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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Understanding the Battery life issue

Geek.com published some time ago a review of a laptop using the same VIA processor that we have in the eo V7110. Here is what the author wrote about what is going on with battery life on VIA processors:

I should note here that the TongFang (this is the Laptop that they were reviewing) does not enter C3/C4 power states; that fact was revealed to me by a BIOS author at VIA Technologies. I'm told this is actually a common problem on computers using USB 2.0 devices because constant polling actually causes the processor to frequently enter a C0 state (the least amount of power savings) while "talking" with certain South Bridges. This relates back to the stories I've heard lately about Intel's new Core Duo processors having an unusually high amount of power drain due to a bad driver, as was originally reported by Tom's Hardware. Apparently this is something the industry has known for quite some time but has been quiet about. Since I wasn't using any USB devices on the TongFang during the power tests, I suspect the SD card reader was the culprit here, keeping the notebook out of C3/C4 levels of power savings, which are the greatest power saving modes.

Without C3/C4 power states available to it (due to the known USB-induced "bug"), the TongFang is not able to come close to revealing what the C7-M is capable of delivering in terms of battery life longevity. VIA claims to have seen battery life up to 8 hours with notebooks that fully exploit the C7-M's power-saving technology. VIA has told me that it's working on a BIOS fix, but at the time of this writing I had not yet received said fix.

This is exactly what we have found in our tests described at OrigamiPortal Forum.

TabletKiosk/AMTek will have to work hard on this issue and demand a fix from VIA as soon as possible. I love the eo V7110 but really its battery life is just a joke that will damage significantly the amount of sales of these units here in USA where the Q1 as began with some very good reports of more than 2 hours of battery life while browsing the web and doing normal activities. 1 hour and 25 minutes is one of the worse battery life that I have seen in a long time, I can't consider it even close to a poor battery life (2 hours in any laptop) and it's far away from my concept of "mobility". I consider the external design of the eo a lot more practical than what I see in the Q1, but a better battery life will be something that many customers will appreciate a lot more than external design.

The good news is that all this seems to me that can be fixed with a software patch via a BIOS update or just a driver update.

Another good news is that yesterday I sent TabletKiosk all this information pointing them to the thread at OrigamiPortal forum where we have posted all the information that we have been able to find and test. I hope that that will help them to find a fast solution for this issue.