Stockfish draining laptop battery

I was on a plane the other day and I booted up stockfish 14 on Chessbase to do some opening work. The battery was at 80%. Not 10 minutes later, my computer goes into power saving mode. Shortly after that, I get a message saying “shutting down” and then my computer dies. How do I fix this problem? Why was I not having this issue with the or engines? Don’t they both run stockfish 14 as well?

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It sounds like your battery is shot.

My battery works just fine when I’m watching youtube or browsing reddit or using art programs, it lasts for about 4-5 hours on medium battery usage mode and medium brightness

How long are batteries on modern laptops supposed to last? I got mine in 2020 so very recently

Battery life is pretty individual due to hardware and software usage.

Some things to consider:

  • Display brightness matters. If you are sitting in a sunny spot or a window seat on a plane, and your brightness cranked up to 100%, this will drain much more energy than less bright settings.

  • Make the engine use less power. Reduce the number of threads, and leave it running only when you really need it. Hash size may also have some impact, but I’d expect it to be not that much.

  • Use energy efficient software. Let’s face it - CB is a very useful tool, but you can feel its age everywhere, and efficiency doesn’t seem to have top priority. In fact, it’s quite horrible. Just having a new board window open, make some moves and then doing nothing, it draws tremendous amounts of power according to the task manager. And if you start searching the databases and books, this can only ever increase.

Also keep in mind that on a plane you probably won’t notice the fans spinning up as much as you would in your silent bedroom.

As for lichess, for example - this uses by default a single thread, I think, and is time limited, unless you enable infinite analysis. Also, the engine on the web is not exactly the same.

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Just one note to add regarding the mentioned ChessBase energy consumption:

It seems most of it in “idle” can be saved when you turn of “assisted analysis” for Heumas (Options → Engines).

This setting gives you the nice colored squares indicating the quality of moves during entering, for example you lift the queen and it highlights book moves as blue, bad moves as red, etc. It makes sense that this draws energy, but it never seems to cache anything so it will draw energy for quite some time whenever you navigate in the game.

So you might want to disable just that when battery life is an issue. Usually it might be pretty useful, though.

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Don’t engines on those websites run on hardware from those websites and not your computer? I always thought that those engines were in the cloud. If so, it’s self-explanatory why it happens - when using your CPU the engine drains your battery, when using someone’s else CPU, it does not.

I know that at least chess24 uses stockfish from the cloud

Lichess has two different analysis modes:

  • you can request an analysis for the whole game - that is done on the server.
  • you analyse the position (where the analysis is shown on the top, multiple variations etc can be enabled) - this is done on the user’s computer with a WebAssembly port of stockfish.

that’s good to know, thanks! But for instance though, chess24 is always on the cloud right?

I don’t know about chess24 as I very rarely use that site. Maybe they use analysis on their servers,“Cloud” seems to imply that. If you can run the engine for a longer time, you might just want to check your CPU - if it’s on your machine, it should spike (but not necessarily to 100%), if it’s on server, there should be very little difference.

There’s nothing special about SF (or any other application) that will make a battery go from 80% to off in 10 minutes. It has to be a hardware issue.

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