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article imageNew Windows update could boost battery life by over 10 percent

By James Walker     Apr 19, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has announced details of an upcoming Windows power saving technology that could lead to substantial battery life improvements. The next major Windows version will be able to intelligently manage background apps to cut down power consumption.
Microsoft introduced the technology in the latest Insider Preview release of Windows 10, Build 16176. It was previously referenced and launched for some users in testing back in January with an older build. In the months since, the technology has matured and Microsoft is now ready to roll it out to every Windows Insider.
Called Power Throttling, the system allows Windows to optimise the CPU's energy efficiency while background apps are running. It solves the long-standing issue of balancing a long battery life with heavy multitasking. Users typically want both: The ability to have multiple apps working at once but also a battery that lasts the entire day.
Power Throttling is a stride forward towards achieving this. When the feature is turned on, Windows intelligently monitors the apps running on your computer. It is able to identify the apps that matter the most to your current usage, such as the window you're actively using and an app that’s in the background but playing audio, and mark these as in use. Other apps will have their CPU usage limited, preventing them from needlessly drawing power.
Power Throttling in Windows 10
Power Throttling in Windows 10
"With "Power Throttling", when background work is running, Windows places the CPU in its most energy efficient operating modes – work gets done, but the minimal possible battery is spent on that work," said Microsoft.
Power Throttling can be controlled using the new Power Slider being introduced with the update. It's displayed in the battery taskbar flyout and allows you to adjust the feature's intensity. Best Performance disables throttling whereas Best Battery Life makes heavy use of the feature. Options are also available midway between the two for a more balanced experience.
Microsoft is touting significant power consumption improvements when throttling is enabled. In experiments, it has observed CPU power usage reductions of up to 11% in the most demanding workloads. It may be able to produce further gains as the feature is developed and tuned.
Power Throttling in Windows 10
Power Throttling in Windows 10
Power Throttling is only available on notebook PCs and tablets. It automatically disables once the device is plugged in. Because the feature relies on features built into the processor, it's only available on select PCs. It currently supports Intel CPUs that support Intel Speed Shift. Microsoft said more processor families will be included before the launch.
Microsoft isn't saying when Power Throttling will be widely available. Having missed this month's Creators Update, it should arrive in the next major release of Windows set to be launched this fall. Currently under development as "Redstone 3," the update's also expected to debut Microsoft's new Project NEON design language that refines Windows' look and feel.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, windows 10 insider preview, Intel
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