I have an Acer Aspire One AO722 netbook that was getting ~7-8+ hours of battery life when using Windows 7 Home Premium.

I figured, heck if I put Ubuntu and an SSD on this thing, I'd be able beat that handily as I've read that Linux has much less overhead and that an SSD is so much more efficient than a HDD.

Well...not so much. I'm lucky if I get more than 2 hours on it now. Since this is horrible for a netbook I'm thinking of doing the unthinkable, putting Windows back on.

I've seen LOTS of similar complaints on earlier versions of Ubuntu (I'm using 13.10) but no solutions that have worked for those others.

Here's to hoping that I'll have some better luck in that someone can tell me what I'm doing wrong here before I dump Ubuntu in favor of an OS (Windows)that will give me the battery life one can expect from a low power computer like a netbook.

Any help would be great. I'm brand new to Ubuntu (Linux) and was really hoping to make the switch from Microsoft for good.

Thank you


1 Answer 1


Driver support for power management varies.

In general, Windows drivers on such devices a pretty well optimized, so usually battery life on Linux will be worse, unless you dig really deep into fine-tuning your power saving options.

Make sure to uninstall software that you do not need. In particular desktop search engines that will check your hard disk for changes. Even when configured to only index on AC power, querying them takes some extra I/O, too. Use an IO monitor such as iotop to identify processes that continually access the hard disk.

Graphics: on my netbook (Intel Atom), graphic effects cost battery life. Now Ubuntu users seem to be very keen on having pretty graphics effects, but in order to save battery, you may want to switch to XFCE (e.g. the Xubuntu variant of Ubuntu). The standard UIs with transparency, zoom, etc. operate your graphics card in 3D mode, and that may use a lot more energy, depending on the hardware.

Drivers: Unfortunately, you bought a device with a Radeon GPU. AMD driver support seems to be worst. For best battery life, I would choose Intel graphics, as Intel works really closely with the Linux kernel developers, and has the best open-source driver support - and puts a lot of effort on power saving; whereas AMD and Nvidia mostly battle for the most power-consuming high-end graphics boards.

Age: Batteries age. I used to get 8 hours from my Atom netbook (it was advertised with "up to 12", but these numbers are usually nonsense), but I believe I'm now down to 3 or 4 hours with actual use. Batteries lose capacity, and I doubt that Windows would get more than 5 hours out of the same battery now. If I could actually do comparable work on Windows at all.

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