Microsoft, Intel show Windows 7 battery life improvements


— 6:00 AM on September 2, 2009

The Windows 7 review we published last week focused on the desktop side of things, but notebook users have reasons to get excited, too. CNet News reports that Microsoft and Intel have demonstrated that the new operating system can bring about substantial battery life savings when playing DVDs:

At a demo on Tuesday, Microsoft showed two identical laptops playing the same DVD, with the Windows 7-equipped notebook getting 20 percent better battery life than one running Windows Vista. In general, users can expect newer systems running Windows 7 to offer 10 percent to 20 percent better battery improvement when watching a DVD.

A photo of the two test systems, apparently both Lenovo ThinkPad T400s, shows the Windows 7-powered machine drawing 15.6 W and the one with Vista consuming 20.5 W. "Estimated total runtime" lines quote 5.46 hours for the former and 4.14 hours for the latter. The article doesn't elaborate on the reasons for the big difference, but perhaps Windows Media Player 12 might be partly responsible.

Windows 7 may improve battery life outside of DVD playback, too, although CNet says Microsoft declined to provide estimates for that. Many factors could sway the results, said the company's Ruston Panabaker. Still, a chart displayed at the event shows a 2.9% delta between idle power consumption for the two laptops.

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