Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Core speed slow in games

Tags:
Last response: in CPUs
Share
May 12, 2012 7:12:35 PM

Hi all,

I'm trying to troubleshoot poor gaming performance on the following laptop:

Acer Aspire 7750g-6645
i5 2450M (2.5ghz with turbo boost up to 3.1ghz)
Switchable graphics (between Intel 3000 and Radeon 7670M)
4gb ram
Windows 7 64bit

I'm testing on Firefall beta but have also tried tribes ascend and starcraft 2, all with poor performance. At first I thought it was the video card. I went through a lot of trouble even getting the 7670M to work, and I think I have it working correctly with a modded bios, so now I'm looking at the CPU as being the culprit.

Running CPU-Z while in firefall, I'm noticing something odd. One would expect with a game open the cpu should be "turbo boosted" up to 3.1, at least most of the time. Instead, it will occasionally it'll jump up to the mid 2ghz range, and normally sit around 700mhz!

I tested this on my desktop as well (i5 3570k 3.4ghz with boosting to 3.8ghz, geforce 560, 8gb ram, windows 7 64bit) which I can max out firefall with, and CPU-Z is showing 3.8ghz pretty consistently. Only occasionally does it drop down to 1.6ghz, and then right back up to max.

My desktop is working as I would expect the dynamic boosting technology (whatever the correct terminology is) to work while the laptop isn't.

I also have a work laptop with an i7 Q720 (1.6ghz), geforce 230m, 8gb ram, and win 7 64bit which runs firefall perfectly (not maxed, but high) as well. I haven't tried looking at cpu-z on it yet but I imagine it's probably doing the same thing as my desktop, just running max when it should.

How can I go about troubleshooting this? I'm downloading whatever the latest drivers are from the acer website but is this going to be a driver thing or a bios thing, or do you think it might just be broken (guessing not)?

More about : core speed slow games

a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 7:17:21 PM

Try the High Performance power profile in Windows, if you haven't already.
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 7:20:47 PM

Are you testing while gaming on your battery?
m
0
l
Related resources
May 12, 2012 7:25:33 PM

It was on balanced, I changed it to high performance but it's still the same.

I have it plugged in.
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 7:25:39 PM

urnotmega said:
One would expect with a game open the cpu should be "turbo boosted" up to 3.1, at least most of the time.
Most of the time? Unrealistic expectation.
Turbo @ 3.1Ghz would be using 1 core and doing that only for a very short time.
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 7:27:02 PM

Are you monitoring your temps? If they are hotter than they should be the CPU might be dropping down to a lower power state to cool itself off.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 7:55:52 PM

WR2 said:
Most of the time? Unrealistic expectation.
Turbo @ 3.1Ghz would be using 1 core and doing that only for a very short time.


Let me rephrase. "as much as it should" - which in the case of gaming should be the majority of the time, I would expect (and regardless of my expectations, I don't care if it EVER jumps to 3.1ghz as long as my gaming is smooth :) , which in this case it's not ).

The cpu temp seems to hover around 50C. I did see it jump up to 60C at one point but that was max.

Here are a couple snapshots of cpu-z, gpu-z, and coretemp. Maybe it'll be useful to someone?

http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/4808/stats1mg.jpg - running slow
http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/952/stats2l.jpg - running fast (only happens for a moment here and there)

As a note, I don't notice any difference in game when the cpu jumps to 2.8ghz.
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:00:16 PM

How long have you had the notebook? Is this a new problem, or has it always been that way?
Was the notebook working normally before you added the modded BIOS?
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:02:08 PM

urnotmega said:
As a note, I don't notice any difference in game when the cpu jumps to 2.8ghz.
This is TurboCoreBoost working normally with 2 cores active.
It's not likely anyone would notice a difference with only a 0.3Ghz bump in CPU speed.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 8:03:34 PM

We've had it for 1 week now.

The original issue was that the switchable graphics weren't allowing the 7670m to even run. I followed the instructions here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/acer/647283-acer-aspire... and also read another thread on the issue before jumping into the modded bios. This allowed me to switch which graphics card I was using in the catalyst control center.

I can't say if the cpu was sitting at 800mhz before in games because I wasn't testing games at that point, I was just trying to get the gpu to work.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 8:05:45 PM

WR2 said:
This is TurboCore working normally with 2 cores active.
It's not likely anyone would notice a difference with only a 0.3Ghz bump in CPU speed.


Sorry I'm a bit confused with this statement. Where is the .3ghz bump? Image 1 has it at ~800mhz while image 2 has it at ~2.9ghz. That's a 2.1ghz bump, right? Or is there something behind the scenes that I'm missing.
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:09:16 PM

Your temps are under control. Even 60C isn't anything to get excited about.

Have you seen any other reports of the same bad behavior with that model notebook?
It's something I think would have been noticed (obviously)
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:10:22 PM

2.5ghz to 2.8Ghz = 0.3Ghz
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 8:13:23 PM

Most of the issues I've read about this laptop have to do with the switchable graphics and some crashing issues in game. I haven't read anything about performance. I'm not even sure if the performance issue has to do with the cpu but I found it odd that it sits at 800mhz 95% of the time in game when my desktop is pushing 3.8 95% of the time in game.

Also sorry again but where do you see 2.5ghz in the images? I see ~800mhz jump to ~2.9ghz in cpu-z.
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:15:44 PM

I didn't look at the images. TurboBoost would be anything above 2.5Ghz - the CPUs rated speed.
Anything below 2.5Ghz is probably EIST working.
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:18:23 PM

Are you sure that the High Performance setting was set at a minimum of 100%? That would take EIST out of the equation.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 8:24:41 PM

Turbo boost monitor shows it dipping down to no bar, up to 3.0ghz, back down to no bar, sometimes floating in the middle at 2.5ghz for a bit. Is it natural for it to dip down to nothing (sometimes for a few seconds at a time) while in a game?

In High Performance advanced settings, I have Processor power management -> minimum processor state -> plugged in -> 100%. Is that what you're referring to? Battery min was at 0% so I've bumped it to 100% and will test next (though it IS plugged in right now).

While idling on the desktop, turbo boost monitor shows 0 bar. It seems like you're suggesting it should be sitting at 2.5ghz instead?
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:26:39 PM

urnotmega said:
Turbo boost monitor shows it dipping down to no bar, up to 3.0ghz, back down to no bar, sometimes floating in the middle at 2.5ghz for a bit. Is it natural for it to dip down to nothing (sometimes for a few seconds at a time) while in a game?

In High Performance advanced settings, I have Processor power management -> minimum processor state -> plugged in -> 100%. Is that what you're referring to? Battery min was at 0% so I've bumped it to 100% and will test next (though it IS plugged in right now).


Yeah, that's what I'm referring to, and with that, it shouldn't go any lower than 2.5.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 8:27:56 PM

DJDeCiBeL said:
Yeah, that's what I'm referring to, and with that, it shouldn't go any lower than 2.5.


I added this as an edit to my last reply, but just to clarify, you're saying that the turbo boost monitor shouldn't ever dip below 2.5? Right now it's sitting at no bar idle on the desktop.
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:32:00 PM

I've never used the Turbo monitor myself (never really had a reason to), so I don't honestly know if it would show the right thing or not, but check CPU-Z to see what it says. It should be at 2.5 right now, just sitting idle.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 8:35:08 PM

DJDeCiBeL said:
I've never used the Turbo monitor myself (never really had a reason to), so I don't honestly know if it would show the right thing or not, but check CPU-Z to see what it says. It should be at 2.5 right now, just sitting idle.


cpu-z says 798mhz idle on the desktop (and also in game).

http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/4808/stats1mg.jpg - shows cpu-z @ 798mhz
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:37:10 PM

Have you rebooted since you changed the Power Plan?
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:37:17 PM

That was your earlier screenshot though, correct? With High Performance at 100%, there's no way it should be showing 800Mhz.
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:39:24 PM

urnotmega said:
Right now it's sitting at no bar idle on the desktop.
I think that 'no bar' condition just means that TurboBoost is not active. I don't think you can take anything more out of that.
I mean it has nothing to do with dropping to 800Mhz.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 8:44:36 PM

DJDeCiBeL said:
That was your earlier screenshot though, correct? With High Performance at 100%, there's no way it should be showing 800Mhz.


Please see this updated screenshot:

http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/7651/stats3uy.jpg

It shows cpu-z @798mhz and my high performance settings.

I have restarted since changing the power options.
m
0
l

Best solution

a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:48:01 PM

See if your BIOS options give you the option to disable EIST (Enhanced Intel Speedstep) within the BIOS settings.
Share
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:49:16 PM

Hmm, I'm honestly stumped, then. There's no conceivable reason that I'm aware of that would make it clock down like that if forced to 100% with High Performance.

And yeah, try disabling EIST, I guess, but it shouldn't even matter. If forced to 100%, EIST would have no reason to do anything.
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 8:53:00 PM

I agree with DJD.
As I understand it maximum settings on High Performance Power Plan should keep EIST from downclocking the CPU. Especially when in use by a game.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 9:02:31 PM

This laptop uses InsydeH20 BIOS (as mentioned before, modded). I'm not seeing any EIST option.

I do see some that might be it:

P-States(IST) - Enabled (Enable processor performance states)
C-States - Enabled (Enable processor idle power saving states (C-States))
Enhanced C-States - Enabled (Enable P-State transitions to occur in combination with C-States)
Enable C3/C6/C7 (3 separate options, all Enabled)
EC Turbo Control Mode - Disabled
Energy Efficient P-state - Enabled (Enable/Disable Energy Efficient P-state feature)

Those are the only options that sort of sound like this EIST feature.

Any idea what option I should try?
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 9:04:32 PM

P-States (IST) looks like that should be it.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 9:06:55 PM

urnotmega said:
Most of the issues I've read about this laptop have to do with the switchable graphics and some crashing issues in game. I haven't read anything about performance. I'm not even sure if the performance issue has to do with the cpu but I found it odd that it sits at 800mhz 95% of the time in game when my desktop is pushing 3.8 95% of the time in game.

Also sorry again but where do you see 2.5ghz in the images? I see ~800mhz jump to ~2.9ghz in cpu-z.



have you checked to see what your cpu cooling policy on the power settings. if its active then it well bump fan speed to cool first just like a desktop. if its on passive then it does what you describe. it well clock up only if its very cool and once it hits the 50s or 60s it clocks you down to the lowest speed possible. go to what ever power setting you have and go to change plan settings/ advance power settings/processor power management
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 9:11:40 PM

Quote:
if its active then it well bump fan speed to cool first just like a desktop.


Just look at his last screenshot. It's set to Active.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 9:12:28 PM

DJDeCiBeL said:
P-States (IST) looks like that should be it.


Hmm still 798mhz. Interesting though, now when I try to open turbo boost monitor, it throws an error "Intel Turbo Boost Technology has to be enabled to run this program". Then I close the error and the little bar graph pops up again, appearing to work fine.

Think I should try a different option? "Energy efficient P-state" looks suspect to me, but I don't know anything about this particular technology.

zakattak80 said:
have you checked to see what your cpu cooling policy on the power settings. if its active then it well bump fan speed to cool first just like a desktop. if its on passive then it does what you describe. it well clock up only if its very cool and once it hits the 50s or 60s it clocks you down to the lowest speed possible. go to what ever power setting you have and go to change plan settings/ advance power settings/processor power management


My system cooling policies are set to Active:

http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/7651/stats3uy.jpg
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 9:14:04 PM

Just confirm you know how to do a BIOS reset if the notebook won't POST.
Do that before you start poking into the BIOS.
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 9:14:51 PM

Hell, disable all of the ones you mentioned to see what happens. If that works, re-enable them one by one until you find the culprit.

And WR2 is right. I'm working with a desktop mentality that clearing the CMOS is easy.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 9:15:51 PM

WR2 said:
Just confirm you know how to do a BIOS reset if the notebook won't POST.
Do that before you start poking into the BIOS.


Yep I build my own desktops, but I don't know anything about this particular technology. I had to pop the CMOS battery earlier today from trying to change something in the BIOS :D 

Still though, I prefer asking people who know what they're talking about before I go changing options, when possible.
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 9:18:21 PM

For what it's worth, disabling just those shouldn't cause a failure to boot situation.
m
0
l
a c 203 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 9:19:01 PM

DJDeCiBeL said:
Hell, disable all of the ones you mentioned to see what happens. If that works, re-enable them one by one until you find the culprit.
That was my idea too.


On a laptop there are usually a couple pins you can short to restore BIOS to default. Probably in the same bay where the RAM is.

m
0
l
May 12, 2012 9:40:28 PM

Ok so the culprit was...

Enhanced C-States

This appears to be the feature that allowed the cpu to bump way down to 800mhz. Disabling that also disabled the C3/C6/C7 options. Now the computer never drops below 2.9ghz.

I re-enabled P-States(IST) and Energy Efficient P-State thinking it would drop it down to 2.5 min and boost to 3.1 when it needed to, but instead, it's just sitting at 2.9 no matter what.

I can mess around with those some more to see if I can get it to work better (2.5 idle, 3.1 maxed) but anyway, it didn't fix my main issue after all :(  2.9ghz cpu in game but the performance is still awful.

I guess I'll look more into the gpu as the cpu being an issue appears to be ruled out.

Thanks for all the help everyone :) 

*edit* wasn't sure which answer to pick as the best because there wasn't really 1 particular post that solved it all. Thanks to both DJDeCiBeL and WR2 for all your help, and to others who chimed in.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 9:43:00 PM

Best answer selected by urnotmega.
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 9:43:21 PM

Well, I'm glad we got the throttling issue sorted at least. Post back if you figure out what's going on with your performance because I'd like to know for future reference.
m
0
l
May 12, 2012 10:51:27 PM

Alright I figured it out!

It WAS the GPU. Notice in the first or second image GPU-Z was saying the core clock speed was 300mhz and memory clock speed was 100mhz. I wasn't exactly sure what the 7670M was so that didn't jump out as the obvious issue, but it did look suspect. Did some research and found it's supposed to be 600mhz/900mhz. Found this thread http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-m17x/635006-f... which seemed to be a similar issue.

The end solution was to download MSI afterburner (or whatever overclocking software you would want to use) and over/underclock the slighest bit (or however much you want to really, it just has to be non-default). Suddenly the GPU is unlocked and able to run at max. The other thread suggested they could put it back to default and it stayed fixed, but as soon as I put it back to default, it stops working again.

So great, I don't have to return the laptop :D  It's pretty ridiculous though that a product like this is even allowed to be released. As someone who spends 90% of their day on the computer between work and play, this sort of issue takes me 6 hours to solve when it shouldn't have gotten past a testing phase to begin with. I feel bad for the casual user who would have either used a completely gimped system forever or possibly gone through even more troubleshooting to get the product they paid for.

Ok off my high horse, just not happy with this sort of thing :)  <3 google and forums with helpful people. Thanks again.
m
0
l
a c 283 à CPUs
May 12, 2012 11:00:24 PM

Excellent! :)  That IS a very strange problem though...
m
0
l
!