Test shows upcoming OS X Mountain Lion version may solve laptop battery life woes

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
A set of tests published on Monday claim to show significant a boost in MacBook battery life using a new developer build of OS X Mountain Lion, with the latest beta showing an 85-minute increase from the current 10.8.1.

The unscientific test from The Mac Observer pitted numerous revisions of OS X, from 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.8.2 Mountain Lion developer build 12C35, against each other to determine how the operating system effects battery life.

The test used a 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro running a 2.0 GHz i7 processor with 8 GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 6490M GPU and two internal hard drives, an OCZ Vertex 4 64 GB SSD and a Seagate Momentus 750 GB HDD.

Each operating system was tested at full charge, with all applications and services disabled save for Wi-Fi, screen adjusted to 50 percent brightness with display set for continuous use and screen saver disabled. A moderate workflow was simulated using a custom Automator application, which repeated until the battery was fully drained.

Battery Test
Source: The Mac Observer


Using OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard as a baseline, the compiled test data showed a significant hit to battery performance with the introductions of 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion. Upon release, Lion lost over 40 minutes of battery life and took three revisions to regain Snow Leopard power efficiency. In contrast, Mountain Lion saw a huge 105 minute loss in battery performance when it was released in July, with the latest 10.8.1 version moving the OS only 30 minutes closer to baseline.

With OS X 10.8.2, however, battery life is not just brought back in line with Snow Leopard levels, but the OS actually outperforms its predecessor by eight minutes. This marks an 88.5 minute savings in power consumption from the most recent 10.8.1 version of Mountain Lion.

Battery Test Versions


It was previously reported that Apple's Mountain Lion was causing battery life issues for many users, with some MacBook Air owners seeing their batteries lasting half as long as when OS X 10.7 Lion was installed. Subsequent tests of the latest public version of OS X, Mountain Lion 10.8.1, showed Apple engineers were working on a fix as battery life was substantially improved. If Monday's tests are accurate, OS X 10.8.2 will bring further battery life improvements, perhaps besting even the legacy OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

While the final public version of OS X 10.8.2 may not boast power savings identical to the home-brew test, the developer builds are promising and show Apple is taking an aggressive stance in solving the battery degradation issues seen at Mountain Lion's launch.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    jonyojonyo Posts: 117member
    I still haven't moved my June 2012 15" MBP (non-retina) to ML 10.8 yet from 10.7.4, but if 10.8.2 gets released and the general public consensus is that it solves the battery issues, I'll probably go ahead and update.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    The fact that an issue like this can be accidentally introduced, and then take 2 point releases to fix, just shows that the power management subsystem has become so complex no one understands it.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    MORE than time. My MBA has been useless for weeks whenever I need to be on the road, which is why I got a MBA and not an iMac...
  • Reply 4 of 17
    I don't get this last graph. How is it possible that SSD has less battery life than HDD?

    Update: I wasn't able to location the power consumption values from Seagate.
    OCZ, on the other hand, published the following
    Power Consumption Idle: 1.3 W Active: 2.5 W
  • Reply 5 of 17
    I don't get this last graph. How is it possible that SSD has less battery life than HDD?

    NAND does have certain intrinsic benefits over platter drive when it comes to power consumption but it depends on the testing being done. "At the system level, an SSD increases power consumption because CPU and memory utilization rises in response to increased I/O activity (they're not sitting there, waiting on a hard drive to send data). But remember that an SSD-based configuration will always finish those operations faster."

    Meaning, if you are simply testing the same system with an SSD and with an HDD but not specifically trying to tax the storage for the duration of the battery performance test you could easily have the HDD win if the disk shuts down when not in use. Add to that a system with 8 or even 16GB of RAM you could have a dozen hefty apps open with little writing to the drive.

    Overall, an SSD will be a far better choice. It clearly has the performance advantage, although it's not being HDDs (at least by a lot) in some areas, but it's so far ahead in others that it's huge benefit for the user. My MBP boot up in 10 seconds and iTunes and Xcode bounce only once before opening.
  • Reply 6 of 17


    Uh huh. I'm running 12C35, yet still getting about an hour and a half less run time compared to 10.7.4 on my 2009 13" MBP, so I have no idea what these people are doing differently than I am.

  • Reply 7 of 17


    Man I hope this fixes the battery issue.  This was the only adverse effect I have ever had with an Apple operating system.  I didn't get the extra 30 minutes reported with the first update, so I hope I can reap the benefits of the second.  Any increase in battery life from the Snow Leopard baseline is just gravy after that.

  • Reply 8 of 17


    Go Snow Leopard!


     


    It's good to see she's still got legs. And holding her own against the new cats on the block.

  • Reply 9 of 17

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post


    Uh huh. I'm running 12C35, yet still getting about an hour and a half less run time compared to 10.7.4 on my 2009 13" MBP, so I have no idea what these people are doing differently than I am.



    fresh install. the truth is that i have 0 problems with ML since .0. (besides safari's strange opening animation (it's kind of slow) and the fact that it usually quits for no reason 1 per day).

  • Reply 10 of 17
    It's good to know the Mac community have taken an objective look at Lion's battery life. My experience closely mirrors those found by this site.

    When I looked for possible solutions or even a recognition of the problem I found the web comments to be either dismissive or overly defensive of Apple.

    Anyway, it's good to see there's been some progress around this area.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    What an awesome chart! Cool to see the differences (even safari 6 giving you an extra 3 minutes...)

    Go Snow Leopard!

    It's good to see she's still got legs. And holding her own against the new cats on the block.
    Holding its own.... On battery life. Features and security it is clearly behind. If SL is the highest your Mac can go- cool. But how people can't upgrade to Lion or ML and not take advantage of iCloud is beyond me...
  • Reply 12 of 17
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,724member
    One tip I can offer for folks not seeing as good a battery life as they'd expect is check what applications you have running (and check background running applications too). The dynamic switching between the Intel Graphics and the higher power consuming discrete graphics cards (in my case the nVidia 330M) happens simply by detecting applications running. I use a utility called gfxCardStatus to keep an eye on this. If for example I had VLC running but not in use when I unplug my MBP i7 I stay on the nVidia card rather than switching. Quit VLC and the Mac switches to the Intel Graphics. I have no data but just from personal experience this is just one more way to eek out more battery life. Even when using Safari which only requires the Intel Graphics, even for videos such as on Apple's web site thanks to HTML5, the MBP switches to the nVidia the second you come across a Flash video in an ad or movie (hence I use ClicktoFlash).
  • Reply 13 of 17
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,724member
    andysol wrote: »
    What an awesome chart! Cool to see the differences (even safari 6 giving you an extra 3 minutes...)
    Holding its own.... On battery life. Features and security it is clearly behind. If SL is the highest your Mac can go- cool. But how people can't upgrade to Lion or ML and not take advantage of iCloud is beyond me...

    I agree 100%. I occasionally run older versions from various external drives and it never ceases to amaze me how old and tired a generation or two back OS X seems once you have become familiar with the latests version. ML is absolutely phenomenal IMHO.
  • Reply 14 of 17

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    I agree 100%. I occasionally run older versions from various external drives and it never ceases to amaze me how old and tired a generation or two back OS X seems once you have become familiar with the latests version. ML is absolutely phenomenal IMHO.


    this.


     


    it already is so fast, stable, complete and it was out a month ago. amazing OS.

  • Reply 15 of 17
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,654member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    I agree 100%. I occasionally run older versions from various external drives and it never ceases to amaze me how old and tired a generation or two back OS X seems once you have become familiar with the latests version. ML is absolutely phenomenal IMHO.


     


    You've got to be kidding.  I would have said this about past releases of the MacOS, but ML killed my battery life and also freezes the computer often.  I consider it to be an embarassment in the form it was originally released, which was obviously without sufficient testing.   I was running Snow Leopard before this (I had skipped Lion).   I'm now sorry I didn't stick with it and simply wait for a .2 or .3 release like I  have in the past.   No new feature nor any speed increases is worth the hassle of the battery discharging so quickly or the computer freezing.   I now feel like I own a PC.  

  • Reply 16 of 17
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,724member
    zoetmb wrote: »
    You've got to be kidding.  I would have said this about past releases of the MacOS, but ML killed my battery life and also freezes the computer often.  I consider it to be an embarassment in the form it was originally released, which was obviously without sufficient testing.   I was running Snow Leopard before this (I had skipped Lion).   I'm now sorry I didn't stick with it and simply wait for a .2 or .3 release like I  have in the past.   No new feature nor any speed increases is worth the hassle of the battery discharging so quickly or the computer freezing.   I now feel like I own a PC.  

    Remember the article is about 10.8.2 which is is still in the hands of those of us with developer accounts (unless I missed the release). Given we have had 10.8, 10.8.1 and 10.8.2 coming shortly for the public you are right on schedule to be happy with the .3 release of ML.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    I did the incremental update to 10.8.2 and the battery issues still persists. Is a clean install easy to do? Will I be able to just bring back all of my files, applications (MS office etc..) from Time machine?

    Just a bit weary about doing a clean install since I'm relatively new to MAC.

    Any suggestions?
    Thanks!!!
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