Well, the quick battery discharge is actually a consequence of the always running fan problem. The installer in the link is nothing special, just the ordinary 12.04. Before that I tried the latest Ubuntu - 12.10 and it was even worse. On 12.04(at least for me), the fan is not running constantly but it definetely runs a lot more than it should. Judging by the warm air that comes out of the vent, it runs because it's getting hot in there for whatever reason.
So basically we have the exact same problem and sadly I don't think installing the LTS version of Ubuntu will solve it.
According to 'powertop', on Ubuntu the battery discharge rate is between 18 and 26W. In windows 8, at this very moment(and most of the time in power saving mode), my discharge rate is 10w. I don't really like Windows, but I need my computer to last, so I'm kinda stuck with it.
Good luck, and if you manage to solve the fan problem, please drop a line here 🙂
Oh, I see. I thought that this download fixes the fan problem - however I found that interesting.
I have installed many distributons too, and none of them used the fan with normal speed. It's ok that Linux has problems with hybrid graphics, and when I finally mamanged to switch between the cards, it wasn't affect on the full speed running fan. It's ok that Windows can handle it normally, BUT:
It's an Ubuntu Certified Device. It must run Ubuntu in a normal way. Was the fan running at full speed on the originally pre-installed Ubuntu too? To be honest, I don't know, but I don't think and I think I would remember this very loud noise.
There's another thread on this Dell Community site:
It's theme is that some people have this laptop with Windows 8, and the fan problem appears on Windows, not on Linux. Dell recommends here a BIOS update, but it won't work.
I hope they can find a solution to this problem.
Yeah, I regret not using the preinstalled version of ubuntu for a few days. Bad thing is I almost instantly wiped the disk and installed windows and then the latest ubuntu, so i have no idea if the preinstalled one worked fine. I hoped there is an OEM, dell made image of ubuntu for dell laptops, that works as it is supposed to work, but apparently there isn't. Too bad really, I find windows 8 terrible and linux is practically unusable right now.
I guess the catch is, it says 'Ubuntu certified(preinstalled only)'. Which again makes me think there is something in the preinstalled OS that makes it work properly.
Hello again, status update:
I updated the BIOS to the latest version(A06 I think, mine was A02) and disabled the Radeon GPU with vgaswitcheroo(in ubuntu) and I think it works okay now. Fan is not constantly running, temperatures are normal. I haven't tested the battery life yet, but I think it will be better.
For anyone that has the same problem, here's what I did:
1. Updated my BIOS.
2. To disable the radeon card(source: askubuntu.com) -
chmod -R 705 /sys/kernel/debug
chown -R $YOURUSERNAME:$YOURUSERNAME /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo (where $YOURUSERNAME is your user name)
echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch (this will turn off your currently unused card. This is normally the discrete one.)
You'll be using the intel graphics only but I think they'll do the job. They do for me at least. I'm not entirely sure this works, but it's definitely better. Let's hope for better times when 'ubuntu certified' devices will actually work with ubuntu without the user disabling parts of his computer. I love the machine as such but my next laptop probably won't be a DELL.
I've tried your way with the updated BIOS and the vgaswitcheroo method. Unfortunatelly it doesn't work. 😕
My BIOS was already updated, so I've installed a clean Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bit and switched graphic card with vgaswitcheroo. (Before I've tried this method with the previous BIOS versions, it didn't work.)
After I switched the Radeon GPU off, I checked the switch file and it was really off. I've waited some minutes, but the fan didn't stop. Later it stopped, but when I try to open either a web browser, it was on full speed again.
However I've called the local (Hungarian) Dell technical support and they said, that it's a known problem and they are working on the fix. This was the first "usable" official answer from Dell to this problem.
All we have to do is wait. I hope so.
It would be great, if here at this forum Dell would make some reply on this problem too.
Keep in touch,
Yeah it's not a perfect solution but, at least for me, it's better than with both the GPUs working - if you have installed lm-sensors and type 'sensors' in the terminal, you can see how hot the ATI GPU gets and for me that was part of the problem. The fan still runs more than it should but it's bearable now. It also resets after reboot, so it has to be a script, run at startup if one wants to avoid typing the commands every time.
"However I've called the local (Hungarian) Dell technical support and they said, that it's a known problem and they are working on the fix. This was the first "usable" official answer from Dell to this problem."
That's great news, let's hope they come out with a fix soon enough.
You may want to install LXDE from the repositories (synaptic) and switch to it during your log-in or end your session and switch to it. It if far less CPU hungry and should cool down your system considerably and extend battery life.
The problem was not CPU usage, the laptop has an Ivy bridge i5, it can handle unity. The problem is that linux doesn't like the intel/ati gpu combo and for some reason the discrete card is heating up quicky(even though it should pretty much not work, when it's not needed), which turns the fan on so it can keep up with the heat, which uses a lot more battery.
Disabling the discrete gpu did it for me - no constant fan running, normal battery life.
I would like to ask you to tell me in details, how did you do this discrete card disabling with vgaswitcheroo. I can echo OFF to the switch file and then it says that the discrete card is off, but the fan is running constantly. Should it go down? I think the problem is that on every boot the system starts with the default options (DIS ON). How did you achieve that the fan goes down and the card is really off? Do you use any method to apply these settings at boot time? I've tried to use the rc.local file, but somehow it didn't work. Please give me a full instruction from the very beginning. By the way, I called the Hungarian Dell Technical Support again (after 1 month) but they can't tell me any good news about this problem.