Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

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Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:52 am

I have an Asus F9Dc-A1 that I bought in 2007 with a Turion 64 X2 TL-56 (dual 1.8Ghz @ 31w TDP). The battery life on it has always sucked, even after I got a larger 5800mAh battery.

I'm attached to the little guy though so I started thinking about buying a 6600mAh 9 cell battery for it but decided that I should look into other options first, like maybe a lower power CPU...

After some research I've settled on the Athlon 64 X2 TK-42 (dual 1.6Ghz @ 20w TDP) or the Athlon X2 L310 (dual 1.2Ghz @ 13w TDP, still 64bit) as parts that should fit in my socket S1G1 platform.

My BIOS is from 12/12/08 which I think is after the TK-42 and before the L310 came out... I don't have a problem running it as an unidentified CPU but I don't want to wreck it either if the mobo doesn't know what to do with it...

So what do you think? Should I go for it? I haven't upgraded a laptop CPU before but it looks simple enough from a physical standpoint... Do you think it will help my battery life much? Which one of the two options would you go for? Thanks for any insight or advice.
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:13 am

The graphics card is probably sucking some juice.
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:27 am

Yep, but I can't replace that. :(
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:41 am

How much improvement are you targeting? Without being able to control the other power hogs in the system (display, GPU) I wouldn't expect more than about 30 minutes of additional run time from a change like this. On the other hand, if you've got a fan motor running quite a bit now, and it ran a lot less after the upgrade, that might give more savings than just the CPU power consumption would imply.

Have you checked the Nvidia control panel to see if the 8400M has any power-saving profiles that aren't being used?
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:47 am

Fish, I'm thinking you're stuck.

I'm guessing your power suckage lies in the chipset and graphics, not just the CPU. You might be able to save a little by going with an SSD, but I doubt you'll get much from a chip change.

Look at it this way --going from a Merom Core 2 to a Penryn Core 2 on a mobile platform that supports it merits approximately fifteen minutes of additional battery life. That's about the best increase I've ever seen. Nehalem to Sandy Bridge also offered improvements, but no more than that, and that's assuming a brand new battery.

You could try an SSD, or you could try undervolting the processor you have. I wouldn't put money into a new CPU. One other reason for that is that unlike the Intel platform, making sense of what CPU might be supported on an AMD mobile platform can be a lot more murky. Even if the mainboard, chipset, and socket theoretically support a CPU, the BIOS might not.
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:36 am

I'm with you Wolf, same concerns, especially about the BIOS... I think the TK-42 is a better option for that reason.

I already have an SSD in the system - that didn't help noticeably. The nice thing about going after the CPU is that its a pretty cheap option, I'm hoping to get one really cheap on eBay but if not they seem to be about $35 "retail". Does the cheap cost of trying change your mind at all? Do you think I could do damage to anything but the new chip?

The GPU is correctly running at low clock speeds when it is supposed to, I could try to underclock it I guess but I have no voltage control over it or the CPU. The CPU runs at half speed when on battery as well.
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:41 pm

I would look into undervolting tools first. Unfortunately I don't remember their name off the top of my head, but I did use some undervolting utilities with Turions of old and they worked sufficiently well. It might have been this one: http://sourceforge.net/projects/pumastatectrl/
If I remember correctly, the tool also allowed undervolting the chipset so that might be worth looking into. I had some very good results with undervolting, though I was primarily after heat. After undervolting, the heat output from my laptop had reduced quite a bit.
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:24 pm

I'd at least go poking around on NotebookReview.com first. The wealth of knowledge devoted to mobile computing there is staggering. You may find someone who tried to do what you did, but if not, there's tons of information on undervolting --for a modest but enthusiastic crowd, it's as big a deal as overclocking is to others.

I'm in the Lenovo forums there some (having owned several ThinkPads, including my current T420), and occasionally Dell, since I support them at work, but I don't use any of the undervolting guides.
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:12 pm

Shameless first post ever from in-flight wifi! :)

1 hour 6 minutes remaining...
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:05 am

Just bought an L310 on eBay for $5.50, free shipping. Will let you know how it goes.
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:56 pm

Installed! It seems to be working fine. The motherboard doesn't know what it is but it runs. Battery meeter is jumping all over the place though, Windows has no idea what to do with it either. I'm little concerned about my thermal paste application though - the old CPU had some kind of half paste half epoxy mix that I couldn't get off of the copper... Temps are higher than I'd like but ok... :-?
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:49 pm

drfish wrote:Installed! It seems to be working fine. The motherboard doesn't know what it is but it runs. Battery meeter is jumping all over the place though, Windows has no idea what to do with it either. I'm little concerned about my thermal paste application though - the old CPU had some kind of half paste half epoxy mix that I couldn't get off of the copper... Temps are higher than I'd like but ok... :-?

I don't follow. Did you ultimately get the old heatsink fully cleaned up, or did you reapply with residue remaining?
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:34 am

It went back on with some residue left over. I'll try to clean it an reapply better another day.
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:14 pm

Ah, that explains it. Personally, I would suggest making that fix sooner than later -- if there is a significant gap that is currently being bridged by a blob of thermal paste, it's possible the paste might gradually develop air bubbles from the thermal cycling. White gasoline or lacquer thinner should dissolve the old residue if nothing else does.
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Re: Downgrade: The Search for Battery Life

Postposted on Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:48 pm

Agreed. All I had on hand was nail polish remover.
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