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Power Plan Controversy

Discussion in 'Windows OS and Software' started by jpzsports, Aug 21, 2009.

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  1. jpzsports

    jpzsports Notebook Evangelist

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    UPDATE 8/2010: I wanted to bump this post for those who haven't seen this before. These tests still apply for Windows 7 as they did for Vista. Basically, setting your power plan to Balanced is better than High Performance 99% of the time


    Since my laptop is 99% of the time plugged in, I have had my power plan set to High Performance since the beginning. Recently I was doing a little research regarding the 3 standard power plans, and have found some interesting results.

    First, here is a basic description of the 3 power plans:

    Like most people know, to get the best battery life switch to Power Saver (or create a custom plan).
    And if you want to be in the middle between performance and battery life, switch to Balanced.
    And to get the best performance, most assume that High Performance is best.
    That's what I thought too, but according to some tests, this isn't necessarily true.

    According to Jenn K. Lee from pocketables.net, her benchmarks showed that Balanced may be better than High Performance. But how could this be? :confused:

    Here's her CrystalMark 2004R3 benchmark tests on an HTC Shift X9500:

    Balanced Power Plan:
    [​IMG]

    Power Saver Power Plan:
    [​IMG]

    High Performance Power Plan:
    [​IMG]


    According to this test, Balanced beats out High Performance.
    ----
    Then she ran the same test on a Sony Vaio TZ170N.
    Here's the results:

    [​IMG]


    Once again, Balanced beats out High Performance.

    For those interested, here are the links to her tests:
    1. http://www.pocketables.net/2008/05/htc-shift-power.html
    2. http://www.pocketables.net/2008/05/sony-vaio-tz-po.html



    So if these tests are correct, we should be using Balanced over High Performance because we would get better performance and save power as well. I'm still skeptical though.

    Some people think there is a flaw in CrystalMark2004R3, so maybe so other forum members here can run their own benchmarks and see if these test results are accurate or not.

    So I hope this information helps, and feel free to post your own findings and tests. I will edit this post if I find any new info.

    EDIT: Some more recent tests have shown a less than 2% difference between "Balanced" and "High Performance." So even if Balanced is not necessarily better performance than High Performance, it still is probably the better power plan to choose because you save power without any performance loss.
    Note: The dots in the Windows Vista Power Options are misleading because it shows Balanced as half the performance of "High Performance". This is inaccurate. In Windows 7, these dots are no longer shown.

    Tests are still be conducted so more info on the way :)


    Consensus so far: Balanced is the best choice. It has basically the same performance of "High Performance" while also conserving power thus leading to a cooler computer. :)
     
  2. davepermen

    davepermen Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    balanced is just as fast as high performance, and due to the throttling down while idling, it may let your system cool down more. this might gain your performance on core i7 systems that can autoclock.

    that's just one idea.

    but one thing is quite logical: high performance is for the ones that want "high performance". but just because they like to read the word. balanced gets the SAME performance when needed. it just trothles down when not needed. and this is a GOOD thing. better cooling, more silent fans, more batterylife.

    balanced > high performance.



    edit: and btw, those profiles are not "magic". they are 100% editable, and documented. so you can reconfigure them to what ever needs you have (i do so), and maybe find out whats the difference there, in their settings.
     
  3. jpzsports

    jpzsports Notebook Evangelist

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    I agree that Balanced makes more sense. Many people have set their Power Plan to High Performance without giving it much thought, so hopefully this thread will help people see that High performance may not be best.
     
  4. davepermen

    davepermen Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    i guess that's why high performance got hidden away in win7 :) because only balanced and energy saving are the ones that normal people ever should need.
     
  5. fonduekid

    fonduekid JSUTAONHTERBIRCKINTEHWLAL

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    This is informative and useful. Thanks a lot.
     
  6. DarkSilver

    DarkSilver MSI Afterburner

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    It is informative.
    I always want the laptop to perform as fast as it capable all the time.
    So, I used RMClock. To make it run at highest FID and lowest VID(without BSOD) all the time. It works better than "High performance" in the Control Panel Power Option. Save electricity(battery last longer due to lowest VID) with highest speed(max FID).
    I never trust build-in Power Option in the Control Panel.
     
  7. jpzsports

    jpzsports Notebook Evangelist

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    Glad to help :)


    Just wondering...I know that the Balanced plan throttles the CPU when it's not needed at max performance, but does it also affect the GPU at all?

    And I'm also still wondering why Balanced would result in better performance than High performance. Even if they were equal, that would be a good enough reason for people to rethink their current setting and switch to Balanced. But better yet I suppose, Balanced is actually even better at achieving Max performance..? Very interesting. I'll probably run some of my own tests to compare to the ones I already listed. This is a very interesting debate.
    Plus I wonder how power plans like HP recommended compare to balanced...
     
  8. fonduekid

    fonduekid JSUTAONHTERBIRCKINTEHWLAL

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    A bit old, but give it a look.

    Edit: Oopps, sorry, forgot the link :( Anyway, here it is: http://tekvax.com/dan/?q=node/14
     
  9. jpzsports

    jpzsports Notebook Evangelist

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    More information I found that may be useful to this whole investigation.

    These are the details of each power plan:

    Power Plan — Balanced (Set as active plan by default)

    * Require password on: Yes
    * Turn off hard disks after: 20 minutes
    * Wireless adapter settings — Power Saving Mode: Maximum Performance
    * Sleep — Sleep after: 60 minutes
    * Sleep — Hibernate after: Never
    * USB Settings — USB Selective suspend setting: Disabled
    * Power button action: Shut Down
    * Start menu power button action: Sleep
    * PCI Express — Link State Power Management: Moderate power savings
    * Processor Power Management — Minimum Processor State — 5%
    * Processor Power Management — Maximum Processor State — 100%
    * Search and Indexing — Power savings mode: High Performance.
    * Turn off the display: 20 minutes
    * Adaptive display: On
    * Multimedia settings — When sharing media: Prevent idling to sleep

    Power Plan — Power Saver

    * Require password on: Yes
    * Turn off hard disks after: 20 minutes
    * Wireless adapter settings — Power Saving Mode: Maximum Performance
    * Sleep — Sleep after: 60 minutes
    * Sleep — Hibernate after: Never
    * USB Settings — USB Selective suspend setting: Disabled
    * Power button action: Shut Down
    * Start menu power button action: Sleep
    * PCI Express — Link State Power Management: Maximum power savings
    * Processor Power Management — Minimum Processor State — 5%
    * Processor Power Management — Maximum Processor State — 50%
    * Search and Indexing — Power savings mode: High Performance.
    * Turn off the display: 20 minutes
    * Adaptive display: On
    * Multimedia settings — When sharing media: Prevent idling to sleep

    Power Plan — High Performance

    * Require password on: Yes
    * Turn off hard disks after: 20 minutes
    * Wireless adapter settings — Power Saving Mode: Maximum Performance
    * Sleep — Sleep after: Never
    * Sleep — Hibernate after: Never
    * USB Settings — USB Selective suspend setting: Disabled
    * Power button action: Shut Down
    * Start menu power button action: Sleep
    * PCI Express — Link State Power Management: Off
    * Processor Power Management — Minimum Processor State — 100%
    * Processor Power Management — Maximum Processor State — 100%
    * Search and Indexing — Power savings mode: High Performance.
    * Turn off the display: 20 minutes
    * Adaptive display: Off
    * Multimedia settings — When sharing media: Allow the computer to enter Away Mode

    Source: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_mgt.pr_power_mgt_winVista_default


    And here is a good description for each settings from http://www.thehotfix.net/forums/ind...s-vista-power-management-guide-for-notebooks/


    EDIT:
    Thanks for the link. From what I've read, it seems that just the CPU is throttled, and the GPU is not affected.
     
  10. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I would like to see the tests conducted with a series of different benchmarks; I don't think we can go off of one benchmark.

    I'll try PCMark Vantage and 3DMark Vantage on the machine I'm testing at the moment and report back later. The results could be interesting.
     
  11. CooLMinE

    CooLMinE Notebook Deity

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    Since theres no difference in GPU's settings the difference will probably be on benchmarks that test the CPU (although both 06 and Vantage have a cpu score which is the one that we need to pay attention to verify this). Although i still dont get why it scores higher :p

    I think theres something wrong with the program they benchmarked this to be honest.
     
  12. fonduekid

    fonduekid JSUTAONHTERBIRCKINTEHWLAL

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    :)

    That'd be great. I am waiting (b'marked this thread:)). Thank you.

    Unfortunately, I have no way to do these tests myself. :( I would love to do myself, though.. or at least be with and see in person when such tests are being done.. hmmmm.. hard life!! :D
     
  13. CooLMinE

    CooLMinE Notebook Deity

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    Seems like balanced profile causes Cod4 to micro stutter in my case, which instantly stops when switching to High performance.
     
  14. CooLMinE

    CooLMinE Notebook Deity

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    Update: CPU score in Vantage was 200~ higher in High performance profile. GPU score was the same.
     
  15. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I ran 3DMark06 on my test system and noticed a >2% difference between the High Performance and Balanced power profiles.

    Alienware M17x; Specs: QX9300, dual GTX 280M SLI (179.85 drivers), 8GB DDR3-1333, 1TB RAID 0, Vista HP 64-bit

    So, I'm going to have to nix that Balanced provides better performance. I can run other benchmarks if you wish. I don't have CrystalMark though.
     

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  16. jackluo923

    jackluo923 Notebook Virtuoso

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    Yup, I benchmakred my netbook and my desktop.

    High performance is indeed a bit faster than balanced profile, the opposite of what the "controversy" described. The diference is about 1-2%.
     
  17. jpzsports

    jpzsports Notebook Evangelist

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    Interesting. Well even if the results are almost the same, wouldn't this at least prove that it's better off to have computers running on Balanced?

    Here's a good post by SHoTTa35 on neowin.net:

    What do you think?


    BTW, here's some more interesting results. Some people think that there's a bug in which switching power plans doesn't actually change the registry setting.
    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=5103774012&sid=1

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/935799

    EDIT:

    Thanks for the test. So is it most likely that CrystalMark 2004R3 used in her original tests was outdated and buggy?
     
  18. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I suggest leaving notebooks on Balanced . . . as noted, the CPU and GPU will clock as need to handle demand. The clock switching literally happens in thousandths of a second, so there won't be any performance loss.
     
  19. CooLMinE

    CooLMinE Notebook Deity

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    Chaz on your 3dmark test the CPU score was almost the same. So CPU wise they had the same performance the problem is that your sm2.0 score dropped by 300 in one case which seems that the problem is somewhere else and not the power plan itself. Considering of course that power plan doesnt affect gpu performance (apart from the last option which should be the same in both cases).
     
  20. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    Yes, but the difference was very small (~5%), and that can be attributed to benchmarking variability. I have run 3DM06 about 20 times on this laptop and that score is normal.
     
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