMD catalyst drivers, even using an earlier kernel than 2.6.38, or you might not. I'd really doubt there is much chance of the video working anywhere near acceptably with the open source drivers and a kernel before 3.6.38.

Then you hit the other issue- its been discussed a lot that kernels 2.6.35-2.6.38+ have had power regressions. The regressions are slowly being worked out.

Short version- you might have a few issues for now. Even if you dont have any visible problems, battery life will increase with newer kernels and drivers.
 
Old 06-20-2011, 03:01 PM   #5
DavidMcCann
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I read a web article a couple of years ago where someone had tested lots of distros on a laptop and measured how much power they drew. It was completely unpredictable! The best bet is to get a distro you like which is easy to use (think Mint or PCLinuxOS) and tweak things to reduce power usage:
http://lesswatts.org/tips/index.php
 
Old 06-20-2011, 03:16 PM   #6
markush
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I don't think that this has something to do with the distribution. My experience is that AMD processors consume less power when one decreases the CPU-frequency. On my Laptop with an AMD Athlon II M320 the processor can run with 2.1, 1.5 and 0.8 GHz. I have configured for CPU-frequency-governor conservative and so my machine runs normally with only 800MHz.

In order to configure the CPU-frequency with AMD, you'll have to load the module "powernow_k8" (if it is one of the K8 boards). Then you may check the CPU-frequency with the command
Code:
cpufreq-info
You can also manually set the governor
Code:
cpufreq-set --cpu 0 --governor conservative
cpufreq-set --cpu 1 --governor conservative
I use this lines in my rc.local (on Slackware), but there may be different configurationfiles on another distribution.

Markus
 
Old 06-20-2011, 08:18 PM   #7
jefro
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This may be of some help.

http://www.lesswatts.org/projects/acpi/
 
Old 06-20-2011, 10:10 PM   #8
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markush View Post
I don't think that this has something to do with the distribution. My experience is that AMD processors consume less power when one decreases the CPU-frequency. On my Laptop with an AMD Athlon II M320 the processor can run with 2.1, 1.5 and 0.8 GHz. I have configured for CPU-frequency-governor conservative and so my machine runs normally with only 800MHz.
As far as I understand that, the frequency is not that relevant, but the voltage. When modern CPUs lower their frequency, they also lower the core voltage. And that is really the power-saving factor. I remember from my overclocking days that the power consumption relates exponential to the core voltage, so down volting is much better than down clocking in regards to power consumption. Of course this is a hand in hand thing, for lower frequencies you can go for lower core voltages, for higher frequencies you need higher voltages.
Seriously, I don't know if I have any chance to fiddle with the voltages in a laptop/netbook, but I doubt so.
 
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:17 AM   #9
markush
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
As far as I understand that, the frequency is not that relevant, but the voltage. When modern CPUs lower their frequency, they also lower the core voltage. And that is really the power-saving factor. I remember from my overclocking days that the power consumption relates exponential to the core voltage, so down volting is much better than down clocking in regards to power consumption. Of course this is a hand in hand thing, for lower frequencies you can go for lower core voltages, for higher frequencies you need higher voltages.
Seriously, I don't know if I have any chance to fiddle with the voltages in a laptop/netbook, but I doubt so.
This is a good point. The reason for me to configure for low frequencies is not that much the powerconsumption but the heat. With low frequencies the processor becomes less warm and the fan does not run as fast/much. But this works only with modern processors. If you have an old (or even newer) Intel-Pentium this will not work.

I remember I've read this http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/power-management-guide.xml from the Gentoo-Wiki. It should be possible (not only with Gentoo) to create a special Runlevel for low powerconsumption.

Another point is using a lightwight Windowmanager or maybe none at all (at least temporarily). Editing Text and reading/writing emails is possible without X, there are several commandline-mailclients such as (al)pine or mutt.

Markus
 
Old 06-21-2011, 01:13 AM   #10
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markush View Post
This is a good point. The reason for me to configure for low frequencies is not that much the powerconsumption but the heat. With low frequencies the processor becomes less warm and the fan does not run as fast/much. But this works only with modern processors. If you have an old (or even newer) Intel-Pentium this will not work.
Power consumption and heat are tied. Drop power consumption, you will drop heat output, increase power consumption, you will increase heat output.

CPU frequency scaling wont work with Intel P4D/P4 CPUs or the earlier CPUs, but should work with all Core Duo and later CPUs. Even CPUs without CPU frequency scaling should alter fan speed with load and heat.
 
Old 06-28-2011, 11:27 AM   #11
cheperico
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Thanks

for all that info
 
Old 06-28-2011, 12:15 PM   #12
Ahau
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You might consider Porteus for this. V1.0 has kernel version 2.38.8. I can't say I've tested it with hardware as new as yours, but if it boots up, you can use the lightweight LXDE instead of KDE, and run the power_saver script to automatically lower your processor speed (I do this all the time to save power while writing docs on the bus), and if you run it off a USB drive, you can use the 'nohd' cheatcode to prevent it from detecting your hard drive (though I haven't tested how much power this may or may not save).

Good Luck!
 
Old 06-29-2011, 09:55 AM   #13
Ahau
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So, I was intrigued by this thread, and decided to do some homework, and a little testing.

I downloaded powertop to check my power consumption while running a handful of distros. I ran all of this on my Dell laptop, which has a Core 2 DUO 2.20Ghz processor, 2GB RAM, nVidia Quadro NVS 140M board (I was not using the nvidia proprietary drivers for any of these tests), and an Intel ICH8 chipset. My laptop has a single harddrive that is fully encrypted and used by windows, so it was not accessible to any of these distros; they were all run off of my 8GB Kingston data traveler 101 G2 flash drive, with NO SWAP partition in use.

I just ran this on the distro's I had already running around, so my apologies for not doing a more exhaustive, broad test. I also checked the consumption a couple minutes after starting up (to let the system settle in), with a couple of terminals and a text editor open. I didn't have time (or an internet connection) to test with web brosing, movies, etc., etc.,

Results (in order of distribution size):

Slitaz 3.0
ISO size: 30MB
WM/DE: JWM
20 second boot time
RAM consumption: 140MB
Power consumption: 24.9 Watts

Puppy (lucid puppy 5.2.5)
ISO size: 127MB
WM/DE: JWM
40 second boot time
RAM consumption: 429MB
Power consumption: 26.6 Watts

Slax 6.1.2
ISO size: 200MB
WM/DE: KDE (3.5.10)
40 second boot time
RAM consuption: 429MB
Power consumption: 26.9W

Porteus V1.0 32-bit:
ISO size: 234MB
(Porteus comes with LXDE and KDE)

WM/DE: LXDE
15-20 second boot time (I forgot to time it, and my battery ran out before I finished testing!)
RAM consumption: 499MB
Power consumption: 26.4W

WM/DE: KDE 3.5.12 (Trinity)
32 second boot time
RAM consumption: 641MB
Power consumption: 26.8W

Porteus V1.0 64-bit:
ISO size: 300MB

WM/DE: LXDE
20 second boot time
RAM consumption: 618MB
Power consumption: 25.8W

WM/DE: KDE 4.6.4
41 second boot time
RAM consumption: 958MB
Power consumption: 24.5W

(I realize over half of my data comes from Porteus, but I wanted to compare between 32/64 bit and between lightweight and standard DE's with the same kernel config)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What my test seems to indicate is that, for my system at least, the size of the distro, the RAM usage, and the desktop environment are relatively arbitrary. There is only a 10% spread between the highest and lowest consumers, and the lowest consumer was the largest, most RAM intensive distro.

It stands to reason that your hardware and your own diligence is more responsible for your power savings than your distro; that said, there are many power saving options that can be compiled into your kernel or applied manually to help eek out more savings. I'll be doing some more research on these options. I haven't tried WattOS yet (but I plan to give it a shot today). I strongly recommend the powertop program. It will watch your power usage, and provide hints for reducing your consumption. Note--I've been using pre-compiled binaries and getting suggestions about enabling kernel configs that are already enabled in my kernel, and enabling options that don't exist in my configs. I've got the source code now and I'm going to compile it against my system to see how it improves powertop's functionality (though I am a bit worried that it's out of date compared to my kernel).

NOTE: I also tried lowering my CPU to 800mhz, in Porteus. That didn't seem to change the power consumption. I'm looking into that, to see if it's related to my processor and/or my BIOS settings.

Last edited by Ahau; 06-29-2011 at 09:59 AM.
 
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:31 PM   #14
jefro
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I would have used a wattmeter at the plug.

Did you try any of these? http://www.lesswatts.org/downloads/
 
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:38 PM   #15
szboardstretcher
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RHEL6 lasts a while for me. It has a tickless kernel, and very few extra processes running. On a studio xps 1640, which gets about 71m with windows I can get about 85m.
 
  


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