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

  • JarredWalton - Sunday, September 13, 2009 - link

    No. No they don't. Does "anything" mean the same as "all"? Does "everything" mean the same as "anything"? I'll give you the use of "except" in place of "but" for this phrase, but to suggest I replace a two syllable phrase with a 5/6 syllable phrase (assuming you want to be snobbish and pronounce "everything" as ev-er-ee-thing instead of ev-ree-thing) is at best a stylistic difference of opinion and at worst flame bait. Living in London doesn't actually make you a master of the English language.

    If you want to prove me wrong, you're going to have to do it with links that show how my usage is improper rather than vague statements like, "I have an Oxford English dictionary in my lap and I'm in downtown London, so I bloody well know what I'm talking about!" Right now you've given nothing other than your own opinion to show you're right, along with claims of references that support you. At least whatthehey had some links to some site, but of course your "superior" opinion is that the linked site is wrong as well. So far, I haven't even seen anything that supports your opinion -- not even with the help of Google.

    Here's a US reference to support my cause." target="_blank">Definition: "all but". Merriam-Webster supports my usage as meaning "nearly", and indeed in 2002 the browser wars were nearly over. The only usage I've heard for "anything but" is in a phrase like, "Please don't cry - anything but that! I can't take crying." Obviously, that usage isn't anything like "all but" or "nearly". "Anything but" conveys a message of being far from something. "This vacation has been anything but fun, what with the bad weather, car problems, and trolls running rampant in the forums."

    Now quit the trolling and keep things civil and we can all get along.
  • whatthehey - Sunday, September 13, 2009 - link

    Well said Jarred. With every response fsardis only proves more completely that he's a complete asshat.

    "I first saw this misuse of the expression on the internet and it seems there are many places it is incorrectly explained." Clearly you're not well read, as the phrase has been around for a hell of a lot longer than the Internet!

    "The entire UK uses the expression 'all but' as a way to say 'all except'." Congratulation to the entire UK, except that we're discussing "all but" and you started saying "anything but", you stupid twat. Go back and reread your post. Even better is this:

    "Oxford Definition of 'all but' is as follows straight from the book: 'all but: everything short of'." Exactly. Do you not even know how to understand your own dictionary? Let's try this: "Seven years ago, the browser wars seemed everything short of ended." See, right there it's just as if he had written "nearly" in place of "all but"! You're putting your foot in your mouth so hard, it's a wonder you can breathe!

    "Now if it means 'anything short of', then saying 'all but over' means 'anything short of over', which means it is not over at all if it is anything in the whole world apart from being over." You're right, but once again you're making a huge mistake because you just changed the bloody Oxford English definition from "everything short of" to "anything short of". Damn you're thick in the head! Are you such a cursed moron that you don't know that "everything" and "anything" have completely different meanings? Even in the UK, they mean different things.">">

    Stop substituting words that aren't equivalent and you'll avoid digging the hole you're in any deeper.

    And the coup de grace: "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." That's like trying to say you're smart because you're from New York (lots of dumb people there as well, considering the millions that live there). Thanks for letting us all know that there are people in London with a bloody dictionary in their hands, and they can read it, and yet THEY STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT SAYS!

    Even a poor online translation to another language gets it right. In German, Bablefish suggests "Vor sieben Jahren, alle schienen Browserskriege als beendet." Close enough for our purposes. Put that back into English and you get: "Seven years before, all browser wars seemed as terminated." That's closer than your silly "anything except ended" mistranslation.

    Perhaps I'm the only one that's reminded of a recent Dilbert comic. Who know that the English forum trolls could also be PHBs?"> "BE WRONG FSARDIS! JUST BE WRONG!" And you are definitely wrong, whether you admit it or not.
  • Pirks - Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - link

    Yeah, fsardis is a total fuckup cockoo type of guy, don't pay attention to him. Very well known troll he is ;) Gooood to see this stupid fsardis twit pwned thoroughly here, hehehe :)) Reply
  • fsardis - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    You are a total idiot. Learn english. The site you linked is just as wrong as you are. Just to enlighten you of your own idiocy, the entire UK uses the expression "all but" as a way to say "all except".
    I first saw this misuse of the expression on the internet and it seems there are many places it is incorrectly explained. I suggest you pick up a real dictionary on paper written by some people at Oxford and open up your eyes before you go and ridicule yourself on the internet by linking sites that are anytihng but intelligent.

    Oxford Definition of "all but" is as follows straight from the book: "all but: everything short of"

    Now if it means "anything short of", then saying "all but over" means "anything short of over", which means it is not over at all if it is anything in the whole world apart from being over.
    Or is this way too complicated for your shoe size IQ?
  • jojo4u - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    IE8 is beste because the Flash ActiveX Plugin is the most performant. The other browsers under Windows are still ok, but with OS X and Linux this bites you hard. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    I suspect, but have no numbers to prove that Chrome uses more battery because it is faster. I have been using Firefox previous to Chrome at least close to when it came out. Lately, I have been using Chrome 2, and now that it works with the websites I frequent it is noticeably faster. Sites with lots of images load a lot faster, and the browser just seems more responsive. I have given consideration to trying Firefox mobile though. This could be a different story.

    Chrome does also seem to have its own flaws, but from what I have been seeing lately they are small. One would be the DNS pool cache problem I have read that Firefox also exhibits. A simple ipconfig /flushdns while elevated seems to do the job though. Between the two, I of course pick Chrome, because performance is what I am after.

    IE has not even been a consideration in my book for a very long time, and I would rip it out if I could. Especially a browser that is *still* integral to the OS, which I am scratching my head as to why this is legal( again ). Maybe I Need a German licensed copy ? Oh well.

    They all look fine to me though. Aesthetically. Well at least the top 3.
  • blackshard - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    Hi, maybe Chrome is compiled with some atom optimizations. I mean, common x86 processors have enough horsepower for anything, instead Atoms are still not so powerful, so *maybe* Chrome could have been optimized to help the "weaks", since the stronger processors don't need such help.

    I still like firefox, as it is a multi-platform software and still has very optimized code. It's really not common seeing such an optimization grade in multi-platform software.
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    This is not using an Atom based system, this is on a T3400 based laptop with 4GB of RAM in Vista Home Premium. Also did some comparisons on a much older P4 2.4Ghz laptop I had as well. Even more noticeable on the P4, but still a big difference of time on both systems. Nothing was done "scientifically", but a person would have to have no concept of time not to see the differences. Think of the differences between nearly instant vs. several more seconds.

    Now, this noticeable difference was a few months ago, so maybe things have changed more recently. However, it seems to me that the graphics rendering routines are more optimized, or were in Chrome. Having done some development with graphics myself, I could see this happening, but can not say for sure that this is actually the case.
  • llongbourne - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    I run Portable Firefox from a RAM disk. I'd like to believe that it increases battery life through reduced HDD use, but of course I'm not equipped for any kind of rigorous comparison.

    I'd be interested to see this setup included, not least because it improves the speed of a number of browsing actions too. (I've written briefly here with the details.)
  • llongbourne - Saturday, September 12, 2009 - link

    Sorry, link didn't embed. It's here:">

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