Gaming on a Laptop while on Battery

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by PJPeter, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. PJPeter

    PJPeter Notebook Deity

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    An overall conclusion about gaming on battery is that I really hoped that the GTX1660Ti MaxQ would be the ideal.

    While plugged in, he GA502 w/ GTX1660Ti (not called MaxQ, maybe because it's too loud?) it provides 23% higher performance while requiring only 61.4W vs 73W for the 1060 MaxQ in the Razer Blade Base (16% more power efficient). So it's definitely higher performance per watt.

    However, the GA502 can't handle the stress while on battery - for whatever reason it can't give the GTX1660Ti enough juice to fly, so it struggles greatly and gives 53% lower performance. (If anyone knows how to unlock it, please let me know. It's not a Battery Boost issue since it never reaches 30fps - see above for more information on those results)

    I've concluded it's on ASUS - their implementation for whatever reason won't provide enough juice (maybe to protect the battery?) so it can't perform when gaming on battery.

    The Lenovo Y740 RTX2070 MaxQ experiences the same type of situation. And as the battery drains, the performance becomes worse and worse. It only has a 11V battery so I hoped that was the culprit - but I guess not since ASUS has the same issues in the GA502 which includes a 4 cell 15V battery.

    The Razer Blade Advanced Model w/RTX2070 MaxQ does better - it consistently outperforms the 1060MaxQ Blade Base by 10% while on battery. But for literally double the price I'd want more than 10% better performance. And when running plugged in full it got way, way too hot around the WASD keys. The Y740 does a much better job of keeping things cool.

    So for plugged in performance on a RTX2070 MaxQ w/cooling I'd go with the Y740 - but it's definitely not for portable/battery gaming.

    So right now the Blade Base 2018 model with GTX1060 MaxQ seems to be the sweet spot - $1699+tax CAD to buy makes it quite cheap, while it gives a good mix of battery and plugged in performance while staying cool (and in such a awesome solid and well designed aluminum chassis). I had planned to return it and get a new GTX1660Ti MaxQ model, or maybe even a GTX1650 with similar performance - but the GTX1650 still falls behind the 1060MaxQ and there is no Blade GTX1660Ti MaxQ model out there, not until they probably release a Razer Blade Stealth in a few months with one.

    I will enable Battery Boost at 30 or 60fps to protect the battery going forward - but knowing that the system is capable makes me confident in deciding it can handle things when i need to. So I might be keeping this Blade Base 2018 for the foreseeable future, much gaming while daily commuting on the train to come.

    Peter
     
  2. MorphineX

    MorphineX Notebook Enthusiast

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    Peter, I'm glad I found your thread and all your intensive checking on varying performance of gaming laptops on battery. I'm searching for semi-portable laptop that can perform decently even while on battery. I bought an AW 51m RTX 2070 but discovered to my dismay that when on battery, performance suffered too significantly (https://www.3dmark.com/spy/7191985 with score of 2602 on battery. Another person got 4600 while on battery with GTX 1080 MaxQ)

    I've found that https://www.notebookcheck.net/ review contains some mention of performance while on battery. And I see that various laptop manufacturers drive the cpu/gpu differently. However, when I read the review for AW 51M RTX 2080, I was surprised to see the performance is *much* better than what I got.

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Alienware-Area-51m-i9-9900K-RTX-2080-Laptop-Review.414667.0.html
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Alien...2080-Max-Q-4K-UHD-Laptop-Review.416106.0.html
    So, this confuses me. RTX 2080 MaxQ should perform almost as well as the regular laptop variant - but designed to run better with limited power. However, the benchmark from this review site indicates while on battery, the RTX 2080 is much superior when it shouldn't be.

    What have your research showed on this variability thus far?
     
  3. JRE84

    JRE84 Notebook Deity

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    Since you tried the other superior options... gs65 is a no-brainer
     
  4. PJPeter

    PJPeter Notebook Deity

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    Please provide MSI GS65 on battery performance numbers at ~40% battery with battery saver and battery boost disabled (TimeSpy preferred).

    If it beats the Razer Blade Base then sure, but it is not a no brainer. This does not match expected behaviours and is OEM dependent. You can't be sure without testing.

    Thanks,
    Peter
     
  5. PJPeter

    PJPeter Notebook Deity

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    Thanks for your contribution MorphineX.

    I also included some numbers from notevookxheck earlier in the thread, but they are not always tested it consistent.

    A similar article to my findings is https://www.techspot.com/article/1571-gaming-laptop-battery-performance/

    Even with better numbers on battery though, you have to know what % the test was run and the actual fps and preferably as in the TechSpot article, the stuttering data.

    If they ran the test at 100% battery and it finished at 95% then it may not have experienced the adverse effects as much as if the battery is more deeply discharged. You wouldn't want to game for just 10 minutes and then find performance rapidly degrading (as I found with the Y740s I tested).

    Are you sure you had all fps limiters disabled when you ran your test by the way? If Battery Boost is enabled (default behavior) then you'll never go above 30 or 60fps on battery.

    Lmk, we can investigate further also, I'm sharing my findings not pretending I'm a world expert or anything :).

    All the best,
    Peter
     
  6. kingofswag187

    kingofswag187 Notebook Deity

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    Doesn't Dell have a portable laptop bank or am I hallucinating? I would check out the XPS 9570 with the 8750H/1050 ti, but the two extra cores are basically useless and just consume battery life, so maybe configure it with a 8300H or similar.
     
  7. PJPeter

    PJPeter Notebook Deity

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    Hey MorphineX,

    I see that your scores definitely aren't throttled by Battery Boost.
    3DMark Score 2602
    Graphics Score 2377
    CPU Score 5622
    Graphics Test 1 15.06 fps
    Graphics Test 2 13.98 fps
    CPU Test 18.89 fps

    So you ran this on battery power on the Alienware Alienware Area-51m. I just took a look at the notebookcheck page (I'd never looked into that model myself since it's more a "desktop" than a "laptop" imho). I see that it only has a 11.4V battery (3 cell) (https://www.notebookcheck.net/fileadmin/_processed_/c/9/csm_MG_4364_2a68ac2cd1.jpg) so it's going to be more limited than those in other systems with 15V (4 cell) packs.

    So they've really power capped it. It's running a full GPU with a 95W TDP on the CPU and a full power GPU - its no surprise the performance is lousy on battery.

    Update: And reading more on it, it comes with two power adapters? Crazy. And the little one is the one to leave at home since it can't provide enough power even idling. No Optimus so battery life has to be bad (max 2.5 hours even idling) and if you only use the 330W adapter (Assuming you have the highest power system) then it still drains the battery if you do anything semi intense. Wow. The battery really is just a UPS/power contingency more than anything else. I specialize in <15.6" screen portable <5 lbs systems myself - my first laptop (from 2003 - ECS G732) weighed over 10 lbs with the power adapter and had a desktop CPU that ran hot and loud. I never want to go back...

    You could potentially try a second run to make sure - sometimes, especially with systems like the Y740, I'd get a dead run - where it ran worse than the iGPU would be. But if you did run it a couple of times and got the results, you can check out what's happening with HWInfo64 like I did before.

    My 1060MaxQ Razer Blade beat your score by over 700 points (27%) while on battery (one page back) - so obviously you're power throttling.

    The Area-51m was designed to be an easily movable computer - not to be actually portable.

    MaxQ should be more power efficient, but it depends on the OEM implementation and the model, the battery pack and system design. You can't tell from a spec sheet if it will give good battery performance.

    So far I think the Razer Blade Base 1060MQ is the sweet spot for this, and I'm really grateful to have one.

    In terms of laptop power banks, there aren't many that can power these laptops while gaming - but they can help recharge them in between use - I actually have one already compatible with my laptop - since it uses the same power tip every laptop I've owned since my first one in 2003 has used. That power bank also can be used to boost my car in an emergency. But it's not ideal to have to carry one with you all the time to get performance, and it will die pretty quickly when used to draw a 130-180W load, as soon as it drops below peak voltage it won't have enough amperage to keep it going.

    Peter
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  8. PJPeter

    PJPeter Notebook Deity

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    "3DMark 11 [Plugged In]
    MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H
    10475 Points
    ...
    As one might expect, performance while unplugged is notably below that while plugged in; a secondary run of 3DMark 11 while operating on battery power yields a score of just 5758."

    Source: https://www.notebookcheck.net/MSI-GS65-Stealth-Thin-8RE-051US-GTX-1060-Laptop-Review.330376.0.html

    "Important note for gamers: 3D performance drops by around 60% on battery. We checked this with The Witcher 3."

    Source: https://www.notebookcheck.net/MSI-GS65-8RF-Stealth-Thin-i7-8750H-GTX-1070-Max-Q-Full-HD-Laptop-Review.302998.0.html

    And since I can't find a review for the GS65 RTX generation on Notebookcheck yet, this is it's close sibling the 17" GS75:

    "On the other hand, the GS75 is hardly suitable for mobile gaming. In this case, the longest it can last is an hour. The fact that 3D performance drops to around 75% when running on battery (massive GPU throttling) is also noticeable."

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/MSI-G...0H-RTX-2080-Max-Q-Laptop-Review.415202.0.html

    All the above were probably started at just under 100% battery life - I don't recall seeing any Notebookcheck reviews that state the battery % at time of test - but I do appreciate them adding in these details about the performance on battery.

    If you can show at 40% battery the performance of any model GS65 is better than the Razer Blade Base 2018 GTX1060MaxQ I've tested with earlier in the thread please let me know. Even if not, if you can share your test data it would be valuable to know and be able to analyze and compare.

    I tested a Razer Blade RTX2070 in the MS Store here on display. They had a MSI GS65 GTX1060 next to it a month ago but it wasn't there when I tested last week or I'd have tried it myself. (I also wanted to feel the rigidity since I read about people carrying 1.5lb flat lap desks in their bags next to their MSI GS65 2018 model laptops in order to avoid the chassis bending).

    If you can share for whichever GS65 you have now JRE84, that'd be great.

    Thanks,
    Peter
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  9. PJPeter

    PJPeter Notebook Deity

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    For reference, from the ASUS GX502GW Review:

    "Our review unit needs recharging after just over an hour of gaming. However, we would not recommend gaming without the GX502 plugged into the mains as frame rates dropped from around 70 FPS in The Witcher 3 on mains power to a meagre maximum of 22 FPS on battery power." (31% of plugged in performance on battery at unknown battery level)

    Source:
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/ASUS-...i7-9750H-RTX-2070-Laptop-Review.420725.0.html
     
  10. PJPeter

    PJPeter Notebook Deity

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    Interesting, just came across this guide - I was looking into the AERO series from Gigabyte to see what sort of throttling they experience - none of the recent Notebookcheck reviews have stated the results. An older one of a 7700HQ/GTX1060 stated a 20% drop which is pretty small.

    Posted by u/OChrisJonesO 10 months ago
    Aero 15x - Terrible Performance on Battery
    [​IMG]
    Aero 15x - i7 8750H, 1070 Max-Q. This thing is a beast, when plugged in. Don't seem to have any issues. However, while on battery, I get nowhere near the same level of performance, especially in games.

    CSGO for instance, runs 144+ FPS no issues whatsoever. However, the second you unplug, it drops down to the 20's. I set the profile to "High Performance" in Gigabyte Smart Manager, set the fan control setting to "Gaming", set the preferred GPU to NVIDIA High-Performance GPU in NVIDIA Control panel, set the windows battery option to be "High Perfomance", and disabled NVIDIA Battery boost in Geforce experience (also tried leaving it enabled - seemed to run fine but capped at 30. Setting it to 60 or any value over 30 didn't seem to have any real change).

    Noticed inside of task manager, it reports the CPU frequency at 0.79GHz, and doesn't change when on battery. I'd imagine this has something to do with the terrible frame rates I'm seeing

    Drivers are all up to date. Windows 10 build 1803.

    Any ideas? I'd really like to actually use my $2,300 gaming laptop to play games, without being tethered to a wall... if I wanted that I'd just get a desktop. -_-

    ...

    Posted by Tony1697 4 months ago

    1 point·4 months ago·edited 4 months ago
    I fixed this! Results: Before I had games like Rocket League drop to <30 fps and max. 2.2 ghz on battery. Most games were unplayable like this. Now I got 100+ FPS and full 4 ghz boost. Still my score is a bit worse then plugged in but much better! Compare my results plugged in VS battery here:

    https://www.3dmark.com/compare/spy/5719273/spy/5719459

    https://www.3dmark.com/compare/sd/5398748/sd/5398697

    Maybe someone else can do a Time Spy/skydive Test on battery before they apply my modifications below, woud love to see it.

    A bit complicated guide:​

    • First you need to disable windows automatic driver updates (IMPORTANT for 3rd step too, the DDU option for it dosen't work here!). Now Uninstall the current Nvidia driver via Display Driver Uninstaller. Then install the Notebook Nvidia driver 399.24, this old one dosen't limit your GPU to 30 FPS in Battery mode; I tryed to disable this 30 FPS limit on the 417.xx driver without sucess.

    • 2nd the 2.2 ghz limit has 2 reasons first we will address the power profile. The problem here is the Gigabyte Smart Manager software, you need to uninstall it or it will switch the power profils without showing it in windows. Now since they removed all default windows power plans the "high performance" mode is not in the list so you need to manually add it, here is how! After installing the Ultimate Performance Mode you need to manually go into this power plan and check every battery setting: Make shure that everything is set to max while on battery (Ultimate Performance Mode is set only for non battery use by default)

    • The last limit is the very old "Intel UHD Graphics 630" driver that gigabyte is forcing us to use (still using DCH 24.xx the oldes download intel provides is DCH 25.xx from 2017). Again make shure you disabled automatic driver update manually and use Display Driver Uninstaller to remove the intel driver. Download the latest Intel UHD Graphics 630 driver (currently DCH 25.20.100.6471). The installer will warn you that this driver was not certified by your laptop manufacturer and if you want to install anyways. Press yes and restart your PC. Of cause your PC won't use Intel Graphics in game but it has something to do with borderless fullscreen mode of games that make your CPU go slower whith the old driver.
    Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/gigabyte/comments/90m0yw/aero_15x_terrible_performance_on_battery/

    Seems that using those steps he was able to remove any battery limiting behaviour - no reports though on how long his battery life was with these modifications and it may not be compatible with newer hardware because of the driver versions specified.

    Peter
     
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