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  1. #1
    Joined
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    Northern UT
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    Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Hi all. I just got a heckuva deal on a laptop, my first, much like this one here but with a 250g hdd and it's silver:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834101162


    Anyway, it's my first laptop and I was wondering a few things. Do I damage or otherwise put undue wear on the battery by running the system via AC with the battery installed? I was told that I should pull the battery when running on AC, but that seems like a bit of a hassle. Plus, are there any other general maintenance tips for laptops that anyone can recommend? I'd like to use this for several years, and I think it will be a solid performer for several years.

    So far, I love this computer. It has lots of zip. I need to do more homework on 64-bit apps. I'm using some 64-bit and some 32-bit, and so far, so good.

    Any tips will be appreciated. Thanks.

    marty
    Gigabyte P55A-UD4P, Core i7-860 Lynnfield at 3.6GHz, ZALMAN CNPS10X QUIET 120mmCPU HSF, CORSAIR Vengeance (2 x 4GB) DDR3 at 1640, PowerColor HD5870, Earthworks 650W PSU, Samsung 840 EVO 120g SSD (W10 Pro 64-bit), 320G Blue Caviar storage, LiteOn DVD burner, Antec 902 case [B]
    ASRock Z68 Extreme3, i5 2500K OCed at 4.5GHz, CM 212 Hyper Plus, G. Skill Ripjaws 4G X 2 2133 Ram, Samsung 840 EVO 250G, 3Tb Seagate HDD, unknown DVD drive, XFX Double D Radeon HD 7870, PC Power and Cooling 610 Silencer, Fractal Define R4 Case, LG 27" AOC IPS monitor, Win 10 Home 64-bit

  2. #2
    Joined
    Jul 2003
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    Australia
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    14,223

    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Yes removing the battery is good practise when using the AC power for long periods. Li-Ion batteries are prone to overcharging. If they're left on AC for long perionds after reaching 100%, their capacity to hold power will drop significantly. They're also susceptible to damage once they get below about 10-15%, particularly with multi cell batteries where not all the cells are the same capacity. As a general rule, recharging Li-Ion batteries sooner rather than later is good practise.

    Removing the battery while it's on AC is a minor annoyance, but it's a whole lot more convenient than being stuck with a laptop that only runs on AC power. Two downsides come to mind:
    • Battery Storage - if you almost always end up using AC power, the battery will slowly discharge. Best to take it out when it has between 50-80% charge and check it every now and again.
    • Airflow - lots of laptop batteries have one of the laptop feet built into them. If this is the case with yours, be aware that the air intake system underneath could suffocate.
    Another way to go about it is to use the battery, and then when it gets to about 15%, charge it to 100% and then unplug the AC power and run off the battery again. Repeat process as needed The catch with that is that the battery will still diminish over time (wear and tear), but it'll be much slower degradation than having it in the lappy when on AC. I use a spare battery to distribute that load.

    A few other pointers:
    • Battery life can be preserved by turning off certain features like wireless, Bluetooth and FireWire. Only turn them on when you need them. You can also tweak power management options in BIOS and in the Control Panel.
    • Laptops shouldn't be moved while they're switched on. Hard drives use the same type of mechanism as in desktops, movement greatly increases the chance of hard drive damage. Put a solid-state drive in if you want to avoid that.
    • Don't put the laptop on a bed, on your lap, on carpet or any other soft surface. Use a hard, flat surface to ensure that the cooling system underneath can breathe properly. Also be careful not to obstruct exhaust outlets at the back or side of the latop. Periodically check the fans and vents forfluff buildup.
    • Be careful not to push the laptop back up against the wall while you're using it. One of the most common things I've had to fix on laptops is the power connector. In many cases, it requires a motherboard replacement. Not cheap.
    • Get a decent laptop bag that doesn't shout "hey I'm a laptop - steal me" and also stops the laptop from moving. I use a Crumpler backpack but now that they're more popular, people are starting to recognise that they're laptop bags. One of the big attractions of those for me is the fact that you need to take the backpack off to access the laptop. Not so easy for thieves to unzip the bag and slip their greedy hands in whilst you're unaware. On top of that, it's very comfortable. I also like the new Logitech Kinetic bags. Sensible design. Hard exterior, plenty of padding inside, lots of space. I'm keen on getting one for myself. Be aware that the screen is the part most likely to incur damage from transportation.
    • Laptops are allergic to coffee, water, wine, beer and vomit among other things. If you're having a party, leave the laptop somewhere safe

  3. #3
    Joined
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    Location
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    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Mjölnir, Awesome response. Thank you very very much. I've already unplugged the battery while currently using it on AC. I'll have to print out your response and keep it accessible with the computer, as I want to be able to re-read it and remind myself of the upkeep. The heat vent is on the side, so it's up a bit, but I'll still avoid my lap, carpets, et al. I'm debating getting a second battery. I'll have to see what the price is.

    This is not a particularly striking-looking laptop, rather bland actually, and just the way I like it. It's got great components, and for $635 US, it was a terrific price. It should last me several years with good performance if I treat it well. Thanks again for the response. You ought to put that in a sticky.

    marty
    Gigabyte P55A-UD4P, Core i7-860 Lynnfield at 3.6GHz, ZALMAN CNPS10X QUIET 120mmCPU HSF, CORSAIR Vengeance (2 x 4GB) DDR3 at 1640, PowerColor HD5870, Earthworks 650W PSU, Samsung 840 EVO 120g SSD (W10 Pro 64-bit), 320G Blue Caviar storage, LiteOn DVD burner, Antec 902 case [B]
    ASRock Z68 Extreme3, i5 2500K OCed at 4.5GHz, CM 212 Hyper Plus, G. Skill Ripjaws 4G X 2 2133 Ram, Samsung 840 EVO 250G, 3Tb Seagate HDD, unknown DVD drive, XFX Double D Radeon HD 7870, PC Power and Cooling 610 Silencer, Fractal Define R4 Case, LG 27" AOC IPS monitor, Win 10 Home 64-bit

  4. #4
    Joined
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    Australia
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    14,223

    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Yeah I think I'll do that. At least write a better looking one up. Will see what my co-mods think and will also try and think of other info to put in there. It's ot the first time someone has called for a laptop sticky. I 'spose it's about time to do one

  5. #5
    Joined
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    Northern UT
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    4,506

    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    When I'm not using the laptop, i.e., it's just sitting there with its lid closed, should I keep it plugged into the wall with the battery in place? Does that keep the battery charged appropriately? Or is that potentially damaging to the battery as well? Thanks.

    marty
    Gigabyte P55A-UD4P, Core i7-860 Lynnfield at 3.6GHz, ZALMAN CNPS10X QUIET 120mmCPU HSF, CORSAIR Vengeance (2 x 4GB) DDR3 at 1640, PowerColor HD5870, Earthworks 650W PSU, Samsung 840 EVO 120g SSD (W10 Pro 64-bit), 320G Blue Caviar storage, LiteOn DVD burner, Antec 902 case [B]
    ASRock Z68 Extreme3, i5 2500K OCed at 4.5GHz, CM 212 Hyper Plus, G. Skill Ripjaws 4G X 2 2133 Ram, Samsung 840 EVO 250G, 3Tb Seagate HDD, unknown DVD drive, XFX Double D Radeon HD 7870, PC Power and Cooling 610 Silencer, Fractal Define R4 Case, LG 27" AOC IPS monitor, Win 10 Home 64-bit

  6. #6
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    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Laptops will try and charge the battery when they're plugged into AC power regardless of whether they're in use or not. Best to unplug it from AC power when you're not using it (if the battery is still in it)

  7. #7
    Joined
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    Talking Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    I've noticed that my cpu temps are more variable than my desktop, i.e., when the system is running at a minimal speed, my core temps are in the upper 20s and low 30s, but they'll bump up to the 40s under load. I tried running Virtual PC 2007 and my temps were to the upper 40s, low 50s. This laptop does not have hardware virtualization, so I suspect that might be a factor. In any case, I was not pleased with the performance, so I dropped the Virtual PC. In contrast, I have virtual PC 2007 set up on my DS3, and it works like a champ with no excessive cpu usage. I've got hardware support for virtualization enabled in the bios. That must make a difference.

    Otherwise, so far, so good. I really like this laptop, using it a lot, getting used to the keyboard. Fast and stable so far. I don't yet have much in the way of 64-bit apps to fully utilize the 64-bit OS. I notice that the bios appears to be permanently set up so that the multiplier switches between 6 and 12, yielding either 1.00GHz or 2.00GHz speed, respectively, the former apparently to conserve power even when I have it plugged into AC, and I seem to have no control over that multiplier, even when running at full speed settings in the power options. A different mindset I guess with laptops.

    marty
    Gigabyte P55A-UD4P, Core i7-860 Lynnfield at 3.6GHz, ZALMAN CNPS10X QUIET 120mmCPU HSF, CORSAIR Vengeance (2 x 4GB) DDR3 at 1640, PowerColor HD5870, Earthworks 650W PSU, Samsung 840 EVO 120g SSD (W10 Pro 64-bit), 320G Blue Caviar storage, LiteOn DVD burner, Antec 902 case [B]
    ASRock Z68 Extreme3, i5 2500K OCed at 4.5GHz, CM 212 Hyper Plus, G. Skill Ripjaws 4G X 2 2133 Ram, Samsung 840 EVO 250G, 3Tb Seagate HDD, unknown DVD drive, XFX Double D Radeon HD 7870, PC Power and Cooling 610 Silencer, Fractal Define R4 Case, LG 27" AOC IPS monitor, Win 10 Home 64-bit

  8. #8
    Joined
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    Location
    Gaineseville, VA
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    35
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    1,110

    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    Yes removing the battery is good practise when using the AC power for long periods. Li-Ion batteries are prone to overcharging. If they're left on AC for long perionds after reaching 100%, their capacity to hold power will drop significantly. They're also susceptible to damage once they get below about 10-15%, particularly with multi cell batteries where not all the cells are the same capacity. As a general rule, recharging Li-Ion batteries sooner rather than later is good practise.

    Removing the battery while it's on AC is a minor annoyance, but it's a whole lot more convenient than being stuck with a laptop that only runs on AC power. Two downsides come to mind:
    • Battery Storage - if you almost always end up using AC power, the battery will slowly discharge. Best to take it out when it has between 50-80% charge and check it every now and again.
    • Airflow - lots of laptop batteries have one of the laptop feet built into them. If this is the case with yours, be aware that the air intake system underneath could suffocate.
    Another way to go about it is to use the battery, and then when it gets to about 15%, charge it to 100% and then unplug the AC power and run off the battery again. Repeat process as needed The catch with that is that the battery will still diminish over time (wear and tear), but it'll be much slower degradation than having it in the lappy when on AC. I use a spare battery to distribute that load.

    A few other pointers:
    • Battery life can be preserved by turning off certain features like wireless, Bluetooth and FireWire. Only turn them on when you need them. You can also tweak power management options in BIOS and in the Control Panel.
    • Laptops shouldn't be moved while they're switched on. Hard drives use the same type of mechanism as in desktops, movement greatly increases the chance of hard drive damage. Put a solid-state drive in if you want to avoid that.
    • Don't put the laptop on a bed, on your lap, on carpet or any other soft surface. Use a hard, flat surface to ensure that the cooling system underneath can breathe properly. Also be careful not to obstruct exhaust outlets at the back or side of the latop. Periodically check the fans and vents forfluff buildup.
    • Be careful not to push the laptop back up against the wall while you're using it. One of the most common things I've had to fix on laptops is the power connector. In many cases, it requires a motherboard replacement. Not cheap.
    • Get a decent laptop bag that doesn't shout "hey I'm a laptop - steal me" and also stops the laptop from moving. I use a Crumpler backpack but now that they're more popular, people are starting to recognise that they're laptop bags. One of the big attractions of those for me is the fact that you need to take the backpack off to access the laptop. Not so easy for thieves to unzip the bag and slip their greedy hands in whilst you're unaware. On top of that, it's very comfortable. I also like the new Logitech Kinetic bags. Sensible design. Hard exterior, plenty of padding inside, lots of space. I'm keen on getting one for myself. Be aware that the screen is the part most likely to incur damage from transportation.
    • Laptops are allergic to coffee, water, wine, beer and vomit among other things. If you're having a party, leave the laptop somewhere safe
    If thats true then Dell could probably be forced into recalling all of their 8600 Latitude laptops as they put one of the rubber pads on the battery so you couldn't take the battery out when running A/C. It would be too wobbly.

    All the other crap isnt needed. I always carried my laptop in my book bag and even took it to school while on and never had a problem. Treating it like china isn't necessary.

  9. #9
    Joined
    Jul 2003
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    14,223

    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by mmonnin View Post
    If thats true then Dell could probably be forced into recalling all of their 8600 Latitude laptops as they put one of the rubber pads on the battery so you couldn't take the battery out when running A/C. It would be too wobbly.
    Many notebooks have the feet on the battery. It is poor design, but it doesn't make them defective. The wobble is easily fixed by putting a pen or something under the laptop.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmonnin View Post
    All the other crap isnt needed. I always carried my laptop in my book bag and even took it to school while on and never had a problem. Treating it like china isn't necessary.
    I'm sure the guys over in our Storage forum (and many other laptop care guidelines) would confirm that mechanical hard drives are easy to damage if you move them while they're on. That's "hard drive preservation 101".

    As for "all the other crap"... Actually I can't be bothered responding to that This thread is about preserving the quality of the laptop and minimising the risk of damage. Read some other laptop care guides. You'll find all of those tips echoed elsewhere - with good reason.

  10. #10
    Joined
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    Location
    Northern UT
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    4,506

    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    My homebuilt systems all run pretty cool, what with the air cooling I use. So when I see the temps in my laptop jump up into the 50s (C), I have to assume this is par for the course, though it seems sometimes as though it doesn't take much to pump up the cpu temp, e.g., MS Defender will push the temp into the 40s. Is this unusual?

    Also, in cpu-z, it looks like it is telling me that the top temp for thic cpu is 85C (it says Tj Max is 85C). Is that correct? Thanks.

    marty
    Gigabyte P55A-UD4P, Core i7-860 Lynnfield at 3.6GHz, ZALMAN CNPS10X QUIET 120mmCPU HSF, CORSAIR Vengeance (2 x 4GB) DDR3 at 1640, PowerColor HD5870, Earthworks 650W PSU, Samsung 840 EVO 120g SSD (W10 Pro 64-bit), 320G Blue Caviar storage, LiteOn DVD burner, Antec 902 case [B]
    ASRock Z68 Extreme3, i5 2500K OCed at 4.5GHz, CM 212 Hyper Plus, G. Skill Ripjaws 4G X 2 2133 Ram, Samsung 840 EVO 250G, 3Tb Seagate HDD, unknown DVD drive, XFX Double D Radeon HD 7870, PC Power and Cooling 610 Silencer, Fractal Define R4 Case, LG 27" AOC IPS monitor, Win 10 Home 64-bit

  11. #11
    Joined
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    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    That all sounds about right. Of course the room temp has to be taken into account. Top temp is usually around 85°C. You can confirm that by checking it up on the Intel Processor Spec Finder.

    Seems that the E5750 has a max temp of 100°C. Either 85°C or 100°C, let's hope it neve gets that high

  12. #12
    Joined
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Southern New Jersey
    Posts
    377

    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Mjolner, I too want to thank you for the great information on battery life for laptops, My mom, my daughter, my two nieces and myself have all gotten laptops recently and I always wondered about lapyop batteries and the wisdom of keeping them in once they are fully charged.

    I hope this becomes a sticky soon.

  13. #13
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    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Hmmm... OK I'll make a more comprehensive sticky this weekend

  14. #14
    Joined
    May 2003
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    1,237

    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Some laptops (IBM/Lenovo and certain Dells) have a "battery saver" mode that never fully charges or discharges the battery.

    The main thing is to run off the battery periodically. A lot of business users leave their laptops plugged in for 3 years, then wonder why they only have a minute or two of battery life when unplugged.


    Intel 7820X, ASRock X299 Taichi, 32GB DDR4 3200, Radeon 290X, 8TB WD Gold with 32GB Optane cache

  15. #15
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    Re: Laptop Maintenance and Good Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    Hmmm... OK I'll make a more comprehensive sticky this weekend
    Hey, you're in demand.

    But really, a sticky would be great, one that could be added to as needed, as experienced suggestions come in. Plus, there are questions such as the ones I've asked. For example, I'm curious if there is a way to keep my laptop running at full speed, i.e., 166 X 12 (2.00 GHz) when I want to, whether this is advisable or not, whether it would overheat, and so forth.

    marty
    Gigabyte P55A-UD4P, Core i7-860 Lynnfield at 3.6GHz, ZALMAN CNPS10X QUIET 120mmCPU HSF, CORSAIR Vengeance (2 x 4GB) DDR3 at 1640, PowerColor HD5870, Earthworks 650W PSU, Samsung 840 EVO 120g SSD (W10 Pro 64-bit), 320G Blue Caviar storage, LiteOn DVD burner, Antec 902 case [B]
    ASRock Z68 Extreme3, i5 2500K OCed at 4.5GHz, CM 212 Hyper Plus, G. Skill Ripjaws 4G X 2 2133 Ram, Samsung 840 EVO 250G, 3Tb Seagate HDD, unknown DVD drive, XFX Double D Radeon HD 7870, PC Power and Cooling 610 Silencer, Fractal Define R4 Case, LG 27" AOC IPS monitor, Win 10 Home 64-bit

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