3 unconventional tips to keep your laptop cooler and to extend the battery time

To my surprise I found many tips on the web regarding this topic, but none of them mentioned tips I have for you. So assuming you are following good practice already – such as adding more ram, disabling screen saver (and enabling display turn off instead of it), changing the screen brightness and  setting power options – below are my new tips.

These tips are for laptop users of Linux, Windows and even Apple Macbook users and the first tip does not apply for people who need maximum CPU performance for gaming or heavy computations. However it is fine for “normal” users – you can try it yourselves:

Tip 1: Disable Intel Turbo Boost feature (or do not enable AMD Turbo Core) in BIOS. Modern CPUs have “Turbo” feature which (under some conditions) enables automatic overclocking of CPU cores thus increasing performance. Especially Intel CPUs (Intel Core i3, i5, i7) have Intel Turbo Boost enabled by default. But if you are not doing intensive gaming nor computations, then you do not need extra CPU performance, so you do not need to overclock CPU, so you can disable Turbo Boost.

On most of the PCs it can be disabled in BIOS. In case you do not have that option in BIOS or if you have MacBook, here are the tips for your operating system – on Windows and Linux it is achieved by setting maximum CPU frequency/frequency scaling:

Disabling Turbo Boost can make your laptop 10 – 15 °C cooler – which is noticeable difference. If you are not sure about your CPU demands – you can try it and if you are not happy you can enable it any time.

Another thing you can experiment with (especially in BIOS) is to disable hyper-threading or some of the CPU cores if you have too many of them and you do not use them 😉

Tip 2: Install NoScript extension into your browser
Despite of my First of all let me clarify – this tip is for Firefox users, but in the last two paragraphs of this tip there are links to script for Google Chrome and Safari users as well.

I like Javascript very much and I think we will see it more and more on the websites. However there are still some websites which do not need it for it’s function, so why to enable it? By disabling javascript and other not vital scripts, you extend laptop battery time and it is also good from security point of view – the less complexity on the website, the less can go wrong, so the more secure it is :)

Another motivation to disable javascript or other scripts is security. You can find many references about malicious web-sites/scripts, cross-site scripting etc on the web.
I have also written my previous blog post – an idea – about disabling scripts in the browser in inactive tabs – that would be a good thing to do if it was supported…

There are similar extensions for Google Chrome as well:
There used to be extension NotScripts,  but per Wikipedia, it was removed from Chrome extension store in 09/2014 and it’s replacement is supposed to be ScriptBlock, but it was last time updated in 07/2013 which makes Wiki advice a bit odd… But there is another extension called ScriptSafe.

Also for Apple Safari users, there is extension called Javascript Blocker.

Tip 3: Check which process is eating your CPU resources
Check what is using your CPU permanently by using task-manager in your operating system. For example in Windows you can use task manager and minimize it into tray – but do not keep the current speed – change update speed to low, otherwise task manager (taskmgr) itself can eat CPU… Or you can use alternative system – such as process explorer – but change the update speed to 5 seconds. In other systems I recommend to set the update speed between 3-5 seconds – we are not interested in CPU spikes, but about average long term CPU load – if it is not close to zero and computer is idle (you know you are not watching video or doing anything CPU intensive), then you know there is some process unnecessary eating your CPU = battery. For example – such a graph in process explorer is suspicious and it tells me, something is not completely right –  process-explorer

The prolonged status like this task-manager in the task manager tells me the same thing.
Linux systems have system monitor where you can see the same thing.

So I recommend to have such a system monitor in your tray bar and watch it from time-to-time. By checking it you will also learn when is your system idle and when it is busy. When you realize it is busy, just open your task manager and sort tasks by CPU load and you will find the one eating the CPU permanently. Then you can decide what do to – close that window if you do not need it, change the setup of that program or in the worst case you can uninstall it.

So those are my 3 unconventional advices about saving battery life on your laptop or netbook. Let me know if they were helpful in the comments 😉



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