Well after recent upgrades of the your previous Distro version’s or on the fresh install of your flavour of Linux on your laptop one key feature all of us look into is the battery life. My was hanging onto the battery for about 1.5 Hours in Fedora 17 (Linux) but as soon as I rebooted into Windows 7 I would have a battery life of more than 3.5 Hours.
I searched all over the internet. Many suggested it was a kernel issue and you had to pass parameter’s like “pcie_aspm=force” to stop the power drain issue. My main concern over this was that the fan constantly ran at full speed and the temperature(heat) produced was also very high.
Apparently I knew I had a Nvidia Graphic card installed on my laptop and wondered if that could be the actual source of damage. Guess What?
The next thing I went was more like a mountain hill ride. I learned about this new Technology called “Optimus Technology” on Nvidia. The beauty of this techno was that it would switch automatically from the Intel Graphic card to the Nvidia graphic card; thereby reducing power consumption to a great extent. You can check if your laptop has this technology by using this command “lspci |grep -i VGA” (it will give you a 2 line output).
The next issue lies in fixing the problem. Since it was no ordinary Nvidia I couldn’t just installed the driver’s from the rpm fusion repo following online tutorials. This will solve most battery issue’s if the “lspci |grep -i VGA” shows one line output. What i stumbled upon next was even more fascinating – The Bumblebee Project (TPB)[no not The Pirate Bay]. This project aims at providing a proper working environment for those who are Optimus enabled. It uses the Nouveau or the proprietary Nvidia drivers to setup your system and make it function smoothly. Nvidia driver’s are even more tricky to install so i stuck to the Nouveau version itself.
Here’s the official page – http://bumblebee-project.org/ . It’s got all the instruction to get your Graphic Card’s ready for Optimus. Certain Distro’s like Ubuntu even have packaged versions.
After Installing Bumblebee – 3.5 Hours of battery life, Normal Heat, Low Fan Speed 😀
One thing I learned – Always install the Graphic Card Driver be it Ati or Nvidia. There are tutorials on the net. Just follow them. Save Battery! 😀