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What's causing my phantom power consumption? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi everyone!

    I'm having a bit of a problem that I can't seem to solve on my own. Every morning when I use my laptop on the way to work, the power draw is 2-3W higher than it usually is. After a reboot, power consumption returns to normal, and the issue is difficult to reproduce.

    Setup:

    Thinkpad X200: Core2Duo P8400 | 3GB RAM | 320GB WD Scorpio Blue | Intel GM45 | Intel 5100AGN WiFi | Win7 Pro 64-Bit

    Windows 7 is genuine, all drivers are up to date, all Windows updates installed.

    After a reboot, my power consumption with WiFi on and the screen dimmed all the way is around 7W (according to BatteryBar, RMClock and the ThinkVantage Power Manager).

     

    When the bug occurs, power usage rises to between 9 and 11W, and it's simply impossible to get the machine back down to 7W. Every time it happens, I try to localize the culprit in any way I know how to: SysInternals Process Explorer, Resource Monitor, the task manager, CPU-Z, RMClock (the monitoring page)... nothing. There's no CPU activity, no network activity, no disk activity... interrupts are normal (0 with very occasional spikes to ~0.7%,), same with DPC Latency (DPC Latency checker doesn't show anything strange either).

    I've closed all the closeable (some of them just don't end when you hit End Process) user processes in the task manager.

     

    Powercfg.exe -energy doesn't show any anomalies - all errors are about the "plugged in" profile, except the entry about Active State Power Management being disabled, but that seems to be the norm on this machine (Google spits out many results about this error on the X200).

    Theories I'm currently testing:

    1. Allway Sync is set to sync over night - the process is done when i wake up, and the laptop has long gone back to sleep. Since I ususally only notice the bug on the morning commute, maybe Allway Sync (or the nightly defrag?) is causing it. I've tried to reproduce the bug with an additional scheduled Allway Sync job, but that didn't work. I've now disabled the sync schedule and will check for the bug again tomorrow morning - not very hopeful though.

    Do you Windows experts have any idea what I may have missed? Are there any drivers in my system that might be causing this? Culprits that come to mind are Intel's graphics driver (My X41T used to have power consumption problems due to the Intel graphics activating the VGA output in extended mode every time I closed the lid with the laptop set to stay on with the lid closed - even if nothing was attached to the VGA port. This was fixed in a driver update, but I'd wager it's possible Intel screwed up again), Intel AMT (seems to provide ways to remote wake the machine - disabled in the BIOS and didn't change anything though) and possibly Bluetooth.

    So, any bright ideas? I'd be grateful for any tips you guys have to offer. Thanks in advance!
    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 6:49 AM

Answers

  • Just a quick check finds that the X200 has the Intel ME interface. The Lenovo's require all of their software to function correctly. Have you applied their Win 7 x64 stuff?

    Better to start over from support, drivers and downloads and input your specific machine information.

    Here's the all machine page - http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/default.page?

    My point is that the Lenovo is not generic\friendly and the hardware needs their stuff in most cases. So, a personal build should include their drivers and firmware and patches to start

     

    Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:19 PM

All replies

  • My initial impression is that it is related to the network adapters. They could cause a reasonable power draw.

    First, is the onboard LAN NIC configured to power off when not in use.

    Next, the 5100 series had some driver issues and would consume power seeking networks while you were traveling.

    Visit Lenovo or Intel for the 5100 driver.

    Finally, are you connecting to any network while traveling?

    A device nearby may be attempting to auto-connect via bluetooth-cell phone, PDA, smartphone, iPAD, iPOD, etc...you get the idea.


    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 11:30 AM
  • Hello Nano Warp, Thank you for your reply! The Ethernet connection is configured to turn off when not in use ("Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power"). Bluetooth is off, and the WiFi is constantly connected - to my home WiFi at home, and to my Android phone's WiFi hotspot whenever I'm elsewhere. The issue is not reproducible by connecting to the Android phone hotspot, as it's happened both at home and on the go. Also, when the issue occurs, turning off WiFi (whether in software via Fn+F5, in the device manager, or via the hardware switch on the laptop) doesn't change the power consumption whatsoever. I highly doubt that the networking devices are the issue here, but I'll take a look at the 5100AGN drivers straight from Intel - is there a way to get them without all the crapware ("Intel ProSet" utilities and so on)? I'd like something I can just install from the device manager without needing to install a utility that just hogs RAM and duplicates functionality already available in Windows... Any other ideas? Thanks again! -edit- For some reason I can't get this to post with line breaks. Sorry about that...
    • Edited by bemymonkey Wednesday, June 15, 2011 11:45 AM Line breaks... where are they?
    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 11:43 AM
  • Here is Win7 64-bit- drivers only is ICS_Ds64.zip: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=19862&lang=eng&OSVersion=Windows%207%2C%2064-bit*&DownloadType=Software%20Applications

     

    So, you are always communicating with the hotspot?

     



    Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:01 PM
  • Just a quick check finds that the X200 has the Intel ME interface. The Lenovo's require all of their software to function correctly. Have you applied their Win 7 x64 stuff?

    Better to start over from support, drivers and downloads and input your specific machine information.

    Here's the all machine page - http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/default.page?

    My point is that the Lenovo is not generic\friendly and the hardware needs their stuff in most cases. So, a personal build should include their drivers and firmware and patches to start

     

    Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:19 PM
  • Here is Win7 64-bit- drivers only is ICS_Ds64.zip: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=19862&lang=eng&OSVersion=Windows%207%2C%2064-bit*&DownloadType=Software%20Applications

     

    So, you are always communicating with the hotspot?

     



    Thanks, I'll give that driver a try later. How exactly did you find it? Whenever I look for drivers on the Intel site, I end up with huge one-size-fits-all installation packages... And yes, I'm always connected via WiFi, either at work, home or to the Android hotspot.

    Just a quick check finds that the X200 has the Intel ME interface. The Lenovo's require all of their software to function correctly. Have you applied their Win 7 x64 stuff?

    I basically installed Windows 7, then ran Lenovo System Update (downloads all their stuff and installs it in one shot), then let Windows Update do its thing. What exactly does Intel's ME have to do with it? Is that known for causing power issues?

    Better to start over from support, drivers and downloads and input your specific machine information.

    Here's the all machine page - http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/default.page?

    My point is that the Lenovo is not generic\friendly and the hardware needs their stuff in most cases. So, a personal build should include their drivers and firmware and patches to start

     

    Check, check, and check. All done this way in the first place... Up until the Intel driver you just posted (which I haven't installed yet) I've only got Lenovo drivers on the machine.
    Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:48 PM