June 6, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

Get ready for the 9-to-5 notebook

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and reduce average power consumption to 9 watts.

"Internally, we call it 1-2-6: one watt for the processor, two for the chipset and six for the rest of the system. If you want to get to eight hours, we recommend integrated graphics in chipsets," Trainor said. "We can demonstrate lab-built batteries that can do 72 watt hours and we believe one or more companies will be in production in reasonable volumes" toward 2008.

Easy on the gas pedal
Other elements of a notebook also make a difference. For the last several years, component makers steadily increased energy efficiency in many parts. LCD manufacturers, for instance, started to sell panels that consumed only 3 watts of power on average, a substantial improvement. LCD panels typically account for about 30 percent of overall notebook power consumption.

Another recent improvement for screens comes in the form of Intel's Display Power Saving Technology. With it, the pixels in a digital picture or graphic image are opened wider than normal, which lets more light in. In ordinary circumstances, the added light would wash out the picture, but the chipset also turns down the light source inside the panel. In the end, the image looks the same, but overall power consumption eases back from 4.8 watts to 3.2 watts. (The technology in part derives from Taiwan's Toppoly, in which Intel Capital has made an investment.)

On the other hand, screens that use OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, technology may take awhile to reach notebooks. Cell phone manufacturers already use them. But cell phone screens are mostly dark--only the numbers light up--while notebook screens are generally fully lit. OLEDs, therefore, may not provide power consumption advantages, Trainor theorized.

The hard drive, which on average consumes about 8 percent of a notebook's overall power, will also see improvements. At Microsoft's WinHEC gathering earlier this spring, Samsung showed off a hard drive in which most data gets stored to flash memory first. With the addition of flash, the hard drive can hibernate most of the time, and thereby extend battery life of a notebook by a half hour or more, according to Samsung.

Intel's upcoming Yonah notebook chip, due in the first quarter of 2006, will also consume less power than current Pentium M processors, Eden said. In addition, chipsets will begin to include more energy efficiency technology. Chipsets typically cost far less than processors and the same degree of energy conservation has not been applied to them.

Competitor Via Technologies also recently came out with a power-efficient notebook chip, the C7.

Despite the changes, consumers aren't likely to see radical shifts in notebook design. Enthusiasm for fuel cells, for instance, appears to be waning.

Fuel cells are bulky, Trainor said, and more time and money will be required to shrink them. Energy efficiency will also have to be improved. In addition, fuel cell refills will cost money, in contrast with the seemingly no-cost charging of a lithium ion battery via a wall socket.

"It may be the next decade," Trainor said," before we see fuel cells inside the battery cavity."

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11 comments

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It's already here
Sorry, but this article caught my attention, and I have to say this. It's already here. It's called a 12 cell Lithium Ion battery. I have a Toshiba Satellite A55-S306, and Toshiba sells a 12 cell battery that will give my laptop an estimated 12 hours. I wanted desperately to flame this topic and the fact that the person who wrote it probably earns more money than I do, but I can't do that on this network.
Posted by NeoSadist (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
er, reprint: 8 hours
Sorry, make that 8 hours. However, I'm military, I'm used to 12 more than 8.
Posted by NeoSadist (2 comments )
Link Flag
No, you missed something...
Sure you have a 30 pound backpack ion juiced energy cell that you plug your laptop into, sweet... The point was for the sub 5 pound laptops with ONLY internal power cells.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
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New idea
Maybe they should daisy-chain couple of those 4-hour batteries to create one super 8 hour one.

Well this at least shows how inovative humar race is for real,we got super fast notebooks but we still can not use them as real notebooks.Mayne Intel should get into battery market and start creating 2Ghz....um wait...
Posted by (32 comments )
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Flesh this out
its nice to see progress in battery life and notebook energy consumption. but what i would really like to see is these same methods applied to desktops.

think about about much power your notebook uses. it's pretty fast isn't it? how about your desktop? how much power does it use? how fast is it?

now, how much faster is a desktop than a laptop? when matched with similar specs, they are about the same. why can't we have desktops that consume less? we won't see the benifit in our utility bills, but if everyone had more efficient computers at home, our overall electricity consumption would plumit. thats good for everyone.

i mean, look at the Apple dual G5 workstation. sure it's fast and it's a mac, but it uses up to 800 watts, if i understand correctly. i hate to rag on apple cuase they do such good work, but i would think that such an innovative company would do more to get their consumption down to moderate levels. i hope to see more progress if/when they switch to working with intel.

comments, anyone?
Posted by Dibbs (158 comments )
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Desktop power consumption ...
Desktop power consumption is rapidly becomming an issue, as more computers stay on for longer perios of time and trend to consume more as they become faster.

THG (Tom Hardware Guide) just started tracking power consumption for the new Dual core processors from Intel and AMD used in similarly configured systems.

As they found out, there is a large difference between the two processors :
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://tomshardware.com/cpu/20050509/cual_core_athlon-19.html" target="_newWindow">http://tomshardware.com/cpu/20050509/cual_core_athlon-19.html</a>
Posted by My-Self (242 comments )
Link Flag
Panasonic T4 notebook
Panasonic's T4 series weighs 1kg, 12.1" XGA screen, 1.2GHZ P-M, and the battery lasts 12 hours.
(Japanese link)
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://panasonic.jp/pc/products/t4g/index.html" target="_newWindow">http://panasonic.jp/pc/products/t4g/index.html</a>
Posted by (1 comment )
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Optical drive version
Both the Panasonic R4 and the T4 sport fantastic battery lives, right? But look at the W4 with DVD-RW and the life goes from 12 hours to 4 hours. Compare them here:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.kemplar.com/panasonic_w4.php" target="_newWindow">http://www.kemplar.com/panasonic_w4.php</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.kemplar.com/panasonic_t4.php" target="_newWindow">http://www.kemplar.com/panasonic_t4.php</a>

Same exact units, but one has optical and one doesn't. I'm just wandering why Panasonic can't supply the same, or at least comparable, battery life for the units with the optical drive. Does a DVD-RW really suck up *that* much energy?
Posted by (1 comment )
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I discussed this with Intel 6 months ago.
I was interviewing at Intel in Jan. 2005, and asked a manager in future chip development about laptops with long battery life. He said that consumers were interested in speed, not long battery life.

It is amazing how long it takes companies to come into touch with the real world...

-Todd
Posted by (1 comment )
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New Battery
I just finally gave up on my laptop battery. I would take it to work just for it to die half-way through the day. A co-worker of mine told me to go to <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.laptopsforless.com/laptopbattery" target="_newWindow">http://www.laptopsforless.com/laptopbattery</a> for really affordable and reliable batteries. I checked it out and I love my new battery. I would recommend it to anyone in need.
Posted by GreenApple123 (7 comments )
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20+ Hour Per Charge Laptop Battery
For me 9-TO-5 just isn't enough so I picked up this swift little external laptop battery from The Battery Geeks called the Portable Power Station which is giving my notebook over an additional 20 hours of run time per charge. Another cool thing about it is that I can also power and recharge my cell phone, iPod and PSP and I can also leave all my A/C adapters behind since I can also use this battery pack as one if needed.
Posted by anthonywilliams72 (2 comments )
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