Squeezing that Notebook Battery for Everything It’s Got

Apple PowerBook Battery in BoxBattery life has got to be one of the most affective aspects of a mobile computer’s performance. Often, it’s not how well a notebook performs unplugged, it’s how long it’ll actually stay lit through that trans-continental flight that really matters.

There are endless myths about what can keep your mobile unit going longer, one of which I find ironically manifest in the PC notebook: the hardware Wifi switch. So I was quite interested by a very scientific analysis that Tablet PC Review published this morning.

In “Tablet PC Battery Life: How Wireless Affects Power Consumption,” they found that wireless components really don’t suck as much power as many people believe (or even as much as would warrant a hardware switch). Instead, they basically confirmed a set of rules that I live by to conserve power on a portable unit:

  1. Dim the lights! Your LCD screen is a power pig. Reducing its brightness to as minimal a level as possible results in massive power savings.
  2. Turf the disc. Leaving an unused DVD or CD in an optical drive can kill a battery fast.
  3. Drive slowly. Underclocking your CPU will buy tons of time and have a very minimal impact on your workflow.

If you have a notebook computer and need it to stay alive for as long as possible without its power cord, adopt these three simple rules. You can tinker with Wifi and Bluetooth all you want, but these services offer only meager power savings in comparison to the three I’ve listed above.

One thought on “Squeezing that Notebook Battery for Everything It’s Got

  1. I agree on all points as you described. I can recall the times of running my Rev. C 12-inch PB for over five hours having conformed to the aforementioned rules. However, we need to bare in mind that it was a PPC-based notebook and I’m afraid underclocking the CPU on any Apple portable *Book machine caused the system to become fairly less responsive, even with stacked additional RAM.I remember that couple of months ago I had a chance to try out a G3 iBook (16 VRAM) as aftermarket offer. I was amazed with the time the computer could stay on with a fresh-updated Apple Rechargeable Battery installed. I managed to get over 6.5 hours with all the rules applied. To my recognition, however, there was no power left to downscale from (slooooow by its all means). Otherwise, a pretty handy and consistent machine. I almost bought it ;o)

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