Results and Analysis

There is a lot to talk about with these results. While Google Chrome's 1ms timer request certainly uses more power than otherwise, everything else about Google Chrome seems to make up the difference -- at least for Chrome 36. Unfortunately, Chrome 37 takes a dive of almost 25% placing it roughly tied for last place with Firefox. Considering Chrome 36 and Safari are the only browsers on our list that do not support HiDPI displays, that could be the difference. I have added an asterisk on the chart to indicate Chrome 36 is not quite doing the same work as the other browsers. There seems to be a significant battery penalty when natively rendering at 3200x1800 instead of 1600x900 and then scaling up via Windows.

Browser Battery Life

It would be interesting to repeat this test on a lower resolution display, but that would be largely academic, as many laptops today ship with HiDPI displays and more are always on the way. To be honest, I'm not sure anyone could actually use Chrome 36 on a HiDPI display without going crazy anyway, so the fact that Chrome 36 leads the pack here is probably irrelevant.

Update: Chrome has been tested at 1600x900

Just to confirm, I did run a powercfg /energy report and Google Chrome was indeed requesting the high resolution timer.

Energy report while Google Chrome was browsing our test web sites

A few of our test websites also contain flash advertisements, so I was curious if these also caused Firefox and IE11 to increase their timers. Running the same powercfg /energy report did not show any timer increase for those browsers.

Energy report while Firefox or IE11 were browsing our test web sites

As for Safari, unfortunately the browser was having all kinds of trouble being automated by our test suite. The browser window would lose focus every ten seconds and result in lost keyboard inputs. Looking into task manager, whenever Safari would lose focus "Windows Error Reporting" would appear in the processes list. After disabling the Windows Error Reporting Service, Safari instead threw unhandled exceptions every 10 seconds.

Tough to automate a program that throws errors every 10 seconds...

Apple's website does not list any known issues regarding this error. Disabling display scaling, running at 1600x900 resolution, and reinstalling Safari did not resolve the issue. Considering Safari for Windows is still on version 5.1.7 from over two years ago and apparently won't be receiving any further updates, we decided it was best to simply exclude the browser from any further testing.

The Test Final Words
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  • easp - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    Yeah, and given that Mac market share is better among individual consumers who get to choose their computers and the browsers they use, it would be useful to a lot of people. Meanwhile, how many Windows users have zero choice? It is almost cruel to dangle this in front of them :)
  • pius - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    Agree - that would be interesting. I always use chrome on mac os, but if there is a battery price to pay, I might switch.
  • littlebitstrouds - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    I love the way people criticize free information. An air of arrogance mixed with contempt.
  • Rexyl - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    I love the way people think they are above criticism when publishing/posting information online. An air of holier-than though mixed with self-righteousness.
  • Homeles - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link
  • bji - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    Please explain what straw man argument was used in any part of the chain of posts that you are replying to. My contention is that there was no straw man here and that you're just throwing out the term because you don't like the arguments but don't understand why.
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    The type of people littlebitstrouds described exist and have posted comments on this AT article and other AT articles. The type of people Rexyl described do not exist and no such qualities have been exhibited by AT employees. Straw man.

    If they are both describing broad categories of people from any given corner of the Internet, then both of their comments are completely irrelevant to this article and its comments.

    Annnnnnnd I've wasted my time.
  • easp - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    Not actually free. We pay with our time/attention, which is then resold to advertisers.

    So, guess what, if you get to express your ill considered opinion, why shouldn't everyone else :)
  • edlee - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    I seriously question the idle power numbers, cause I have a e3-1235 (similar to i7-2600) that idles at 21 watts.

    And I have another system that used an i7-3770k, that idles at 35 watts, but has more drives and add in cards.
  • Stephen Barrett - Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - link

    Those were just example numbers pulled from here:

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