Since GNOME 3 uses hardware acceleration by default, I assume that it will be worse for battery life on my laptop, but I can't actually find anything to back this up, and by how much. Has anyone done benchmarks of this yet?

I really like the interface but I don't want to kill my battery life by upgrading (and I'm on a distro where it would be difficult to go back).

  • Me curious what distro you using?
    – tshepang
    Apr 9, 2011 at 21:38
  • @Tshepang: Arch Linux. I could downgrade if I really wanted to, but Arch isn't really designed for that. Apr 9, 2011 at 22:03
  • I expect that there will be an option to run gnome-panel+metacity even on Arch, selectable on login. This is because the idea of GNOME folk is to have a fallback mechanism for hardware that doesn't support advanced rendering that gnome-shell requires.
    – tshepang
    Apr 9, 2011 at 22:33
  • 1
    Hardware acceleration might actually use less battery life. For example, see claims by Adobe regarding Flash on Macs engadget.com/2010/11/16/…
    – Rob
    Apr 10, 2011 at 12:46
  • 1
    @Tshepang - As far as I can tell, fallback mode always has two panels, which are set up the same as the defaults in GNOME 2. Panels can't be removed, the taskbar can't be moved to the top panel, and the workspaces thing can't be turned off. Apr 12, 2011 at 2:10

2 Answers 2


In my experience, the battery life is the same (if not better).

I got before:

$ grep rate /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state
present rate:            10142 mW

now I get:

$ grep rate /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state
present rate:            10219 mW
$ grep rate /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state
present rate:            9669 mW
$ grep rate /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state
present rate:            9669 mW

I'm also using Arch Linux, with ASUS U31 and the Nvidia card disabled with acpi_call, so I'm only using the integrated Intel card.


Battery life halved on HP EliteBook 8730w. Not impressed. Got 2 hours with Fedora 14/GNOME 2, getting just under an hour out of Fedora 15/GNOME 3. Not impressed.

  • Can you clarify a bit more (making your answer more constructive) what is the reason why you are getting less battery time? For instance, what does powertop say?
    – rbrito
    Nov 10, 2012 at 17:44
  • Oh, just saw this literally YEARS after comment. Sorry for lack of constructivity (is that a word?) in original post, but lack the knowledge to provide the necessary data. All I can tell you is standard install Fedora 14/GNOME2 and standard install Fedora 15/GNOME3 (though first version with GNOME3, so probably much improved now) there was a HUGE gulf in battery performance on the exact same machine. Still have it, would happily use old disks to benchmark for you if still of interest.
    – Greg
    Dec 28, 2013 at 22:04

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