How to improve Lenovo Ideapad Z580 battery backup time and reduce heat in Ubuntu Linux

The Lenovo Ideapad Z580 comes with the Intel HD 4000 on board graphics and a Nvidia GT630M 1 GB DDR3 graphics card. The technology behind it is called Optimus, where in Windows, the computer can manage the switch between the graphics cards (on board or otherwise) when graphics power is needed.

As the Nvidia graphics sucks power even when you do not need it in Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS. You notice that you only get about 2 hours of battery backup after the battery has been fully charged. Since the graphics card runs even when idle, you also end up having temperatures as high as 63 degrees celsius on a continous basis.

To increase batter backup time and to reduce the heat generated, you should install bumblebee. If you do not need the Nvidia graphics card, you should also make sure you do not enable the graphics adapter. Fortunately, this is automatically done by bumblebee for you.

To install bumblebee, open a linux terminal window, and enter the following:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable <enter>
$ sudo apt-get update <enter>
$ sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends bumblebee <enter>

Now restart the computer.

Upon reboot, I noticed about 3 hours 40 minutes of battery backup time available. If you install bumblebee to make use the Nvidia Graphics card, then you will need to manually control it’s switching on or off using bbswitch.

On Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS, bumblebee is included in the default Ubuntu repositories. Therefore, you need to only enter following command:
$ sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends bumblebee <enter>

You can refer to detailed instructions on this page https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Bumblebee#Installation

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