07-26-2018 12:54 PM
I should have updated this thread what happened. Just as efbasham wrote: HP Support eventually fixed my laptop by replacing the screen. The laptop came back with replacement stickers and screen protection plastic still on. After this my screen updates are OK and I use the laptop daily. But, I seem not able to get near 12 hours on the battery even with very low activity and low brightness. Usually 7-8 h. But they may have some specffic test condition that I don't meet.
07-28-2018 05:04 AM
Thanks very much for your replies. This sounds more serious than I thought (I was almost certain that it was a display driver issue), but the truth is, it is so frustrating that I really don't mind missing the laptop for a week. I ordered it online directly from HP, but that was back in February this year. (I really took my time trying to resolve the issue...) So it makes sense that the problem was found and fixed in March, looks like I got my machine just before that. My luck..
Anyway, I got in touch with HP support and they requested a video of the issue. The weekend interrupted our conversation now, but we'll get back to it on Monday. Hope they come to the same conclusion and fix it rather quickly.
Thanks again guys for your update! Really appreciate it.
07-28-2018 05:09 PM
OK - that explains it! Yes - it was fixed around March 2018 - I also ordered mine in Feb, got delivery in Mar, and it was very intermittant - maybe 1x per day, then 4-6 times in 15 minutes, sometimes asleep for 30+ seconds - you'll need a phone or something handy to get a video of it. HP knows about the problem - ask to speak with Nitesh; he helped me with it. They really should NOT be asking for a video, just fix it - Anthony N. in engineering at HP Texas is well aware of this - I sent him my system directly because it was one of the first reproducable failures, and they didn't have a failing system at the time to analyize! All the video will show is the display doesnt' move, then when it finally wakes up, everything that happened (mouse/keypress) will instantly show up because the cpu is working fine the whole time. The 2017 x360s had a display problem (as did the dell XPS), which I think was a driver issue - the displays would "tear" and "jitter" for lack of a better term, and videos of this phenomina showed up on youtube, including mine.
The good thing about buying from HP instead of retail is they are more on the hook for fixing it, and they communicate better. I know some stores send your HP product to hP on your behalf as a store customer, but they often don't include a note of what is wrong or if they do it's a highly technical description like "it don't work" to which repair says "it ain't broke"
07-28-2018 07:08 PM
Wastian - I'm working on a youtube video for battery life fixes on the u series procs (8550u), specifically my 2018 x360 but it should also apply to Dell XPS machines - with "UP TO" 12.5 hours to become "AT LEAST" 12.5 hours, though out of the box my 15" x360 was more like "UP TO" 6.5 hours. Obviously the battery life depends on what you are doing with it - but I worked out a strategy of #1 getting rid of wasted power either in idle or vampire drain on the battery pack then #2 stopping windows 10 from wasting power doing housekeeping while on battery - things like search optimization in the background & virus scans can all be done later when AC is present, then #3 changing defaults on software like edge, chrome, mcaffe, to cut down their waste, next #4, realize a 10-14% savings on actual work performed by tweeking the voltage down on the processor core, cache, and graphics voltages, and finally #5 changing user habits like realizing if the case is getting warm, that's a sign something is draining battery - find it and kill it!
There's quite a bit that is counterintuitive - like sleeping the machine when "idle" can actually cost more than just blanking the display and leaving it running for 5 minutes, because when it wakes up, windows has a bunch of "catch up" tasks it runs which draw 10-15 watts for the first 30 seconds instead of the 2 watts the cpu would draw at idle with the display turned off. Did you know the dim white keyboard backlight uses almost as much power as the backlit display running 90% bright vs 0% bright? I couldn't believe that and had to check it 3 ways - but white LEDs are the most inefficient type - HP should have used red LEDs for the keyboard. That backlight pulls 2.4-2.5 watts, more than the idle intel cpu! Turning off the keyboard light buys you over 2 hours of runtime per charge. Never sleep for less than 5 minutes - you're better off just blanking the display so you press shift and it comes right back, plus its faster for the user. My system is set to sleep after 10 min of inactivity - blank the display after 3 min. Ironically, blanking the display still leaves the power eating keyboard backlight on! HP bios defaults to leaving the cpu fan on low speed all the time - but the processor never thermal throttles, so this is 100% waste - it needs to be shut off. HP bios also imposes vampire drain on the battery when the machine is asleep or turned off by keeping the USB power alive with a DC-DC converter fed from 11.1 V system battery so you can drain your main battery to charge your phone with the spectre x360 off (!!! most expensive power bank ever made!!!) - that also gets turned off from factory defaults. In 2015, HP repair used to say turn off wifi to save power (which defeats the purpose of an ultrabook!) - but in actuality the wifi uses pretty close to zero power, maybe 0.1 watt, but it is so little that you can't see it in the noise. If you are sending lots of data over wifi (like backup of the SSD) - only then does wifi draw lots of power. By contrast, plugging in a usb wired lan takes 1.0 watts all the time or 10x the power of wifi, which is very measurable; wifi is the best way by far to connect - though I suppose I could do a BTLE network connection, however the amount of power saved would be so small it's insignificant. BTLE would reduce network performance - none of my power saving tricks actually cost performance, in fact most improve performance as a side benefit. The other shocking bit of news is that the default settings out of the box are usually the worst when it comes to runtime. I can sort of see why - for example, I added up how much power was going to run Cortana - and removed her completely. I know for a fact microsoft would not allow an OEM like HP / Dell to remove a key component of the operating system to save power. Microsoft makes removing cortana a royal pain unless you have win 10 pro which lets you completely kill cortana with one click. Also - all those advertising videos playing when you go to a webpage eat power. Install adblockplus and turn off ALL advertising (not the default, which allows some polite ads) - those ads really "ad up" at the end of the day in power wasted. Plus they slow down the browser. As for browsers, Edge is the most energy efficient, followed by chrome, then firefox. Eliminating ads is the biggest browser win for power savings.
Now - the shocker - by putting together all the helpful practices, I can get OVER 12.5 hours of real work (email, web, word, pdf reader, youtube) - I've regularly hit 14 hours on a charge doing everything possible. All of my recipie for runtime is based on using the computer for real work and optimizing power for that application - not UNREAL world uses solely for battery time like just listening to an audiobook with the lid shut (which runs over 24 hours BTW - don't tell HP marketing or it will be "UP TO 24 hours runtime!"). Right now I'm at 81% battery remaining, and it shows 11 hours 15 minutes until empty. And that's NOT with massively dim display - I have it set to 75% bright. The only brightness levels that really zap the battery are 90 and 100% bright - drop to 70-80 and it's a huge savings because of the nonlinear response. Dropping from 70 to 10 doesn't save much more, and is contrary to being able to use the machine except when stargazing.
Some software (like 4K video rendering) really kills the battery - for each 1.0 minute of UHD 4K youtube rendering in DaVinci Resovle studio, it eats 1.8 watt-hours of battery so on 84 w-h battery, expect 40 minute (running time) renders to drain it dead in a little over 2 hours because they max out the cpu, gpu, memory, fans, and SSD power all at the same time. The only way to make this cost less is to undervolt the cpu & graphics, which saves 10-14% across the board. I use intel XTU to chart cpu usage, find performance bottlenecks, and monitor power & temperatures plus undervolt the cpu & graphics.
My goal was to be able to play video or do work for 12 hours going from SFO to Shanghai without using the adapter - but it turns out when you get down to 6 watts of power, you can plug into a usb power outlet using the usb-c power delivery spec to run the machine with minimal battery drain. I just use my phone charger cable. 10 hrs on pure battery is easy, which is enough for most people to get through a full work day. There are also quite a few "best practices" that fell out of my analysis of what everything cost to run - like USB drives cost about 1 watt while plugged in - quite a bit to leave plugged in all the time. If you need extra storage, use SD-UHS-II cards - the 128GB sony read/write is 280 MB/s, much faster than most usb drives, but has a very low power drain when not being used compared to USB drives. Instead of running the internal speakers, a BTLE headset is FAR more power efficient - so low you can't even measure it, versus 0.8 Watts to run the internal speakers. I pair my Motorola Whisper headset with the x360 for audio when traveling and pair it with my phone at the same time, so if a call comes in it mutes the x360 audio.
Last - good user habits like limiting yourself to 6-10 tabs and one browser window is a major win. It's easy to open 5 windows w/ 10 tabs each, but when you hit ctrl-shift-esc, you'll see the top tasks which are eating cpu time [translates to eating battery] are all browser processes. A good goal is to check the cpu busy % when not using the machine, and keep it below 10% if possible (idle is about 4-5 % with not much running except the task manager, which eats 1% by itself). There are some internet power saving "tips" that (at least to me) are just bunk - like downgrading your 4K display to 1080p in the device manager to save power. This makes for fewer "pixels" the operating system sees and must address -BUT- by having a 4K display panel, the graphics system MUST then scale your 1080 operating system picture up to 4K for the LCD panel, so whatever savings you got is consumed in the GPU - it doesn't amount to much at all. The real savings would be like on a 13" x360 where you have the option to buy the 1080 native resolution or 4K when ordering the machine - the 1080 native panel will definitely use less power than the 4K. the 15" machines don't have that option. I also tried some (IMHO) really stupid things like deconfiguring the Nvidia 150 GPU to save power and determined that negatively impacted the usability and performance of the machine, so I put it back.
I know this sounds like alot - and you can skip any or all of it. After a while, you get a feel for what you need to change to get 10, 12, or 14 hours of battery life so you can pick & choose from what you feel comfortable getting rid of.
07-29-2018 09:03 AM
Yes, it's completely random, but "fortunately" I didn't have to wait too long to get this pain in the neck on video. I just used my phone but ended up recording a 160 MB video which I couldn't simply send to HP as an email attachment so I asked them what method of file transfer they'd prefer. That's how far we've got before the weekend, and they haven't got back to me yet. I'm in the UK, which I assume means a completely different set of HP guys (so I'm not sure I can speak with Nitesh), but I'll direct them to these discussions. You're right, they should be well aware of this issue already. I just hope they won't take too long asking me to perform a myriad of general troubleshooting actions, because the problem is very specific, and I believe that I've tried most of what someone who is unfamiliar with this issue would suggest.
Also, thanks for posting such a long list of options to increase battery life. I'll definitely read through them carefully. I wonder (since I'm probably getting a new screen anyway) if it would be worth specifically asking for a 1080p one (I've got a 4K display at the moment) to save power. I always use a 1080p resolution with scaling. It gives me an extra hour or so as opposed to 4K, which is alright, but I usually can't get more than 8 hours out of the machine, and I'm only using it for email, browsing, youtube, word, etc. That itself is a major improvement to me, since I had big battery life, overheating and fan noise issues straight out of the box, but through a series of settings I've managed to significantly improve all these. So thanks again for your suggestions, I'll certainly have a closer look and hope to go beyond my current 8 hours.
07-30-2018 03:39 AM
The 1080 is only an option on the 13 inch - 15 inch is always 4K. You might check youtube for Eliot Gardner - I met him there. He's in the UK and had to send his in for a wobbly trackpad if I recall - it was about the time I sent mine in for the same problem (and yes, Dell xps has the same issue with their synaptics pads). Every hightech laptop I've bought has had issues, which is why I buy HP & Dell - they have a good reputation for backing their machines. Eliot had a good experience with europe repair
It seems like lots of people have hardware issues this year, but the reality is on an ultrabook class machine, they always ship with driver bugs that get fixed in the first 1-2 months after shipment. It's done because of the short lifecycle; if we waited for things to be fixed before shipping, it would be obsolete.
Power savings is an art I developed on my 1st x360 (a 13" 2.7K disp, which was a wonderful compromise in between 1080 and 4K offered in late 2015/early 2016). The tools you should get to help direct your power savings effort are batterybarpro (website is batterybarpro.com basic is free, pro is $4.00 - and I really like that app) and batteryinfoview (free - google it to find the software co who publishes it). Just remember when setting how often to update, it costs power every time it updates so 1-2 updates per minute is the most I'd do. I also use XTU, and adblockplus - and be prepared to hit ctl-shift-esc when you suspect power is being used for no reason. If everything is working right, when you are hands off the keyboard/pad the cpu should be ~4-6% at most busy, with XTU showing ~0 W core power, 1W package power, 0.8-1.1 GHz clock, - and batinfoview showing a total demand of about (neg)5.0 - (neg)5.6 W for the system with the display on set to 70%-75% When I get a vid up on this, I'll post a reply here to announce it. Without any work on power savings, you'll likely be up around 13W for the out of box total system demand (aka discharge rate). With the screen blacked out you should see a demand of about 2.0 w (1.8-2.5) if you let it run with batinfoview going in the background. Even plugging in an HDMI external display to the side port costs 0.8W just to drive that port.
I've been making a table of the cost of each feature - so owners can tell how much each item uses and set their priority accordingly. If you've noticed the life is shorter than what you'd expect - those tools will help you to answer why it is that way, and what you can do to change it.
Let us know how the repair goes!
07-31-2018 09:42 AM
Yes, my x360 is a 13 inch one, that's why I'm wondering if I should request a 1080p screen. Thank you, it's encouraging to hear that Europe repair has a good reputation.
I just called HP again today and sent them the video they requested. They will take the laptop for repair, but couldn't give me any specifics as to what they will actually do (even though I asked). They just told me to back up all my data as they are quite likely to reinstall the operating system (which I'm pretty sure won't help, but I feel quite uncomfortable telling them what to do - I can tell them what I've found the problem and solution to be, but I can't really tell them what not to do and what to do. I hope that makes sense..) Although it bothers me a bit that I don't really know what they will do, but I hope the issue will keep turning up until they can actually solve it. I'm on holiday at the moment but will continue with all this when I'm back. My next phone conversation is scheduled for 21st August when the machine will be booked for repair. There is certainly some progress, but I think I would feel a lot better if they had said something like "yeah, we know this, faulty screen, send it in and we'll swap it for a good one." Anyway, that's the conclusion I hope they will eventually arrive at.
Thank you for even more power saving tips, in the meantime, I've started implementing them - adblockplus is pretty neat!
I'll be in touch. Thanks again.
08-25-2018 05:28 AM - edited 08-25-2018 05:34 AM
Hi guys, I thought I would give you an update on how things are going, because an interesting thing happened. I was away on holiday for a couple of weeks without my laptop and when I got back home I immediately received an urgent BIOS update. I didn't attribute a whole lot of significance to it in terms of fixing my problem, so I just went ahead and completed the update. However, after a while I noticed something: not one screen freeze after hours, even after days. Now that was very good but very unusual, so I got interested, because nothing had changed other than that BIOS update. Not sure why, but I checked the power settings of my graphics driver and realized that the panel self-refresh option had been removed completely for both the on-battery and plugged-in configurations. That was quite interesting, I didn't know a BIOS update could do that. I tried disabling panel self-refresh in the past, but it made a total mess of my display (lots of flickering and screen doubling) so I had to enable it again. This time, the whole setting has been removed (and my display is fine as well), and I haven't had a single screen freeze for about 10 days (I used to have around 6 or 7 each day, on the worst days even 5 just an hour). So I pretty much consider my problem solved (even though it is quite difficult to actually prove that), and eventually there was no need to replace the LCD panel. My current BIOS version is AMI F.22, 20/07/2018. However, unfortunately I can't get above 8 hours of battery life even after implementing most of your very helpful suggestions (thank you again for them). It's not horrible, but I used to be able to get 9-10 hours out of the machine quite easily. Anyway, after about 6 months of trying to get rid of this problem, my machine is finally and most likely freeze-free. 🙂
Thank you again for all your help!
08-25-2018 01:41 PM
Hey Mate! There was a "workaround" that avoided LCD replacement - but it killed the power savings. Essentially the LCD panel would save power by requesting an update 60 times per second from the graphics card, which saved power. I had the problem (I was the 1st person with it, and sent my system to HP for autopsy) - the replacement hardware worked fine,
As for power, I'm making a youtube video for x360 / dell xps systems to make changes which get you from 6.5 hr out of the box to 8 hr, 10 hr, 12 hr, and even 14 hr depending on how many operating system changes you make. it's more of a how much time do I need, and then make the changes that get me there approach. Like if you don't use cortana - you can kill it and gain 30 minutes of runtime. This is a more technical approach rather than click the slider and check the box to save power - those tasks don't have much benefit, except running the display down to 10% which is unacceptable.
My approach is different - I never slow the machine down to save power, and I don't dim the LCD light below 70% - because those two actions defeat the functionality of the system.
If you want info on the upcomming video, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - i won't respond back right away because that is a generic email I give out, but I will give you my private email and we can setup a time for power improvement. The x360 can do 14 hours, though 12 is more realistic. Hope to see you around - glad you're no longer getting the display freeze problem! I hated it.
08-27-2018 03:06 AM
Hi Everett, that sounds great! That is pretty much what I've done so far ("click the slider and check the box to save power") which slowed my system down quite a bit. I guess I've learned to tolerate a less functional machine in exchange for battery life, but it would be great to get it back to speed. I've sent you an email, hope to connect with you soon.