Does HDMI Drain Battery?

Some people believe that using an HDMI cable to connect your laptop or any other batter-powered portable device to a TV or monitor drains the battery more quickly than using other methods, such as wireless displays.

Others say that there is no difference at all. So what’s the truth? Does HDMI drain battery life? or is this notion a myth?

The short and simple answer to this question is no, HDMI DOES NOT drain battery.

In the following text I will explore more.

HDMI Cable Does Carry Electricity

HDMI Pinout
Source: Wikipedia

For starters, HDMI cables, like any other cable for connecting two devices, carries electricity.

While all the data channels on the HDMI cable carry electricity for sending signals, the pin # 18, particularly is a dedicated pin for delivering power from the source to the connected.

However, the electricity carried by an HDMI cable is menial and almost negligible.

HDMI cable carries 5 volts with 50mA of current max. This equates to about 0.25W of power. This not even enough to power a Chromecast device – which are perhaps the smallest and least power demanding consumer device with a standard HDMI port.

Read in Detail: Does HDMI Carry Power?

Does HDMI Drain Battery?

So given the fact that HDMI does carry power (albeit very small), would it lead to quicker draining of battery on your laptop?

In short, no. The power consumed by HDMI cables is negligible. In addition to the battery being drained depends on the way you use the external screen and how many.

In fact, in some instances, connecting your laptop to an external screen with an HDMI port may even save up on battery.

Some people have claimed that hooking up their laptops to a screen using an HDMI cable drains the battery. However, the reality is a bit more nuanced than that.

Single Screen Setups Can SAVE Battery Life

If you’re using your laptop with an external display without using your laptop’s display, the battery life of your laptop should increase.

This is because your laptop’s screen isn’t hogging up most of the battery anymore.

External screens have their own power source, so the total strain on your laptop’s battery is significantly reduced. Besides, if you have a setup with an external screen, you might as well plug your laptop in too.

Multi-Screen Setups Can Put Load on the Hardware

Is your laptop pushing pixels to multiple displays at once? This might put your laptop’s graphics processor under more load, causing a slight decrease in battery life as it has to send visual data to multiple screens at one time.

Moreover, it is a good idea to close the lid of your laptop while using secondary screens unless you absolutely need to use your laptop’s screen. Using both your laptop and external displays will not save you any battery power.

Hence, the key take-away here is that using multiple screens may lead to higher drainage of battery power as the hardware has to work harder to push the pixels, this may confuse you to believe that it may the HDMI cable draining the battery.

HDMI vs. VGA vs USB Power Draw

If you still worried about HDMI interface draining power, then know that the older interfaces were far more demanding.

HDMI consumes less power compared to VGA. This does not mean that display formats dictate energy usage in external displays.

The way VGA connectors are designed is the reason why VGA connectors use more power. They have resistors and analog amplifiers, which lead to inefficiency in analog to digital and digital to analog conversions.

To put this into perspective, a digital connection like HDMI will use around 0.25W of power max, while an old analog connector might use a couple of watts.

USB, on the other hand, has a power draw that is at least 10 times as much as that on a typical HDMI cable.

USB ports are rated at 5 volts and 0.5 amps, which equals 2.5W. This is 10 times more than 0.25W carried by HDMI.

Hence, a typical mouse or a keyboard connected to your laptop can drain far more batter as compared to an HDMI cable.

Is Your Laptop’s Battery Draining Quickly?

Is your laptop’s battery draining quickly? Here are some tips to help you save battery life:

1. Remove USB Connected Peripheral Devices

As mentioned above, USB ports can consume much higher power as compared to an HDMI cable.

Hence, if you have multiple peripheral devices connected to your USB ports, then it is best to remove them.

These include devices that do not have an independent power source such as mouse, keyboard, portable storage drives etc.

2. Dim the Screen

The brighter the screen, the more power it uses.

Lower the nits and you can see your battery life improve.

This  is quite an obvious fix.

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re not using them. These features use a lot of power, especially on older devices if they’re always scanning for networks or devices.

3. Close Unused Programs and Windows

If a program isn’t in use, close it; this will free up processing power and save battery life. The same goes for unused windows – close them!

The more Windows you have open, the more RAM you would require. The more RAM your system uses, the more battery will it drain.

4. Use Hibernation Mode Instead of Sleep Mode

When you hibernate your laptop, it saves the current state of the operating system and all open programs to the hard drive.

When you wake it up, it’ll resume exactly where you left off.

Hibernation completely turns off your laptop while sleep mode still sips on the battery a little.

5. Adjust Your Power Settings

does hdmi drain battery
Set your battery setting to conserve battery.

You can find these in the control panel under “Power Options”.

Here, you can change when the screen dims, when the laptop goes to sleep, and how long before it powers off completely.

6. Don’t Run Demanding Applications

Running Demanding applications like video-editing software, games, and other processor-intensive programs will drain your battery quickly.

This is because running demanding applications requires CPU, GPU, RAM and hard drive to ramp up their performance which in turn puts a strain on your battery.

7. Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Don’t use your laptop in extreme temperatures. Batteries don’t like extreme heat or cold, so try to use your laptop in a comfortable environment.

8. Get a New Battery!

If you’ve tried all of these tips and your battery is still draining quickly, it might be time for a new one. Batteries have limited charge and drain cycles and need to be replaced over time.

Also Read: Can I Transfer Files with HDMI Cable?

Wrapping It Up

So does HDMI drain battery? HDMI connectors or cables do not drain your laptop’s battery. However, if your laptop’s battery is draining faster after using HDMI, there could be other reasons behind that, for example malware, aged battery, or multiple screens.

Your laptop might not be powering multiple displays, but the GPU needs to do more work to display things on multiple screens.

Additionally, it is worth noting that other connectivity interfaces such as VGA, DVI or USB drain a lot more power than HDMI.

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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

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