Optimize Power Settings on Your Laptop with TLP in Lubuntu/Ubuntu

This is the third in the series while optimizing my Samsung Series 5 535u3c Ultrabook.

With the default Lubuntu/Ubuntu settings, power consumption isn’t that optimal. In fact, the power my ultrabook uses when idle averages about 11-12W (basically about almost 3 hours of use on an 80% charged battery).

Ubuntu uses a set of scripts called pm-utils which controls the power usage of your machine. While fine for most circumstances, it doesn’t quite deliver for my tastes.

If you want better control of your laptop’s power usage, and do not want to dabble into editing scripts to optimize your power consumption, why not try out TLP

As their website states, TLP “is a power management tool for Linux. It brings you the benefits of advanced power management without the need to understand every technical detail.”.

Here’s how to install TLP on Lubuntu/Ubuntu and their variants:

$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install tlp
$ sudo reboot

Upon reboot, the power savings are readily apparent:

From 11-12W to 6-9W. Quite a big savings. This caused a jump of laptop usage from 2-3 hours to about 4 hours plus on an 80% charge.

There are a few things to consider while using TLP. You can see these settings in /etc/default/tlp

1. TLP uses a setting called SATA_LINKPWR_ON_BAT for SATA drives. It is turned on by default. The problem is that for some SATA drives, this causes data corruption. If you are not sure, better turn this off by placing max_performance on the setting instead.
2. TLP also disables a feature called Wake On LAN to save power. Set WOL_DISABLE=Y to N to re-enable this feature.

Hope this tip helps you out.


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