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15" MacBook Pro i7 battery life mediocre

67777 Views 157 Replies Latest reply: Oct 28, 2010 2:43 PM by henkebarn RSS
  • Graham K. Rogers Level 5 Level 5 (5,430 points)
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    Apr 20, 2010 11:30 PM (in response to Chuckm747)
    No problem. My MBP delivery has been delayed for about 18 hours: drat!
    iMac 2.4 + MacBookPro 2.16 (2G RAM), Mac OS X (10.6.3), iPhone 3G, iPod touch
  • PierFumagalli Calculating status...
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    Apr 21, 2010 1:06 AM (in response to hypo luxa)
    My MBP (Core I7) seems to have a dreadful battery life, as well. After switching from a late 2009 Core2 Duo model to this, it really seems that the battery life was halved!

    One little thing I noticed, though, is that no matter how hard (or better, weak) I try, it seems that the internal "Intel HD Graphics" card (the one that is supposed to be saving energy) never seems to be engaged.

    Like, right now! I'm on battery, I only have this browser open (definitely no weird OpenGL crap going on, no games, no photoshop, no nothing) but still I can see that the only card connected to the displays is the "NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M".

    I'm using the system profiler to check. After hitting the terminal, I'm running "system_profiler | grep -A 50 ^Graphics", and this is what I see:

    Graphics/Displays:

    NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M:

    Chipset Model: NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M
    Type: GPU
    Bus: PCIe
    PCIe Lane Width: x16
    VRAM (Total): 512 MB
    Vendor: NVIDIA (0x10de)
    Device ID: 0x0a29
    Revision ID: 0x00a2
    ROM Revision: 3532
    gMux Version: 1.9.21
    Displays:
    Color LCD:
    Resolution: 1680 x 1050
    Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
    Main Display: Yes
    Mirror: Off
    Online: Yes
    Built-In: Yes
    Display Connector:
    Status: No Display Connected

    Intel HD Graphics:

    Chipset Model: Intel HD Graphics
    Type: GPU
    Bus: Built-In
    VRAM (Total): 288 MB
    Vendor: Intel (0x8086)
    Device ID: 0x0046
    Revision ID: 0x0012
    gMux Version: 1.9.21
    Displays:
    Display Connector:
    Status: No Display Connected

    ...

    See? NVIDIA GeForce engaged, Intel HD Graphics disconnected (or at least, so it seems).

    I wonder if the "Automatic Graphics Switching" is not that automatic for me...
    MacBook Pro Core I7, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • PierFumagalli Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 1:17 AM (in response to PierFumagalli)
    Hmm... More investigative work going on, and what I found is that as soon as I start Skype, my MBP engages the NVIDIA chip, while when I quit it the world looks beautiful and my goes back to what it's supposed to be (again, running "system_profiler | grep -A 50 ^Graphics":

    Graphics/Displays:

    NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M:

    Chipset Model: NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M
    Type: GPU
    Bus: PCIe
    PCIe Lane Width: x16
    VRAM (Total): 512 MB
    Vendor: NVIDIA (0x10de)
    Device ID: 0x0a29
    Revision ID: 0x00a2
    ROM Revision: 3532
    gMux Version: 1.9.21
    Displays:
    Display Connector:
    Status: No Display Connected
    Display Connector:
    Status: No Display Connected

    Intel HD Graphics:

    Chipset Model: Intel HD Graphics
    Type: GPU
    Bus: Built-In
    VRAM (Total): 288 MB
    Vendor: Intel (0x8086)
    Device ID: 0x0046
    Revision ID: 0x0012
    gMux Version: 1.9.21
    Displays:
    Color LCD:
    Resolution: 1680 x 1050
    Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
    Main Display: Yes
    Mirror: Off
    Online: Yes
    Built-In: Yes

    Also, looking at the little battery status in the menu bar, my time before shutdown goes from less than three hours when Skype is running to almost 5 hours with Skype disabled.

    Peculiar, but still, interesting! Are you guys running Skype?
    MacBook Pro Core I7, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 2:22 AM (in response to hypo luxa)
    This thread really comes down to two programs that have long been known to have a major effect on battery charge life, Flash and Skype.

    Flash has a huge impact on such things and a mix with 40% Flash sites visited is always going to have a huge impact. See http://www.anandtech.com/show/3659/apples-15inch-core-i5-macbook-pro-the-one-to- get/7 for an examination of its impact on battery life in the new computers. This doesn't just affect Macs. It affects all laptops, especially those with powerful processors.

    Skype, if used for video calls, is also profligate with power, though not so bad with just audio. It is a bit unfair to blame Skype for this, as the power needed to simply run the camera is not insignificant, and receiving video simultaneously, of course, adds to the load.

    Neither, though, are the sort of stuff that computer manufacturers use when suggesting the likely "run time" of their batteries. Try email, wordprocessing and a bit of non-flash browsing and you will see a world of difference - something more akin to the claims made.

    Cheers

    Rod
    MBP 13"2.26, MBP15"2.2, iMacG520"RevB , MB2CD, MBCD, ,PM5400/180 & earlier, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 7 chooks, 2 dogs, 2 daughters, 1 pear tree, 0 partridges, itinerant bats, magpie
  • PierFumagalli Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 2:37 AM (in response to Rod Hagen)
    Rod Hagen wrote:
    This thread really comes down to two programs that have long been known to have a major effect on battery charge life, Flash and Skype.


    Rod, I've used Skype for years, and despite its "normal" battery draining effects (yep, it's a CPU hog), on the new Core I5/I7 MacBook Pros it's also forcing the NVIDIA graphics card to be constantly active.

    When Skype is running, the +Intel HD Graphics+ (which definitely consumes a lot less power) is disabled.

    And I'm absolutely sure that there are more programs exposing the same behavior: so far I've also found that 1Password seem to be showing the same problem.
    MacBook Pro Core I7, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 2:49 AM (in response to PierFumagalli)
    You may well be right, Pier, and ,as the Anandtech review I linked to indicates, there are certainly situations where the new set-up uses at least as much power as the old one.

    It will be interesting to see whether software developers and / or Apple themselves seek ways to minimise such effects.

    My point was really made more in the context of the original post and the questions raised about the claims made than about your particular issue, I must confess.

    Are you finding the Intel HD chip to be disabled regardless of whether Skype is in video mode or not? If so, I can see a lot of pressure being brought to bear to get them to change the behaviour in the next version!

    Cheers

    Rod
    MBP 13"2.26, MBP15"2.2, iMacG520"RevB , MB2CD, MBCD, ,PM5400/180 & earlier, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 7 chooks, 2 dogs, 2 daughters, 1 pear tree, 0 partridges, itinerant bats, magpie
  • PierFumagalli Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 3:13 AM (in response to Rod Hagen)
    Rod Hagen wrote:
    Are you finding the Intel HD chip to be disabled regardless of whether Skype is in video mode or not? If so, I can see a lot of pressure being brought to bear to get them to change the behaviour in the next version!


    Running few things, it seems that also OmniGraffle, GarageBand and iPhoto are exhibiting the same behavior.

    It seems that it doesn't really matter whether those apps (from Skype, to 1Password) are idle, or doing anything specific, minimized, or even hidden: just the mere fact that they're "running" is enough to have the graphics to switch from Intel to NVIDIA (and my battery to halve its life).

    Remarkably, no matter what I try, or how hard, Flash doesn't force a video card switch (tried several YouTube/Vimeo streams running at once, all with hardware acceleration on, and the NVIDIA is not engaged).

    As far as what I can see, there's no single library or framework that seems to be the culprit: for example the OpenGL framework is used by both Adium and Skype, but Adium doesn't exhibit the behavior, but iPhoto (which is one of the culprit) doesn't seem to be using it (it's not in the "lsof" output).

    It'd be great to understand how the +Automatic Graphics Switching+ exactly work, and have a little option to say "no matter what I throw at you, under no circumstances enable the NVIDIA card on Battery Power".

    Pier (since 3 hours on battery, still 50% charge)
    MacBook Pro Core I7, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • BeMcJo Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 6:17 AM (in response to Rod Hagen)
    Rod - I disagree. I have installed "Click to Flash" and am also experiencing the below advertised battery life when only using Word to write a paper. I have not been on Skype at all. This thread comes down to poor battery life on the MacBook pro core i7.
    MacBook Pro 15'' 2.66, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • lhotka Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 9:33 AM (in response to BeMcJo)
    I'll second that - I never seem to have the Intel chip active. I like the idea of automatic switching, but I like the idea of manual switching without logging out even better. I'll take automatic when I'm on, or near power, but when I'm on an airplane, I don't care if things run slow - let the user control that.

    So Apple - I know you monitor these forums. Please give us these options: 1) Automatic switching. 2) Integrated Graphics Only. 3) Accelerated Graphics Only. We currently have 1 and 3, how hard would it be to add 2?

    Seeing 3 hours of battery life running mail, wireless, non-flash browsing (have flash totally disabled).
    Mac Book pro, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • MacRS4 Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 2:53 PM (in response to lhotka)
    This is pretty interesting - I've been investigating something similar today after noticing my battery life plummet since I installed all my apps.

    See here: http://www.markc.me.uk/MarkC/Blog/Entries/2010/4/21Early_2010_Macbook_Pro_-_Battery_LifePoor.html
    Late 2008 MBP 2.4Ghz, 6Gb RAM, 128Gb SSD, 500Gb Seagate 7200RPM drive (OptiBay), Mac OS X (10.6.2), Loads of Windows PCs, HP Servers etc.
  • Rod Hagen Level 7 Level 7 (31,985 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 21, 2010 4:31 PM (in response to MacRS4)
    That is, indeed, interesting, MacR54.

    Given its ubiquity I can see "have you turned off Skype" becoming a basic mantra here whenever anyone complains of poor battery life in an i5 or i7 MBP until they fix it!

    Certainly be interesting to know what other apps are clearly implicated here.

    Cheers

    Rod
    MBP 13"2.26, MBP15"2.2, iMacG520"RevB , MB2CD, MBCD, ,PM5400/180 & earlier, Mac OS X (10.6.3), 7 chooks, 2 dogs, 2 daughters, 1 pear tree, 0 partridges, itinerant bats, magpie
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 22, 2010 7:53 AM (in response to hypo luxa)
    That's 3 hours less than the minimum quoted battery life.


    There is NO "minimum quoted battery life" for any Apple notebook nor, I suspect, for any other make either. Your 17" MBP's advertised battery life was *UP TO* 8-9 hours, not *AT LEAST* 8-9 hours. Read the specs.

    There do seem to be some kinks to work out in the i5 and i7 models — not surprisingly. No brand new model is ever bug-free, and that's why I never buy one.

    I'm glad your 13" MBP is more to your liking. You obviously didn't need the bigger, much faster machine in the first place, and the old Core 2 Duo CPU in the 13" will serve you just fine, as it probably would 95% of all computer users.
    15" '08 UMBP 2.4GHz/4G/250G; TiBook 1GHz/1G/120G, Mac OS X (10.5.8), iTouch 32G, scanners, projector, graphics tabet, laser & photo printers
  • BeMcJo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 22, 2010 1:55 PM (in response to eww)
    Even so, UP TO 8-9 hours should mean that if I use my computer under the same conditions/settings that were used to establish those numbers, then I should get the same result. I don't come anywhere near it. I don't expect to get 8-9 hours under any/all conditions, but my comp should get 8 hrs when the screen brightness is at 40%, bluetooth is off, key illumination is off, I'm not surfing the web. I only used Word under these conditions and got 5.5 hrs.

    I am trying hard to return my 15'' i7 without incurring the $200 repackaging fee. Every Apple employee I talk to about my battery refuses to recognize the problem and quickly blames it on my settings or the sites I am visiting. Save yourself the headache and either go with the 13'' or wait for Apple to recognize the problem.
    MacBook Pro 15'' core i7, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • lhotka Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 22, 2010 4:04 PM (in response to BeMcJo)
    For my first try, light web surfing, flash totally disabled, wi-fi on, I got 3 hours. That's about 1/2 of my mid-2009 Unibody - when it was set to low-power graphics.

    I checked - for some reason, the new one is running high-end graphics with only those things. It appears that once the fast chip is triggered, it's not dropping back.

    I really wish we could force it to integrated graphics.
    Mac Book pro, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
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