2015 rMBP battery drain when gaming in OS X

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by triple-tap, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. triple-tap macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2013
    Hey all,

    Before everyone starts jumping to conclusions, I know that Mac's are not ideal gaming computer. I have exactly two games on my 2015 rMBP 13" 1= Star Wars KOTOR 2 and 2= CoD 4.

    I recently picked up an xbox 360 controller to use during a holiday trip to see the in-laws.

    I successfully loaded all drivers, and the controller works well for CoD 4.

    HOWEVER!!!! The battery drain is ridiculous. Is this normal? I'm talking 2.0 to 2.5 hours of battery life on a full charge. When I noticed the quick drain in battery life, I also noticed the fans humming loudly.

    I typically get 8-10 hours on a single charge with my rMBP. I know gaming takes more resources, but I am shocked at the dramatic difference in battery life. Especially for games downloaded from the Mac App Store.
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Yep thats about right, if you max out your computer with games you will get terrible battery life thats the way it is I'm afraid.

    You can set the FPS, turn off all uneeded effects, turn down the screeen brightness and the resolution etc and get a bit more time but essentially laptops are useless for gaming even 17" gaming laptops with huge batteries get crap battery life.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    You're pushing the computer hard when playing games, the CPU/GPU are going near 100%, which is causing a lot of heat which means the fans need to ramp up, all of which means your battery life is going to be crap.
  4. hiddenmarkov macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2014
    Gaming will kill the battery. Depending on game it may not even be graphics intensity. Minecraft can drain a battery decently fast with how it loads the world. Hour of lunch time play can have my battery go from 100 to 50% easy. I run hi res texture packs so I raise the graphics need some more.
  5. MagicBoy, Dec 23, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015

    MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    Gaming will use the battery power very quickly. In typical use the MacBook will run the CPU at a lower clock rate wherever possible and power down sections even an entire core when inactive which saves a lot of power. It's the reason that laptop batteries of the same capacity now last 7-8 hours instead of 2 hours typical of 10 years ago. Same goes for the Iris graphics. In addition Mac OS X now co-ordinates task scheduling to more efficiently utilize the CPU in the higher power states.

    Before anyone starts kicking off - it's baked in by Intel and it's by design.

    Gaming will run the cores at near 100%, invoke turbo frequency boost and fully power up the GPU. It's a wonder it lasts 2.5 hours if I'm honest. Going back to the 10 year old example from above, my 2006 MBP emptied the battery when gaming in about 45 minutes.
  6. triple-tap thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2013
    Thanks for the explanations, everyone. The battery tradeoff is disappointing, but I am glad to hear that this isn't just my machine.

    I guess gaming the airport will be limited to times when I can plug in the charger. I'd rather have 8-9 hours of reading, internet surfing, document drafting, etc. than ~2 hrs of gaming during the journey.

    Happy holidays everyone!
  7. Alexrat1996 macrumors 68030


    Mar 29, 2015
    Lehigh valley PA
    I recommend having it plugged in when your playing games on your macbook

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