Basemark, the company behind multiple popular benchmark tools for mobile, including Basemark X and Basemark OX, announced the Power Assessment Tool, which is designed to easily and accurately measure power consumption on mobile devices.
The tool is targeted mainly at corporate customers and other professionals working with mobile devices who want to test how efficient some devices are without having to remove their batteries and weld connectors to terminals.
Why PAT Is Needed
Imagination, the designer of PowerVR GPUs, has been one of the chip companies encouraging benchmark providers to test the power consumption of devices and not just their performance.
Tony King-Smith, EVP of Marketing for Imagination said: “Imagination’s PowerVR, MIPS and Ensigma IP cores are used extensively in a wide range of power sensitive products including mobile phones, tablets and IoT devices. We have been advocating for many years that benchmarks used for mobile and other power-sensitive applications need to include a means to measure performance taking into account power consumption under real operating conditions – that’s what really matters for end users. We are therefore delighted to see a credible solution for measuring power versus performance in almost any system, and have already started to use Basemark’s Power Assessment Tool in our labs. This is a great step forward for benchmarking real-world performance.”
Testing only performance, in isolation, can lead to device makers pushing the chips inside those devices to the extreme, even if they end up hurting battery life or if they throttle those chips minutes into using the devices.
This is bad for consumers, because they get tricked into buying smartphones that they think are much more powerful than other competing devices because of the scores these devices land in performance benchmarks lists. It’s also bad for the industry in the long term, as it overemphasizes peak performance over the general performance of a system and its stability when used over longer periods of time.
Testing for power consumption in addition to raw performance encourages OEMs to make devices that don’t just have good peak performance, but also more reliable performance and battery life.
How PAT Works
Basemark’s PAT can measure the power consumption of various apps by being placed between the charger and the mobile device. It can also be connected to a PC to offer more detailed analysis of the real-time power consumption of the device.
When the mobile device’s battery is full, it takes all the needed power directly from the charger. If it needs more energy, it can take it from the battery, as well. The PAT can measure how much energy was actually used by calculating the battery charging period after the test, thus accounting for both the current from the charger but also the one from the battery.
Basemark’s PAT can be used to measure the battery life of a device as well as its heat, which means OEMs can use it to optimize their devices for various use-cases. For instance, if they expect their customers to only use a device a few minutes per session, then it doesn’t have to be optimized as much for power efficiency. However, if it’s expected that the customers will use it to play games half an hour at a time, then the device should be able to run cool for at least that long.
Our own Mobile Editor, Matt Humrick, is already testing it on mobile devices and seems to be quite impressed with it so far:
“Basemark's Power Assessment Tool provides valuable insight into the power consumption of mobile devices,” said Matthew Humrick, Mobile Editor at Tom’s Hardware. “It goes beyond software-based benchmarks by showing real-time system power usage for any workload, even common apps we use every day,” he added.
Basemark will start selling the solution, which includes the PAT, as well as the necessary Windows PC software and high-quality USB cables, for 995 € (1233.80 € incl. VAT). Some limited quantities can be purchased right now, but more units will be available in April.
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu.