Battery Life Gains for Santa Rosa?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I've been reading these boards off & on for a few years, but didn't have much to contribute or ask until now...



I'm looking to upgrade my old G3 iBook, mostly for travel computing purposes (Office, email, Acrobat & iTunes) - the old girl can't even play a TV show on iTunes, and the battery life has dwindled down to less than an hour at this point - to a MacBook, and find myself stuck on the fence... mostly due to the (apparently) pending upgrade to Santa Rosa. And that is almost entirely due to the potential gains in battery life that it is rumored to have. My tasks for this machine will be such that I'm not waiting for (or needing ) major gains in processing power, and the video card issue is not that big a deal for me. Since it will be my primary travel machine, however, the potential for a longer battery life is something that would be worth waiting for.



What I haven't really been able to determine, though, is just how much Santa Rosa will increase battery life... are we talking in the range of hours or minutes? I'm in a state of WANT but not really NEED yet, and can hold out for a few more months until I get to the need stage (I have a Powerbook that's still going strong plus a work HP notebook that can carry me through for a while), but really the battery life issue is the only thing keeping me from pulling the trigger today. An extra hour or two of usage, in my mind, would be worth the wait... but a gain of 20-30 minutes isn't going to make much of a difference.



I think I've done my due diligence in searching (here & elsewhere), but have yet to come across anything authoritative... and it may be that there is not enough info available at this point, but I thought it might be worth asking the question here...

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,208moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Funderling View Post


    I'm in a state of WANT but not really NEED yet, and can hold out for a few more months



    It should be coming at the end of next month so I'd expect maybe 7-8 weeks for a hardware update and I would suggest waiting it out.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    Well, I guess the "want" part of me is fairly large... and really, the only thing keeping me is that a battery life revolution might be just around the corner. I've read everything from potentially a 2-3 hour increase to 10-20 minutes, which is a pretty large range. I'm also hesitant to buy a rev. A of anything (including software), so I'm afraid that if I hold off it may end up being until Christmas time...
  • Reply 3 of 9
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Funderling View Post


    Well, I guess the "want" part of me is fairly large... and really, the only thing keeping me is that a battery life revolution might be just around the corner. I've read everything from potentially a 2-3 hour increase to 10-20 minutes, which is a pretty large range. I'm also hesitant to buy a rev. A of anything (including software), so I'm afraid that if I hold off it may end up being until Christmas time...



    That's exactly why I bought my MBP only a month ago (I was a Windows user until then). I figure I'd rather have a solid build (hardware & software) than play roulette with a first revision model. To each his own....
  • Reply 4 of 9
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,208moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Funderling View Post


    Well, I guess the "want" part of me is fairly large... and really, the only thing keeping me is that a battery life revolution might be just around the corner. I've read everything from potentially a 2-3 hour increase to 10-20 minutes, which is a pretty large range. I'm also hesitant to buy a rev. A of anything (including software), so I'm afraid that if I hold off it may end up being until Christmas time...



    I don't think you'll need to wait until Christmas. If there is anything wrong with the first revision, Apple usually supply fixes/replacements. Since Apple have already gone through some issues with the Intel change, I don't see this revision having many problems as they likely won't make the same mistakes. I think the CPUs will be the same too.



    Actually, I've just read that the new chipset should be coming at the beginning of next month (some suggest may 8th), which is just 4 weeks away but yeah the ETA on new hardware is still maybe 7-8 weeks.



    I'd still strongly suggest waiting. Here are some snippets of its benefits:



    "the ?Santa Rosa' generation represents the most significant upgrade to Centrino since the platform debuted in March 2003



    Santa Rosa, however, will up the ante in almost every part of Centrino's mobile mix.



    A flash chip is used to store system boot files as well as the most often-used data files, which can be written and retrieved at several magnitudes faster than any mechanical hard disk



    faster start up, shutdown, standby and resume times to enhanced application performance and, for notebooks, extended battery life



    an 800MHz front-side bus which can dynamically drop to 400MHz to conserve power"



    One thing that may affect your decision is that Santa Rosa will get another refresh later on this year:



    "However, a mid-life refresh of Santa Rosa due towards the end of this year will see the 65nm Merom processor swapped out for the first mobile member of Intel's new 45nm Penryn CPU family. The mobile Penryn processors will boost Level 2 cache to 6MB (up 50% from today's 4MB ceiling),while simultaneously introducing a ?Deep Power Down' state to reduce battery drain and enhancing performance of single-thread applications which occupy only one of the processor's two cores.



    Penryn will also boost virtualisation with faster ?transition' times as the virtual machine is created and then closed. The chip will be designed as a drop-in replacement for Merom, using the same socket architecture and thermal envelope, in order to encourage notebook manufacturers to join the Penryn parade."



    http://apcmag.com/5814/santa_rosa_re...for_may_launch



    So if you really want to upgrade then do so immediately to avoid being disappointed that a new machine came out shortly after you bought it, possibly with a new design. Then you can hang off another upgrade until at least Christmas when the second revisions arrive and you can judge whether or not you need it.



    If you do decide to buy now, get at least 1 GB Ram (you can buy 3rd party but Apple's 1GB prices are ok) and also check out the refurb store. You can often find the latest machines with 10% or more off and they have the same warranty as new machines.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member
    Battery life will NOT get better with Santa Rosa unless Intel decides to wake up and release a dedicated mobile CPU/ chipset like the original Centrino. (highly unlikely at this point)



    Intel hasn't built a dedicated CPU since the original Pentium M... all of the subsequent versions are castrated desktop CPU variations. That is why, despite all of the manufacturing improvements and newer abilities to more finely control power draw/ speed of the individual parts of the processors, the power draw of the CPU and the chipset has gone up with EVERY single generation after the original Centrino (both idle, full throttle, and the power ramp).

    The most likely reason is that Intel is the ONLY game in town right now... AMD is far behind until they release a decent mobile chipset, Transmeta (the reason why Intel made Pentium M in record time) is dead, VIA is stuck in the embedded market.

    There was a brief time when Intel planned on a dedicated mobile CPU line that was to combine XScale and Pentium M. But this idea was dropped because Transmeta was no longer a threat.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    I have to be honest - I'm not sure if I can even pretend to have understood any of that. So the whole Robson thing will not be enough to have an effect on battery life? I suppose, too, that it will depend heavily on the type of usage - seems like any type of usage beyond the basics would need to spin up the hard disk. Perhaps the 10-20 minutes claim is the more accurate one, given "normal" usage?



    It's also starting to sound like if I'm going to wait for anything, Penryn in the one. And since by Spring/Summer of 08 I will likely be ready to upgrade our main machine (PB G4 17"), I may as well go ahead & take the plunge on a MacBook now to replace my poor old iBook (which can barely keep up while I'm typing this)...
  • Reply 7 of 9
    bacillusbacillus Posts: 313member
    If power usage is holding you back ? then buy an additional battery and be done with it. This assumes you don?t mind carrying around an extra battery.



    I?m not a big fan of the ?buy now and be done with it camp?. There are two announcements from Apple that could increase battery life. First ? is how they will integrate Robinson or if they do their own thing with flash memory to augment the HD (rumor about the latter). Second, Apple is rumored to be switching to an LED backlight, which will also save power yet is unrelated to Santa Fe.



    If you can wait ? I vote wait?at least until the June marching orders.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    A buddy of mine had an interesting idea for conserving battery power - to rip dvds & save them to a flash thumb drive, then watch the content straight from there... would that actually work?
  • Reply 9 of 9
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,208moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Funderling View Post


    A buddy of mine had an interesting idea for conserving battery power - to rip dvds & save them to a flash thumb drive, then watch the content straight from there... would that actually work?



    The USB drive should use a lot less power than the DVD drive, so it would save battery. The DVD drive has to keep the disc spinning. This should even save more power than using the hard drive because it has to spin too. No mechanical parts in the USB drive means it doesn't use that much at all. This is why we need to get flash based hard drives.
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