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Help! Is my laptop underperforming???

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  • Laptops
  • CPUs
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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November 30, 2011 6:11:40 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 : laptop underperforming

a b D Laptop
November 30, 2011 12:38:22 PM

hmm, even though sc2 is cpu intensive I doubt an i7 is a bottle neck.

have you got any idea of the temperatures of the laptop? could you also check whether CF is enabled/disabled and try changing the option and running the game.

also, what is your native resolution? what resolution are you running at?

If there's a bottleneck it's somewhere else or you got faulty hardware.
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December 2, 2011 1:12:09 AM

Thanks for the responses!

I monitor my temp using CCC and gpu - z the hottest I've ever seen it run is around 80 - 85 and thats with skyrim or another more intensive game.

Ive tried changing CF or without CF skyrim currently runs better without it.

My native resolution is 1920 x 1080 i use 1600 x 900 on SC II.

I really appreciate the responses guys! I've tried multiple forums and finally ended up here.

Hopefully we can figure this out.
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a c 572 D Laptop
a c 203 à CPUs
December 2, 2011 11:14:10 AM

Temps look 'ok' - nothing to get excited about.
Still under warranty, right? Dell tech support and the Dell support forums are where I'd be looking for answers if I was in your position.
We're not anywhere near as qualified to address your issue(s) as they would be.
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a b D Laptop
December 2, 2011 11:18:12 AM

I doubt that skyrim is more intensive than SC2. Regardless though, according to the bench above with single 6990 and 2670 you should be getting at least 50fps on ultra, you are getting half of that. So, unless you're seeing microstutter caused by CF, I'd say that you're underperforming

on the other hand, I wouldn't be comfortable running gpu above 75, but that's me. as long as it's not throttling down you should be fine.

I'm not familiar with multi card setups, but when you disable the CF, can you choose which of the two GPUs it uses to run games? If that is possible, I'd try out running on each GPU to see if one is perhaps malperforming and thus lowering performance of the other.
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December 2, 2011 3:49:01 PM

Running on battery would make the numbers you're seeing make sense.

Plugged in, that's definitely poor performance for that configuration.

Did Skyrim have good frame rates for you (at good settings)? If so, could just be an issue with SCII not liking something in your config (perhaps a combo of drivers/settings?)...
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December 2, 2011 5:21:30 PM

WR2 said:
Temps look 'ok' - nothing to get excited about.
Still under warranty, right? Dell tech support and the Dell support forums are where I'd be looking for answers if I was in your position.
We're not anywhere near as qualified to address your issue(s) as they would be.


Unfotunately I've hit up dell tech support and keep getting the run around. I spend an hour on the phone while they go off a check list and have me do hard restarts and benchmarks or taking out the battery pack etc.

Basically they don't know whats wrong and every call back is another tech agent and another list.

I know if I contact dell's warranty department I can get a replacement shipped out.

I just want to make sure its not a hardware issue so I can get the proper parts before doing so.

Thanks again for all the responses guys! Just trying to figure out if its CPU related or another hardware issue.
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December 2, 2011 5:23:32 PM

AntiZig said:
I doubt that skyrim is more intensive than SC2. Regardless though, according to the bench above with single 6990 and 2670 you should be getting at least 50fps on ultra, you are getting half of that. So, unless you're seeing microstutter caused by CF, I'd say that you're underperforming

on the other hand, I wouldn't be comfortable running gpu above 75, but that's me. as long as it's not throttling down you should be fine.

I'm not familiar with multi card setups, but when you disable the CF, can you choose which of the two GPUs it uses to run games? If that is possible, I'd try out running on each GPU to see if one is perhaps malperforming and thus lowering performance of the other.


I really dont think its micro stutter.

Just because I get the same lower FPS with a single GPU and its more of a screen delay its a constant lag as opposed to spikes.

When I disable CF it just defaults to the primary card I'm pretty sure its already specified in the bios. But that might be something to look into I just don't have the know how to swap the defaults in bios.
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December 2, 2011 5:24:29 PM

shadamus said:
Running on battery would make the numbers you're seeing make sense.

Plugged in, that's definitely poor performance for that configuration.

Did Skyrim have good frame rates for you (at good settings)? If so, could just be an issue with SCII not liking something in your config (perhaps a combo of drivers/settings?)...


I get about 60 FPS flat with skyrim on mixed mainly high - med settings. I get unplayable FPS on Ultra somewhere around under 40 FPS and very choppy.
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a b D Laptop
December 2, 2011 8:03:34 PM

is your vsync on? and what's the monitor refresh rate? it's not a 120hz one is it?

because normally 30 fps shouldn't be choppy at all
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December 2, 2011 8:35:39 PM

V sync is off.

60hz is my refresh rate.

Smooth gameplay for me is at least 60 constant if not 80+ FPS.

Theres a visible difference to me playing at 60 FPS and playing at 30 or 80 FPS.

Whether or not 30 FPS is choppy its pretty much been determined that I should be getting at least 80+ FPS on medium to high settings of not 80 + on Ultra.

I'm just trying to figure out why I'm not getting that I should have.
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December 4, 2011 4:02:53 AM

Bump! Still looking for help
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a b D Laptop
December 4, 2011 10:11:46 AM

It would be best if you could provide me few details.
1. Do you have the latest CCC and drivers?
2. What happens to FPS when you play other high end games?
3. Does your CPU throttle under load? Can you check it in CPU-Z?

Check the below thread and update you system if you haven't done it yet.
http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-m18x/601148-6...

I dont have much first hand experience with 6990M CF. But atleast I could point you to the correct direction. Good luck!
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December 4, 2011 5:52:38 PM

perfectblue said:
It would be best if you could provide me few details.
1. Do you have the latest CCC and drivers?
2. What happens to FPS when you play other high end games?
3. Does your CPU throttle under load? Can you check it in CPU-Z?

Check the below thread and update you system if you haven't done it yet.
http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-m18x/601148-6...

I dont have much first hand experience with 6990M CF. But atleast I could point you to the correct direction. Good luck!


1) I'm using ver 11.10 for CCC my bios is updated.

2) With skyrim I get a solid 60 FPS on High settings.

Around 30 - 40 choppy on Ultra.

3) What are the criteria for CPU throttle? I never see my CPU usage past 20% under load on Ultra or med / high settings.

I'm using a CPU monitoring program that comes with my bigfoot killer nic card. I have CPU - Z but don't know how to access the actual monitoring info.
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a b D Laptop
December 5, 2011 10:14:07 AM

Since you get the same bad performance in other games too, it has to be a generalized problem.
If your clock speed goes down significantly at high load it is throttling. If your CPU usage doesn't reach 100%, then it definitely not throttling.
Try getting the GPU-z and start logging. Maybe its the GPU which is underclocking?

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