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ThinkPad T60 9-cell expected battery life

by rkalla / August 15, 2006 12:33 PM PDT

Hey guys, here's my current situation: I bought a MacBook Pro in the craze to get one like everyone else; my first laptop. After having it for a few months I realized the short (2.5hrs) battery life is driving me crazy, I feel like I'm being cheated out of the purchase since dragging my charger around behind me and getting 2-2.5hrs of life out of this thing before it dies is hardly "mobile" in my eyes. (Even though my other mobile friends say that kind of battery life is normal)

Anyway, I started to look at new notebooks and really think the ThinkPad T60 fits the bill for me. I am a Java software developer, so a relatively high screen resolution (for an IDE) and fast process/lots of ram are important. The Core Duo chips are certainly fast enough that I don't need to max the chip out, but probably keep it around 2Ghz or something. Also I noticed that the T60 offers a 1600x1200 15" screen, I worry this might be too small DPI for me and make it hard for reading, so the 1400x1050 resolution is probably just fine.

The real question for me that I cannot find out from reading all the online reviews of the laptop is the actual expected battery life using the 9-cell battery and doing things like browsing the web, doing email, listening to music and watching short little YouTube movies (my real test case is coding Java, but I think the load on the computer is equivalent to what I mentioned above when factoring in the audio decoding and video decoding).

I posted what I currently found out on my blog here:
http://www.breakitdownblog.com/2006/08/15/lenovo-thinkpad-t60-battery-life-35-or-9-hours/

as you can see I have found reviews, all with *almost* identical setups report as low as 3hrs and 42minutes and AS HIGH AS almost 9 incredible hours (with slightly lower hardware specs) when browsing the web/doing office work. This range is so huge I'm pretty much back to square one, I still have no idea how uch time I can really expect from this machine.

I did notice on the longest running machine it using the integrated Intel graphics chip, which I likely won't choose because I would like the option of running Vista when it comes out and the Intel graphics chipset has absolutely no 3D performance abilities (like 5fps in games).

Any help or input would be greatly appreciated guys, I know this was a long winded question, but I'm really trying to pull my research together and not make another expensive mistake.

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Before you dump the MacBook Pro...
by udayan71 / August 15, 2006 11:22 PM PDT

Try disabling the ambient light sensor system and controlling screen & keyboard brightness yourself. My MacBook Pro runs for about 4 hours with this enabled so I do think yours is exceptional.

Another thing I would suggest is run a battery calibration.

1. Plug in the power adapter and fully charge your PowerBook's battery until the light ring or LED on the power adapter plug changes to green and the onscreen meter in the menu bar indicates that the battery is fully charged.
2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for at least two hours. You may use your computer during this time as long as the adapter is plugged in.
3. Disconnect the power adapter with the computer still on and start running the computer off battery power. You may use your computer during this time. When your battery gets low, you will see the low battery warning dialog on the screen.
4. Continue to keep your computer on until it goes to sleep. Save all your work and close all applications when the battery gets very low, before the computer goes to sleep.
5. Turn off the computer or allow it to sleep for five hours or more.
6. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged again.

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Great tips
by rkalla / August 16, 2006 3:47 AM PDT

I appreciate the tips. I actually did this right after replacing my battery 1 week ago (My battery was part fo the huge Apple battery recall). While I still keep the light sensor on and usually run the monitor at 1/2 brightness, I think the problem is that I may eek out 4hrs in extreme cases, but I will never get 6+ which it seems the ThinkPad is offering... that is hugely attractive to me. As a developer/writer sitting infront of my computer in a single spot for 4+ hrs is no uncommon thing. So taking my laptop somewhere calming and then working for half the day on a single battery charge is my real goal here. As it stands now, I can only work in doors and near outlets, dragging my entire case around with me and my charger... I just don't feel mobile enough.

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Laptop Battery
by GreenApple123 / August 17, 2006 3:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Great tips

Not sure where you got your laptop battery replacement from but I just bought one from http://www.laptopsforless.com/laptopbattery and was really pleased. It was way more affordable than anywhere else and it works great. Something to consider if your ever in the market for a new battery.

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You look like a spammer.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 17, 2006 3:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Laptop Battery
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not spammer
by GreenApple123 / August 17, 2006 3:52 AM PDT

Sorry. I was just trying to help someone else out. I had a good experience with that site and was just sharing. Sorry if this isn't the appropriate place for it. I didn't mean any harm.

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We see too many posts like that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 17, 2006 4:56 AM PDT
In reply to: not spammer

Your post was not to write about the issue but to offer a site that sells items. So it crosses the line from discussion to possible spam.

The forum policies address this and we use that rule to help keep the spam down in the forums.

Your posts were near duplicates so it starts to look like spam.

Bob

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here's what went wrong...
by udayan71 / August 17, 2006 7:56 AM PDT
In reply to: not spammer

1) Your Profile was devoid of anything, completely blank.
2) Your only other post was essentially the same thing.
3) You just created your account and immedietely posted 2 idential posts that looked like spam.

So avoid those three next time and you'll enjoy the CNET Forums which are truly the best on these interwebs we call home.

Udayan.

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What is the question?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 15, 2006 11:39 PM PDT

I looked over your post for the question. Don't get me wrong that I see your complaint but if you ask a question, it helps to end it with a question mark.

About battery life versus battery times. In non-rechargables battery life is indeed when the battery can't be used anymore. For rechargables it's incorrect since we don't toss out the battery. I'll call this battery time or something other than "life".

Here's why. In rechargables we do have a battery lifetime of some 2 years or 500 to some number of charge cycles. If the lifetime of the battery till replacement is some 2 years, we need to use another term for life.

-> Your complaint about run times is well discussed and varies from the low to high you noted on many machines.

You also are part of the problem as you want the lower machine prices so when a machine is made with 8 hours of battery time, the price is cut by the maker by reducing the battery size to the usual few hours. You need to research what the model gets on a battery charge and decide if you want to upsize the battery.

Bob

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Asking about input on T60 runtime on a single charge
by rkalla / August 16, 2006 3:45 AM PDT
In reply to: What is the question?

Bob,
My appologies, I've been so ingrained in the research process that I thought the question was clear, but I realize it wasn't.

I'm asking for people's input, preferably owners of ThinkPad T60s, on what kind of ''real'' life I can expect out of the 9cell battery. The reason I ask this is outlined in more detail from my post, reviews I'm reading go anywhere from 3hrs and 42mins up to almost 9 hours... that spread is so large I have to assume that the 'benchmarking' situations these reviewers were using were not representative of normal usage.

So I wanted to get some input from folks with T60s along the lines of ''Oh yea, I have one and browse the web and listen to music and it lasts 6 hours'' or something like that.

Also as far as ''being part of the problem'' and wanting cheaper/lighter batteries, I think you read some impliciation into my post somewhere that I'm not aware of. I'm willing to pay quite a bit for the laptop, already spending $3200 on the MacBook Pro, as long as it does what I need it to do.

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Not something you wrote.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 16, 2006 3:57 AM PDT

The message to the machine makers is from "us". You may have your wants and I simply noted the reasons for the 2 to 4 hour range you will see with stock notebooks. "We" asked for this.

If I dim the screen, tell the screen to power off quickly and underclock the CPU and whatever else I can push the time per charge out by almost double. Sometimes it's a matter of what software we run. Here's an example.

Windows Media Player is not kind to battery power. Use Winamp instead and you see more minutes per charge. The same might be true for other applications.

Vista appears to be another battery time reducer. But all we have to work with is beta versions so it will be interesting when it finally ships.

If I take your question about 9 cell battery run time, I too get from 2 to 4 hours per charge on my Acer unit.

Bob

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