Problem with performance of laptops in games

Hello everyone, I have got a really annoying problem with my laptop , and since the manufacturer is making me go around in circles just to get tech support , I thought i'd give this a shot ...

I've got a Dell xps m1730 laptop here , specs : duocore 2.5 , 4 gig, 300gig hdd, 9800M GTX x2 SLI

It performs fine just doing normal tasks , ( programming , every day stuff ) so there is no problem there.

The problem starts when i go into games, but here aswell it is not just poor performance.
The performance problems start when there is a lot of movement on the screen.
for example, i just noticed this a lottt with street fighter 4. On levels when there arent little background people cheering, my performance is perfect, i can run it fully at max, and my super and ultra combos ( which are extremely flashy, and the most graphically demanding part of the game ) come out at max fps. However, when there are a lot of people in the background, my performance drops to a measily 20fps. This never used to happen, until I started getting hardware problems with my laptop.

The motherboard has been changed already, didnt change anything.
The graphics cards have been changed, didnt change anything.
The only thing that hasnt been changed actually are my harddrives and RAM memory , so I'm wondering, could it be that ? Is there any way of me testing it ? Or is there a different problem ? If anyone could help me, that would be great cause ive been having these problems for months, and dell isnt helping at all. They just keep pointing me towards the next person I have to call, who then says they want to replace my motherboard again !

Thanks in advance ..
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  1. Well mistake number 1, you bought a Dell. Hopefully you'll learn.

    It depends what kind of strain those background people put on the system. I know they are true 3d models but that should be chicken feed compared to the rest of the games demands. It MIGHT be the CPU, its only a dual core after all and not clocked massively high because i will be utterly astounded if its the two 9800's. How does the laptop fare on other games?
  2. at point 1, i know ;( never make that mistake again ..

    Anyway, the weird thing about this situation is, I've had all of my games for a long time now, and they all used to work just fine in the past. The problems , like the 3d models in the back ( yes they are ;p i just thought referring them to little background people would make it easier to picture ) never used to give me any problems. I've got the same thing with every other game ive got now . another example is team fortress 2 : a game made with the source engine, my laptop should be able to munch that without a problem. Well , it used to .... If i go over 5 vs 5 the jolting because unplayable...

    Because I've been playing these games in the past, I know the kind of performance I used to get . I have fully formatted my system several times, tried it on both vista and windows 7. 32 bit and 64 bit, all with the same problems.
  3. Did you say Dell has never checked the memory? Because it could be that, try running a Prime95 blend test. If the workers stop abruptly then you might have a memory problem.
  4. I'll give it a go now. I've never heard of it, and what I read on google it says thats its a CPU test ? Am I looking at the right program , or something different ? :D
  5. oh nevermind ^^ its running now, I've just used default settings , so 2 workers stressing it now.
  6. Run a blend test, it does the RAM too.
  7. Test has been running from 22:04 until now 23:13 , and no errors appear up. ill let it continue while im going to bed, but it seems as if that is doing ok .. ?
  8. If it hasn't thrown an error by now then you may as well stop as its not the RAM.
  9. how long since you reisntalled the OS?

    could simply be a buildup of bloat slowing down the CPU (and multiple characters on screen would be the biggest drain on the CPU)

    how many CPU cycles are being used up by background programs?
  10. This is the second time im using the pc since i reinstalled the OS , and they were clean installs every time, so dont know if its that ?

    What do you mean with cpu cycles ? Atm , ive got 55 processes running , which is using 13% of my cpu usage.
  11. Oh wow, is that 13% just idling? Should be <=1% I have 48 Processes at 0% CPU usage right now.

    If that is just idling, what process is using so much?
  12. 13% CPU usage at idle means your CPU is not at idle, it is doing something, and that something is enough to have a pretty big impact on your gaming.
  13. x_x hmpf ..

    when I open my processes, most of them range between 1000 to 3000k

    the highest ones in there are :

    steam : 12k
    explorer.exe : 20.7k -> 23.7k
    dwm.exe ( i definately have no clue wtf that is O-o ) : 21.7k
    iexplorer.exe : 181k O_O holy sh*t .

    edit : damn found even more actually :

    svchost.exe is in my list 4 times , ranging between 30.7K and 52K
    another 2 svchost at 7k respectively

    a few more between the 3k and 10k , and searchindexer showed up now aswell using 12k
  14. Also, dont know if it helps to add this in , but my ram is also consistently using 35% , no less no more when just surfing and stuff ... ( soz for double post )
  15. Everyone's RAM will be like that, its how much windows and related processes take up.
  16. Well i found out it was the svchost. exe that took up most of that power, so i closed em , and the idle performance now is 0-1%. I tried then running sf4 ( exact same stage settings etc to see if there is any difference ) but still the same low fps :(
  17. When you reinstalled Windows, have you downloaded and installed all newest drivers for your hardware? The instances of svchost.exe are normal functions that won't bother anything. dwm.exe is the Vista Desktop Manager. You can keep it from running by switching your destop to classic mode.
  18. I have installed all the drivers that came with my machine when it still worked alright after formatting. So I just installed driver checker, to check if any hardware was nt updated with the latest drivers. after patching everything up to the latest , i've still got the same problem :(. ....

    (thanks btw @ everyone for trying to help me fix this ^^ , i've got more help here than i have had from dell tech support in 4 months .. o-o.)
  19. 1 - does this happen only with street fighter, or with other games as well?

    i know the following might sound obvious, but it has to be asked:-
    2 - is ure PC battery mode selected on High Performance when ure gaming? (leaving it in Balanced or Power Saver switches off 1 whole core).
    3 - is the power cord connected to an electricity socket when u game? (even if its in high performance mode, the GPU's will still run at about 50% max if its not connected to the power).

    looking forward to your response...
  20. hey seer

    It happens with just about any game, im just using sf at the moment because its easy to see how the performance is of the machine. I tried it on bioshock 2 , team fortress 2 aswell , same problem.

    I have selected high performance, and the power cord is connected and plugged in all the time.

    hopefully that helped in any way
  21. hmm...

    there is only 1 thing i can think of, then; i believe there is a policy that if a customer has a serious hardware problem (which u clearly do) with their laptop upon purchase, you take it to the service center and they try to fix it, and u did and they changed the mobo. The second time again they try to fix it, and they seem to have changed the gpus?
    The THIRD time, they take the laptop and give you an entirely new one. So call them or take it to them and ask for an entirely different, new unit.
    Thats all i can suggest, bro.

    Gd luck, hope it all works out in the end.

  22. Well I tried doing this stuff, and atm they offered me the following options :

    Because my laptop is not being produced anymore by dell apparently I have the option of getting the alienware m17x, but i would have to pay an extra 1000 pounds ( thats right, a grand .. after paying a high sum last year for this one )
    or send it back again, and have them fiddle around with it some more, but i need a laptop for coursework :(.. they're not giving me any options at all anymore... I just dont know what to do anymore, thats why I was hoping this would maybe shed some light on why it is doing it, ah well ..

    thanks for all the help guys , much appreciated
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