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Is my CPU causing a bottleneck?

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  • CPUs
  • Laptops
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November 30, 2011 2:12:41 AM

Hello basically I'm concerned that the laptop I bought is underperforming. I've reason to believe the CPU is causing a bottle neck that's not allowing my graphics card to perform how it should be. The game I'm primarily concerned with is Starcraft II. When purchasing my laptop I was under the impression that based on the specs I was receiving I'd be able to play without any problems on max settings.

Below are the system specs for my laptop.

System Model: M18xR1

Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2630QM CPU @ 2.00GHz (8 CPUs), ~2.0GHz
Memory: 4096MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 4078MB RAM
Graphics: Dual AMD 6990's in crossfire

I'm aware that there is some negative scaling with Crossfire and Starcraft II and that the i7 and hyperthreading is not fully utilized in the game either. I was reassured by dell tech support however that my laptop would be able to run the program fine and on max settings. I currently get 60 - 70 FPS on a mixture of medium - lower settings. On Ultra its a very choppy 30 or under FPS.

Thanks in advanced!

More about : cpu causing bottleneck

a b à CPUs
November 30, 2011 2:46:51 AM

dual 6990's... on a labtop... 1. that thing must be HUGE 2.that thing must be LOUD
as it is that cpu shouldnt cause too much greif... and just to confirm it is a quad core

have you tried any other games and had the same problem?
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November 30, 2011 2:58:40 AM

Have you installed the latest graphics drivers? That can make a big difference sometimes. Or Intel's drivers for that processor. Also, I'm not sure about overclocking for the i series, but you may be able to crank the clock speed on that cpu up. An i7 shouldn't be bottlenecking, though. My guess is it's a software issue...but try it out with some other games and see if you're getting the same problem.
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a c 186 à CPUs
November 30, 2011 3:24:33 AM

sc2 is very cpu dependent, but considering your mobile cpu is a higher end one there shouldn't be a problem..........
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November 30, 2011 3:32:49 AM

Thanks for the replies so far guys.

@nna2 Yes the chasis for the laptop is HUGE. The m18x is huge! I've tried it with other games and compared to similar systems my laptop underperforms.

@jlam9012 I have the "latest" graphics drivers and an updated bios. The 11.11 drivers for AMD where causing BSODS so I'm currently sticking to the 11.10 drivers.

I haven't looked into OC'ing just yet but are you sure about the i 7 not being a bottle neck? I purposely got the lower end i7, the 2630 2.0 ghz 2.8 ghz with turboboost, to save some money.

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a b à CPUs
November 30, 2011 3:47:46 AM

just a tip, never overclock labtops, there too hot as it is
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a b à CPUs
November 30, 2011 3:49:20 AM

have you tried disabling crossfire?
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November 30, 2011 6:07:41 AM

While I would probably never OC my alienware laptop the m18x is designed for laptop "enthusiasts" who frequently OC the m18x. They bench and OC at acceptable temps etc.

Im currently running SC II and without CF and getting 50 - 60 FPS at medium settings. I've tried it with and without runs a "little bit" better without CF.
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a b à CPUs
November 30, 2011 10:44:27 AM

Sell it and build a desktop.
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a b à CPUs
December 2, 2011 2:10:57 AM

did you ever try disabling crossfire?
and check task manager, check how much cpu/ram is being used
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December 2, 2011 2:32:41 AM

nna2 said:
did you ever try disabling crossfire?
and check task manager, check how much cpu/ram is being used


Yes I run my games and my system with both single and dual GPU configs.

On SC II the best FPS I get is achieved with 1 GPU currently.

When I full screen SC II I get about 30% cpu usage on 6 of my cpu's on cpu 5 and 6 I get close to 100% cpu usage these two cpus are also labeled as "parked". Not sure what that means.

Also my physical memory is at 76%.

I have yet to upgrade my Ram its currently at the stock 4gb.

Pretty sure that's not the bottle neck though.
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December 2, 2011 2:41:10 AM

nna2 said:
just a tip, never overclock labtops, there too hot as it is

Actually, you can overclock laptop. Just make sure the temps don't get too high. If it does, you'd need to make some modifications such as adding a cooling pad or removing the bottom panel.

Just don't get the wrong cooling pad for the laptop's exhaust/intake vents configuration that actually raises the temperature by forcing hot exhaust air back into the intake...

I'm running on an OCed Radeon Mobility 5730. I could've OCed the laughably slow i7-720qm (1.6 GHz, quad core) but the motherboard doesn't support it. Forcing it to run on Turbo boost indefinitely also didn't work because the TDP locked in the CPU and because it's near impossible to get the laptop from mid 70 C to 50 C under load.
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a b à CPUs
December 2, 2011 3:36:55 PM

A Bad Day said:
Actually, you can overclock laptop. Just make sure the temps don't get too high. If it does, you'd need to make some modifications such as adding a cooling pad or removing the bottom panel.

Just don't get the wrong cooling pad for the laptop's exhaust/intake vents configuration that actually raises the temperature by forcing hot exhaust air back into the intake...

I'm running on an OCed Radeon Mobility 5730. I could've OCed the laughably slow i7-720qm (1.6 GHz, quad core) but the motherboard doesn't support it. Forcing it to run on Turbo boost indefinitely also didn't work because the TDP locked in the CPU and because it's near impossible to get the laptop from mid 70 C to 50 C under load.


turbo boost is very limited when it comes down to it, on an i7-920 you can gain all of 500 MHz, if i wanted to i could bring it up to the 4GHz mark, so i dont think turbo boost is all that fair of a compairison (stock clock is ~2.6GHz)
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December 2, 2011 3:45:44 PM

What is your power setting set to? On my sager gaming laptop I was getting crappy performance before I realized that the power setting was on "balanced" (even when plugged in) instead of "high performance." You might make sure that that isn't the issue here.
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December 2, 2011 5:14:56 PM

What do you guys think the max OC I can get on the 2.0 ghz stock 2.8 with turboboost i7 2630 qm?

And also my power setting is always set to high I even have the defaults for balance set on high performance as well.
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a b à CPUs
December 5, 2011 12:31:12 AM

you shouldnt have a need to overclock... try upgrading your ram, 76% usage seems awful high
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a c 186 à CPUs
December 5, 2011 3:04:14 AM

madisonstreet said:
What do you guys think the max OC I can get on the 2.0 ghz stock 2.8 with turboboost i7 2630 qm?

And also my power setting is always set to high I even have the defaults for balance set on high performance as well.

Overclocking a laptop isn't a good idea, but can you even adjust anything in the bios?
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December 5, 2011 3:20:26 AM

Yea Dell unlocked the bios for Oc'ing I just cant disable hyper threading without getting a homebrew unlock.

The alienware laptops are specifically for enthusiasts they're very accessible to OC'ing.
I'm not a bencher so I would generally have no interest in OC it's just really important that I get my settings for Starcraft II fixed asap.
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a b à CPUs
December 5, 2011 12:07:40 PM

starcraft also shouldnt be bringing your ram up to 76%, check whats running in the background
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a c 186 à CPUs
December 6, 2011 12:13:54 AM

madisonstreet said:
Yea Dell unlocked the bios for Oc'ing I just cant disable hyper threading without getting a homebrew unlock.

The alienware laptops are specifically for enthusiasts they're very accessible to OC'ing.
I'm not a bencher so I would generally have no interest in OC it's just really important that I get my settings for Starcraft II fixed asap.

Get coretemp and check the temps of your cpu and reply back. Also you know oc'ing will use more battery so if mobility is an issue...........
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