Battery run times
We tested battery run times twice: once running TR Browserbench 1.0, a web browsing simulator of our own design, and again looping a 720p Game of Thrones episode in Windows Media Player. (In case you're curious, TR Browserbench is a static version of TR's old home page rigged to refresh every 45 seconds. It cycles through various permutations of text content, images, and Flash ads, with some cache-busting code to keep things realistic.)
Before testing, we conditioned batteries by fully discharging and then recharging each system twice in a row. We also used our colorimeter to equalize display luminosity at around 100 cd/m². That meant brightness levels of 40% for the Trinity system, 70% for the Llano machine, 25% for the Asus N56VM, and 45% for the N53S. The Intel systems had larger panels than the AMD ones, though, so that might have impacted power consumption.
We should note one other caveat: our four machines didn't all have the same battery capacities. The batteries in the two Intel notebooks both had 56 Wh ratings, but the Llano laptop had a 58 Wh battery, and the Trinity system's battery was rated for 54 Wh.
It's no surprise to see the Trinity whitebook pulling off longer run times than the two Intel notebooks, since those have bigger displays and more power-hungry CPUs. The leap over Llano is encouraging, though; coupled with our performance data, it suggests AMD has managed to deliver both higher performance and greater power efficiency without a die shrink.
Now, that said, Trinity's power-efficiency lead over Llano might not be as huge as our web-browsing results suggest. Last year, after much fiddling with BIOS and control panel settings, we managed to squeeze 5.4 hours of web surfing out of the same Llano whitebook. We weren't able to reproduce that result this time, but it's worth keeping in mind.
Even if Trinity only gets you an extra hour of run time over its slower predecessor, though, that's still a nice improvement.
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