Disable Turbo Boost

Volume 4, Issue 4; 20 Jan 2020

Relax. Slow down. Take a breath. You don’t have to work so hard all the time.

Yes, that’s true for you too, but I’m talking about Turbo Boost on your laptop.

I came across a post arguing in favor of a “lower power mode” for Mac laptops. It turns out, you can get part way there today by disabling Turbo Boost. I was immediately captured by the purported benefits: no fan noise and a cooler laptop. I hate fan noise and I have a (quiet!) little desk fan that I basically blow across my laptop in the summer because it gets stupid hot. (To be fair, this 16” MacBookPro is definitely cooler than it’s 15” predecessor, but it still gets hot.)

I clicked my way through to the Turbo Boost Switcher application. Ten dollars and the “it’s my damned hardware, I’ll run any damned software I want” dance later, I had disabled Turbo Boost.

It is totally worth it.

The laptop is absolutely quieter and cooler. Also: I used my laptop for pretty much the entire trans-Atlantic flight yesterday with battery to spare. I could have plugged it in, but I never bothered. I’ve always been pleased with battery life on my MacBook laptops, but I’m going to guess I got an hour, maybe almost two, more with Turbo Boost disabled.

I’ll turn it on for compiles and such, but the overwhelming majority of the time, modern hardware doesn’t need boosting to keep up with me.