much worse battery life on 2011 MBA 13 vs 2010

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by shznit, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. shznit macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I have been using the 2011 MBA 13 for a few days now and I miss the 2010. Battery life is at least 50% worse than my undervolted 2010, browsing for 30 minutes (no flash) on 30% brightness uses 10% battery! The 2010 would have been 5% max. I am trying to decide if I really need the new cpu or the backlit keyboard that I upgraded for. I'm not keen on the reduced gpu performance either, hopefully it won't be too bad with Diablo 3.

    Is the new model drawing more power or is Lion the reason?
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    The battery will use up more power the first few days while Spotlight is indexing. The 2011s drain a bit faster, but you should still get about 5.5-6 hours with the 13" model. Give it a few more days and see if it improves.
  3. shznit thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I forgot to add that it gets much hotter, the 2010 never went above the mid 70s while this one was at almost 90 while playing Torchlight.
  4. rkahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2010
    Didn't you do you research between the two before you bought it?
  5. shznit thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Of course, but there was no indication of such a big difference in battery life, other than Anandtech's review.
  6. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    Yes, slightly lower battery life and slightly higher temps are normal and expected. Keep in mind that for that you get much better performance, as well as nice additions like keyboard backlight, thunderbolt, etc.

    Having said that, I also had a 2010 model, and it performs well. Maybe just sticking with the 2010 is a better direction for your needs?
  7. shznit thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I'm starting to feel that way, unfortunately I sold the 2010 right before the 2011s came out. The cpu performance is REALLY nice, but I don't know if I need it. The keyboard is amazing and I don't know if I can go back to a non-backlit. As for Thunderbolt, I wish I could just disable it completely in hopes of better battery life.
  8. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    Precisely why I didn't "upgrade" to a 2011 MBA. Very happy with longer battery life and cooler operating temps with the 2010 MBA. I have a Sandy Bridge i5 in another laptop, and knew they run hot when TurboBoost kicks in. Didn't think it's a good match for a limited ventilation case like the Air.
  9. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    I don't think thunderbolt uses much battery at all if you aren't using it, so I wouldn't worry about that. I would say that your experience of 50% battery life doesn't match mine at all - maybe use the new Air for a week or two and see if it improves?
  10. ryan.apham macrumors member

    May 6, 2011
    Am I missing something :confused:? I have looked at Apple's official website and it says that the battery life of the MacBook Air 13" is 7 hours - same as the 2010 model. Is it because of the SSD Drive or Sandy Bridge CPU?
  11. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    may I ask what you were using to underclock? I used coolbook before, but their website says it does not work with lion.
  12. calvol macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2011
    Check out review of the new Air. In light usage profile, the 2010 model has superior battery life. Some difference may also be attributable to Lion as well.
  13. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
    just for kicks, try downgrading it to Snow Leopard and let us know how the performance goes! I mean if you want.
  14. plumosa macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2007
    I really don't think the 2011 air runs very hot at all. I've only had the fans come on twice and both times I was using it in bed and blocked the vents.

    The battery life, however, is spectacularly sh itty. It is the only thing keeping me from picking up another for my husband. I don't think I've ever gotten a full four hours off of it and I have the display all the way down, the backlit keyboard off, and click2flash and adblock installed.
  15. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    A little bit of both. Keyboard backlighting drains a bit more power.

    But major reason is Lion. Lion has significantly more animations than Snow Leopard, and thus, it kicks the graphics processor in more often than Snow Leopard. As a result, the graphics processor starts draining more power.
  16. shznit, Sep 16, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011

    shznit thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    It was Coolbook on Snow Leopard. I sold it before Lion and the 2011s came out and my 2010 lost more value. BTW, I wasn't underclocking but undervolting. I don't mean that in a bad way, just making sure we are talking about the same thing.
  17. orfeas0 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    Doesn't that mean that a 2010 mba with lion will drain even more battery?
    Because the 2011 uses the internal hd3000, while the 2010 has the geforce 320m.
    When not using the gpu, a c2d probably requires less battery than the i5.
    But with cpu+gpu active, the i5+hd3000 needs less power than the c2d+320m.
  18. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Nope. Actually i5 + HD3000 uses the same amount of power as C2D + 320M at full load due to TurboBoost trickling more voltage on the i5.
  19. jsolares macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2011
    Land of eternal Spring
    the 2010 always use the gpu, he had his C2D undervolted which will use less battery not sure how much less never had one, it'll also run cooler due to that.
  20. jackyyeow macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    My coolbooked 2010 13" ultimate can last about 8 hours max, and my friend's 2011 13" ultimate can last 7:30 hours max, under the same usage pattern - light browsing, no flash, 5 bars brightness.

    His 2011 13" runs hot and battery life lasted no more than 5 hours during the first 2 days. After that, it runs pretty cool albeit still slightly warmer than mine, and battery life drops much slower since then.

    Given the more processing power and backlit keyboard with future thunderbolt support, 2011 is a no brainer deal.

    PS: Maybe you're comparing 1.86GHz C2D/2GB RAM versus 1.7GHz i5/4GB RAM. The 1.86GHz C2D with 2GB RAM should give more battery life than my 2.13GHz with 4GB RAM.
  21. shznit, Sep 17, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011

    shznit thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I am comparing a 1.86ghz/4GB ram/128GB hd 2010 to a 1.7ghz/4GB ram/128GB 2011. Yes I was using coolbook and it makes a huge difference in temperatures, when I lowered voltage at the highest stepping all the way to .925 it reduced peak temps by at least 15C. Battery life was improved by at least 30 minutes, although it varies because voltage at the lowest stepping is the same and the more your cpu ramps up to full speed where you can really lower voltage, the greater the benefit.

    Last night I went into system properties-general and disabled application resuming completely and rebooted (uncheck restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps). As a result memory consumption has been cut in half. Before during my standard workflow of 3-4 desktops, 2 Chrome windows with 10-20 tabs each, 2-3 terminal windows, 2-3 RDP windows, notational velocity, and a couple finder windows, I was almost maxing out the 4GB ram. The RDP sessions alone were using over 500MB!!! Now I have 1.5GB free. Keep in mind this was not my usage pattern for my original post.

    Battery life estimates are much better now, I'm at 82% now and it says 5hrs left but I am timing it. It has been a 5 days since I got the laptop so Spotlight is not indexing anymore, the worker process is not using any cpu. Hopefully this will work and I can be happy with the 2011, I really love the keyboard.
  22. rkahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2010
    Why can't you plug it in between that 5-7 hours?
  23. franc11s macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2011
    MAC Lion Kills battery LIFE

    Search Apple forums, 100's, if not 1000's of people who upgraded to LION or bought a MACBOOK Pro with LION (like me) have reported major problems with battery life. Apple have not made any official announcements and there is ZERO consistent fix - I've had my new 15" 8GB, 512GB SSD MACBOOK Pro for 4 weeks and I've tweaked EVERYTHING... Battery life is little more than 3.5 hours regardless of what's running, enabled or anything - just like 1000's of other peple. I am a techi, in IT and this is a mess!!!!

    Some in the forums have said they have been contacted by Apple development so they are aware of the problem even if they are acting like Microsoft used to and not telling anyone. Has Apple heard of Social Media..

    Here is the main thread but if you search google for "MacBook Pro poor battery life" for just the last week, you'll see 27,000+ results!!!!! There are LOTS of threads in all types of forums... SHOUT everywhere about the problem until we see a fix..
  24. shznit thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Do you have a MPB w/discrete graphics? I read there is a bug in Lion where the the discrete gpu is always on, you can get the switcher tool to control that and you can always try the SMC reset.

    My battery life improved slightly after I disabled app resuming completely, I am getting 5-6 hours now and I can live with that. However, I still don't like the temperatures, 90+ degrees is crazy hot and is at least 15 more than my 2010.

    It's pretty clear to me that the 2011 uses more power at idle than the 2010.
  25. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    Yes, of course it does. It's a much more powerful machine.

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