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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 15" AlBook - How's the Battery Life?

15" AlBook - How's the Battery Life?
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StiZeven
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Sep 18, 2003, 10:10 PM
 
It seems to me that the 15" AlBook is Apple's best PowerBook to date. Not to big, not too small, good speed, easily upgradeable memory slots, great graphics card, huge and fast HDs, built in everything, backlit keyboard, gorgeous design, sturdy paint-less chassis and so on.

The only thing that really disturbs me is the horrifying, but very new reports of the battery life of these bad boys. So far, if what I am reading is true, it seems like the 15" AlBook last for only 2.0/2.5 hours?! Is this really the case? 3.5 hours I could live with, but 2.5 or less is just inexcusable and would ultimately make sway me away from one.

I am afraid that Centrino has spoiled me and I am sort of used to the fact that I get over 4 hours of battery life with real usage, brightness, and WiFi. I am not saying one is better than the other, I am just not into having to be plugged in every 2 hours or having to swap batteries (and what if I don't have a quarter handy?! )

SO PLEASE! If you have the new 15" AlBook, can you post how long your battery lasts on a single full charge with REAL usage? By real usage I mean with a normal level of brightness (at LEAST half) and with WiFi turned on (perhaps Bluetooth off), and maybe some iTunes, web surfing and maybe some light gaming here and there.

Thanks.
     
11001001
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Sep 19, 2003, 12:41 AM
 
Sad to say that my experience confirms what you have heard. I got my PB at the Applestore the day they were announced and so far the battery life is about half of what it was with my old 400 Titaniun. I expected a difference, but not this big of one. My 1.25 gets about 2 to 2.5 hours with the processor at "lowest" and light work like email, web browsing etc. With the processor at "higest" or "automatic" and more normal workloads it is good for about 1.5 hours.
     
Mallrat
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Sep 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
 
Originally posted by 11001001:
Sad to say that my experience confirms what you have heard. I got my PB at the Applestore the day they were announced and so far the battery life is about half of what it was with my old 400 Titaniun. I expected a difference, but not this big of one. My 1.25 gets about 2 to 2.5 hours with the processor at "lowest" and light work like email, web browsing etc. With the processor at "higest" or "automatic" and more normal workloads it is good for about 1.5 hours.
how do you prepare your battery when you first get a new powerbook... do you plug in the ac adapter... or just start using the powerbook with the batter... let it drain, then plug in the ac....

I think batteries come 80 % full or something... i forget...
     
jetta_gt
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Sep 19, 2003, 01:27 AM
 
just when i am getting seriously pissed about these reports i read this one:

http://www.spymac.com/forums/showthr...268#post605268

it all evens out i guess....
     
ae86_16v
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Sep 19, 2003, 02:33 AM
 
Man, I thought the 7457 was suppose to be a low power chip?

What went wrong here?
     
MusicalTone
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Sep 19, 2003, 03:14 AM
 
Originally posted by jetta_gt:
just when i am getting seriously pissed about these reports i read this one:

http://www.spymac.com/forums/showthr...268#post605268

it all evens out i guess....
I think apple would have milked it a bi more if that were true
     
11001001
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Sep 19, 2003, 11:05 AM
 
I appreciate the advice about calibrating the battery. I think most people don't bother but it does make a difference. I, however, did do it so that shouldn't be a problem. I think I am going to reset the power manager and do it again and see if things improve. This really is a beautiful machine so I hope this "flaw" can be improved.
     
amazing
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Sep 19, 2003, 11:47 AM
 
The new 15.2" alum PB has a 46 watt-hour lithium battery, whereas the Ti has a 61 watt-hour lithium battery.

Obviously, you're not going to have the battery life that the Ti had.

If you've got a new PB, please post your battery life in this thread. Please use something like XCharge which records the time vs charge reliably. Just vaguely remembering when you started on battery is pretty unreliable, right?
     
hexor
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Sep 19, 2003, 12:10 PM
 
I am wondering if the older higher watt-hour batteries can be used in the the PB's or is their a difference in size?
     
C-Bear
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Sep 19, 2003, 12:34 PM
 
Originally posted by MusicalTone:
I think apple would have milked it a bi more if that were true
Agreed. That spymac post is the only, I mean only one I've seen boasting those kinds of numbers for battery life. The significant majority of others seem to run three hours at best, more like two to two-and-a-half (with battery-saver settings).

Where there's a lot of smoke, there's fire. The battery's a disappointment.
When the wine is bitter, become the
wine
     
MusicalTone
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Sep 19, 2003, 12:46 PM
 
Originally posted by C-Bear:
Agreed. That spymac post is the only, I mean only one I've seen boasting those kinds of numbers for battery life. The significant majority of others seem to run three hours at best, more like two to two-and-a-half (with battery-saver settings).

Where there's a lot of smoke, there's fire. The battery's a disappointment.
Yeah, there is a similar "poor battery" thread over on Appleinsider too. Obviously the processor is gonna affect things too. I wonder what the difference betweenn the 1ghz and the 1.25 is. And what about the 1.33 17"? Shame, beatifull machine otherwise.
     
Mallrat
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Sep 19, 2003, 01:03 PM
 
Originally posted by MusicalTone:
Yeah, there is a similar "poor battery" thread over on Appleinsider too. Obviously the processor is gonna affect things too. I wonder what the difference betweenn the 1ghz and the 1.25 is. And what about the 1.33 17"? Shame, beatifull machine otherwise.
So how long did the Ti battery last then?

If they could just make it right.... If Sony can do it, why not apple...

u figure by now there should be a battery that last a solid 6 hours with everything going on.... 10 hours if you do simple things and lower everything...

thank god apple doesnt' design cars or they would probably not put in brakes!

I mean what is the best battery life you've got on ANY of the apple laptops?

Can't they just make bigger batteries? More than one slot like they used to?

hell maybe we shoudl use AAA batteries or something.
     
scott brown
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Sep 19, 2003, 01:04 PM
 
The new 15.2" alum PB has a 46 watt-hour lithium battery, whereas the Ti has a 61 watt-hour lithium battery.

Obviously, you're not going to have the battery life that the Ti had.

I don't see what's "obvious" about that statement at all. the 2 machines have completely different power requirements.

it's like saying that a 17 inch PB with a 58watt-hour battery will obviously last longer off internal battery than the 15 inch with a 46 watt-hour...totaly different machines, so you can't say that...
12in PB 867/640/60/SD/AE
17in PB 1.33/1GB/80(5400rpm)
     
StiZeven  (op)
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Sep 20, 2003, 12:53 PM
 
Anyone else have a new 15" AlBook that can report the battery life?

Where's Peter?
     
Sean Li
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Sep 20, 2003, 01:04 PM
 
Battery calibration makes a big difference. My new 15" ran down the battery pretty quickly on the first charge, but now it's fairly normal.

I don't know how long it would actually last though. I think each person's usage pattern is different so it's hard to make a valid comparison.
     
bcaslis
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Sep 20, 2003, 01:07 PM
 
I have a new 1.25GHz 15" and in "normal" use (Airport, screen bright, web browsing, and other non-intensive apps) I'm getting about 2 2.5 hours battery. I've conditioned it also. Less battery life than 1GHz Tibook, about the same, maybe even slightly less batter life than my 1GHz 17". I wonder when spare batteries from Apple will be available?

Originally posted by StiZeven:
Anyone else have a new 15" AlBook that can report the battery life?

Where's Peter?
     
The Placid Casual
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Sep 20, 2003, 05:35 PM
 
2 -2.5 hours? Ouch.

I really hope that there are some developments in Power cells or something soon, as it seems that things are regressing on the battery front these days as chips get faster and more features are put into machines.

I get 4 hours+ on my Ti... I carry a spare battery and can easily get through a working day... Makes me glad I bought when I did, as I would have to think seriously about buying a Alu these days if I was to get under 3 hours use time.

Peace,

Marc
     
lookmark
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Sep 21, 2003, 12:37 AM
 
I'll be getting a 15" AlBook within the next week... I'll report how the battery life is for:

- intense use (screen bright, using graphic intensive apps)

- moderate use (screen moderately bright, Airport, web browsing, set for best battery life)

- light use (screen moderate to dim, not online, set for best battery life)
     
ratlater
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Sep 21, 2003, 01:27 AM
 
I just ran my battery out from full on my 15" albook and got 3.5 hours. Screen brightness was at 80% the whole time, airport is in use and keyboard lights are set to full. My energy settings are set to put the hard drive to sleep when not used and processor is set to automatic. During usage I was doing web browsing and a lot of terminal work.

I have noticed the estimated time remaining on this machine is horribly wrong. It start out saying 2 hours, then runs down to 30 minutes normally but will stay at 30 minutes and below for over an hour. People may be looking at that number when they claim their battery life. I'm guessing this is a software problem of some sort.

-matt
     
TheIceMan
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Sep 21, 2003, 02:42 AM
 
Originally posted by ratlater:
I just ran my battery out from full on my 15" albook and got 3.5 hours....

I have noticed the estimated time remaining on this machine is horribly wrong. It start out saying 2 hours, then runs down to 30 minutes normally but will stay at 30 minutes and below for over an hour. People may be looking at that number when they claim their battery life. I'm guessing this is a software problem of some sort.

-matt
That is definitely good to know. The 2-2.5 hrs seemed too much of a decrease. This seems much more reasonable.
     
Hornet
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Sep 21, 2003, 03:11 AM
 
I currently own a Ti 1.0... considering upgrading to the Alu 1.25.

Thoughts on battery life in the Ti: I usually get about 2.5hrs or so, under my usage. That is: screen brightness 2 bars off full, airport on and connected to my 6mbps cable (so im online all day, meaning stuff is always happening in the background), my "standard" suite of programs (safari+proteus+mail+launchbar) always open, my pro apps (photoshop OR flash OR maya). I would classify this as medium-heavy usage, yet by looking around here it looks like it would be classified as heavy. This is all with energy saver set to dim after 5 mins (yet never getting to dim), no hdd or machine sleep, full processor speed. So yeah, 2-2.5hrs for that.

In terms of 'light' usage (everything above minus any pro app activity, and giving it a chance to dim every now and then... my sort of 'watching tv while chatting' or 'at uni taking notes' setup), I get about.. 3.5hrs or so

I never believe what apple says in terms of battery life, as that would mean not even using my machine. Who gives a **** if a Ti sitting there doing absolutely nothing with its screen off, no network activity, absolute maximum energy saver settings, can hit 5hrs. Woop. I didnt buy a pro laptop to see it sit there doing nothing. It all comes down to how it goes under my usage, light medium and heavy. Thus far I am happy with my Ti, as I'm never far from a powerpoint if need be. I have only ever been caught out once (didnt take my powerpack as I thought I wouldn't need it), but that didnt end up too bad.

Overall, I'll wait until either someone with similar usage patterns as I posts here regarding battery life, or I'll just have to see after buying All in all, I will accept a little less battery life..... though still annoyed apple dropped the battery power in the Alu15
     
jamez bond
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Sep 21, 2003, 05:18 AM
 
I have the Ti667DVI, and my battery life has never been anywhere near what Apple has stated (of course....like above).
I do however have another discovery to share with you all!

Both me and My brother (identical machine) are running Panther on our laptops. He is trying out a lot of programming, coding, etc on his, while I am looking at the CAD capabilities.

After installing panther, we both got about 35minutes (average) of better battery life.

Weird, but its the fact. Same usage as before, if not a bit more.

I am now getting 2.5-2.9 hours of battery life, and this is with heavy usage.

Jumping between 15-20 apps every day, all day.
Yahoo! Got my new Macbook!
[FONT="Verdana"]My Blog[/FONT]
     
ae86_16v
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Sep 21, 2003, 05:29 AM
 
Originally posted by ratlater:
I just ran my battery out from full on my 15" albook and got 3.5 hours. Screen brightness was at 80% the whole time, airport is in use and keyboard lights are set to full. My energy settings are set to put the hard drive to sleep when not used and processor is set to automatic. During usage I was doing web browsing and a lot of terminal work.

I have noticed the estimated time remaining on this machine is horribly wrong. It start out saying 2 hours, then runs down to 30 minutes normally but will stay at 30 minutes and below for over an hour. People may be looking at that number when they claim their battery life. I'm guessing this is a software problem of some sort.

-matt
3.5 sounds a lot better. Yeah, I have notice that sometimes the Timer is wrong.

And I just hope that Panther really does bring 1/2hr or more.
     
forcelite
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Sep 21, 2003, 07:39 AM
 
you can defiantly make a battery last longer by upping the mah. I know someone who repacks batteries.

Basicly what he does is gets a battery pack(anyone is ok, apple laptop, hes done an old toshiba for me, cell phones) and then takes out the cells and repacks the pac with the best quality cells availbe. the end result is an old tosheba that originally lasted for 2 hours brand new, now lasts 4.5 hours.

he can do this with new cellphones and pretty much anything. So maybe apple is not shipping the best quality (mah) batteries with the machines. I currently have a 15 on order and one day will see if he can repack an old battery pack once the dead ones hit ebay.

But for those willing to spend the money on a brand new battery pack and then pay to get it repacked with the best quality cells, I bet you would bumb up the life considerably.

The batterys work the same because he test them with an alitmeter(spelling?) and makes sure they put out the same voltage and watts as before. I belive nickely metal hydrate is the best battery technology to-date, but most companies still use lith-ion cause of their price-to-performance ratio

just a little FYI

Force
     
forcelite
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Sep 21, 2003, 07:41 AM
 
sorry for all the mis-spelling. I type really fast so things come out wrong even if I know how to spell it.
     
TiUser
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Sep 21, 2003, 08:21 AM
 
I have just bought an Al 15" (1.25 GHz) to replace my Ti 400. I had thought about the Al 12" but the screen on the new 15" is just too amazingly bright and clear. With an uncalibrated battery, I got 2.5 hours while surfing the net, emailing, downloading softwares and watching half-an-hour of DVD. I am sure I can get 3 hours easily without the DVD. I have the screen at about 50% brightness, Bluetooth on to use with the new Apple mouse, AirPort on of course. I am interested to see how much more I can get after calibrating the battery. Overall, extremely happy and impressed. I had thought the Ti was the best laptop Apple has built (I owned PB 100, 5300, 2400, Ti400), until the Al 15".
     
Aiglos
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Sep 21, 2003, 01:07 PM
 
As a future powerbook user, what do you people mean by calibrating the battery? When you get the laptop, does it mean to run the battery to zero then charge to full or to charge to full when you take it out of the package?
     
PBG4 User
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Sep 21, 2003, 01:19 PM
 
Originally posted by Aiglos:
As a future powerbook user, what do you people mean by calibrating the battery? When you get the laptop, does it mean to run the battery to zero then charge to full or to charge to full when you take it out of the package?
The calibration process is described in the manual but basically you charge the battery until it's full, then unplug the computer and run the battery until you get forced into sleep mode. After that, recharge the battery to full again. Voila! Your battery is now calibrated.
     
Aiglos
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Sep 21, 2003, 01:44 PM
 
Originally posted by PBG4 User:
The calibration process is described in the manual but basically you charge the battery until it's full, then unplug the computer and run the battery until you get forced into sleep mode. After that, recharge the battery to full again. Voila! Your battery is now calibrated.
Okay, so say if i was going to get a spare battery, i would have to repeat the process with the spare?

I plan on getting the 15" Al by April as my own graduation present and when i get more moola!

I hope i remember this when that day comes...
     
PBG4 User
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Sep 21, 2003, 07:12 PM
 
Yes, you need to do this with each new battery, since that is the part being conditioned (there's a CPU inside your battery that reports its level to your PB).
     
PBG4 User
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Sep 21, 2003, 07:15 PM
 
It seems that I can get about 2.5 to 3 hours battery life with my new Al 15". This is with bluetooth disabled, airport enabled, and the monitor set to 5 "squares" from max. Oh yeah, processor was set to reduced, and the hard drive was set to "spin down" whenever possible.

I did web surfing, and coding, email. Basically not a "heavy" load at all. I would've definitely gotten more time out of my 500MHz Ti.
     
pgolf
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Sep 21, 2003, 11:43 PM
 
I got 1hr and 55 mins. watching a DVD. Half Brightness, 3/4 volume, AP and Bluetooth and Ambient Light Sensor off. The power management was set to DVD Playback. This is on a 15" 1.25ghz with 512MB of RAM.

And I have to agree the battery life was way off. When I started watching the DVD it said 1:24 left, but I got 1:55 into the movie with 1min left on the battery.
     
JustinD
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Sep 22, 2003, 12:01 AM
 
I belive nickely metal hydrate is the best battery technology to-date, but most companies still use lith-ion cause of their price-to-performance ratio
where've you been? you've got it flipped. LiIon is the new deal, NiMH is out. "still use lith-ion"?? LiIon hasn't been out for all that long.

But, each is suited to their purpose. LiIos have longer sustained performanced followed by a fast drop, wheras NiMH discharge more uniformly. =)
*justin

Isn't logic swell? It gives answers without really answering anything!
     
wirobins
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Sep 22, 2003, 01:28 AM
 
With my old Ti550 (soon to be appearing on eBay) I could typically make it through a full school day on a battery. I never had any problem keeping the screen set really low while working inside. While doing basic things like taking notes and web browsing over airport in class my battery indicator would report about 5.5 hours on my newer 61 watt battery. Considering I hardly ever switch batteries during my Tuesday/Thursday 9:30-5 block of classes from hell and use the computer near constantly throughout those days I would say I realistically get at least 5 hours from it. My original battery is pretty much worthless after 2 years of use but itís still good as a backup.

Iím not expecting my new 12Ē to perform nearly as well from what Iíve been reading.
     
Ryan1524
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Sep 22, 2003, 02:53 AM
 
could the people who have been reporting 3.5 to 4 hours been using the 1GHz model?? (and vice versa) i would suspect the faster proc would suck more power. maybe we should make a poll on this..so we can get actual numbers.
Ryan
     
StiZeven  (op)
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Sep 22, 2003, 03:46 PM
 
Good question, for those who reported good battery life, do you have the 1.25GHz model?

Also, does anyone know how Apple handles Power Management with the new models? Under Power Saving mode (or whatever it's called) are you clocked down to a set clock speed throughout, or does it dynamically increase the speed when it's needed?
     
kelesh
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Sep 22, 2003, 05:00 PM
 
is the new 46 watt hour battery smaller than the old 61 watt hour battery? i'm wonder why apple would put a smaller battery in the new powerbooks. it seems like a retarded choice, especially given the centrino's impressive battery life. they better fix this with the next revision.
     
bcaslis
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Sep 22, 2003, 05:25 PM
 
For me, I do have the 1.25GHz. I don't recall on the older PowerBooks, but on this one under the options tab of the energy savings you can select processor performance as reduced, automatic, or highest. I don't really know what the automatic does but I would assume it's dynamically changing it. I do know that if you aren't doing anything CPU intensive, the automatic setting does seem to run the machine much cooler. I haven't had much chance to see how this affects battery life, but I haven't noticed any tremendous difference yet.


Originally posted by StiZeven:
Good question, for those who reported good battery life, do you have the 1.25GHz model?

Also, does anyone know how Apple handles Power Management with the new models? Under Power Saving mode (or whatever it's called) are you clocked down to a set clock speed throughout, or does it dynamically increase the speed when it's needed?
     
HotSoup
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Sep 22, 2003, 05:25 PM
 
Originally posted by PBG4 User:
The calibration process is described in the manual but basically you charge the battery until it's full, then unplug the computer and run the battery until you get forced into sleep mode. After that, recharge the battery to full again. Voila! Your battery is now calibrated.
Ahhh, and what happens if you don't do this? Short battery forever? I think this might have happend with my iPod. j/w

Btw, they now claim (at least on the 12") that it gets 5 hour battery "depending on use". Does this mean if you just sit it there it gets 5 hours?

Anyone have a new 12" PB 1Ghz?
     
HotSoup
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Sep 22, 2003, 05:28 PM
 
Ahhh I noticed on the Tech Overview, the 5-hour battery thing is not included. That means they must have improved the Battery on the 12"

Sweeet. Still would like to know if anyone has actually tried it.
     
ae86_16v
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Sep 22, 2003, 08:18 PM
 
Originally posted by kelesh:
is the new 46 watt hour battery smaller than the old 61 watt hour battery? i'm wonder why apple would put a smaller battery in the new powerbooks. it seems like a retarded choice, especially given the centrino's impressive battery life. they better fix this with the next revision.
If I remember correctly, watt hour is only a measurement of Power consumption for the machine, not necessarily how much Power the battery has stored.
     
   
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