Have you ever wondered what the nifty and portable devices that completely run our lives need to run themselves? Of course, you have, and the answer is power, but the question is, how much power? Do all devices consume the same power? If not, how much do they actually contribute towards the final amount? Are laptops digging a big hole in your electricity bills?
These are some strange questions, but the findings are interesting and insightful. Let’s take a look at all the elements that make up the usage of power by a laptop. We shall also learn ways to reduce this usage, which benefits users and the device itself.
Factors that affect the amount of power drawn
When it comes to the power a laptop needs to function, there is no one size fits all; no definite number could apply to all. A long list of factors derived from all the different components that make up a laptop, which influence and determine how much power a laptop would draw. The following are a few major factors affecting the amount of battery a laptop draws.
Laptop type and company
All laptops come equipped with different features and hardware. It is not hard to grasp that the more features and hardware that a laptop keeps adding the more power it would consume, on average.
That is not always true, though, as laptop companies have been developing advanced batteries for laptops that are heavy duty compared to standard batteries. These can last longer and hence consume less power. Some companies are notorious for producing batteries that last for short periods of time, so research is important.
It boils down to the type of laptop being used and the additive features in it. Battery type can also be considered, but this is still a laptop. There is only a specific size and weight of the battery that it can carry because otherwise, the entire concept of it being a portable computer will be lost.
The CPU or processor of a laptop is the foundation it builds upon. The most commonly used processors are intel and apple. Apple is only used in MacBooks, while intel is found in most mid-range laptops. The top of the line is the Intel Core i7.
A good processor ensures smooth functioning, but if a processor lags and is not able to handle the load of a laptop, it has to put in some extra work; this requires higher power consumption.
Hence, the better the processor, the lower the consumption of battery and power.
The graphic card in a laptop is often referred to as the GPU of the laptop. A higher GPU is responsible for a better-quality display with brighter colors and sharp pixels. Attaining this quality definitely requires higher power.
However, higher GPUs often complement higher CPUs in laptops, which is why the battery is not that big of an issue.
Nevertheless, higher GPUs would require more power.
Irrespective of how expensive or good quality a laptop you buy is, wear and tear are inevitable. As time passes and the laptop is used on a daily basis, the battery wears down, which could mean lower battery health. This change does not take place overnight or over a period of just a few months, it takes a lot longer.
Lower battery health keeps the battery from retaining enough power. The laptop still draws power while it is being used, but the power does not translate into enough usage time.
If your laptop has been in use for quite a while now and has been subjected to damages, chances are it is consuming a lot more power than an average laptop would.
Higher usage leads to higher power consumption.
The more a laptop is used, the more battery is drawn out; this creates a need to charge repeatedly if the laptop is being used constantly.
Hence, it is a good idea to take breaks while using the laptop so it can cool down and not consume the battery during a short period of time.
Power consumed based on the laptop type
We have previously established that the type of laptop impacts its power. Laptops can generally be categorized under two main sections: Laptops and MacBooks. However, the section laptop opens further to an array of different types used for different purposes. We will be discussing a regular laptop used by the average person and gaming laptops that have been quite popular with the advent of the gaming culture.
The amount of energy that a MacBook would draw depends upon the size of the MacBook too. After all, the bigger the device, the more power it needs to run optimally.
MacBooks come in two sizes: the 13-inch version and the 15-inch version. The former consumes 60 Watts of power for one hour, while the latter consumes 87 Watts of power per hour.
Once fully charged, a MacBook would run for 10 hours, on average. The time that battery lasts depends on how it is used and the condition of the MacBook too, so this is hard to generalize across all MacBooks that people own.
A gaming laptop is the most heavily equipped laptop among all types. It requires perfect graphics, fast and smooth processing, and enough RAM to make heavy games function.
Given the factors mentioned above, a gaming laptop requires higher processors, a higher GPU, and is used significantly more than other laptops for concentrated periods. Hence, it is not wrong to say that gaming laptops require the most power.
On average, a gaming laptop will draw 180 Watts of power per hour; this is almost thrice of what a MacBook and normal laptop would consume.
A typical laptop would use up to 60 Watts of power per hour. However, if it is higher end with more features, it could use up to 80-100 Watts of power per hour.
How to limit power usage by a laptop?
Saving power leads to saving costs, no matter how minimal. Here are some ways this can be achieved in relation to a laptop.
- When the battery is full, unplug the charger and turn off the switch. Leaving the switch on continues to consume power.
- Turn on the charger before the laptop shuts down, as turning it back on requires more power.
- Make sure to regulate laptop temperatures. This can be done by using a cooling pad or giving the laptop breaks in between to cool. Cooling is necessary because the higher temperatures increase the stress on the laptop hardware, leading to higher power usage.
- Routinely repair and clean the laptop to avoid malfunctions that lead to the battery wearing down.
It all comes down to personal preference. Some people require a laptop with good graphics, while others only require a laptop to double as a workspace. Given an individual’s needs, the power consumed by a laptop would vary as all the different features vary across companies and sizes and types.