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GTX 260M not clocking at full speed

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August 17, 2012 7:05:55 PM

I've been Googling my brains out trying to find a solution to this but to no avail.

So I was playing Skyrim on High settings with no issues, was getting good FPS and all was good. After about 30 hours of play I loaded my game and I found that my FPS had dropped significantly to the point of being unplayable.

I ran MSI afterburner and noticed that my clock speeds were at 414/828/301, when manufacturers specs are 550/1350/950.

I couldn't tell you what they were sitting at prior to this issue as I didn't feel the need to check when everything was running smoothly. All I can say is that no matter what setting I choose, I get the same speeds.

I was using an older driver version when I started playing, then updated to the latest when things went south but nothing seems to help.

Any thoughts on how to get this thing up and running?

edit: GPU temp sits around 55 degrees
August 17, 2012 7:13:08 PM

nickvca said:
I've been Googling my brains out trying to find a solution to this but to no avail.

So I was playing Skyrim on High settings with no issues, was getting good FPS and all was good. After about 30 hours of play I loaded my game and I found that my FPS had dropped significantly to the point of being unplayable.

I ran MSI afterburner and noticed that my clock speeds were at 414/828/301, when manufacturers specs are 550/1350/950.

I couldn't tell you what they were sitting at prior to this issue as I didn't feel the need to check when everything was running smoothly. All I can say is that no matter what setting I choose, I get the same speeds.

I was using an older driver version when I started playing, then updated to the latest when things went south but nothing seems to help.

Any thoughts on how to get this thing up and running?

edit: GPU temp sits around 55 degrees


What's the load GPU temp ? It could be throttling itself due to thermal issues. Try OCCT or furmark and use GPU-Z to log gpu speeds while you run the benchmark (or your game), and see what the clocks are doing when the temps get high.
August 17, 2012 7:53:50 PM

Thanks for your reply Maxx,

I'm afraid I may sound incredibly n00bish, but I've never used benchmark software before. Honestly I didn't even know about the different parts of the graphics card before I started having this problem so bear with me.


The log says that prior to the test with OCCT, the GPU was sitting at 383/300/766, then dropped to 275/300/550 when I ran the test full screen, then after ~15 secs dropped again to 200/119/400 for the next few minutes until i stopped. Temp bounced back and forth between 56-58 but mostly hovered around 57.

Not sure if this was the info you were looking for or not :??: 
Related resources
August 17, 2012 8:53:25 PM

nickvca said:
Thanks for your reply Maxx,

I'm afraid I may sound incredibly n00bish, but I've never used benchmark software before. Honestly I didn't even know about the different parts of the graphics card before I started having this problem so bear with me.


The log says that prior to the test with OCCT, the GPU was sitting at 383/300/766, then dropped to 275/300/550 when I ran the test full screen, then after ~15 secs dropped again to 200/119/400 for the next few minutes until i stopped. Temp bounced back and forth between 56-58 but mostly hovered around 57.

Not sure if this was the info you were looking for or not :??: 


that is very helpful. It seems like your GPU is down-clocking itself under stress. Based on your first post, I'd say, first things first:

(1) Completely uninstall the video driver set, including PhysX, nView, or any other nvidia display related drivers.

(2) After a reboot, do a reinstall of the most current video driver for your OS/card.

(3) Double check in the vents of the laptop, and various vents around the computer that the ventilation areas are not clogged with dust or whatever.

Try that first, I suspect the problem maybe a driver issue related to the update. A complete uninstall may help in this case.
August 17, 2012 10:33:19 PM

I did everything you suggested but nadda, still same as before.
August 17, 2012 11:25:43 PM

nickvca said:
I did everything you suggested but nadda, still same as before.


That is a strange problem.

Check windows power saving options to make sure the GPU is allowed to run full speed while plugged in. Check the Nvidia control panel to see if you enabled power saving (battery saving) features while running on plug in power.

August 18, 2012 12:57:59 AM

yeah, that was one of the first things i checked.
August 18, 2012 1:27:49 AM

nickvca said:
yeah, that was one of the first things i checked.


Can you use Riva Tuner to force the GPU to be at its spec speed for games ?
August 18, 2012 2:42:38 AM

Another thing I'm not sure how to do. Looks like I have some reading to do.

I'll report back when I get it sorted out.
August 19, 2012 4:50:05 AM

i'm afraid no dice, I cranked everything to the max and I'm still getting the same clock speeds.

I forgot to mention in my last post that after re-installing my drivers my FPS took a serious nose dive, I mean less than 10. Pretty much the same thing that happened when this whole ordeal started out. What sort of fixed it the last time was I made Skyrim it's own profile in NVidia control panel to the settings I wanted but even that isn't helping this time.
August 19, 2012 2:51:46 PM

nickvca said:
i'm afraid no dice, I cranked everything to the max and I'm still getting the same clock speeds.

I forgot to mention in my last post that after re-installing my drivers my FPS took a serious nose dive, I mean less than 10. Pretty much the same thing that happened when this whole ordeal started out. What sort of fixed it the last time was I made Skyrim it's own profile in NVidia control panel to the settings I wanted but even that isn't helping this time.


Hmm. Can you uninstall completely, following this guide:

http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=1174372&mpage=1

Remove all GPU clock setting utilities, like Afterburner, etc.
And reinstall the newest drivers.
August 20, 2012 5:38:36 AM

Followed the whole post. Tried the older driver I was using before as well as the latest and greatest and still the same issue.

I've been fighting with this for 3 weeks now, I'm leaning toward a reinstall of Win 7 :/ 
August 20, 2012 2:10:47 PM

nickvca said:
Followed the whole post. Tried the older driver I was using before as well as the latest and greatest and still the same issue.

I've been fighting with this for 3 weeks now, I'm leaning toward a reinstall of Win 7 :/ 


Well, at this point, you might as well. If you have a copy of imaging software like Acronis, you can image your whole drive, for backup purposes, or just transfer your important files.
August 21, 2012 12:26:02 AM

Did a fresh install and still running into the same problem :fou: 

I ran OCCT and 3DMark and my GPU is still doing as poorly as it did.

Is this an indication of faulty hardware?

edit: or could it be that certain components aren't getting enough power? I've been reading a bit and some people with this same model (Alienware m15x) were having issues with their power supply not feeding their cpu/gpu enough juice.
August 21, 2012 2:23:12 PM

nickvca said:
Did a fresh install and still running into the same problem :fou: 

I ran OCCT and 3DMark and my GPU is still doing as poorly as it did.

Is this an indication of faulty hardware?

edit: or could it be that certain components aren't getting enough power? I've been reading a bit and some people with this same model (Alienware m15x) were having issues with their power supply not feeding their cpu/gpu enough juice.


That's an interesting development. So it seems more hardware related then... Do you have a spare power adapter ? I assume you are out of warranty. If you buy a spare adapter, make sure it has enough amperage (most are 65 to 85 watts).

2ndly, did you use the same driver version ? Perhaps you can uninstall the driver and try an old driver (the one that used to work for you) ?
August 21, 2012 3:21:34 PM

Yeah I tried both drivers already.

And I had thought of the power adapter fix, then I did looked up what I should have in the first place and found this

http://forum.techinferno.com/alienware-m15x/26-alienwar...

Turns out its a relatively common issue with this system. I will be giving this a go when I get home and will let you know the results.

Best solution

August 21, 2012 7:46:09 PM
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nickvca said:
Yeah I tried both drivers already.

And I had thought of the power adapter fix, then I did looked up what I should have in the first place and found this

http://forum.techinferno.com/alienware-m15x/26-alienwar...

Turns out its a relatively common issue with this system. I will be giving this a go when I get home and will let you know the results.


Cool, seems like they suggested that if you are running on A08 bios or older, you should upgrade.
August 22, 2012 7:20:24 PM

Best answer selected by nickvca.
August 22, 2012 7:23:21 PM

Yup, it's a little embarassing, but it turns out that was exactly my problem.

I did follow everything as outlined in the guide though, and while it did, work, I was still unhappy that I had to use 3rd party programs to get what I should have been getting stock, and of course, had I read three more posts I would have had the answer.

before the update, I was getting a GPU score of 713 using 3DMark, then 2136 after the update using the older driver, then 5910 after updating to the latest and greatest ^_________^

Thanks a lot for your help Maxx, I will say that I have learned a metric sh!t ton in the last few weeks.
August 22, 2012 7:44:23 PM

and I'm running Skyrim on Ultra and my FPS hasn't dipped lower than 40FPS. I am definitely happy :D 
August 22, 2012 7:56:44 PM

nickvca said:
Yup, it's a little embarassing, but it turns out that was exactly my problem.

I did follow everything as outlined in the guide though, and while it did, work, I was still unhappy that I had to use 3rd party programs to get what I should have been getting stock, and of course, had I read three more posts I would have had the answer.

before the update, I was getting a GPU score of 713 using 3DMark, then 2136 after the update using the older driver, then 5910 after updating to the latest and greatest ^_________^

Thanks a lot for your help Maxx, I will say that I have learned a metric sh!t ton in the last few weeks.


No problem! This was an interesting issue that is very rare... Cheers and enjoy Skyrim!
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