How should I best protect my battery?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Vincent52, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Vincent52 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    #1
    Long story short, I had a lifestyle and work-load that requires I have a laptop I can use like a desktop for both work and play. With quad-core i7, a decent dGPU, and 8gb RAM, that became my Retina MacBook Pro.

    Currently I got the thing dual-booted with Windows 7 as well as the usual Mountain Lion OS, and use this thing for classes, at-home entertainment, heavy gaming (especially on the Windows 7 side), coding (I'm majoring in computer science, so guess this again falls under classes, though xcode is not usual class fare), and constant multitasking.

    The battery so far performs like a champ giving me 5 hours during noticable multitasking and for most general uses when I'm depending on it for work. But as the load gets heavier, or when I start to game, I notice the difference as when get into the 3.5 hour range or lower. I ESPECIALLY notice the difference in Windows 7, where I'm pretty much unable to ever squeeze more than 4.5 hours out of it and I quite usually get 2-3, but I assume that's because it only recognizes and uses my Nividia 650 dGPU.

    Now, I'm not so dense as to think that I should be getting my 7 hours during any of this. They plucked that number from web-browsing with the computer until it died, not doing anything of actual substance, and normally I'm pretty happy with how my battery does for me. Tripping the dGPU means less. Clocking the cpu harder means less. Doing both enough to drain the battery near daily means a bunch less.

    But the problem is quite simple.

    Got the thing a little less than a year ago. Currently at 343 cycles, and at 7870mAh on a full charge. I'm assaulting this thing with epic heavy use and I don't want that to mean saying goodbye to my battery too early. Earlier than most? Yeah, that's just the fate a laptop used as a desktop will face. I'd rather avoid the $200 fee for replacement by :apple: for as long as I can, though. Hopefully until the computer has served its full lifetime to me, but that's probably a bit of a dream.

    So what's the best way for me to keep this going? Is there a way to reduce the impact of heavy loads on my discharge rate? Would it be best to just leave it plugged in pretty much constantly? Last I checked that isn't the wisest way to go with lith batteries, so I've had my reservations, hence the amount of cycles. Or will I have to consciously keep it in mind to plug in when I hear the fans rev up, in order to prevent massive hammering on the battery from intensive process? Like, if there is a specific balance I want to maintain of discharges, where would that be around?

    I just need to make this thing last, despite being the crux of all my computer needs, even the ones that should be desktop relegated. This was how I spent the money, so now I need that investment to travel.
     
  2. yinz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    #2
    In my opinion, if you are using it heavily, it's going to die faster than most. I mean you've put in the time, so you already got the use out of it.

    Of course the usual battery keeping rules apply. Don't let it get too hot, yet don't let it get too cold, so don't leave it baking under the sun and don't bury it in the snow.

    I think if you get that heavy use out of it, you should be glad to pay only $200 for a replacement in a few years. I've been worried about my battery before too, but some things just aren't in your control. What you can do is enjoy what you are using and don't do anything that'll be too damaging to the battery (the heat and cold mentioned above). Other than this, you can't really do much.

    Apple does recommend you keep the chemicals moving, so make sure you use your battery weekly rather than keeping it plugged in.

    Sorry if I wasn't helpful, but it seems to be sound advice from what I've read.
     
  3. yliu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #3
    Sounds like you are running it on batteries most of the time.
    Maybe you could keep it plugged in while you're using it at home. Especially when doing intensive tasks that drains battery very fast. This way you might get less battery cycles.

    It is not recommended to keep the batteries full all the time. However, it seems like you are going to drain in during the day anyway, so keeping it topped off at night does hurt much.

    You could get a stand for your laptop, allowing more airflow under it. This might cool it down a bit so batteries don't degrade so fast.


    But just like with all electronics (and almost everything), if you use it a lot, it will wear more. There's no way to keep it like new.
     
  4. leimin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    #4
    keep it plugged in while you can. Run on battery when you need it. Cycle count is measured if you use up your battery so running on AC won't increase your cycle count and will preserve your battery
     
  5. Vincent52 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    #5
    Yep. That's mostly what I figured. I think I'll be able to hold onto the battery for a few more years to come for sure, but I really need to plug in more often than I do. I always used to have a stigma against it due to fears of overcharging (remember when we used to lose phones to that?) but honestly it's more myth than mechanics.

    Just wanted to see if I could glean any other tips and tricks to eke out more battery and cause less degradation other than the basics.
     
  6. b06tmm macrumors regular

    b06tmm

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Location:
    South Louisiana

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