Hardware modifications to maximise battery life

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by laserbeam273, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. laserbeam273 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I'm trying to squeeze more life out of my MBP, which has lead me to wondering about what hardware set up would maximise battery life. A couple thoughts:

    1) Install SSD - are they really the best way to go for on and off usage, or are the green spinning drives better? Also, would having a relatively full hard drive decrease battery life?

    2) Remove optical disk drive - does this use any power in standby?

    3) Use a single stick of RAM - would this matter at all?

    4) Underclock the CPU :p I think that's going too far! Especially on a mac, but if it were a windows machine I'd probably consider it!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #2
    None of those things will have a significant effect on battery life, which is affected to a much greater extent by your system settings and the apps/processes you have running. See the BATTERY LIFE FROM A CHARGE section of the following link for details.

    This should answer most, if not all, of your battery questions:
     
  3. laserbeam273 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Haha alright, I'll ease off on the hardware obsessing. I suppose the best thing I could do would be to just buy a new 13" MBP, my battery life would triple!
     
  4. sublimeguide macrumors member

    sublimeguide

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    #4
    Relatively full hard drive - I don't think it makes so much of a difference.
    SSD - it will definitely make a difference (not a massive, but there will be noticeable), but for now, in laptops and desktops they are used maily as a system drives and most people put optibay, so they can benefit from more space, since the price of SSDs per GB is pretty high for now.

    As GGJstudios wrote - put your attention on the apps you run from your machine. THAT will make a difference and is easier (and cheaper) to do.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #5
    Your screen brightness setting alone will probably have more impact on your battery life than all the hardware changes you listed, combined.
     
  6. laserbeam273 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Yeah I already run it pretty low at times, it's just not pleasant trying to read my screen when brightness is at 1. I've finally got an iPhone now though, so most of the emails and web browsing I did on my MBP can now be done on my phone. Hopefully I can make my MBP last until the 2012 MBP release, then I can get myself a refurbished or second hand 2011 MBP at a cheap price.
     
  7. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #7
    If battery life was really important to you, you would have already taken the steps needed to improve it (like a battery replacement, or using the adapter more, or an external battery pack).
     
  8. laserbeam273 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    You're right - I often took my adapter with me. The adapter option has been alright, but I guess I care as much about getting a new MBP as I care about not having to bring my adapter with me, which can be a hassle, particularly when I forget.
     
  9. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #9
    1) SSD's use a tad less power, but on a whole battery charge, you'd get 15 minutes at the most. Green drives are better suited as external backup drives, they are slow as balls.

    2) No, it doesn't.

    3) Ram uses barely any power, you'd be wasting your time and cutting down on performance. You may even end up using more battery as you'd use the hard drive more as virtual memory.

    4) No way to do this in OS X.
     
  10. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    #10
    No. The bits storing data do not use more power than the bits that do not.
     
  11. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #11
    One caveat to this. A full hard drive and RAM intensive apps could lead to a fair amount of disk thrashing and the power use. This is more tied to the lack of RAM than the lack of HDD space, but the latter will aggravate the response to the former.

    B
     
  12. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #12
    As others have mentioned, none of these changes will have a significant effect on your battery life. But to break it down:

    1) Yes, this will help a bit. And it's usually a great improvement speed wise

    2) I would guess that this brings absolutely nothing.

    3) Hmm... yes. But the performance loss will be notable I think. And it might be hard to find 4 GB DDR2 RAM bars

    4) I'm not sure you can do that on OSX. Also don't forget that the modern CPUs are automatically downclocked when idle.

    At the end of the day, yes, you should upgrade to a new MBP model.
     
  13. Takashi macrumors regular

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    #13
    Stop trying to hypermile your mac. Most of the steps above will have minimal impact to battery life (if any). If you want to improve battery life, turn the display brightness down, or get a new battery (if your battery is more than 2 - 3 years old with frequent use). Mac OS X is probably one of the most efficient operating systems paired with a very efficient hardware design such that every little bit of battery power is not wasted. It's quite silly to try to tweak such an efficient system with the exception of turning down the brightness of your screen.
     
  14. shansoft macrumors 6502

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    #14
    SSD does NOT give you more battery life...

    I have tried both, the 5400RPM drive that came with Mac actually last slightly longer than my Corsair Performance Pro...
     
  15. DWBurke811 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Since it looks like you have a C2D, everyone saying you can't undervolt is wrong; you can undervolt using CoolBook. I have undervolted my 2.4GHz 7,1 and love it, it makes a huge difference in both temperature and battery life
     
  16. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #16

    This statement like everything else depends on many different factors. For the most part it is correct, but there are some really low rated current draw SSDs and those can make a difference. I have a Corsair as well and they have current draws in keeping with the average hard drive so no noticeable, if any, battery life difference will be noticed for the average usage.
     
  17. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816

    GuitarG20

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    #17
    OP, how much battery life are you getting on a charge, on average?

    also, how many cycles are on your battery, and what's its health listed as?
     
  18. laserbeam273, Jan 31, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012

    laserbeam273 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #18
    I'm just curious, that's all - relax a little. I realise it's not going to make much difference at all, even the first solution (SSD) is going to pretty much match the price of a new battery. I suppose I was just wondering whether the difference was small (~10%), or micro (1%).

    Awesome! That's the sort of reply I was looking for! Great I'll have a look into that. I guess I'm just considering temporary measures so my MBP lasts more comfortably before I upgrade.


    I get about 3 hours on wifi with very low brightness, sometimes 4 if I'm lucky. Other times it can drop a fair bit lower, it does under an hour when I'm cranking the CPU and GPU (games). I've done 493 cycles, and health is 69%.
     
  19. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #19
    Those times are actually very good for normal use on that generation with such an old battery.
     
  20. DWBurke811, Feb 1, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012

    DWBurke811 macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    i think it's like $10, and imo well, well worth it. some people bitch that it's only valid on one computer or something, but come on, it's $10. it takes a little time(a few hours) to get your voltages down as low as possible since every processor is different, it's not just like you can set it to what someone else says is correct. but after that you never have to think about it again.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. laserbeam273 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    It's true, definitely beats a lot of laptops, but whenever I think about the battery life of the new MBPs it doesn't seem anywhere near as good.

    Found out OS X Lion isn't supported - bit of a shame as I'm on that. Probably would have paid the $10 as it seems like a great idea.
     
  22. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #22
    The newer laptops have newer chips that are more power efficient, and a much bigger battery, hence the battery life, oh and their batteries are still new!

    You're comparing apples to oranges here.
     
  23. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #23
    Unless you buy a ssd geared toward frugality vs performance.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4346/ocz-agility-3-240gb-review/9
     
  24. laserbeam273 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Of course - that's why I use the term "battery life", not "battery". As you clearly appreciate, battery life depends on the stored energy of the battery and the energy efficiency of the MBP using the battery. As you stated, the new MBPs excel in both.

    Anyway let's just let this thread die, seems like people haven't been a fan of my interest in energy efficiency of computing.
     
  25. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #25
    I think everyone is interested in energy efficiency and maximizing battery life. It's just that approaching it from a hardware modification strategy is much less effective than the suggestions presented in the Battery FAQ.
     

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