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The problem I am experiencing is that if the battery is not present, the CPU is automatically throttled. I have done some searching and have found that this is apparently by design, "in case the power supply cannot supply enough power, so the machine won't shut off."

Now, here is the problem. I can't put the battery back in, because it started swelling up like crazy. I can't really justify the cost of a new battery for a machine this old and I can't really afford a new computer, so I'm stuck with this machine. It still works, but throttled back, a lot of things like flash video players are almost useless at the reduced CPU usage.

I don't really care if the machine shuts off if the supply can't keep up with power requirements. My understanding is that this really should only happen if the supply is mismatched, i.e. from an adapter designed for a smaller machine, but even if its not it is just as intolerable to have to reload netflix every 30 seconds when it loses sync than an occasional power loss would be. Besides, it is already losing power every time I need to move it somewhere.

So, what's the solution? There has to be some way to override the throttling, right?

By the way, I have already tried sudo pmset -a dps 0 but that just gives me a usage message.

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Have you talked to Apple about the battery? They've had several out-of-warranty battery replacement programs in the last few years, and your Mac might be in one of them. If this is the case, Apple'll just give you a new battery. –  CajunLuke Oct 8 '12 at 23:35

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Throttling on MacBooks is set in the firmware and, to my knowledge, is not changeable by the end-user. Unfortunately, in this case, your options are 1) replace the battery 2) get a new machine 3) don't use CPU-intensive tasks.

While not an Apple-acceptable solution, check eBay for new batteries. My 2008 unibody MacBook Pro's battery recently began swelling and reached unusable size. I replaced it for around $30-40 on eBay with a perfectly compatible third party battery. Just double check voltages and other numbers on the batteries to make sure you're getting a matching part.

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