Windows a Battery Hog Compared With OS X, At Least on Apple Computers


One of the best reasons to get a new MacBook Pro, aside from the dazzling new screen on the 13-inch, and in spite of the SATA capping that’s apparently in place, is the extended battery life courtesy of the new built-in lithium polymer batteries. And by all accounts, even if you won’t necessarily reach Apple’s estimates, you will get more usage out of your notebook without having to connect to a power source. Or you’ll get more usage as long as you’re not running in Windows under Boot Camp, that is.

AnandTech’s Anand Shimpi has been running a MacBook Pro 15-inch through its paces over at his site, and while he was very impressed with the machine’s new battery overall, he noticed a considerable disparity between apparent power consumption under OS X, and under Vista. Nor was the difference marginal. Running OS X while only web browsing, Shimpi was able to coax a little over eight hours out of the notebook under OS X, and only six using Vista. That’s a two hour, or 25 percent difference.

Windows 7, which is supposed to make up for a lot of the mistakes Microsoft (s msft) made with Vista, fared no better. The RC 1 version of the upcoming OS lasted only 5.48 hours using the same test conditions. Some of that can be ascribed to there not being final, optimized drivers for Windows 7 yet, but I doubt that accounts for the more than two-hour deficit it has compared with OS X running on the same hardware.

Windows supporters will no doubt chime in with claims that the Apple hardware is to blame, but Shimpi found some reason to believe that may not be the case. He spoke to a number of PC OEM manufacturers to see if they’d found a difference in battery life between OS X and Vista, and though none would officially go on record, some at least admitted to seeing a similar difference to the one Shimpi had found.

Since Apple doesn’t officially support any third-party hardware, it’ll be hard or even impossible to prove that OS X is, in fact, a more battery-efficient operating system, completely independent of any hardware considerations. Still, that’s one less reason to ever commit sacrilege by dual-booting your Apple notebook, which is bad news for Windows sales, no matter what the cause.

All you hackintosh experts out there, feel free to chime in with your own battery life tales, since your experience running OS X on non-standard hardware might be the closest thing we can get to a fair standard for comparison.