Battery Life and Charge Time

On most notebooks this section is one of the most important, but on a machine like this, portability takes a back seat to performance. There is still the expectation that you can have some battery life, but with the understanding that all of the components inside which make the Phobos 8716 so fast come at a cost of power consumption.

That is certainly the case if the machine is being stressed. With a CPU featuring a 91-Watt TDP, and a GPU which has an undisclosed (but under 180-Watt) TDP, the battery capacity of 82 Wh can be exhausted pretty quickly. But if you do need to use the notebook off the mains, having the ability to watch a movie, or surf the net a bit would be nice.

To test battery life, we have two main tests. Our older 2013 light battery life test loads four web pages every minute, and the test continues this until the laptop stops. The newer 2016 battery life test leverages the same test we use on mobile, which is much more stressful. There is no perfect way to measure battery life, since everyone’s use case is different, but by providing consistent testing with the displays set to 200 nits, we can at least get a good comparison across devices on a common usage scenario.

One note about this laptop is that despite being set to not change the display brightness, when the battery hits 7%, the brightness drops to zero, meaning this laptop will score a few extra minutes than it should.

2013 Light

Battery Life 2013 - Light

On our older battery life test, the P870DM2 / Phobos 8716 does surprisingly well. It achieves a result of just under three hours, which is terrible compared to an Ultrabook, but compared to the previous Clevo DTR, there is a pretty significant jump. Since the battery size is the same between the P750ZM, albeit the older model does have a UHD display which would certainly impact the result. Still, it’s a reasonable result.

2016 Web

Battery Life 2016 - Web

With the new web test, which is much more stressful to the CPU, the Phobos 8716 actually scores a few minutes higher than on the older test. The average power consumption doesn’t change much despite the increased workload. That isn’t a big surprise when you have high power components, since their baseline power usage will already be a lot higher than something meant for long battery life like a Cherry Trail Atom, where every milliwatt matters.

Normalized

To give an actual value to efficiency, the battery size is factored out of the battery life to provide a minutes / Wh result.

Battery Life 2013 - Light Normalized

Battery Life 2016 - Web - Normalized

Unsurprisingly, with desktop components stuffed inside, the Clevo P870 DM2 is one of the least efficient notebooks tested, with only the Clevo P750ZM being worse. Better is better, but the target use case for this machine is not an all day battery powered notebook, so it’s not as big of an issue as it would be on smaller laptops.

Additional Battery Life Testing

OK, so we’ve already determined that the Clevo P870DM2 is not the world’s best notebook in terms of battery life, but there are a couple of other scenarios which warranted testing. Since it’s a gaming notebook, just how long can you play while gaming? To test this, Tomb Raider was fired up, and it was configured to use the Battery Booster settings with NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience (GFE) software.

Battery Life Rise of the Tomb Raider

The settings in GFE capped the frame rate to 60 frames per second, exactly. Minimum was 60.0 frames per second, average was 60.0 frames per second, and maximum was 60.0 frames per second. The result was being able to play Tomb Raider for just over an hour. With a bit more tweaking, and adjusting the GFE a bit, maybe a few more minutes could be eked out, but the runtime of one hour gaming is pretty decent. Plus, you get the added benefit of the fans barely spooling up since the notebook isn’t even working hard.

The other potential reason to need battery life is when watching a movie. Perhaps you are on a road trip and you have your 12 lb laptop in your lap. Can you get through one movie? Two? Let’s find out.

Battery Life Movie Playback

The result playing a movie is not that much better than surfing the web. On Ultrabooks, this task is offloaded to fixed function hardware, and it can increase the battery life significantly, but the idle power usage of the Clevo P870DM2 is just too high for this to make much of a difference.

To put this time into perspective, we’ve come up with a new movie battery life rating which we have deemed the Tesseract. Each Tesseract equals 143 minutes, or the length of The Avengers movie.

Tesseract

You can easily get through one run of The Avengers, but only through 40% of a second run, so unless you love cliff hangers, you may want to find somewhere to plug in.

Display Wireless, Audio, Thermals, Noise, and Software
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  • DanNeely - Friday, October 28, 2016 - link

    I know there aren't any officially published numbers, I was hoping you could measure power to get approximate ones. Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    "Clevo is one of the few laptop makers that is in the DTR market"
    Not really true. Dell, HP, and Lenovo all make laptops in the 15 to 17 inch size with quad core CPU's, loads of RAM, NVMe drives etc. They are lighter, less expensive (generally speaking) and with better battery life. Of course the specs you have are saying they are using desktop CPU's instead of somthing like the i7-6700HQ, an actual quad core mobile CPU as used in the others. As workstation focused machines they also tend to use the Quadro GPU's rather than the gaming focused. But it doesn't take too much looking to find DTR class laptops.
    Reply
  • eriri-el - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    I can't seem to find anywhere that a TI/Burr Brown DAC in in this thing. Sources below says audio is powered by an ESS Sabre DAC, which is known for its bad implementations by alot of manufaturers, making it sound way inferior compared to other DACs.

    https://www.mythlogic.com/2016_Models/phobos8716.p...
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/official-c...

    Hopefully you can clarify if it exists, where can get the TI/Burr Brown DAC edition, thx.
    Reply
  • LaggLad - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    Yes they have the ESS Sabre DAC and Burr Brown AMP. Reply
  • Meaker10 - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    ES9018 + LM49720 + OPA1622 ;) Reply
  • df2rools - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    "If so, fret not. The GTX 1080 does not too bad on this game."

    That sure is some English right there. (dota 2 performance section.
    Reply
  • boeush - Thursday, October 27, 2016 - link

    I have a Clevo in the same chassis (built by Sager), bought early last spring - so I'm a little behind on components now, what with a 980M and only 16 GB of RAM -- but still with a 6700K. I might upgrade the GPU later in 2017, when the next-gen stuff comes out with HBM2, better power/perf/process optimizations, and/or what-not. But I'm stuck with a 1080p screen since the 1440p wasn't available for order back then.

    Anyway, yeah some aspects of this rig are unnecessary or unrefined and garish. The LED highlights on the lid, for one. Why, indeed. The weird randomized keyboard backlighting on boot-up, with user-customized settings not kicking in until you log in and load the Windows desktop. Yeah, the touch pad is a little glitchy (on occasion it stops working; the workaround is usually to disable/re-enable it via a function key combo.) I had to get a Windows 7 Pro running on it for some work-related reasons, so I set up an MBR boot on the secondary SSD and have to manually toggle the UEFI boot off in the BIOS every time I want to boot into Win 7; after playing around I was able to get it all working but for whatever reason the Windows 7 boot under BIOS emulation sees only ~2 GB of the installed RAM (so after the OS takes its share, applications only have ~1 GB to play with.) I consider this a design bug, though probably not too many people would care at this point and so it's not likely to ever be fixed; plus, none of the drivers (including UEFI/BIOS firmware) for this machine have any updates available from Sager since October of 2015... (Maybe Mythlogic is better than Sager about that? Or maybe not; I wouldn't know...)

    I do wish the keyboard was better, and that overall the user-facing design elements better leveraged the available real estate. There are huge - unbelievably and utterly wasted - margins around the keyboard; it would have been better if the keys were larger and/or better spaced out, with the keyboard spanning the entire width of the laptop. Ditto for display. The bezels are obscenely enormous; they could (and should!) have easily fitted in an 18"+ screen with thinner bezels.
    Reply
  • Ascaris - Friday, October 28, 2016 - link

    Why would you have to disable UEFI boot and use MBR to boot Windows 7 on the secondary SSD? That would suggest it is the x86 version... would x64 not work with your work-related stuff? Reply
  • boeush - Friday, October 28, 2016 - link

    Yeah, forgot to mention for work it has to be the 32-bit version of Windows 7, not x64 (yeah I know, it sucks - but one would still expect it to see/use 4 GB of the installed RAM, instead of just 2...) Anyway, Windows 7 won't even install on a disk unless it's formatted with MBR (you can't select GPT disks as targets in the installer UI - they are disabled/grayed out.) And unless UEFI boot is disabled, the machine automatically boots from the primary GPT-formatted disk (where the Win 10 install is that came with the machine and I otherwise use regularly.) Reply
  • boeush - Friday, October 28, 2016 - link

    BTW, you might think one possible workaround could be to just run the 32-bit Win 7 in a VM - but unfortunately I need hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to work correctly, and VMs still tend to have big problems with that even today. Reply

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