Intel weren’t lying. The Sub 4W PC is here.

Posted on 14 July 2008 by

IMG_6743At CeBIT 2007, Intel revealed their ‘Menlow’ plans and told a room full of reporters that we’d be seeing sub 4W PCs in 2008. In March 2008 I asked Intel if they were on target and they told me that I’d be surprised. I am!

I’m lucky enough to be testing a Menlow-based Gigabyte M528 (sample) this weekend and this evening I’ve been doing a battery life test. I’m listening to MP3’s streaming over Wifi through a java applet on the Firefox 3-based browser with the CPU averaging about 30% utilisation (yes, this java app isn’t the most efficient at playing MP3’s!) It’s been going for over 2.5hours on its 10wh battery. (backlight off)

For those that don’t know, the Gigabyte M528 is one of the first MIDs and it’s based on Intel’s Menlow platform; A PC platform. This baby can run Windows XP!

The test is still going. Check back to see how long the test goes for….

Updates:

I’ve just passed the 3hrs mark. I hope the battery dies soon as its 00:20 here and I need to go to bed!!

It’s 12:30 now. 3hrs 10 mins…still going…

I estimate that with no backlight, the device is running about 0.5W less than with the screen backlight on at 50%. When the test finishes I can estimate a backlight-on time.

3hrs 20 mins. That’s an average drain of 3W. Its getting into smartphone territory at this point.

3hrs 30 mins….

Battery light flashing at 3hrs 35 mins… not long to go now.

And there she goes. Test completed at 3hrs 35 mins.

Average battery drain (assuming the battery really is empty now.) 2.8W

I estimate that with the screen on, it would be about 3.3W which would give a run time of 3hrs.

Well done Intel! I’m off to bed now.

Categorized | News

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16 Comments For This Post

  1. Jeffrey Howard says:

    I love your website. Thanks for so many articles. This Gigabyte machine looks very cool. Any idea when I might be able to buy one, or how much it will be?

  2. HOLLY says:

    3hr- im sold

  3. cjgunit says:

    I am thinking of trading my model 02 for 1 of these, but i’m not sure how much of a performance loss i am going to take here, especially under xp. i use amazon unbox to play videos, and my oqo has a hard time with those, and those are only 480p. as long as it can run word, IE, and play those videos, then thats enough for me. i can get a netbook or a convertable tablet(i have my eye on the SC3) for the power apps.

  4. Vit says:

    If it had phone functions, I wouldn’t think twice!

  5. Synced says:

    So lets take this for what its worth. It is a great advancement bringing UMPC’s closer to Smart Phones however lets read into it the truth.

    the best battery-wise UMPC is getting quite close to the worst Smart Phones battery wise. Let’s please keep this in perspective.

    I applaud the work though. I cannot wait until they achieve the next generation or two of this venture. Then we will start talking about replacing Smart Phones and putting phone software on UMPC’s.

    Atleast that is when the company I work for is starting to do so.

    The problem with the PC is to get really good stand-by time you need to suspend/sleep Windows. This means apps won’t be responding. In a Smart Phone even when you click the off button, it’s really not off. The cpu is scaled down. WAY down. but things are still processing at a crawl pace. But that means GREAT power savnigs & things still operate.

    For example, On a Windows Mobile device, we typically leave Edge & 3G on the entire day. It can last from 9am-12pm in standby still receiving emails, calls etc.

    Once you start interacting with it more, it drains more obviously.

    Hopefully Intel & Microsoft can start to come together on equipping the full version of Windows with the same sort of architecture.

    At that point companies like ours can start to stock phone drivers, software, etc because the device can be “off” but still active in your pocket throughout the day like a phone is today.

  6. fixup says:

    Three hours streaming over WiFi!

    The first time I saw it, I knew this baby was the one I’ve been waiting for for ten years since the day with Toshiba Libretto.

    cjgunit: the VIA C-7 CPU in the OQO is really low performance (and extremely hot). For example, my IBM Thinkpad X20 with a 500Hz PIII can do Firefly VOIP for G.729 codec easily, but my OQO coughs constantly. Therefore I think this Menlow should do at least better than OQO 02.

    Synced: why we want a XP? because we want to run the PC software. I cannot see anytime soon an always-on PC or such an OS, or we’ll no longer be able to run our current software. Therefore, we must live for another 10 years with “phone + PC”. Or, something like the HTC Shift, but done right of course, i.e., the WM side would be a smartphone and as small as this M528.

    I used to hate two devices, because both their batteries drain at the same time when one is used as a modem. However, now both of my devices (OQO 02 + VX6700) can go online individually, then it is no longer any hassle.

  7. fixup says:

    Three hours streaming over WiFi!

    The first time I saw it, I knew this baby was the one I’ve been waiting for for ten years since the day with Toshiba Libretto.

    cjgunit: the VIA C-7 CPU in the OQO is really low performance (and extremely hot). For example, my IBM Thinkpad X20 with a 500Hz PIII can do Firefly VOIP for G.729 codec easily, but my OQO coughs constantly. Therefore I think this Menlow should do at least better than OQO 02.

    Synced: why we want a XP? because we want to run the PC software. I cannot see anytime soon an always-on PC or such an OS, or we’ll no longer be able to run our current software. Therefore, we must live for another 10 years with “phone + PC”. Or, something like the HTC Shift, but done right of course, i.e., the WM side would be a smartphone and as small as this M528.

    I used to hate two devices, because both their batteries drain at the same time when one is used as a modem. However, now both of my devices (OQO 02 + VX6700) can go online individually, then it is no longer any hassle.

    Once this M528 is available, I’ll be virtually carrying one device. Beside it, I only need to carry a tiny dumb phone like the 3 oz Motor W385 just for voice and email/IM alert via free SMS. This phone is ignorable as it is so tiny and its battery last forever (it’s not used as a modem). Right now the OQO is too bulky and heavy, so I cannot carry it all the time but the 6.5 oz smartphone.

  8. chippy says:

    One final comment on the test – Heat.
    .
    .
    There was none!

    Steve

  9. JC says:

    I’d be interested to see how long it lasts with the screen turned on. At this point, the screen, if it doesn’t consume the most power of any element in design, is certainly one of the highest power consuming elements. You can estimate how much power the screen consumes, of course. However, since you actually have the device, it’s better just to measure it.

    Having the screen off is not the typical usage scenario for the M528. The 30% CPU utilization might be though.

  10. chippy says:

    The test started with the screen going off so thats how I left it. An estimate of 0.5W at 50% is about right. Certainly in-line with other tests i’ve done with LED-backlight screens at 4.8″. You’ll have to trust me on this one i’m afraid.
    If you make your choice based on a 2.5hours in-use time with either 3G or Wifi and screen-on then I think you’ll be on the safe side.

    One big big advantage of the M528 is that the battery is very small, hopefully cheaper than most and weighs only 70gm. Its going to be very easy to carry a second battery.

    Steve.

  11. Will says:

    With the screen backlight off and the CPU hardly being utilised, of course it’ll last for ages.

    I want to see how long the battery lasts doing actual work, surfing the web, GPS tracking and playing videos. This is a $750 device after all!

  12. fixup says:

    This article is focused on the CPU.

  13. chippy says:

    @will.
    30% CPU and streaming over Wifi. It’s not the most taxing of setups but its definately not an idle test.

    My advise is to assume this is a 2.5hr device. If that’s not good enough and you don’t want the hassle of carrying a second battery then this is not the device for you.

  14. ecsk2 says:

    @Chippy

    I understand you’re saying 2.5 hrs under heavy browsing, correct?

  15. Will says:

    I’d probably say 2 hours (or maybe 1.5 hours) for heavy browsing over 3G.

    I wonder how long the Nokia N810, the M528’s ARM-based nemesis, would last under the same test.

  16. G says:

    Hi Guys,
    Will I be able to run JavaSE fully on this device?
    I know that firefox is running the applet but i just want to make sure that’s all

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