tresean1's battery thread

squeakr

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2010
1,603
1
gfxCardStatus will do nothing for your system. As was previously stated, you have to restart to change the graphics card, so this app does absolutely nothing to manage your particular system and the settings for battery or anything else will make no difference whatsoever. The complaint you stated was the exact same from others during that time period, if you have different graphics available, then what good is it if you can't switch them on the fly? This was the main complaint from gamers who wished they could change the card when they wanted to game and then change back when they were done and accomplish all without logging in and out constantly. Apple was able to get a hold of this concept in later models, unfortunately for you it doesn't work as you would like.

Not sure if it was previously on the designated card, but if you are now on internal only and noticing a difference, then it appears you were on the designated the entire time prior. Being on the designated will result in decreased battery life, and generally yield better graphics performance (depending on the app most won't notice a change one way or the other) and an increase in temps in most cases.

You need to now that having extra apps running will decrease battery life, so even though Skype is in the background it is leaching battery cycles. From your screen shots you were previously also running Flashplayer and some Safari WebProcess, both which were eating lots of CPU and thus consuming more power. You need to learn more about your system by going through all of the settings and diagnostics, as you really have no idea what is on it. You have stated that you are not sure what add-ins are installed. Then state you have 2 installed. How did you install them and are you sure they are installed.

As a rule just comparing your system to someone else's is not a fair comparison, you need to compare usage, system specs, and various other things. I was cleaning my system the other day and found that I had turned on xgrid at some point in the past and was now getting lots of console message about it failing (I never set xgrid up, so this was expected, but was causing the CPU to use cycles trying to connect to the xgrid every fews seconds, not enough to skyline on activity console but enough to cause errors in the system). You also may have different wifi and distances than someone else as environment plays a big part as well.
 

tresean1

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 12, 2012
41
0
gfxCardStatus will do nothing for your system. As was previously stated, you have to restart to change the graphics card, so this app does absolutely nothing to manage your particular system and the settings for battery or anything else will make no difference whatsoever.
Oh ok, you beat me to it--that was gonna be my next question/investigation: as to whether I should just go ahead and uninstall gfxCardStatus since it doesn't apply to my GPU combination...then, I read somewhere this morning on two websites that for 2009 MBP's like mine, gfxCardStatus will still allow manual switching without having to restart...although OS X itself (on its own) won't switch dynamically.

GFXCARDSTATUS: FAQ

Is my MacBook Pro supported?

You've come to the right place to find out! You must have a dual-GPU MacBook Pro in order to take advantage of gfxCardStatus. If you have any of these models:
•2011 i5/i7 MacBook Pro with Intel HD 3000/AMD Radeon HD 6xxxM GPUs
•2010 i5/i7 MacBook Pro with Intel HD/NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M GPUs
2009 MacBook Pro with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M/9600M GT GPUs
•Late 2008 MacBook Pro with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M/9600M GT GPUs
You're covered!
http://codykrieger.com/gfxCardStatus/faq#supported
The app allows quick and easy swapping between graphics processors without the log-off / log-on process.

Click on the app in the menu bar and select “Switch GPUs”. There then follows a few seconds of flickering blue screen then normality returns and the alternate GPU is engaged!

In the Preference pane you can choose to have gfxCardStatus automatically swap the GPU as you move from battery power to mains supply, with a Growl Notfication to let you know this task has been undertaken.

The menu bar icon handily shows either an “i” or a “d” indicating whether the integrated or discrete GPU is active.
http://macstrings.com/2011/02/09/quick-review-gfxcardstatus-v2-0/
So, in essence it still may be helpful to me if I want to conserve battery. Did I understand that correctly?

Not sure if it was previously on the designated card, but if you are now on internal only and noticing a difference, then it appears you were on the designated the entire time prior. Being on the designated will result in decreased battery life, and generally yield better graphics performance (depending on the app most won't notice a change one way or the other) and an increase in temps in most cases.
Yeah, I will say that the bottom of my Mac was getting hot before, then after the installation of gfxCardStatus, I noticed much cooler temperatures on my lap. So maybe it was on discrete before, and I didn't know---and then maybe gfxCardStatus changed it to integrated as soon as it was installed? This is something noteworthy of considering.

You need to now that having extra apps running will decrease battery life, so even though Skype is in the background it is leaching battery cycles. From your screen shots you were previously also running Flashplayer and some Safari WebProcess, both which were eating lots of CPU and thus consuming more power. You need to learn more about your system by going through all of the settings and diagnostics, as you really have no idea what is on it. You have stated that you are not sure what add-ins are installed. Then state you have 2 installed. How did you install them and are you sure they are installed.
Ok, I will disable Skype from loading automatically and only open when I am making an active Skype call. I didn't intentionally run Flashplayer so I assume a website I visited summoned it up. But since I have recently installed ClicktoFlash, that should prevent Flashplayer from loading right? As far as Safari WebProcess, I have read that is is some type of system that Mac uses to render webpages, etc. Maybe this is where that colorful spinning wheel thing comes from---it seems to happen frequently and I read somewhere that Repairing Permissions solves that problem (we shall see this evening). I am trying to learn more about my system, trust me---I am trying. I said I wasn't sure about the plug-ins because of a syntax miscommunication. I wasn't sure if the Apple terms were synonymous with Windows terms, so didn't know if Apple's "extensions" were something totally different from the word "plug-in"; but I now know that "plugin" = "ad-in" = "extension". With that being said, yes---I did install two extensions last night: ClicktoFlash and AdBlocker. To my knowledge (and according to the Safari menu option), those are the only ones I have.

I hope these answers help clarify things for you gentlemen; once again, any past or future help is greatly appreciated.
 
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thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
You have to monitor your power consumption.

If you look at the screenshot with the battery information that you posted, there is one line with "charge remaining" in units of mAh (milli-ampere-hours), and one line with "amperage" in units of mA (milli-ampere). The amperage tells you how much charge is being drained from the battery per unit of time.
The battery life in hours is determined by dividing "charge remaining" by "amperage."

I use(d) a tool called coconut battery to monitor my power consumption. It tells me the power consumption in Watts instead of the charge consumption, but these two are very closely related. To give you a rough idea, a consumption of ~10-12 W gives me about 7 hours of battery life. If the power consumption is doubled (e.g. 20 W), the battery life is halved, and so on.

You can keep that tool open next to your browser. When you notice the power consumption going up, you can check what you are doing right now, and find out e.g. which websites make your mac use a lot of power. The same of course works for other programs.

Just an example, the nba.com TV companion is quite demanding, even though it is a relatively simple website. Some animated facebook games are extremely demanding.



Edit: And yes, disable everything that you don't explicitly need from launching at boot time. You do that in system preferences -> users -> login items.
 

tresean1

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 12, 2012
41
0
You have to monitor your power consumption.

If you look at the screenshot with the battery information that you posted, there is one line with "charge remaining" in units of mAh (milli-ampere-hours), and one line with "amperage" in units of mA (milli-ampere). The amperage tells you how much charge is being drained from the battery per unit of time.
The battery life in hours is determined by dividing "charge remaining" by "amperage."

I use(d) a tool called coconut battery to monitor my power consumption. It tells me the power consumption in Watts instead of the charge consumption, but these two are very closely related. To give you a rough idea, a consumption of ~10-12 W gives me about 7 hours of battery life. If the power consumption is doubled (e.g. 20 W), the battery life is halved, and so on.

You can keep that tool open next to your browser. When you notice the power consumption going up, you can check what you are doing right now, and find out e.g. which websites make your mac use a lot of power. The same of course works for other programs.
Aaaah---Thanks a lot for the tip, that is very handy information to know...I have downloaded coconutbattery as well as iStat (or were you referring to Mac's built-in battery info screen?). I will monitor those two tonight. So, ideally, the MBP is only suppose to average a power draw of ~10-12W?; anything more than that is abnormal/power-consuming? What "formula" did you use to determine battery life using the wattage power consumption method? battery life = "charge remaining" (mAh) / W?

Edit: And yes, disable everything that you don't explicitly need from launching at boot time. You do that in system preferences -> users -> login items.
Yes, I did that last night. As it seems, I only have two things loading, one is Speech something (which lets my mac verbally dicate the time), and the other I can't remember atm. I was impressed as, coming from Windows, I would have expected MANY more items in that list. However, I am still vaguely confused as to exactly how "Login items" works & whether it works the same as "Startup items" in Windows...because I noticed that Skype and gfxCardStatus still start automatically, even though it's not mentioned in "Login items". Whereas in Windows, if those two were set to launch automatically, they would indeed be included in "Startup items".....?
 
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thundersteele

macrumors 68030
Oct 19, 2011
2,984
7
Switzerland
Aaaah---Thanks a lot for the tip, that is very handy information to know...I have downloaded coconutbattery as well as iStat (or were you referring to Mac's built-in battery info screen?). I will monitor those two tonight. So, ideally, the MBP is only suppose to average a power draw of ~10-12W?; anything more than that is abnormal/power-consuming? What "formula" did you use to determine battery life using the wattage power consumption method? battery life = "charge remaining" (mAh) / W?
The most reliable information is the built-in battery info screen (the one you access through "About this Mac"). However it doesn't update, that's why I use gfxcardstatus when I have a period of being obsessed with battery life.

You can not just divide quantities that have different units. mAh has units of [Ampere]x[time] (the h stands for hour), so you can divide by the amperage (in mA) and get the time remaining in hours. Watts are voltage x amperage, so if you want to get the time remaining using the charge and the Watt, you have to use:

time remaining = (current charge)/Watts * Voltage.

The voltage is usually between 11.5 and 12 V. If you get some ridiculous number (e.g. 5000 hours), you have to fix the units.

Normal power consumption of a 15'' Macbook Pro is between 1 W (sleep mode) and ~90 W (full load). When I just browse this forum, I average between 10 and 13 W. Opening a bunch of heavy websites it immediately jumps to 24 W.
Note that there is a delay, the power usage is internally averaged over a period of 30 seconds.
The concept of "abnormal" power consumption does not exist. The Mac consumes as much as it needs to satisfy the requests of the user. If you want to preserve battery life, you have to learn what not to do!


Skype is a bit weird I think. You can probably disable "launch at boot" in the Skype settings.
 

squeakr

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2010
1,603
1
A startup folder also exists that isn't necessarily related to the start-up items within the system preferences. I am not sure about SL but within Lion you can right click a dock item and then select option and select the Open at Login selection as well and it will also start at login but not appear within the prior mentioned start-up list.

Like Windows, there are many different ways to get something into the start-up loop rather than just the start-up folder (for example within the msconfig file on Windows several things are presented under the start-up tab that will start-up on log-in but never be presented in the start-up folder).

As for the values presented by thundersteele, they were just for demonstration purposes and not indicative of a normally operating system or not, just used illustrative purposes. I have a early 2011 and get no where near the quoted times, but I know not to expect them as I normally run Safari with 10 tabs, mail, address book, ical, iMessage, Adium, GoToMeeting, and no less than 2 full blown VMWare images (Windows 7 and Windows 2008 server, both with server programs running in each environment and Outlook 2010 in each image) at all times. It would be wrong of me to expect that the quoted times will be met on my system.

If you look at the way Apple measures their times, then they were only going between about 5 different static sites and reloading on a set time frame, with only a couple of other programs running in the background (and not actively running as well). The more interactive a website is the more it will be utilizing CPU and battery. To test this, just pick a stationery text site, yet begin scrolling up and down very quickly and you will see the CPU usage rise, along with temps of the MBP.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,360
963
New England
Put another way.

Your battery claims to hold ~7000 mAh of charge.

In order to drain that in 2 hours you have to be drawing about 3500 mA = 3.5 A ~ 42 W on average. Your screenshot implies 1.4 A ~ 17 W. If this was an average draw you would expect 7000/1400 = hours of battery life.

Something isn't consistent here.

B
 

tresean1

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 12, 2012
41
0
Hey guys...sorry for the delay. Had alot going on, traveling for work and hard drive died on my MBP - lost all my files :-( (but thank God for AppleCare).

So I got my hard drive replaced and reinstalled everything and tried to get all my custom settings back...

Well I did all the stuff you guys said and OS X "says" 7 hours...but I havent verified the REAL TIME usage hours.

I will give an update when I do the tests...