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Recently I've bought a Series 7 Ultra Samsung ultrabook and decided to change the OS from originally installed Windows 8 to Ubuntu 14.04LTS. However, it's difficult not to notice great decrease in battery life: on pre-installed Windows 8 battery would last for about 6 hours while on Ubuntu it's almost empty after 2 hours of same kind of work (wi-fi, web, vlc, spotify, intellij idea).

I'm not here to say that Ubuntu's battery performance is worse than Windows, but to ask for suggestions how to improve the situation (2 hours of work is pretty poor battery life).

Can you recommend some sources, applications or tips/tricks that would improve battery life on my ultrabook? I really like the Ubuntu experience, but this makes my machine much less reliable.

I suspect that graphic video card might be one of the issues here. Let me give you tech specs of the ultrabook:

  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5 Processor 3337U (1.80GHz, 3MB L3 Cache)
  • Chipset: Intel HM76
  • Graphic: AMD Radeon™ HD 8570M Graphics with 1GB gDDR3 Graphic Memory (PowerExpress) and Intel(R) HD Graphics 4000
  • Display: 13.3" SuperBright+ 350nit FHD LED Display (1920 x 1080), Anti-Reflective
  • Memory: 10GB DDR3 System Memory at 1,600MHz
  • Hard-drive: 128GB Solid-state Drive

More informations here, on the official page. If it's helpful to provide additional info, I'm happy to do it, just let me know what you need. Thank you.

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I have almost the same machine (730U3E-S02PL, some slight differences in spec), so I can share my experiences with you. Hopefully it will help you to fix the problems with energy drain.

The main reason for the unnaturally high power consumption is that your discrete graphic card (Radeon) is constantly on. To switch it off, you will have to install the official AMD drivers from:

http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop?os=Linux+x86#amd-catalyst-packages

You can try using beta drivers, but I have found them unstable, so I do not recommend them. Unpack the downloaded file and run amd-driver-installer-XXXXXX.run (with root privileges).

After having installed the drivers, reboot your machine. Run the Catalyst Control Center:

sudo amdcccle

and under the "Graphics switching" or whatever (I've got it in Polish...), choose your Intel card. You will have to reboot your computer again. If you see a window informing you that your computer is running in low graphics mode, do not worry. Click cancel and reboot it again. If unity does not start - power your computer off (by pressing and holding the power button for a few secs) and then on again.

Performing these steps alone improved my battery life from like 2 hours to 4+. It also helps with the fan spinning constantly at high speed.

Next thing you can do is to enable intel_pstate (a new power scaling driver used for modern Intel CPUs):

gksu gedit /etc/default/grub

change the line:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"

to:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash intel_pstate=enable"

Save the file, and run these commands:

sudo update-grub
sudo reboot

Install TLP (tool for setting and managing your power-saving options):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw

Install thermald (a tool developed by Intel's Open Source Technology Center which monitors and controls the CPU temperature, preventing it from overheating):

sudo apt-get install thermald

To be able to switch the CPU scaling driver easily, you can use the cpufreq indicator. Install it by using this command:

sudo apt-get install indicator-cpufreq

You can find more details here:

  1. http://www.webupd8.org/2014/04/prevent-your-laptop-from-overheating.html
  2. http://linrunner.de/en/tlp/docs/tlp-configuration.html

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