Vmware Fusion's affect on battery life, gestures

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NovemberWhiskey, May 31, 2009.

  1. NovemberWhiskey macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2009
    Hey guys. So I am about 1 month away from buying a new MBP, and I was wondering what affect VMware fusion has on battery life.

    I was also wondering if you could use all the multi-touch features of the touchpad while using a windows program.

    In particular, I will be needing Microsoft Onenote.

    Quick summary of questions:

    1. How does running VMware fusion affect battery life.

    2. If there is a noticeable effect, will the faster draining condition the battery to drain faster even when I am not using VMware? Obviously it will put the battery through more cycles in a shorter amount of time, but do batteries learn the rate of the drain?

    3. Do you have the ability to use all the multi-touch gestures of the touchpad (e.g. 2-finger scroll, tap-to-click, 3-finger swipe, etc.) within the windows programs (e.g. OneNote) while running VMware fusion unity? I.e. Can I scroll in OneNote with two fingers?
  2. Biolizard macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    London, United Kingdom
    1) I haven't timed it, but Fusion definitely has a detrimental effect on the battery life. Hopefully someone can give a figure for you. I don't want to pull one out of the air when it could be miles off.

    2) I think you're talking up the battery there :D It shouldn't drain faster whilst off Fusion. When running VMWare you're basically throwing a lot more instructions at the CPU, so it needs more power. When the CPU is doing very little it slows itself down and draws less power.

    3) You'd need Apple drivers for Windows provided on your OS X install discs. I don't have a multitouch laptop so I can't say whether the drivers offer that functionality.
  3. NovemberWhiskey thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2009

    Anyone with a 2009 17'' Macbook Pro running Windows 7/Vista via bootcamp or VMware Fusion that can comment on the battery issues?

    Is there any way to work around the shortened battery life? Can I download drivers or anything?

    I have read that it is better to just run Office via windows instead of Office 2008 for the Mac. I also need Msft Onenote, which to my understanding is not available on the mac.

    I love the Macbook Pro so much, but if running windows is going to kill all the things I love about it (battery life, multi-touch gestures, etc.) then I don't know if it is worth it. I just need windows for Office and OneNote. Do you guys think I should still get the mac?

    The only comparable machine I could find is the Dell Studio XPS 16, and while it is a decent system there are just things about it I don't like; I prefer the MBP 17''.

    Of course there is the Lenovo W700, and while I love the specs of that machine, it looks like a big brick and I would imagine it'd be a pain to carry around.
  4. zmoothg macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    I have a Macbook Pro 15". I just did some testing. If I have the monitor brightness set to lowest setting (before completely going off) and 100% battery. I got roughly 7 hours and 05 mins of battery life. Once I turn Fusion on battery life drops to 3 hours 05 mins.
  5. zmoothg macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    Okay my Fusion was using both my processors.
    Guest OS: Windows XP (Not doing anything inside Guest)

    Here are times with different hardware:

    No Fusion: 7hrs
    Fusion w/ 2 Processors (+Networking/Sound): 3hr
    Fusion w/ 1 Processor (+Networking/Sound): 5hr30min
    Connecting CD/DVD subtracts ~ 30mins
    Connecting Sound subtracts ~ 15mins

    Virus Scanners / Indexer etc inside the guest can lower the battery usage considerable. Such as a virus scanner doing a scan of the hard drive. Surprisingly the Unity feature doesn't lower the battery life much.
  6. NovemberWhiskey thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2009
    Thanks!!! Great work!

    So if I run unity mode, I get more battery life than running it without unity mode? And it is about the same as not running VMware at all?
  7. zmoothg macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    If you run with Unity mode you will experience the same times I have listed above given your configuration. I was just saying that whether the computer is in Unity mode / Full Screen / or as a Window there isn't much difference in time between either.

    For example this configuration: (Fusion w/ 1 Processor (+Networking/Sound)): will be roughly 5hr30min in either Unity/FullScreen/Window.

    So in order to run Windows and get the best battery life you want to.

    1) Use 1 Processor
    2) Only connect hardware that you will be using to the Virtual Machine. i.e. after using iSight camera within the VM i immediately disconnect it from Windows when done. If you are not using networking through windows disconnect it.
    3) I know this is somewhat risky, but remove/disable virus scanning within the VM or have it run maybe once a week.
    4) Disable any program that do indexing. In case of Windows XP, unless you have added another program that does this you dont have to worry about this.
    5) Disable the Screen Saver from running in the GuestOS. This really eats up battery. It's pretty useless in a VM anyways.
    6) While allowing your VM to go into Standby would save battery. I would prevent it from doing so. The reason: I notice when Windows goes into Standby/Suspend by itself upon waking up the Sound no longer works. There are various threads about this issue. So prevent your windows guest from going into Standby on its own. If you want to put it in standby do it through Fusion.
    7) Using dual monitors also hurts battery life, but most likely if you are using dual monitors you are near a battery source so this is not an issue.

    Overall your basic goal is to minimize CPU usage and I/O operations in the guest operating system to minimize battery draining. The best time I am able to get following the above recipe is roughly around 5 to 5.5 hours.

    Obviously these times will vary with your actions in the guest OS. Sometimes I get 5 hours sometimes I can see 3 hours if heavily working in the OS.

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