I recently noticed a strange bug while using Chromium web browser in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal powered laptops and netbooks(Intel platform). There is an immediate spike in power usage whenever Chromium is running.
Chromium Browser Causing Increase in Laptop Power Usage
The way I found this out was even stranger. In our earlier Joli OS 1.2 review, I had mentioned about several performance related issues I faced with Ping-Eee OS, a netbook optimized version of Pinguy OS. One of the remedies recommended by the developers of Ping-Eee OS was to install and run Powertop, a tool to pin point applications that are consuming most power(only Intel platform is supported).
See above screenshot. Chromium browser is running and Powertop statistics show that power usage is around 7.9W. This was well above 8.0W on many instances.
Ending Chromium browser brings everything back to normal. Above screenshot is taken while Firefox 5.0 was running with same amount of tabs open. Power usage dropped to 5.6W and Wakeups-from-idle/second dropped to 380.0 from 1096.7.
A bug report has already been filed regarding same and it's title says it all. "Chromium Generates HUGE numbers of CPU wakeups and uses massive amounts of power". This bug affects Chromium 12.0. As you can see in that thread(towards the end), some users are reporting huge improvements with latest Chromium 14.0, but I haven't tried it yet. I will update this post once I finds any improvement in later releases of Chromium browser.