Microsoft is seeking to improve battery life for notebooks with Windows 7.
As PDC2008 continues on this week, Windows 7 is a topic garnering plenty of attention. Although the new taskbar is pretty and all, a monumentally more important aspect of Windows 7 is arguably the improved battery life it will offer notebooks. With notebooks now outselling desktop computers, increased mobile performance is a feature that many will greatly appreciate.
According to Extremetech, Windows 7 will feature a power audit tool that will help users improve their notebook battery life and reduce energy usage. While dimming a screen’s brightness is one simple way to save power, Microsoft realizes that there are also other more advanced methods of reducing power consumption, such as increasing the system timer. By increasing the system timer from 1ms to 15.6ms, battery life can be increased by 10-percent. We have yet to be see how this will work in practice, but one would imagine that altering the system timer too much could result in a less responsive system or choppy performance. During moments of idle usage however, dynamically altering the system timer to improve battery life could make a lot of sense.
As recently discovered by Anandtech, it was unexpectedly found during tests with the new Apple MacBooks that battery life was more than doubled when using the Apple Mac OS X than when compared to using Windows Vista. While wireless Internet browsing for example, a MacBook Air could achieve 4.98-hours of battery life, but when using Windows Vista on the same notebook, only 2.55-hours could be achieved. This result still remains largely unexplained and is a startling find.
Although there are likely many reasons why Windows Vista offers comparably poor battery performance, one reason might be in regards to the legacy support Windows is known to provide. If this is the case, it might be fundamentally more difficult for Microsoft to implement the same level of battery life that Mac OS X is capable of. A more modularized Windows could be one way to overcome this issue, and we have been hearing Windows 7 will indeed be more modularized, so there is further hope.