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Battery Life, AC Draw, And Charging Rate

MSI GX60 Review: Radeon HD 7970M In A $1,200 Notebook!

Battery Life

Simply, battery life is the overall capacity of the power supply (in Wh) divided by power draw. The GX60 has an 87 Wh battery, so an average 15 W load yields almost six hours of longevity. Increasing consumption by just 5 W cuts a full hour of use. At its highest drain use scenario of 79 W, you’ll only get a little more than an hour of runtime when not plugged-in to AC power. In return for that highly variable range, the machine doesn't throttle down like other notebooks. It's up to you whether to maximize runtime or performance, depending on what you're doing.

With the screen at minimum brightness, Wi-Fi off, and Windows 7 set to the “Power saver” scheme, the GX60 pulls 11.067 W. This is the lowest possible power draw, but with the screen that dimly-lit, it’s not ideal for viewing during the day. Increasing screen brightness to 50% takes the power draw to 12.34 W, while full brightness uses 14.7 W. Turning on the Wi-Fi card adds nearly 1 W to any of those numbers. 

Browsing the web with Wi-Fi enabled increases the power usage at 50% brightness to between 13.1 and 15.4 W on simpler sites, and 15.9 to 17 W on sites with heavy ads or Flash. The average power usage during 30 minutes of web browsing is 16 W. Watching 480p videos on YouTube pulls 21.8 W, while 1080p video pulls 22.995 W. Fully loading the CPU drains 43 W, with the GPU pulling 59 W. Maxing out power draw for the system yields a 79 W/h drain rate.

The chart below shows expected battery life in a variety of use scenarios.

Typing notes on the GX60 for six hours or more shouldn’t be a problem. Even when adding web browsing to the mix, you should still see around six hours, just as long as the Radeon HD 7970M remains inactive. Expect to get about three hours of playback on battery power when watching streaming video; standard-def (480p) content may even play for up to four hours. One hour to 90 minutes of gaming time is a reasonable expectation when utilizing the Radeon HD 7970M. The built-in GPU on AMD's A10-4600M is faster than Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 engine, so you could probably get three hours of play in a less graphically-intensive game like Civilization V using the A10, whereas you'd struggle to get playable performance from an Intel-based machine using on-die graphics.

In a month of use, our typical battery life was about five to six hours.

AC Power Draw And Charge Rate

Charging the battery with the system off draws 60 W from the wall, while sitting idle in Windows with a fully-charged battery draws 22 W. The charge rate is 29 W/h with Windows running, taking the total power draw up to 80 W. 

Fully loading the GPU pulls a steady 162 W from the wall, while the APU draws 69 W with Turbo Core active and around 58 W when it's not. Keep in mind that each of these measurements also includes the other components in the system, such as the chipset, display, Wi-Fi, and drives. Running benchmarks for various games, the power draw varies between 114 and 171 W. Fully loading the system pulls a relatively steady 171 W, with peaks up to 180 when the APU's Turbo Core kicks in.

Under full load on either the APU or GPU, the charge rate remains at 44 W/h. Only when the CPU and GPU are both fully loaded does the charge rate drop to 8.87 W/h. There’s no significant difference in system-on charge speeds until the system is being fully stressed. Even after taking efficiency losses in the power adapter into account, it the battery charges faster when the machine is not on.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    ASHISH65 , April 29, 2013 10:07 PM
    Looks good and helpfull review for laptop gamers!
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    patrick47018 , April 29, 2013 9:09 PM
    Looks promising
  • 5 Hide
    yobobjm , April 29, 2013 9:11 PM
    I own an MSI (with some weird number classification that I can't remember) but it has proved to be a dedicated and powerful gaming laptop. It also has had really no problems other than the glossy finish getting scratched (which doesn't even exist on this laptop) so I would recommend MSI products :D 
  • 1 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , April 29, 2013 9:50 PM
    But does it fit a CableCard?
  • 10 Hide
    ASHISH65 , April 29, 2013 10:07 PM
    Looks good and helpfull review for laptop gamers!
  • 8 Hide
    acktionhank , April 29, 2013 10:24 PM
    Hey Tom's run a few gaming tests again with PScheck forcing the CPU to run at a 2.5-2.7ghz so that it won't throttle itself so much.

    I'd like to see exactly what speeds we'd need to get an A10-4600 running at to reduce these severe bottlenecks.
  • 5 Hide
    Chewie , April 29, 2013 10:52 PM
    Give this a 4 module APU, and keyboard backlighting, and it would really kick butt!
  • 3 Hide
    Chairman Ray , April 30, 2013 12:20 AM
    Great build from Msi!
  • -3 Hide
    silverblue , April 30, 2013 12:27 AM
    Very nice machine. It's a shame that AMD stopped with the A10-4600M and didn't look to produce a higher model as that'd help, however until the HSA initiative really kicks in, the Bulldozer architecture's FPU implementation is always going to be found wanting, and that's without even talking about the sharing issues which Steamroller looks to fix.
  • 0 Hide
    Cataclysm_ZA , April 30, 2013 1:16 AM
    No frame latency graphs from FRAPS? Its not difficult to keep a log of them and produce the graphs for those who are interested. I'd like to see the minimum frame dips for a machine like this one.
  • -5 Hide
    ryude , April 30, 2013 1:22 AM
    The A10-4600M can be overclocked relatively easily, up to 3.6Ghz+. That won't fix the fact that's it's an APU, but it will help a little.
  • 2 Hide
    Tee-Kheang Ng , April 30, 2013 2:19 AM
    There's is a GX60 with a10-5750m richland APU...
    Which the improvement is modestly 10-15% CPU powers, it should alleviate some of the CPU bottleneck...
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , April 30, 2013 2:51 AM
    patrick47018Looks promising

    ... not just that... loooook... there is a windows 7 logo... it looks exscelent...
  • 3 Hide
    Cryio , April 30, 2013 3:39 AM
    This notebook is a ridiculous concept to me. Its greatest achievements are its price and its performance where it matters: maxed-out directX11 games in 1080p, working as good or BETTER in most of the cases than its Nvidia sibling. Its greatest disadvantage being its gaming ability is limited in anything under 1080p (still talking only about games here).

    One hell of a laptop for me, if I could afford when, when I'll go to college this Octomber.
  • 0 Hide
    Cryio , April 30, 2013 3:40 AM
    afford one *
  • -3 Hide
    TheBigTroll , April 30, 2013 3:48 AM
    the apu is the bottleneck. when you compare this to a i7 ivy bridge mobile chip with the same GPU and everything, it performs 50% faster
  • 2 Hide
    sanilmahambre , April 30, 2013 4:50 AM
    Now that's what i call a Budget gaming Laptop

    and again a beautiful in depth review
  • 2 Hide
    mynith , April 30, 2013 5:33 AM
    Interesting heatsink design. Shame really that APUs don't come with L3-cache. If they did, they would show performance not unlike the FX-series. In my mind.
  • -1 Hide
    ojas , April 30, 2013 5:37 AM
    With respect to handbrake: It's getting QuickSync support too in the coming months (i believe it's in the same beta version you're talking about) so I'm not sure if the OpenCL advantage will last for AMD.
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