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I just installed Linux on a laptop of mine (it's Lubuntu 15.04 on a Lenovo X201, Core i5 M540, 2GB mem). I'm currently seeing 21580 mW power draw with a couple of apps open (Firefox with a few tabs and Ghostery, and LibreOffice Writer). I haven't tweaked the system in any way, and am using the stock kernel; this means ~3h or so of battery life with my model and my current battery.

What should I / can I do to reduce the power draw? I'd rather get generally-useful advice rather than something specific to the distro or apps I'm using just now (but distro-specific advice is also relevant).

Notes:

  • I am willing to turn off some hardware functionality, as long as it's very easy for me to turn it back on when I need to.
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What is your laptop model ? and does it have any discrete GPU (i.e. nVIDIA or RADEON) ?

About 21.6 W power consumption while only 3 apps are open on Lubuntu is scary, my 15.6" Acer 5830TG laptop never consumes more then 12 W in most condition when running on battery power.

Laptop power consumption depends on various thing like display size and brightness , work load , wi-fi,bluetooth on or off, hard drive spin down etc, but never exceed above 15 W in most condition(According to my experience).

But if you have a laptop with discrete GPU (switchable graphics like nVIDIA optimus) power consumption increases about 2-3 times more, almost above 25 W and laptop runs very hot(over 60 degree C).

  • So try to find out do you have a discrete GPU ? if yes, find a way to turn off it.

  • turn off wi-fi and bluetooth if possible ,

  • reduce display brightness

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You can install the tool 'powertop'. This will show you how much power various components and processes are using. One of the tabs of powertop will let you toggle various settings from 'bad' to 'good' (in terms of power-usage).

This allows you to (for example) disable usb-ports, wifi adapters, webcams and control settings such as disk-spindown timings.

The tool will also tell you which commands it runs, so you could then run these manually, or put them in startup-scripts.

Powertop is written and maintained by developers from Intel, but it should also work for AMD based systems.

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