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Laptop Sandy Bridge CPUs and Throttling

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July 11, 2011 8:00:37 PM

Hey everyone, I have been doing research into getting a laptop with a midrange discrete graphics card (nVidia GT540M) packed into a small form factor (13 - 14"). Acer, MSI, Asus, and several other manufacturers have laptops that meet this specification, but I have seen a lot of discussions regarding CPU throttling while gaming. Apparently when the GPU is stressed while the CPU is in "Turbo Mode," the chips can throttle down by over 1 GHz. Since I just started doing research here, I was wondering if there have been any solutions released by any of the manufacturers to fix this; I would prefer not to rely on the ThrottleStop utility to keep my new computer working properly. Thoughts?
a b à CPUs
July 11, 2011 8:58:31 PM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Laptops & Notebooks by Mousemonkey
a b à CPUs
July 11, 2011 9:36:31 PM

man thats a lot of heat to have in such a small space but to be honest it wouldnt matter to much if the cpu throttles cause it will feed any gpu you throw at it. the 2.0 base clock will be suitable to play games with and it will not run at 2.7 ghz while gaming. it just cant get the heat out to do that.
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a b à CPUs
July 11, 2011 9:53:47 PM

also after some research it appears that throttle stop does not work with the new sandy bridge cpus. all it will do is limit the clock speed to say 800mhz or 1500 mhz but will not force it to stay above the laptops built in base clock. i.e. the 2630qm's 2.0 base clock. i tried.
July 12, 2011 3:25:53 AM

I wonder if there's a fix in the works or if I should just avoid SB CPUs...
a b à CPUs
July 12, 2011 3:56:25 AM

and get what? there isnt anything better than them and you act like them throttling down is a bad thing when in reality its cause they have to to keep from frying themselves. i also think that you have misunderstood some people.

lets take for example the popular 2630qm, it has a base clock of 2.0ghz with a max turbo of 2.9ghz. that is with only one thread active though and it will turbo to 2.8 and 2.7 with two cores and 3/4 cores active. now if its running at 2.7ghz while gaming with four cores it cannot keep itself cool without lowering the clock speed but the turbo is a bonus not a given. so its not technically throttling. turbo will only activate if there is thermal headroom and forcing it to stay on is only asking for trouble.

you will have no problem gaming on a sandy bridge cpu. it will NEVER be the bottleneck. mobile SB i7's are a better gaming cpu then the previous gen hexacore i7's proven by toms.
July 12, 2011 4:43:35 AM

Well I haven't done a ton of research on the whole throttling issue, but it seems that the issue is less what you described (which would be good, I agree), and more that the BIOS's are designed to throttle down to the minimum cpu speed (~1.2 GHz) even when temperatures are not reaching critical points.

http://www.semiaccurate.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-...

http://forums.techarena.in/portable-devices/1414471.htm

It just seems somewhat odd that no manufacturers (to my knowledge) have yet to come out with a BIOS update that addresses this problem, as it seems like it's a software issue more than a hardware issue.
a b à CPUs
July 12, 2011 4:57:10 AM

are you saying they throttle back like that during heavy use because i would disagree with that. the cpu will throttle when full speeds are not needed or heat is too high. mine personally has never throttled and hurt performance in games. it might have throttled cause full clock wasnt needed but hasnt throttled and hurt performance.

i use 3ds max often to and while rendering it will bounce from 2.0 to 2.4 and never go below 2.0 and that is a one frame render lasting over and hour at 100% load. maybe its just not a problem that is affecting me.
July 12, 2011 1:26:37 PM

Ah, I understand the difference. It seems that most people are having trouble with it when they try to play demanding games, like starcraft 2 or crysis. I'm also a little unsure if its temperatures of the CPU or the GPU that trigger the problem, but whichever it is, I think most people are saying they're not hot enough temperatures to justify the throttling down to 1.2 GHz. Would you mind if I asked which computer you have and what GPU is in it? Maybe the solution is to get something from that manufacturer haha...
a b à CPUs
July 12, 2011 1:30:29 PM

yeah i read into that and i never have that problem... lucky me
a b à CPUs
July 15, 2011 6:17:31 AM

cbrunnem said:
also after some research it appears that throttle stop does not work with the new sandy bridge cpus.


Did your research include talking to any of the happy Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo Sandy Bridge owners that are successfully using ThrottleStop to solve their throttling problems?

Sandy Bridge laptops use various C States and are designed to throttle down the average multiplier that ThrottleStop reports when lightly loaded but when playing a game, if you have ThrottleStop set up correctly, it should be able to give you more control over your laptop's performance than the guys writing the bios have given you. It will put you in control of the over heating problems that many Sandy Bridge laptops have because laptop manufacturers have cut too many corners when designing their power adapters and cooling solutions.

dkillone made a nice video recently showing the difference in frame rates when using ThrottleStop on his Asus G73SW. GTA4 goes from unplayable to smooth and very playable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JdRUHHn0UM

If you can't improve your laptop's performance with this program then contact the author and he will be happy to help you. The email address can be found in the About... box of ThrottleStop.

ThrottleStop 3.00
http://www.techinferno.com/downloads/?did=1

Waiting for the manufacturers to own up to this problem is a waste of time. They have put too much heat and power consumption in too small of a package and have not included adequate cooling that many modern games require. Throttling is the result.
a b à CPUs
July 15, 2011 9:45:37 AM

cbrunnem said:
also after some research it appears that throttle stop does not work with the new sandy bridge cpus. all it will do is limit the clock speed to say 800mhz or 1500 mhz but will not force it to stay above the laptops built in base clock. i.e. the 2630qm's 2.0 base clock. i tried.


unclewebb said:
Did your research include talking to any of the happy Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo Sandy Bridge owners that are successfully using ThrottleStop to solve their throttling problems?

Sandy Bridge laptops use various C States and are designed to throttle down the average multiplier that ThrottleStop reports when lightly loaded but when playing a game, if you have ThrottleStop set up correctly, it should be able to give you more control over your laptop's performance than the guys writing the bios have given you. It will put you in control of the over heating problems that many Sandy Bridge laptops have because laptop manufacturers have cut too many corners when designing their power adapters and cooling solutions.

dkillone made a nice video recently showing the difference in frame rates when using ThrottleStop on his Asus G73SW. GTA4 goes from unplayable to smooth and very playable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JdRUHHn0UM

If you can't improve your laptop's performance with this program then contact the author and he will be happy to help you. The email address can be found in the About... box of ThrottleStop.

ThrottleStop 3.00
http://www.techinferno.com/downloads/?did=1

Waiting for the manufacturers to own up to this problem is a waste of time. They have put too much heat and power consumption in too small of a package and have not included adequate cooling that many modern games require. Throttling is the result.



reread my post there chief. it will not force the cpu to stay about the base clock. i.e. it will not force a 2630qm to stay at 2.1 or higher. ive tried and yes it works great from multi 8 to 20 but not after that. ive never had throttling problems turbo boost doesnt stay in effect as much as i like but a SB mobile should very rarely be the bottleneck anyway.
a b à CPUs
July 16, 2011 3:32:13 AM

cbrunnem said:
it appears that throttle stop does not work with the new sandy bridge cpus


Sorry for the misunderstanding but I wanted to correct that statement because it is not true.

ThrottleStop does work with Sandy Bridge CPUs but it can not make a processor do something that Intel did not design it to do.

You can ask a 2630QM to run at its default speed of 2.0 GHz or you can ask the CPU to use Turbo Boost and go beyond this speed but Intel does not let any software give you the fine control of the multiplier between 2.0 GHz and 2.9 GHz that you are looking for. That's a limitation of the Intel 2630QM CPU, not ThrottleStop.
a b à CPUs
July 16, 2011 3:33:55 AM

unclewebb said:
Sorry for the misunderstanding but I wanted to correct that statement because it is not true.

ThrottleStop does work with Sandy Bridge CPUs but it can not make a processor do something that Intel did not design it to do.

You can ask a 2630QM to run at its default speed of 2.0 GHz or you can ask the CPU to use Turbo Boost and go beyond this speed but Intel does not let any software give you the fine control of the multiplier between 2.0 GHz and 2.9 GHz that you are looking for. That's a limitation of the Intel 2630QM CPU, not ThrottleStop.



correct that was our confusion. sorry
a b à CPUs
July 16, 2011 9:11:42 PM

The Acer 3830TG is an example of a laptop that can not fully use its hardware at its rated speed because of an inadequate cooling solution. They are not the only company that is guilty of this. One user that sent his laptop into be serviced got it returned from Acer and was told that this throttling problem is by design and they don't plan to do anything about it. Maybe a class action lawsuit for selling a laptop that can not run at its rated speed would encourage them to try harder.

What users have been forced to do is to use ThrottleStop to manage their CPU temperature and to use a reasonable amount of throttling to balance heat and performance. An Intel Core i5-2410M is rated to run at its default speed of 2.3 GHz and is capable of using Turbo Boost up to as high as 2.9 GHz when a single core is active. Acer thinks it is OK to throttle this CPU down to its minimum speed of 1.2 GHz while gaming and then keeps it there. This turns the gaming experience into a slide show.

ThrottleStop can be used to prevent this throttling. You can also set up 2 profiles in ThrottleStop so when the CPU starts running too hot, it will trigger a user definable alarm so that the CPU can switch to a second profile automatically. Having turbo boost disabled in the second profile is usually enough to handle the high temperatures. This drops the CPU down to a steady speed of 2.3 GHz which is a lot better solution than Acer dropping the CPU down to 1.2 GHz. There are some very demanding games where you might have to throttling your CPU a little more than this to avoid overheating and ThrottleStop lets you do that too. This is not an ideal solution but it's the only option at the moment. It gives you a lot more control over this issue than Acer is ever going to give you. They have no plans for a bios update or better yet a CPU heatsink and fan redesign to get to the root of this problem.

Sandy Bridge CPUs are very powerful if laptop manufacturers take the time to adequately cool them.
a b à CPUs
July 16, 2011 10:44:08 PM

i think that is could possibly be something else. idk what because ive check for all my games and the most cpu usage i get its 30-35%. im not the best to analyze that but i wouldnt think that that usage would cause extreme heat. maybe its that the manufacturer decides to throttle the cpu at a lower temp then the cpu can handle or something?

to be clear, i do not experience throttling and the cpu is the 2630qm in a samsung rf511
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