AMD Browser Battery Life

We stuck to the most recent versions of the most popular web browsers for testing. Our list includes Apple Safari (version 4.0.3), Google Chrome (version, Mozilla Firefox (version 3.5.2), Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 8.0.6001.18813), and Opera (versions 9.6.4 and 10 Beta 3). We included two versions of Opera simply because version 10 wasn't final during testing, although it appears there's little difference between the two when it comes to battery life. We also ran a test using Firefox with the AdBlock Plus add-on, which means the Flash advertisements didn't show up. The compromise there is that AdBlock requires more processing time up front in order to parse the HTML. Each test was done (at least) twice, taking the higher score of the runs.

Here are the results of our testing, starting with the Gateway NV52, a laptop based on the AMD RS780MN platform. Please note that unlike our normal battery life tests, we set the laptop on the Vista "Power Saver" profile instead of "Balanced", with the hard drive set to power down after 3 minutes and the maximum CPU performance set at 50%. This improves battery life on all laptops, sometimes by a significant amount.

Gateway NV5214u Specifications
Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 QL-64 (Dual-core, 2.1GHz, 2x512KB L2, 65nm, 35W, 667MHz FSB)
Chipset AMD RS780MN + SB700
Memory 2x2048MB DDR2-667
Graphics Integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200
Display 15.6" Glossy LED-Backlit 16:9 WXGA (1366x768)
Hard Drive 320GB 5400RPM
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Networking Gigabit Ethernet
802.11n WiFi
56K Modem
Audio 2-Channel HD Audio (2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
Battery 6-Cell 10.8V, 4400mAhr, 47.5Whr
Front Side None
Left Side SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro/xD reader
Microphone/Headphone Jacks (2.0 audio with S/PDIF support)
2 x USB 2.0
Gigabit Ethernet
AC Power Connection
Kensington Lock
Right Side DVDRW Optical Drive
2 x USB 2.0
56K Modem
Power Button
Back Side Heat Exhaust Port
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 14.6" x 9.8" x 1.0"-1.5" (WxDxH)
Weight 5.8 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras Webcam
Alternate colors/models available
Blue: NV5213u
Black: NV5215u
Red: NV5216u
Warranty 1-year standard Gateway warranty
Extended warranties available
Price NV5214u available at Best Buy for $500

Gateway NV52

There are a few interesting tidbits to point out. First, the margin of error between runs is around 3% because of network issues, website content, and fluctuation in battery discharging rates. That's why we ran each test at least twice, so the results above should be accurate to within around 1%, for the best-case results. That said, the best battery life on the NV52 ends up coming from what most consider the slowest browser, Internet Explorer 8. Google's Chrome browser matches IE8 at 162 minutes, so there's something to be said for the lightweight newcomer being fast and lean. (Note that we reran the IE8 test one more time to verify the result, and it came out quite a bit lower the second time. We think there was a network glitch with the originally reported score of 175 minutes -- sorry for the confusion.) Our thought is that Microsoft has optimized IE8 better than most of the competition, since it's a major part of the OS.

Firefox with Adblock Plus places at the top, since Flash content can dramatically increase CPU usage relative to static images; most probably assumed AdBlock would help more, but it only improved battery life with Firefox by 4.3%. Opera 9.6.4 comes in after Chrome and IE8, followed by the first major gap: Opera 9 beat Opera 10 by 9%. At the back of the pack, Apple's Safari 4 web browser trails Opera 10 by 10% -- or if you prefer, IE8 and Chrome give you 24% more battery life under Windows Vista than Safari 4. As much as some people might like Apple's products, clearly Safari 4 isn't the best web browser when it comes to battery life.

Index Intel Browser Battery Life


View All Comments

  • trochevs - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    I was wondering what is the impact of the fact that IE is build into the OS. There are several libraries that are part of the IE (ActiveX and HTML rendering DLLs) that are running at all time. So when you test Firefox you are actually running Firefox + part of IE. Can we come with test that shows the impact?

    Also instead of reloading the same page, can we just load new page? That seem more realistic browsing pattern.

    Best regards,
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    Technically the test starts the browser with the browser configured to load the three test web sites. After 60 seconds, it kills the browser process and waits a bit before starting it again. I tried Firefox with "ReloadEvery" enabled and found that it got worse battery life, so I stuck with the method described for all the browsers. It's also more strenuous than a test that cycles through a set series of pages I'd imagine, because of the starting/stopping of the browsers, though all of the necessary data is cached after the first loop so it probably doesn't make that much of a difference. (All the browsers restart almost immediately.)

    As for testing with IE ripped out and the DLLs disabled, I'm not quite sure how to accomplish that. Suggestions?
  • trochevs - Saturday, September 19, 2009 - link

    I have played with different test scenarios, but finding practical one proves to be impossible. The only test I can come are only for academic research and most likely will raise more questions then answers.
    scenario #1: I have read several articles on the Internet that using tool nLite you can remaster Windows XP CD and remove the IE, but I think we are going to test crippled and practically useless OS.

    scenario #2: I don't know about IE8, but IE7 could be installed under WINE on Linux. Repeat the same test without Safari. The problem with this test is that result could not be compared with your current test because:
    1. Impact on power usage by the entire OS will be bigger then the browsers.
    2. IE will be in disadvantage position by default because will run under WINE. Although there could be some surprises here. In some very specific cases some Windows programs run faster under WINE compared to Windows. Also we can test Firefox running under WINE as reference.

    Of course all this is pure academic research. On the second thought repeating this test under Linux could give some real answers how Linux is compared to Windows.
  • fsardis - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    why is it that on this site the authors cannot get this expression right? it is annoying. when you say something is anything but, you mean that it is anything except. so if the browser wars seemed anything except ended, why do you go in the next sentence and describe the opposite?
    Learn basic english first, then write articles. Even Anand got this wrong on his latest SSD article. Bloody irritating every single time.
  • andrihb - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    I thought "anything but" meant exactly the same as "anything except". Reply
  • fsardis - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    Yes, it does mean "everything except". So tell my why the author writes: "Seven years ago, the browser wars seemed all but ended",
    which is defined by Oxford Dictionary as "The browser wars seemed all except over" and then proceeds to explain: "AOL bought out Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer dominated the market, and the era of browser-based exploits began", which in simple words translates to: "The competition is dead and IE won".

    So tell me, how i it possible for the war to be anything except over and in the next sentence to explain how the war is actually over?
    And you got the idiot below trying to defend it when I live right in the centre of London and I am holding the bloody dictionary in my hands. (And that one is for the retard who said I am a hillbilly).
  • erple2 - Monday, September 14, 2009 - link

    So your argument is hinging on your notion that:

    "Seven years ago, the browser wars seemed all but ended."

    means the same thing as:

    "Seven years ago, the browser wars seemed anything but ended."

    ? If not, then I don't understand the first sentence in your second paragraph:

    "So tell me, how i it possible for the war to be anything except over and in the next sentence to explain how the war is actually over?"

    Jarred didn't say that the war is "anything except over". That was you that misinterpreted what was said. In fact, it is quite clearly:

    "all but ended"

    Which according to previous posts, you correctly surmise that the expression means the same as "everything except ended". But certainly not "anything except ended".

    You are therefore, incorrect in your statement. Accept it and move on.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, September 13, 2009 - link

    You need to read your dictionary a bit more closely. You say it means "everything short of" but then you misunderstand what that means. Everything short of ended would mean it's nearly over. You keep using phrases that mean the exact opposite of that. "Anything except" and "everything except" are not synonyms, they're antonyms -- certainly not in the US.

    I wouldn't go to a UK based site and try to make them conform to US English, but if you like picking fights go right ahead. People in the US use the phrase as I used it. Sorry if that offends you, but if you're that easily offended by my use of the English language I would guess you have bigger issues to deal with.
  • whatthehey - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    Forewarning: The following is a rude response. Why? As the saying goes, "when in Rome...." I figure if you're going to talk to a troll at all, you need to use their language. Yes, I kicked the chastising up a notch, if only because someone had the gall to post a comment criticizing a writer when in fact they are 100% in the wrong due to a lack of reading comprehension skills. With that disclaimer out of the way....

    There's nothing like being wrong whilst screaming at the top of your lungs, eh fsardis? Instead of being a stupid twit, why don't you do a bit of research. And speaking of annoying, you can't even use proper capitalization and have the balls to complain about the writing of Jarred and Anand. Bloody hypocrite! Okay children, time for class....">

    Oops... look at that: you're wrong fsardis! You'll find that the phrase "all but" is a synonym for "almost", "just about", "nearly", or even "well-nigh". You probably think the last is also incorrect, just because you've never used it, right?

    What's truly amazing is that you rip off a post like yours complaining about Jarred's use of a phrase, but then you make a mistake and don't even copy the phrase properly! Look at the first sentence (which you managed to quote in the subject at least): "The browser wars seemed all but ended...." You then lambaste Jarred for saying "anything but" which means the exact opposite. If you had paused to reflect for a minute why he would describe the exact opposite after that opening statement, or maybe even tried Google, you could have saved yourself some embarrassment. In 2002, the browsers wars were most certainly "nearly ended" or "all but over" or "practically finished". That's what the introduction used as a starting point, and all you could do is get hung up on a phrase your puny little brain didn't grasp.

    Maybe you should have paused to think for a minute before acting like a stupid troll, but I don't suppose trolls are good at thinking. Perhaps you ought to try learning to read/write English at something approaching the level of an educated adult before critiquing people for not dumbing down their text to a sixth grade level. I'm probably being too harsh, as phrases like "all but ended" aren't encountered much in the backwaters of hillbilly communities. It's probably hard for someone who's never left Essex to understand, but...oh, never mind; I'm done.
  • fsardis - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    oh by the way, "anything but" and "all but" mean exactly the same damn thing you inbred redneck. Reply

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