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Is my gaming performance issue related to temperature?

Tags:
  • Gaming
  • Intel i7
  • Temperature
  • Laptops
  • Games
  • Graphics
  • Dell Inspiron
  • Performance
Last response: in Graphics Cards
May 27, 2014 7:49:26 AM

Hello,

My system;
I have a Dell Inspiron 7720 (Ivy Bridge)
i7-3630qm@ 2.4ghz
8gb DDR3
nVidia 650m (337.88 drivers) and intel HD 4000
Windows 8.1

Over the past year I've experienced a lot of poor performance in most games. although my gaming is not very often I play games like Skyrim, GTA4, Banished, NFS The Run, etc. typically the games start out 30-60+ fps and about 4-5 minutes into gaming i get throttling where the performance spikes and drops repeatedly.

I downloaded HWMonitor and found that my cpu is idling around 50C and staying around 75C shortly after starting games. However, the GPU is only active when when gaming so at idle it is disabled, and during gaming it spikes to 93C and stays around there.

I've read other similar issues online regarding the need to buy a cooling pad (its always on one) and also to clean it (I've used canned spray-air and saw no difference)

edit; I've also ran Dell Diagnostic and the results showed everything was perfectly fine.

More about : gaming performance issue related temperature

May 27, 2014 7:56:56 AM

this is probably temps. buy a cheap cooling pad like you said, with a fan is great.
to keep the 650 at 93c it throttles the speed
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Related resources
May 27, 2014 8:21:36 AM

Kari said:
GPU-Z should be able to monitor the clocks on the 650m, see if they drop after it warms up a bit
http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/


In GPU-Z the memory clock seems to rise when in-game, and quickly fall when i alt tab out of Skyrim. The core speed seems to not be affected. also the temperature took longer to rise in skyrim than in GTA4 i find.

Also, I already use a cooling fan-pad underneath the laptop.
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May 27, 2014 8:25:34 AM

Presler said:
Also try lowering the resolution, turn off anti-aliasing, aisotropic filtering and other quality settings. You should be running much cooler then before. What are your current quality settings in the games you play?


In both Skyrim and GTA4 i am able to maximize the graphic settings and run smoothly for a short period of time, but after 2-5 minutes of game play it begins throttling where as previously stated the performance will run smooth for about 5-15 seconds then in slow motion for 10-15 seconds repeatedly.

However, this also happens when i use the minimum or poorest settings.

EDIT: this happens more often in GTA4 and quite a bit less frequent in Skyrim. it would seem that Skyrim is dependent on my in-game surroundings, however GTA4 this happens always under all circumstances.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 27, 2014 8:31:25 AM

at12as said:
. The core speed seems to not be affected.


hmm, if the card is throttling because of temps the core speed should go up'n'down while in-game corresponding to the variations in performance/fps observed.
Also Skyrim has fps cap at 60Hz ie it has internal vsync thing going on, if you are getting that 60fps constantly it will also keep the gpu load lower as the card doesnt have to work at full tilt, which might explain the longer heat up time...
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May 27, 2014 8:35:05 AM

Kari said:
at12as said:
. The core speed seems to not be affected.


hmm, if the card is throttling because of temps the core speed should go up'n'down while in-game corresponding to the variations in performance/fps observed.
Also Skyrim has fps cap at 60Hz ie it has internal vsync thing going on, if you are getting that 60fps constantly it will also keep the gpu load lower as the card doesnt have to work at full tilt, which might explain the longer heat up time...


Although i don't visually see the fps number i'm almost positive that i never full reach or sustain 60fps, probably only in the 30s

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May 27, 2014 8:37:08 AM

I use Cooler Master NotePal U3 for my msi gaming laptop. Its nice because you get 3 fans that you can place and clip in underneath so its pulling air from the right spot for your laptop.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 27, 2014 8:45:31 AM

at12as said:

Although i don't visually see the fps number i'm almost positive that i never full reach or sustain 60fps, probably only in the 30s

you could use something like fraps for that (disable the various hotkeys for recording/screenshots etc so you dont mess up any in-game key functions), also msi afterburner has all sorts of info available as in-game overlay but is rather more complex piece of software.
http://www.fraps.com/download.php
http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/download.htm

also the other possibility is that you are cpu limited depending on your surroundings, this will also lower the load on the gpu as the cpu cant feed it enough work to plow thru...
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May 27, 2014 8:53:41 AM

Is it possible that I'm not experiencing any throttling and i've got some other issue? It just doesn't seem right to me that for a few moments It can run flawlessly and then the performance degrades and comes in and out of functioning consistently.

It makes games like GTA4 unbearable to play, as well as any kind of racing game.
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May 27, 2014 8:57:49 AM

I would say it is throttling. Most laptops have terrible cooling systems implemented and will throttle down for obvious reasons when the temperatures reach too high. A cooling pad is going to be the cheapest thing you can do which looking at your statement of 93 C is a high temp to run a gpu at.
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May 27, 2014 9:17:25 AM

Okay, so clearly it is throttling, and it is the GPU temperature that's causing the lose of performance. Other than a cooling pad, because i'm already using one and having this issue, what other solutions or options do i have to get the gpu temperature down?

Kari --
You were right it is running around 60fps, and at moments of cut-scene or heavy movement of the environment it drops as low as 11, but stays around 60 fairly often (Skyrim) CPU temp - ~70C GPU temp ~87C

in GTA4 it got an average of 20fps, and in the lows its 8fps, and random spikes of 40 fps
CPU temp ~70C GPU temp ~87-94C

Edit: while alt-tabbed to write this, the gpu cooled down to 66C, GTA4 fps stayed at 55 until reaching 88C and dropping back into the teens
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May 27, 2014 10:46:17 AM

Perhaps the thermal paste needs to be reapplied on the gpu. I'm not sure how comfortable you are doing that though.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 27, 2014 11:05:51 AM

yeah that confirms it then.
Couple of things you could check:
1 Does the fan spin faster when under load? (using a proper fan curve and fan itself is ok)
2 Is there a good airflow coming out the exhaust? (no dust or other debris blocking the heatsink)
3 Is the air warm/hot? (heatsink has proper contact to the chip)


If everything else fails you could try downclocking the gpu to such clocks that it doesn't throttle anymore. You'll lose some overall performance but if it keeps it stable without dips it might be a worthy option... Also (if possible, depends on the hardware) lowering the gpu voltage will reduce power usage and thus heat output but you might need to fine tune the clocks to make it stable. So reduced voltage with slightly lower clocks could be the best compromise if there is nothing actually wrong with the cooling system.
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
May 27, 2014 11:19:51 AM

reapplying the paste is a good option as well, though it might require awfull lot of dismantling to be done. I dug up a owners manual for a 7720 inspiron and although this particular version doesn't seem have a discrete graphics chip, you would need take literally everything apart to get to the cpu on this one... (page 85 :D )
ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/Common/inspiron-17r-se-7720_...

Good thing is the manuals seem to be pretty detailed, so it should be doable...
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May 27, 2014 8:15:54 PM

Kari said:
yeah that confirms it then.
Couple of things you could check:
1 Does the fan spin faster when under load? (using a proper fan curve and fan itself is ok)
2 Is there a good airflow coming out the exhaust? (no dust or other debris blocking the heatsink)
3 Is the air warm/hot? (heatsink has proper contact to the chip)


Yes its loud and very noticably maxing its rpms on the fan, its got good air flow because its blowing a lot of air out the side... although it is very hot air.. enough to turn a badly placed cold beer very warm in a few short minutes.

I've personally done several builds on PCs but ive never dabbled in notebooks... so im not really confident in reapplying the gel myself.

Would this require breaking and then replacing solder?
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a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2014 12:02:54 PM

ok so the cooling system is working pretty much as intended then. With good thermal paste it might work slighly better, lets hope the improvement is enough to stop it from throttling
at12as said:

Would this require breaking and then replacing solder?

heavens no :D  just a bunch of stuff thats held in place with screws and some cables, it is not really any different from desktops except everything is crammed into a smaller space and has unusual shapes, like the mobo isn't rectangular but some weird shape that fits around other bulkier parts etc.

Check the owners manual for instructions, if you've lost the one that came with the laptop you can search the dell support site
http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/Products/lapt...
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May 28, 2014 12:28:59 PM

Kari said:
ok so the cooling system is working pretty much as intended then. With good thermal paste it might work slighly better, lets hope the improvement is enough to stop it from throttling
at12as said:

Would this require breaking and then replacing solder?

heavens no :D  just a bunch of stuff thats held in place with screws and some cables, it is not really any different from desktops except everything is crammed into a smaller space and has unusual shapes, like the mobo isn't rectangular but some weird shape that fits around other bulkier parts etc.

Check the owners manual for instructions, if you've lost the one that came with the laptop you can search the dell support site
http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/Products/lapt...


I just wanted to say thank you,

-- also just to be clear, it is the 650m graphics chip that is over heating and not the CPU. So if i pull this thing apart is there really a way to fix that? because typically graphics cards don't have thermal gel/paste. The CPU seems to stay around 70C which is acceptable. and the 650M is hit 95C today.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2014 1:56:54 PM

at12as said:

I just wanted to say thank you,

-- also just to be clear, it is the 650m graphics chip that is over heating and not the CPU. So if i pull this thing apart is there really a way to fix that? because typically graphics cards don't have thermal gel/paste. The CPU seems to stay around 70C which is acceptable. and the 650M is hit 95C today.

the 650m will require active cooling as well, it cannot be naked with rated TDP of 45 watts. There will undoubtedly be a heatpipe or 2 (with some sort of base) going over the gpu chip and there has to be thermal paste/grease between the base and the chip for proper contact.
Sometimes the same heatpipe covers both the cpu and gpu (in which case you'd have to redo both of them) and sometimes they use separate heatpipes and fin stacks. The fin stacks are close to the exhaust vents next to the fan, but thanks to the heatpipes the chips can be located pretty much anywhere on the board.
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