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Flash Kills the MacBook Air Battery 33% Faster

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 62 comments

Flash could make a battery go in a flash.

When Apple shipped its latest MacBook Air laptops without Flash preinstalled, it gave the explanation that it would rather users installed Flash themselves so that they could get the latest, most secure version.

This is a plausible explanation because often times Apple fails to include the latest build of Flash even in its most recent Mac OS X updates. The latest builds of Flash include GPU video acceleration – something that current Mac users have to upgrade themselves if they want the feature.

There could be another very big reason that Apple left out Flash in its latest, thinnest laptops, and that would be battery life.

In Ars Technica's tests of the 11-inch model, it found that the little laptop survived 4 hours of Safari web browsing with Flash enabled. With Flash taken out of the system, the laptop ran for just over 6 hours.

Apple quotes a 5 hour battery life for this particular MacBook Air, so real world numbers appear to be within a close range of that. Still, for those on the go with a new MacBook Air, is it worth sacrificing a third of your battery life for Flash?

Perhaps the best solution would be to have Flash disabled elements until the user decides to display them, like Click to Flash.

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  • 23 Hide
    Trueno07 , November 8, 2010 1:50 AM
    Requiring the user to go and get Flash defeats the purpose of it being a mac. Aren't apple's computers known for their ease of use? Requiring the user to download and update Flash kinda kills that...
  • 20 Hide
    Parsian , November 8, 2010 2:42 AM
    rexterWith new flash drives comes with more and more transistors. I always wonder if the drive still takes less power than the conventional hard drive counterpart, now apple found that for me.It seems to me is that Seagate is the better option for me with their hybrid drive. I guess I'll wait for more test about this issue.



    dude you aimed for east, but you hit west
  • 18 Hide
    fyend , November 8, 2010 2:02 AM
    wotan31Apple's implementation of FreeBSD has always been rather poor, running significantly slower than the original.


    Fixed.
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    wotan31 , November 8, 2010 1:49 AM
    Adobe's Flash implementation on OSX has always been rather poor, running significantly slower (and with much higher CPU utilization) than on Windows. I don't blame Apple for wanting to dump flash in favor of a more open standard. Open standards like HTML5 allow Apple (or Firefox or whoever) to optimize the source code and write a lean and fast implementation. With a proprietary product like Adobe Flash, nobody has any access to the source code except Adobe.
  • 23 Hide
    Trueno07 , November 8, 2010 1:50 AM
    Requiring the user to go and get Flash defeats the purpose of it being a mac. Aren't apple's computers known for their ease of use? Requiring the user to download and update Flash kinda kills that...
  • 12 Hide
    hotchrisbfries , November 8, 2010 1:53 AM
    Flash is actively drawn and persistent on web pages. It's also known that it is CPU/GPU intensive. It's like running a DVD nonstop. It takes extra CPU cycles and possibly extra components.

    TLDR = Cpu usage eats battery, duh!
  • -2 Hide
    rohitbaran , November 8, 2010 2:01 AM
    So maybe, flash is something to be avoided on mobile devices altogether once its alternative (HTML 5) becomes prevalent.
  • 4 Hide
    gekko668 , November 8, 2010 2:01 AM
    With adobe and Apple are on a sour term, it didn't surprise me a bit if Flash isn't fully optimized for the OSX.
  • 18 Hide
    fyend , November 8, 2010 2:02 AM
    wotan31Apple's implementation of FreeBSD has always been rather poor, running significantly slower than the original.


    Fixed.
  • 2 Hide
    Parsian , November 8, 2010 2:04 AM
    just turn the gpu acceleration off...

    oh wait, we are talking about Apple crowd.

    personally, i love the gpu acceleration applications whether its implementation on Firefox 4.0 or on flash 10.1, it makes life far better.
  • 4 Hide
    nebun , November 8, 2010 2:15 AM
    apple and flash are not very good friends
  • 14 Hide
    cashews , November 8, 2010 2:18 AM
    How about testing a website or application written in flash, then test a website or application wrtitten with exactly the same functionality in HTML5.

    This would be a fair comparison.

    I bet watching high definition videos would reduce the battery life by 33% also, does this mean that the ability to play these videos whould be taken away?
  • 12 Hide
    cashews , November 8, 2010 2:19 AM
    The ability to edit your posts for typos would be great also :|
  • 20 Hide
    Parsian , November 8, 2010 2:42 AM
    rexterWith new flash drives comes with more and more transistors. I always wonder if the drive still takes less power than the conventional hard drive counterpart, now apple found that for me.It seems to me is that Seagate is the better option for me with their hybrid drive. I guess I'll wait for more test about this issue.



    dude you aimed for east, but you hit west
  • 1 Hide
    bhaberle , November 8, 2010 2:44 AM
    Did they say what "flash" they had when they conducted this so called "test"? Cause if they play a game or video in flash and browse pages with just text,t hen that is not a fair comparison.

    And you can count on Apple to take ancient technology and get its fans excited about it... whether it be making folders on the iphone, or core2duo on their new laptops. *yawn*
  • 2 Hide
    SneakySnake , November 8, 2010 2:51 AM
    bhaberleDid they say what "flash" they had when they conducted this so called "test"? Cause if they play a game or video in flash and browse pages with just text,t hen that is not a fair comparison. And you can count on Apple to take ancient technology and get its fans excited about it... whether it be making folders on the iphone, or core2duo on their new laptops. *yawn*


    Reason they use core2duo in the low end laptops is so they can couple it with a decent gnu, cuz intel is of the gay and won't let any other integrated ships elides their own into i3/5 etc.
  • -1 Hide
    bhaberle , November 8, 2010 3:04 AM
    SneakySnakeReason they use core2duo in the low end laptops is so they can couple it with a decent gnu, cuz intel is of the gay and won't let any other integrated ships elides their own into i3/5 etc.

    Hmmm. Good point there sir.
  • 6 Hide
    Parsian , November 8, 2010 3:21 AM
    rexterI've always considered efficiency, capacity and value, and Flash drive ain't one of it. I am thinking to get a MacBook Air for my wife but I don't think it's what she needs. We both like the size and it's simplicity but not what it can it can do.No disrespect but I prefer not to be called dude.


    i meant that the article is about adobe flash not flash drives
  • 3 Hide
    p05esto , November 8, 2010 3:22 AM
    Rexter DUDE...You are 100% lost here. Please re-read the article. It has NOTHING at all to do with flash-memory-based SSD hard drives. We're talking about Adobe Flash web site technology, not hardware.
  • 1 Hide
    p05esto , November 8, 2010 3:26 AM
    And Rexter...there is nothing more energy efficient and mind-blowing fast than SSD hard drives. You can hardly buy MP3 players, Netbooks, Laptops, tablets these days that DON'T use SSD Flash memory technology instead of old fragile disk drives. It's here today and is only dominating more in the future.
  • -2 Hide
    bachok83 , November 8, 2010 3:36 AM
    @p05esto
    Well said; the only bad thing about SSD is the capacity. The whole point of MacBook Air is portability. Anything that kills battery has to go; which brings us here.

    What about extra space you may ask? Well, that's what NAS (clouds and what-have-you) is for. Apple got it right with Air. Repeat after me, portability, portability, portability.
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