PowerBook Power Usage

I've been spending a lot of time with the PowerBook lately away from power sources (in meetings, on airplanes, etc), and I've had to resort to some manual power management to make it last as long as I'd like.

By manual power management, I mean things like making sure the apps I'm using aren't CPU hogs (to keep the CPU from having to work harder thus using more power), and dimming the screen or even turning the backlight off for times when I'm not using the Notebook but the amount of time I won't need it for doesn't warrant closing it).

I'm going to do some tests to determine which of these techniques works. I also want to see what the effect of running CPU hogging or disk hogging applications is. The tests I'm going to run are:

  • Dimming the screen
  • Turning the screen off
  • Turning off Wi-Fi
  • Turning off Bluetooth
  • Running an application that consumes 100% CPU
  • Running large file copies constantly (so disk, but little CPU)
  • Lots of 802.11g network traffic

My plan is to set the computer to the Normal power usage profile but set to never sleep and never turn the display off, pull out the power cord with a 100% charge and let it drain to where it shuts off, and recording how long it lasted. Then I'll do the same thing with each of the above options.

Should take a few days. Any other tests I should do?