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Getting the Most Performance Out of a Laptop Battery

NitsuaNitsua Gloucester, VARegistered User regular
Okay, I've tried looking around the web for answers to this and looking a bit through these forums and could come up with nothing. I even went to the forum of the site that made this laptop for me and I got no answer from them either.

What I'm wanting is to get the most performance I can out of my Laptop while using the battery. I've already tried setting up the power options to the maximum that is allowable underneath Vista and I still have issues even running an old game like Neverwinter Nights. While the game is playable, it stutters every two seconds or so and is very noticeable as I'm running from place to place. Other games look like a slide show (Halo 2) or have a huge amount of input lag (Silent Hunter 4) to even be playable.

I know my laptop can handle these games effortlessly and it does while I have it plugged into the wall - it even can play DoW2 without any trouble at just under Ultra settings and it manhandles the above games under the same circumstances (though all at the max settings of course). The system isn't a beast, but it is at least an upper-midrange system for a laptop.

Here are my specs:

Intel® Montevina Core 2 Duo Mobile T9550 2.66 Ghz/6MB Cache/1066FSB
4 GB(2 GB X2) DDR2-800 PC6400
Mobility 512MB NVIDIA GeForce GO 9600M GT (with the GDDR3 RAM)
250 GB 7200rpm Serial-ATA-150
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit

Now, I'm not asking for longevity - even if I only get half an hour out of my battery it would be better than not being able to play at all when I'm not near a power source - I just want playability. I know my computer can put it out since it does when plugged in, but am I crazy to ask it to perform under battery power or do you fine folks know of any tricks to coax said performance out of a laptop while off AC power?

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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Go to the "power settings*" in your taskbar, and crank Vista's settings up to "Max performance.*"

    It's automatically downclocking your CPU, probably the FSB, and definitely your GPU, when it senses you're on battery. And that's what's killing your fun.

    As you noted, this will kill your battery - but at least you'll be able to play. :P

    *Disclaimer - I don't have a Vista box handy right now, so that may not actually be what it's called.

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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Go to the "power settings*" in your taskbar, and crank Vista's settings up to "Max performance.*"

    It's automatically downclocking your CPU, probably the FSB, and definitely your GPU, when it senses you're on battery. And that's what's killing your fun.

    As you noted, this will kill your battery - but at least you'll be able to play. :P

    *Disclaimer - I don't have a Vista box handy right now, so that may not actually be what it's called.

    If I had to make a wild guess, I'm guessing the GPU isn't being clocked back up when he sets the power settings to max in Vista. It might only be clocking his CPU back up.

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    shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Go to the "power settings*" in your taskbar, and crank Vista's settings up to "Max performance.*"

    It's automatically downclocking your CPU, probably the FSB, and definitely your GPU, when it senses you're on battery. And that's what's killing your fun.

    As you noted, this will kill your battery - but at least you'll be able to play. :P

    *Disclaimer - I don't have a Vista box handy right now, so that may not actually be what it's called.

    If I had to make a wild guess, I'm guessing the GPU isn't being clocked back up when he sets the power settings to max in Vista. It might only be clocking his CPU back up.

    Yea, check your video card drivers, thats usually where these things are handled.

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    NitsuaNitsua Gloucester, VARegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Yeah, I've checked the nVidia Control panel and they don't have a power setting for the graphics card there. I have set the processor to max, but I also think that somehow the graphics card is being choked off while on battery power. Is there any other way to access the power setting for the card or some program I can get that allows me to do so? The normal driver program won't let me.

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    EgoEgo Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    You should be able to get at PCI-E settings by right clicking your battery > going to power options > clicking 'change plan settings' > then 'change advanced power settings' > PCI-E

    Windows has a tendency to ignore Windows power settings in favour of third party power settings if you have them (ie Acer bundles Acer ePower control panels with laptops and it will pre-empt windows' power settings) so you if you've got a third party control panel for batteries, you may wish to uninstall it or at least check the settings within it.

    Ego on
    Erik
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    NitsuaNitsua Gloucester, VARegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    The beauty of my machine is that it is as close as I can get to being built by myself... the makers only put it together, place Vista and needed drivers on it, test it, then ship it out - no bullshit programs added. I'll check the PCI-E setting, but I don't remember seeing that up there. One moment while I look again.

    edit: The only thing under PCI-E is Link State Power Management and it is off on both Plugged In and Battery. It's the only option I have under there.

    edit: Okay, I think I found something out. Somehow, my graphics card driver is not allowing me to adjust the hardware acceleration. I'm going to look for a different driver (I have the newest from nVidia) and see if that changes things.

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    shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Nitsua wrote: »
    The beauty of my machine is that it is as close as I can get to being built by myself... the makers only put it together, place Vista and needed drivers on it, test it, then ship it out - no bullshit programs added. I'll check the PCI-E setting, but I don't remember seeing that up there. One moment while I look again.

    edit: The only thing under PCI-E is Link State Power Management and it is off on both Plugged In and Battery. It's the only option I have under there.

    edit: Okay, I think I found something out. Somehow, my graphics card driver is not allowing me to adjust the hardware acceleration. I'm going to look for a different driver (I have the newest from nVidia) and see if that changes things.

    Hmm... with laptop video cards, sometimes its actually best to run with the original drivers. Technically, the laptop manufacturer, and not the graphics card manufacturer, is responsible for the drivers.

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    FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Have you tried looking in the BIOS? Occasionally, they'll have some annoying power saving override hidden in there.

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    NitsuaNitsua Gloucester, VARegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Hmmm, thanks for alerting me to that. I'll take a look there in just a moment.

    About the drivers, I just reverted back to the drivers that came on the disc and I still can't get any Hardware Acceleration at all. I looked it up on Google and it seems to be a fairly common occurance.

    I'm going to keep poking around and see if I can find anything. Thanks for all of your help so far - at least it is giving me ideas on what to look for.

    edit: Thanks, Frem, the bios had Active State Power Management turned on... I'm going to see if that is what caused it. Hopefully that fixes it because I've tried a slew of different drivers and none of that seems to work at all.

    edit2: While it was a good idea, that didn't work either... still getting massive input lag in the office section of SH4 while under battery power - the moment I plug back in though the lag goes poof. Beginning to think it's a waste of time to even try.

    Nitsua on
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