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For Ultrabook Developers, with Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

, 30 Jul 2012 CPOL
The new breed of Ultrabook™ PCs have pushed battery life and thermal design to a new level.

Editorial Note

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This following article was subsidized by Intel and authored by Zebra Partners.

Often considered to be the Achille's heel of portable devices, power management has come a long way. The new breed of Ultrabook™ PCs have pushed battery life and thermal design to a new level. We spoke with Dr. Mike Pearce, Intel Community Manager for Power Efficiency.

Q: Ultrabooks already have fantastic battery life by design, why do I need to worry about it in my application?

Just like processing power and bandwidth, you can never have too much battery life. With as much as 12 hours of battery life, Ultrabooks will change the way we think about mobile computing. By taking advantage of Intel's power API, your applications can be used in more places, for longer periods of time.

As great as the battery life is on Ultrabooks, on any mobile device we become acclimated to what it offers, and always want more. Making sure that your apps use power to the best efficiency is just good practice. Intel provides a number of tools, such as the Power Profiler, that can tell you where your code is most efficient, and where it is not.

Another area that the developer should be aware, is the power usage when the application is idle. Having an application continue to significantly use energy, when for example it is minimized, will impact the overall user experience based on degraded battery life.

Q: Isn't power management the job of the operating system and BIOS?

Of course, Intel worked closely with Microsoft® and Ultrabook OEMs to optimize power consumption, but you can further enhance the value of a user's Ultrabook experience by partnering with Intel to proactively manage power use. You know best what resources your program needs at what times, and our tools can help you to optimize power and performance.

The Intel® Core™ Processors in Ultrabooks already boost the performance of individual cores, and the SSD in many Ultrabooks reduce drive power consumption dramatically. Your software can play a critical part in making Ultrabooks even more energy-efficient and Intel provides the information and tools you need to make your software “green." Visit our community and learn about the energy efficient tools and resources available for you:

Power efficiency is a coming differentiator for all apps, just as green servers have become a key feature in hosting.

Q: My game uses all of the system's resources; won't including power management limit its performance?

Not necessarily. Through our APIs you can make your application context aware and so manage individual resources, scaling power use up and down as needed. For example, when your app is streaming video on battery power, you might use active power management to reduce the frames per second or FPS for greater power efficiency, and crank it back up to full speed when on AC power.

Or you might choose to defer "housekeeping" tasks until you are back on AC power, allowing longer playtime for your game.

On 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ Processors and beyond Intel's Power Gadget can show you in real-time the power consumption of the package including the integrated Intel HD Graphics, allowing you to further optimize your code.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Bob Duffy

United States United States
Bob is a former entrepreneur with a start-up background in IT and developer services during the DotCom hay day of the web Now a Community Manager for Intel, Bob engages with developers, helping them get the resources and tools they need to get apps developed for Intel Architecture and Intel’s AppUp Center. Bob is not a stranger to development having started coding on a Commodore Vic20 during his youth and now an HTML5 developer having published code samples and technical articles on game development. Bob is also host of the AppUp show for developers which airs every other Thursday as part of the Intel Software Network channel on YouTube.

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