Battery life, gaming, and 15"MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by inhalexhale1, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    This winter I am looking to upgrade my 13” MBP to something more powerful. I sold my gaming computer last winter after switching to Mac. I have been extremely happy with OSX, and do not want to buy another Windows machine (I’ll deal with lower settings). My first thought was to simply get the top 15” MBP, and run it to my 24” cinema display. Like I said, I don’t expect the best possible frames and settings, but one thing that bothered me during my research was a battery life issue.

    Some people have said that when playing games, the Macbook will need more power than the PSU plug can give, and drain the battery. So when playing games, even with the laptop plugged in, it dies. This seems really bizarre to me. I have owned many laptops, have gamed with them, and never saw anything like this. My 13” doesn’t do this. Are these BS reports, defective machines, or for real?
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #2
  3. inhalexhale1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    That was a great read, thanks. But it seemed to address heat, noise, and battery life in general. I'd expect all of those things to be true when moving to a more powerful machine/ configuration. I'm wondering if the laptop can lose a charge even while plugged in, ultimately shutting off while playing a game.
     
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #4
    Well the power adapter is incapable of providing sufficient power. You would completely discharge the battery, eventually. That might be a gamble they made in the design compared to including a larger/bulkier power adapter.
     
  5. inhalexhale1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Ok, yea i see what your saying. The caption under the picture says the PSU is 85W, and the chart above says the 15" MBP draws about 93W under a heavy load. That's....disappointing :rolleyes:. I guess I won't go that route.
     
  6. inhalexhale1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Actually, it would really depend on how gradual it is. If the battery drains when plugged in at a snail's pace, then it really wouldn't be an issue. I'm not going to play games for 12hrs straight. The article posted also made me consider some other issues. Can anyone with this MBP comment on the battery life when gaming at high settings (and plugged in), how loud the fans are versus a normal desktop, imac, etc., and any other general info when pushing the machine to its max?
     
  7. JronMasteR macrumors 6502

    JronMasteR

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    #7
    Well, the battery drain is not a problem. Mine drains about 5% in an hour at the most. So you can play games for 20h straight;)
    The fans are pretty loud when you push that thing to the limit. My 17" goes up to 5500rpm. If you use headphones, like me, it's not an issue.
    On the 15" the fans go up to 640rpm I believe. So the 15" gets even louder.
     
  8. inhalexhale1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Haha, I don't think I would get anywhere near 20hrs!

    I saw in your sig you had the thunderbolt display. Do you use that while gaming? If so, what kind of games and performance (fps, etc.) are you getting?
     
  9. Danno21 macrumors regular

    Danno21

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    I have an early 2011 15 MBP and I play WoW in 25-man raids for four hour stretches with medium settings at a decent resolution along with SC2, Borderlands, Dragon Age 1/2, etc in Bootcamp on my 24 inch monitor and it does sometimes use the battery power, but it has never died on me or anything like that.
     
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    It's for real. The MBP can, during periods of high demands, draw power from both the AC and the battery. This should answer most, if not all, of your battery questions:
     
  11. Quinoky macrumors regular

    Quinoky

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    Yeah I've had that happened to me a few times before, when I stressed both CPU and GPU real hard. Could a bigger power brick not solve this issue? Because I've once had my MBP simply shut down since it had 1% battery left, and the power brick couldn't keep up. I actually had to stop doing resource intensive work for an hour or so before I could continue, which was a pretty poor experience. :confused:
     
  12. JronMasteR macrumors 6502

    JronMasteR

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    Yes, I'm using it for gaming. The display is gorgeous. I play Crysis, Crysis 2, MW 2, Black Ops, Rage, AC Brotherhood etc.
    Black Ops and MW 2 run with max settings on 1080p with 30+fps. Some of the other games with 1600*900 with high (but not max) settings.
    Do not expect to run any of these games with high settings on the native TB Display resolution, which is 2560*1440. The GPU of the MBP can't take that.
     
  13. Polofiesta macrumors member

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    Well I have a 13" MBP i5, and I game WOW, Starcraft 2, League of legends and they all run fine. Right now my battery life has not gone down one bit. And I have been gaming all night many times. So I don't know but mine seems to be fine. I wouldn't worry if I were you.
     
  14. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

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    #14
    The 13" machine has integrated graphics only. It's the machines with discrete GPU that need extra juice when the GPU is flexing it's muscles.

    My 2006 MBP used to discharge the battery slowly when gaming on the ATI card. Wasn't a major issue.
     
  15. inhalexhale1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Good link, thanks.

    "While you can't remove the new built-in batteries, this method of using both AC power and battery during periods of peak power demands is still applicable. This is why you may find your battery may temporarily stop charging or even drain somewhat, even though you have your AC adapter plugged in. This is working as designed and will only be used during periods of peak power demands."

    That seems to sum up my question perfectly. According to everyone's input, it isn't an exaggerated drain or an issue that would impact gaming duration in any way. After initially reading the reports, I got the impression the battery % would drop quickly under heavy load.

    Do you, or anyone else, think this limits the performance you can get out of the hardware versus if it had ample power from the PSU?

    ----------

    Gotcha. I'll hang on to my 24" cinema display then so I can play at native res. I guess I wouldn't really need a thunderbolt display anyway.

    I thought of another scenario while responding to you. Does anyone know the PSU wattage in the cinema display (24, 27, and 27 thunderbolt)? If it's higher than the PSU charger for the MBP, I wonder if the battery drain under heavy load would still occur. Although I guess the screen would need more power...
     
  16. ninja2000 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    With a bit of tweaking you can game without using battery.
    I do the following:
    1. Undervolt and over clock the gpu (i run 780/800 @0.955v)
    2. Turn off Turbo boost on the cpu whilst gaming with either advanced power options or using throttlestop. TB doesn't seem to net me any extra frames in games but heats the laptop up and drains battery.

    With these tweaks whilst gaming my 17" mbp uses between 60 and 75w depending how demanding the game is
     
  17. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #17


    No. The only thing that will limit performance is the heat produced causing the CPU clocks to throttle back after a few minutes.

    99% of the time the PSU is sufficient, it just borrows a bit from the battery when it needs it. It's a bit like those hybrid cars - stick your foot down and it uses the electric and petrol engines at the same time until you throttle back and don't need full power.
     

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