Extending The Barrery Life On The AW17 R5/R1

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by Clamibot, Jan 14, 2018.

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  1. Clamibot

    Clamibot Notebook Consultant

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    Edit: Sorry for the typo in the topic! I have no idea how the crap that happened. I swear I remember typing two t's instead of two r's!

    Hey everyone! I've been inactive on this forum for a while, but since all you guys here at NotebookReview were so helpful with giving me adequate information for upgrading to a GTX 1060 and having it fully work in my Alien, I decided to give back to the community and post my own findings about the AW17 R5/R1 after much tinkering around.

    To start off, the AW17 is THE ultimate laptop. The only laptops I can compare the awesomeness of this laptop to would be Clevo's P750TM1 models, their P775TM1 models, and their P870TM models, as they are fully upgradeable as well. My Alien is far superior to anything I've ever seen in terms of well... everything except battery life.

    The downfall of this amazing laptop is its battery life, which actually is pretty good for a gaming notebook of this caliber, but it could be better.

    Back before I got my 1060, I used to be able to get 5 hours of runtime from the battery in optimus mode while web browsing and doing light tasks, with a record of 5 hours and 17 minutes during a "power saver" profile run. In dedicated only mode, I was able to get a max of 2 hours and 30 minutes. After I got my 1060, I had to keep running in dedicated only mode since I got the eDP cable and 120Hz screen upgrade for it. Since the 1060 comsumes significantly less power than my old 860m does while idle, this extended my runtime to 3 hours and 37 minutes off battery power.

    Now I wasn't satisfied with this. I wanted to get as close as I possibly could to the 5 hours of runtime I got in the past before I did all these upgrades on my Alien. I also own a Lenovo Y510P, and I noticed that its idle CPU power consumption was significantly lower than the CPU in my Alien, despite both laptops having the EXACT SAME CPU model in them.

    Because of this, I came to the conclusion that my Alien's CPU was drawing more power while idle because more uncore stuff was going on seeing that the core power consumption was about the same on both laptops. As a result, I did a bunch of tinkering around with Intel XTU and BIOS settings to lower CPU power consumption in my Alien. I also looked around to see if there was anything else significantly affecting battery life that I could replace or get rid of entirely.

    Now enough of me blabbling on, here's what you need to do to lower system wide power consumption while idle to increase your runtime off of battery:

    #1. Replace all HDDs with SSDs.
    HDDs consume a lot more power than I thought they did. Mine consume anywhere between 2-6 watts depending on usage level. An idle SSD consumes less than a tenth of a watt.

    #2. Lower your screen brightness.
    This should be self explanatory. The screen consumes about 2.5-3 watts at the lowest brightness setting according to the math I've done. I haven't measured this directly so I could be wrong.

    #3. Disable unnecessary BIOS settings.
    My Alien has features I never knew it had. I turned these off along with things I don't use anyway.
    What you need to do is go into the InsydeH20 BIOS setup utility, navigate to the Advanced tab, and turn off USB powershare. Next, go to the Wireless tab and turn off DMC, then turn off Bluetooth. There may be more you can turn off to provide additional power savings. I will update this section later with more instructions should I find anything else that is unneccessary. Disabling these 3 options dropped my CPU's idle power consumption by a good 3 watts.

    #4. Undervolt your CPU cores and cache, and also undervolt the system agents.
    As has been said before, the voltages on haswell are higher than neccessary. You can undervolt your CPU's cores and cache by up to 100 mv without any instability for core speeds from 800 Mhz to 1.4 Ghz. For speeds 1.5 Ghz - 3.5 Ghz, a 50 mv undervolt can be utilized without any instability. For any speeds above this up to 4 Ghz, you may be stable or unstable depending on if you won the silicon lottery. Any speeds above 4 Ghz will be unstable without stock defined voltages or an overvolt.

    In addition to undervolting your cores and cache, undervolt your system agents as the voltages for these are too high as well. Here are some screenshots from my Alien for you to use as reference:
    Screenshot (84).png
    Screenshot (85).png

    I also attached these pictures to this post as well if anyone has trouble viewing the thumbnails.

    Overall step #4 lowered my CPU's idle power consumtion by another watt. So just steps 3 and 4 wil lower the CPU's idle power draw by 4 watts!

    I haven't even removed any of the HDDs in my system, so I should be able to extend my battery life to a little over 4 hours in dedicated only mode!

    I hope this helps anyone wanting to squeeze more runtime out of their Aliens as well!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  2. goodstone

    goodstone Notebook Consultant

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    To put it short. your setup cannot run Intel hd graphics. Your are running on a 120hz 3D display (pascal graphics).The reason you could hours 3 hours plus was because of Intel HD graphics on CPU.
     
  3. Clamibot

    Clamibot Notebook Consultant

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    Yeah I'm aware of that. Intel GPU consumes almost nothing which was why I was able to get 5 hours of runtime off the internal battery. The alienware OSD wouldn't allow me to switch back to optimus mode after installing the 120Hz screen since the iGPU gets disabled if there's nothing connected to the LVDS port.
     
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