2019 MacBook Pro Losing battery while streaming.

Lrw95

New Member
Hello, I've been using OBS to stream different events for about a year now. Lately I've noticed that my Mac is loosing battery faster than it can charge while streaming. My events are usually around 2-3 hours but I have some bigger/longer events coming up this summer and now I'm starting to get concerned. I'm not too sure if I've been losing battery ever since I started streaming from this Mac, or if I'm only just now noticing. I've never gotten down to less than like 20% before the event ended, so I can't really say if the computer will actually turn off or not when the battery says 0%. I can only assume it does.

A little about my settup is it's a
16 inch 2019 with a 2.4 GHz 8-core intel core I9,
32 GB MHz DDR4,
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8 GB graphics

Also using between 1-4 Magewell capture cards. Depending on the event. (Each running a camera or capturing another computers video output). Plus a Behringer audio interface for sound. I usually stream to YouTube at 1080 60fps and between 4000-5500 bitrate.

So is this to be expected? Everything runs great. No buffering, very little wait time loading different things. The only complaint is the battery life while streaming. What's a good alternative for a dedicated Mac for streaming? I'm not opposed to buying another one if needed but would like to stay in the apple family since the rest of my company is using all apple products. I'd be glad to give any other information I may have missed. Thanks for your input!
 

Lawrence_SoCal

Active Member
real-time video encoding is VERY computationally demanding. Have you been monitoring hardware hardware resource (CPU, GPU, RAM, etc) utilization?
Food for thought - I get gaming stream at 60fps, but most other video isn't replayed in slow motion, so why stream at 60fps? there are some scenarios I can imagine, but you'll reduce load if you cut frame rate in 1/2.
You may be wearing out the battery and its life is reducing (which is expected... the extent of the battery life impact varies on specific usage and charging scenarios). In which case replace the battery... but... see below
Standard rule of tech (and most things in life) is to test before critical activities. So if you are unsure of device behavior when battery runs out, test it. Run the laptop off battery, get down to 10-20%, plug it in and do so test streaming and see what happens. I've never heard of a laptop that will have battery go down during usage UNLESS the power supply is too low wattage. And in those cases (Windows side, if not low-end consumer junk laptop), the system/CPU will throttle eventually to keep from shutting down. Whether your Mac would do the same I can't answer, and if yes, whether performance when throttled would be adequate would depend on your specific setup

Mac's aren't my area of expertise, so there may be something I'm not aware of, but in general
- I suspect either a hardware fault (not charging as power supply should provide). All other vendors I know provide a power supply capable of powering laptop at maximum power usage, and at least slow charge the battery at same time, and I'm assuming same on the Mac. If true for the Mac, then either you are using an alternative, under-powered power supply, or there is something wrong with the one you have... both of which is easy to rectify.
- Or the battery is dying (so no amount of power will help)... in which battery replacement time
If your stream is otherwise fine, I would think another computer (dedicated to streaming) is unnecessary
 

Lawrence_SoCal

Active Member
Oh, the above holds, but another possibly contributing factor to power drain would be unnecessary background processes. Note, even running at 100% when plugged in shouldn't drain the battery... but, a small issue may be an Operating System setup (or installed App(s)) causing excessive power usage (usually CPU), which would still be a good idea to check into
 

Lrw95

New Member
Thanks for your insight! I'm currently running a "stress test" on the computer right now. I have the activity monitor pulled up and its showing OBS using about 280-340% CPU. Currently just basically waiting for the computer to die down some more. To answer a couple of your questions, I mainly use 1080@60 because that's what we "offer" as our stream package to clients. (I'm not the one who advertises this). I do occasionally have to do some video edits and it also seems to work well with the videos the clients provide us. I can defiantly drop down to 30 for awhile and see if I or anyone else can actually notice a difference. Come to think of it, when I first started using OBS, I might have been using 30fps instead of 60fps. That could be part of my problem...either way I'm going to run this battery out and see what happens and report back.
 

Lawrence_SoCal

Active Member
Note I was using common language, as such there is no such thing as >100%
Silly/Stupid Apple for considering each core its own CPU (utter idiocy driven most likely by an Apple marketing moron overriding an engineer). /rant_over
And I don't know how hyper-threading is counted in MacOS. I'm guessing you have a quad-core CPU? So 340% being about 85% real utilization?? that is pretty busy especially if sustained (as there are likely t be plenty of momentary true 100% contention moments).
And note that laptops (all manufacturers, except some boutique vendors using desktop CPUs in laptops), use lower wattage CPUs specifically to enable longer battery life. In general, a desktop of similar CPU generation (top-end 2019 8-core Intel i9 CPU, in this case) should be computationally more powerful [though you'd have to confirm by checking some CPU benchmarks, as Intel has been using older CPU tech on desktops (10 vs 14nm) for years now.... so.... it depends
 

twindux

Member
Download a free app Coconut Battery, which offers tons of great stats such as the state of charge/discharge (Battery usage: mine's at 0 watts currently...I'm fully charged...but it will tell you whether you're charging or discharging and how much) https://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/

In the Battery Info tab, it'll tell you the amount of charge coming into your Mac. Factory spec on my 2017 is 87 watts, I believe. I'm on a Belkin TB3 hub that provides 85 and have never had an issue even with massively intensive use.

I have a Thunderbolt 3 hub in a different location that only provides 65 watts. It's fine most of the time, but if I start anything beyond very basic stuff (streaming, encoding video, multiple monitors, etc) it won't keep up and Coconut will show that it's discharging.

If you're using your factory power adapter, another thing that could be at issue is the cable between the charger and the Mac...if you're not using the factory one, they can vary as to the amount of power they can provide. And of course, if you're plugging the power charger into any dongle instead of directly into the Mac, not all dongles with power delivery pass through the entire 87 watts.

EDIT: I see that the 2019 16" has a 96 watt charger provided. So everywhere I say 87 above...yours should say 96.


Screen Shot 2021-04-26 at 1.44.02 PM.jpg
Screen Shot 2021-04-26 at 1.43.23 PM.jpg
 
Last edited:

Lrw95

New Member
I believe you are right in terms of the percentages of the cpu. I've been steaming for about a little over 2 hours now. Been sitting around 5-9 percent battery life while on the charger. Haven't dropped below 4%. It's interesting on how low the battery percentage has to get before it starts to gain a percentage or two.
 

Lrw95

New Member
Download a free app Coconut Battery, which offers tons of great stats such as the state of charge/discharge (Battery usage: mine's at 0 watts currently, but it will tell you whether you're charging or discharging) https://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/

In the Battery Info tab, it'll tell you the amount of charge coming into your Mac. Factory spec on my 2017 is 87 watts, I believe. I'm on a Belkin TB3 hub that provides 85 and have never had an issue even with massively intensive use.

I have a Thunderbolt 3 hub in a different location that only provides 65 watts. It's fine most of the time, but if I start anything beyond very basic stuff (streaming, encoding video, multiple monitors, etc) it won't keep up and Coconut will show that it's discharging.

If you're using your factory power adapter, another thing that could be at issue is the cable between the charger and the Mac...if you're not using the factory one, they can vary as to the amount of power they can provide. And of course, if you're plugging the power charger into any dongle instead of directly into the Mac, not all dongles with power delivery pass through the entire 87 watts.

EDIT: I see that the 2019 16" has a 96 watt charger provided. So everywhere I say 87 above...yours should say 96.


View attachment 70485 View attachment 70486
I'll go ahead and download that now. I still have the factory power supply so hopefully I get the 96W.
 

Lrw95

New Member
Here's what coconut battery is telling me. Can you intemperate anything other than the obvious with this?
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2021-04-26 at 4.05.44 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-04-26 at 4.05.44 PM.png
    824.1 KB · Views: 79

twindux

Member
well, it looks like you're in the green vis a vis charging, but very slowly. I'd assume you're under heavy load at the moment? Typically charging under no load on my 15" would be in the 40+ watts range.

Another thing to consider....using a powered TB3 hub for attached external power-using USB devices. I BELIEVE (but would want to verify with the particular manufacturer) that rather than powering external devices out of the Mac's allotment, a hub would power the devices directly then send full power to the Mac.
 

Lrw95

New Member
Yeah OBS running with 3 capture cards is drawing the battery really quickly. But yet somehow staying around 5-8 percent and not dropping below 4. For now at least. I've heard of those hubs before but haven't done much research at all on them. That'd help out a lot I would think. Having something that could power the capture cards so the Mac itself doesn't have to.
 

twindux

Member
as for the hub, just be very sure the hub has its own power supply, and that it provides at least your 96 watts or more. there are plenty out there.

Also, what features of OBS are you using?

Studio mode? Multiview? If you can live without those it should decrease some cpu usage.

External monitor? Same.

I do understand those may be compromises you're unwilling to forego, though.
 

Lrw95

New Member
I'm using obs in studio mode. I also use an external monitor when I can for like the littler shows where I know the battery will make it through the whole show even with the monitor. I like having whatever streaming service I;m using at the time pulled up so I can monitor the stream from the back end. If not, I just have it pulled up on another window and just swipe back and forth. I also make sure all my other apps are closed. Such as email. But going back to the hub. I'm thinking that might be my next move. Can I have the power cord connected straight to my Mac and then the hub that has my interfaces plugging into it plugged in separate? like plugged into another port on my computer?
 

twindux

Member
Ya. I didn't have the CPU horsepower on my 2015 mac i livestream though for all those functions, so I use one of my current main Mac to monitor the livestream, email, etc.

So the hub I use has its own power cord to the mains, then single TB3 output to the mac, which carries full power, and and the data from all the inputs. I love the single cable solution!

It has 5(?) USB A style inputs, plus ethernet and a couple video outputs.

If you were in Portland, OR I'd let you test with my hub to see it it works that way. but I'm sure tech support at a manufacturer would be able to provide an answer.

Some I've either used or heard good things about:
 

Lrw95

New Member
That sounds good. I'll check these out and probably end up buying one. I'll let you guys know if it makes a difference. Which I expect it should. At least a little bit.
 

twindux

Member
Ya, I'd love to hear. The OWC one really intrigues me. But in any case, I so love having a TB3 dock at my desk so as to have a 1-cable solution....just unplug and go, and I have to get up from desk frequently to go to another building for print jobs, take computer to meetings, etc.
 

wreckords

New Member
I have a 2019 16" MBP with 8 cores of I9, Radeon Pro 5600 8 gb gpu, 64gb ram and currently on the latest Os 11.2.3 and the Owc Thunderbolt 3 port with the 96 watts ain't working for me. I am losing roughly around 10% per hour. Took it in to apple a few times and they even replaced the battery and it still drains...
 

dgatwood

Member
Connect the computer straight to the power supply. That dock's USB-C port is limited to 60W of power, and your CPU is drawing more than that.
 
Top