Question Acer Nitro 7 CPU Throttling Issue when loading CPU

Nov 16, 2020
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I own a Acer Nitro 7 AN715-51 model gaming laptop (Intel i5-9300H). Recently I noticed that while running games or any other benchmarks my cpu clock speed drops from the usual 3.9 Ghz to 2.0 GHz or even lower and stays there. As soon as the application or game is closed or minimized the clock speed comes back to almost 4.0 GHz. I do not understand why this issue occurs. The BIOS is at latest version for this model.
  • Temperatures ranges around 75C - 95C which is normal from the time I got my laptop
  • And no, my laptop used to run at these temperatures AND AT MAXIMUM FREQUENCY without any throttling although it would show Thermal Throttling in ThrottleStop.
  • Clock speed is normal while Idle
  • I have not undervolted or underclocked my CPU/GPU
  • I reset/re installed windows already and issue still persists
  • I have also updated my BIOS to the latest version available
  • Related Screenshots
  • I tried to disable BD-Prochot, Intel Speed Step and every other major possibility that I found on the internet.
  • Maximum & Minimum Processor State is set to 100% (Power Plan: High Performance w/ maximum performance settings AND Fan speed at Maximum)
At this point I'm clueless as to what is causing this issue. If anyone here can help me in any way possible I'd really appreciate it.
 

lga1156_ftw

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Your processors base clock speed for all cores is 2.4 ghz : https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/191075/intel-core-i5-9300h-processor-8m-cache-up-to-4-10-ghz.html

The 3.9ghz (up to 4.1ghz) is intel turbo boost technology just boosting single core higher.

In task manager even if you only have 1 core or thread running at 3.9ghz it will show that as the freq

Thermal paste might of dried out or cpu fan is clogged full of dust, i have seen alot of acer nitro with this problem, even most fixed it after replacing thermal paste with something like gc gelid extreme. Even then you need to probably undervolt unless you use laptop cooling bad (this helps little). There is more advanced cooling solution like adding your own heat sinks and improving the thermals yourself.
 
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Nov 16, 2020
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Firstly I would like to thank you very much for your intention to help me out in this case.
I booked an on-site service and the technician did a thermal repast before 1 week and partially cleaned the exhaust fans. So I don't think that this is related to temperature.

The main problem here is:
The laptop stays IDLE with 92° C temperature and RUNS AT 4.07GHZ (AT MAX) and never throttles down to less than 3.5GHz WHEN IDLE.

The laptop remains at 92°C temperature and as soon as I launch a game (say CS:GO, for example), the clock speed throttles back to less than 2.4GHz and never goes up.
As soon as I minimize the game, the clock speed hits to the maximum possible value i.e. 3.9-4.0GHz. Once I return to the game window, it throttles again.

This is not just for any game but also during stress test. With these temperatures I ran stress test on my CPU before like 2 months, and it hit a maximum of 4.1GHz speed. But now, it doesn't even cross 3. The temperatures are same now and before, but there's this issue.

Thank you for your valuable time..
 

lga1156_ftw

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It is still thermal throttling on all cores, i seen people even use liquid metal and modify the heatsink and still be thermal throttling on these models.

Might be power throttling aswell, did you update bios or ec before this occurred? Download intel xtu and run stress test, while doing it does it say "power throttling" on red or yellow.

"BD prochot" is safety measure when temperatures reach high clockspeed will throttle, i would keep it on since its not causing the issue.

EDIT: have you tried undervolting the core, cache + igpu in throttlestop or core in xtu?
 
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It is thermal as always. Even when I was hitting 4.1GHz before, it was Thermal throttling and sometimes Power throttling. And yes, it is "RED"

I've had these throttle notifications when I stressed my CPU when I bought this laptop and still hit the maximum frequency.

I updated my BIOS earlier when I bought this laptop itself, and never touched it till now.

I even tried to disable BD Prochot using Throttlestop, and I still had the issue occuring.

Finally, yes, I tried undervolting before to reduce the temperatures but that didn't help at all. So I reverted them back to default values.

One thing I would like to add here that is very interesting is:
I use ThrottleStop to undervolt my laptop CPU, and the strange thing that I noticed during stress testing today was;
As soon as I start stressing the CPU, the Core Voltage (1.2V) reduces to approximately 0.9xyz and varies upto 0.97x (x = 0..9). When the stress test ends or if I stop it, the voltage goes back again to 1.2xy VOLT.
Another vision is, the clock speed multiplier (41x, 41x, 40x, 40x) comes down to around 32.1 when stressing. If you don't understand what I exactly mean, I could try to send a video demonstration of the issue.
 

lga1156_ftw

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No need to send a video, that is normal power / thermal throttling issue. Keep "bd prochot" on (ticked) at all times.

Can you try manually setting undervolt of -125mv to cpu core, cpu cache and intel gpu under "FIVR control" , also same tab under "memory" tick option called "disable and lock turbo power limits" , mark that. After you done this come back main menu and go to "TPL" tab. mark both "Turbo boost long and short power max" and write higher values on both columns, 50 = 50watts. Your cpu max wattage is 45, you can either set it that or 50 for both

Here is a video to help with undervolting the cpu core, cache and intel gpu. Hes using -150mv but that is hes cpu, you might not be able to do that low, so start from 100-125mv
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jZFasPjS6k
 
Nov 16, 2020
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I have undervolted my Core and Cache to -0.125.0V right now and set the Intel GPU to -0.0508V. I increased the Turbo values to 56W and 56W. The core voltage still reduces by around 0.3V when stressing the CPU. I've uploaded pictures of the problem here: IMGUR REDIRECT

EDIT: The core multiplier falls down to 32.x or upto 30.x sometimes.
EDIT #2: The power plan is High performance now.
 

lga1156_ftw

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Try all cache, core and intel gpu at -0.150mv values. If its not stable then -0.140mv . You can also try ticking the "speedshift epp" in main tab and using value 64.

Any higher values than the base clock are just intel turbo boost, lowering the Speedshift epp number means you should be able to get higher multipliers with turbo boost.

But then again your still power / thermal limited, we can see that the wattage is hitting 35w which is fine. With lower temperatures you probably would get higher speeds. Laptop cooling pad might be worth a buy, kootek cooling pad is fine it will give decreased temperatures : https://www.amazon.com/Kootek-Laptop-Cooling-Cooler-Adjustable/dp/B01469DJLM
 
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lga1156_ftw

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Was this with -150mv on cache, core and intel gpu?

Yeah seems like its temperature related, tweaking with the speedshift epp number you get higher multiplier in gaming.

What do you mean techincian "partially" cleaned the exhaust fans, doenst sound like he did much of a good job. I have seen these models thermal throttle even after applying liquid metal as thermal solution. I would say get the kootek cooling pad 12-17inch.

EDIT: i would say -150mv is probably the limit, you might even get stability issues with that , bluescreen freezing etc then lower it to -145mv, undervolting is not dangerous its the opposite, too much voltage is problem not the other way around.
If the cooling pad wont help then you might look into modifiying the cooling solution , this means adding heatsinks or thermal pads and possible repasting with liquid metal. Hopefully the cooling pad is enough.
 
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Was this with -150mv on cache, core and intel gpu?
Oh well, I saw that as -140mV.. My bad..
I tested it with -0.150V right now, and it now touches 3.6-3.7GHz under stress and the CPU still thermal throttles with around 92-93 degress.
I've updated the IMGUR link with updated picture now, please do take a look at it..
 
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As soon as I restarted the laptop and ran Stress test in ThrottleStop, it came back down to 3.3GHz again. I tried to keep Intel Speed Shift to 0 for maximum performance, but still got the same result. And by the way, all of these occurs at -0.150V undervolt.

EDIT: The multiplier is now locked at 33.9'ish to 34.0x'ish values.
 

lga1156_ftw

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Thats because you didnt save the voltages and other settings, you need to go FIVR menu and after tweaking the settings again, including power limits. Down on the menu select "save voltages immidiattely" after that apply. Retest after same settings than before restart.

Also look my last post about making throttlestop start on every boot.
 
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It is set to "Save voltage immediately". Now it's locked at around 3.2GHz with the same undervolt and Turbo limits. I don't understand a thing in this case..
 

uWebb429

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The 3.9ghz (up to 4.1ghz) is intel turbo boost technology just boosting single core higher.
Intel Turbo Boost technology is designed to boost all cores higher. A 9300H can run night and day on all cores at 4.0 GHz as long as it is not thermal or power limit throttling.

The screenshot posted shows Max temperature 95°C and max power consumption 34.6W. The 9300H has a 45W TDP rating. Your cooling is not adequate. The heatsink and fan need to be thoroughly cleaned and the thermal paste between the CPU and the heatsink should be replaced.

my laptop used to run at these temperatures AND AT MAXIMUM FREQUENCY
You need to get your temperatures under control to restore performance.

Use Cinebench R20 or R23 for testing purposes. That way you can compare your scores to what other users are getting with the same 9300H.

https://www.maxon.net/en/cinebench

When testing, open ThrottleStop - Limit Reasons. Under the CORE column, you are going to see either thermal throttling or PL1 / PL2 power limit throttling lighting up in red.

When setting your voltages, the CPU core and cache do not need to be set equally. With a 9300H, set the core and cache to -125 mV and run Cinebench for a baseline. Now start increasing only the core in steps of -25 mV. Run Cinebench again and again. The 9300H is usually still 100% stable with the core at -200 mV or -225 mV. This can help reduce temperatures until you get around to fixing the thermal paste problem. Leave the Intel GPU at +0.0000. The Intel GPU is not used when gaming and undervolting it can interfere with your undervolt of the CPU. The CPU is much more important so concentrate on that.

Once you get the core up to -200 mV, then you can go back and try to increase the cache. Go up in much smaller steps. Many 9th Gen CPUs are not 100% stable when the cache goes beyond -125 mV. Run some light load TS Bench tests with it set to 1 or 2 Threads. Part load testing is just as important as full load testing. Many blue screens happen when mobile CPUs are lightly loaded, not fully loaded. If the TS Bench reports any errors, you have gone too far and will need to reduce your undervolt.

Have a look in the ThrottleStop Options window on the right side. Acer has set the PROCHOT Offset value to 8 so your CPU starts to thermal throttle at 92°C instead of the Intel recommended 100°C. If you do not see a Lock icon near this setting, you can adjust this to a lower number. Intel default for the offset is 0. Many laptops set this to 2 or 3. If you see the Lock icon, the BIOS has locked this setting and you will not be able to change it.



If you are having performance issues while gaming, turn on the ThrottleStop Log File. Play a game for at least 15 minutes. When finished, exit the game and then exit ThrottleStop. Your log file will be in the ThrottleStop / Logs folder. Attach a log to your next post and include some more pictures that show your updated ThrottleStop settings. The main window, the FIVR window and the TPL window are the important ones.
 
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lga1156_ftw

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Intel Turbo Boost technology is designed to boost all cores higher. A 9300H can run night and day on all cores at 4.0 GHz as long as it is not thermal or power limit throttling.

The screenshot posted shows Max temperature 95°C and max power consumption 34.6W. The 9300H has a 45W TDP rating. Your cooling is not adequate. The heatsink and fan need to be thoroughly cleaned and the thermal paste between the CPU and the heatsink should be replaced.


You need to get your temperatures under control to restore performance.

Use Cinebench R20 or R23 for testing purposes. That way you can compare your scores to what other users are getting with the same 9300H.

https://www.maxon.net/en/cinebench

When testing, open ThrottleStop - Limit Reasons. Under the CORE column, you are going to see either thermal throttling or PL1 / PL2 power limit throttling lighting up in red.

When setting your voltages, the CPU core and cache do not need to be set equally. With a 9300H, set the core and cache to -125 mV and run Cinebench for a baseline. Now start increasing only the core in steps of -25 mV. Run Cinebench again and again. The 9300H is usually still 100% stable with the core at -200 mV or -225 mV. This can help reduce temperatures until you get around to fixing the thermal paste problem. Leave the Intel GPU at +0.0000. The Intel GPU is not used when gaming and undervolting it can interfere with your undervolt of the CPU. The CPU is much more important so concentrate on that.

Once you get the core up to -200 mV, then you can go back and try to increase the cache. Go up in much smaller steps. Many 9th Gen CPUs are not 100% stable when the cache goes beyond -125 mV. Run some light load TS Bench tests with it set to 1 or 2 Threads. Part load testing is just as important as full load testing. Many blue screens happen when mobile CPUs are lightly loaded, not fully loaded. If the TS Bench reports any errors, you have gone too far and will need to reduce your undervolt.

Have a look in the ThrottleStop Options window on the right side. Acer has set the PROCHOT Offset value to 8 so your CPU starts to thermal throttle at 92°C instead of the Intel recommended 100°C. If you do not see a Lock icon near this setting, you can adjust this to a lower number. Intel default for the offset is 0. Many laptops set this to 2 or 3. If you see the Lock icon, the BIOS has locked this setting and you will not be able to change it.



If you are having performance issues while gaming, turn on the ThrottleStop Log File. Play a game for at least 15 minutes. When finished, exit the game and then exit ThrottleStop. Your log file will be in the ThrottleStop / Logs folder. Attach a log to your next post and include some more pictures that show your updated ThrottleStop settings. The main window, the FIVR window and the TPL window are the important ones.

Its already been repasted by "technician" Who probably used cheapest thermal paste there Is
 
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@uWebb429
I set the CPU core undervolt to -200mV and ran the test. The temperatures were still spiking to 93 degrees. I left the CPU Cache at -125mV as setting it to -150mV showed "4 errors" in TSBench. I set the PROCHOT value to 0 as you showed me in that picture. I've attached all my necessary ThrottleStop window pictures here: https://ibb.co/album/s5czX0
Just to mention, the dedicated GPU hits a maximum of 87 degree (afaik) when playing games like DOTA 2.

@lga1156_ftw
Right now it is running at 34 clock multiplier and the frequency while stressing is around 3.3GHz to 3.4GHz and starts falling down very slowly.

I've also uploaded a video of doing a TSBench test here:
View: https://youtu.be/KJetzAwi5ws

OBS does eat CPU resources a lot during recording, but still the results are same even if OBS is completely closed
EDIT: Forgot to attach OBS log. Due to message size limit, I've pasted it here: https://pastebin.com/15PqTNS7
 
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uWebb429

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Its already been repasted...
If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.

@xfire16451 - The heatsink that Acer is using is marginal. There is zero room for error. The paste has to be applied perfectly and it needs to be a top quality paste. Whatever toothpaste the tech had laying around is not going to cut it. You only learn the best method by doing this job yourself. Your 45W CPU is thermal throttling at only 32W. The cooling system is overwhelmed.

When Speed Shift is enabled (SST in green), the SpeedStep setting is ignored. No point in running tests with SpeedStep enabled vs disabled. It is not being used so it makes no difference.

The BIOS has locked the PROCHOT Offset setting to 8. You cannot use ThrottleStop to unlock what the BIOS has locked. Setting PROCHOT Offset to 0 is ignored by the CPU so you might as well leave it at 8.

Undervolting the CPU more than the cache will not help in the TS Bench test. Using different voltages does help in Cinebench R20 or R23 and it will help in modern games that use the AVX instruction set.

When you see TEMP in the far right column of the log file, that indicates lots of thermal throttling. Instead of running at 4000 MHz, sometimes your CPU slows down to as low as 2300 MHz. Poor cooling is killing performance.
 
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If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.

@xfire16451 - The heatsink that Acer is using is marginal. There is zero room for error. The paste has to be applied perfectly and it needs to be a top quality paste. Whatever toothpaste the tech had laying around is not going to cut it. You only learn the best method by doing this job yourself. Your 45W CPU is thermal throttling at only 32W. The cooling system is overwhelmed.

When Speed Shift is enabled (SST in green), the SpeedStep setting is ignored. No point in running tests with SpeedStep enabled vs disabled. It is not being used so it makes no difference.

The BIOS has locked the PROCHOT Offset setting to 8. You cannot use ThrottleStop to unlock what the BIOS has locked. Setting PROCHOT Offset to 0 is ignored by the CPU so you might as well leave it at 8.

Undervolting the CPU more than the cache will not help in the TS Bench test. Using different voltages does help in Cinebench R20 or R23 and it will help in modern games that use the AVX instruction set.

When you see TEMP in the far right column of the log file, that indicates lots of thermal throttling. Instead of running at 4000 MHz, sometimes your CPU slows down to as low as 2300 MHz. Poor cooling is killing performance.
So what do you suggest in my case? Because as I said earlier, the laptop used to run at 4GHz frequency even at 92 degrees before. It's just now that all these stupid errors are occuring.. I literally have no idea what to do right now.
 

lga1156_ftw

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So what do you suggest in my case? Because as I said earlier, the laptop used to run at 4GHz frequency even at 92 degrees before. It's just now that all these stupid errors are occuring.. I literally have no idea what to do right now.
1. Hes right about repasting yourself , best non conductive paste is "GC gelid extreme" , clean old thermal paste with isoprophyl alcohol 90%+.

2. I tested 5 laptop cooling pads and only one which worked and actually reduced temperatures with few laptops ( i had 2 of these, one lasted 1.5 years and second one 2.5 years before dying) was kootek 5 fan cooling pad : https://www.amazon.com/Kootek-Laptop-Cooling-Cooler-Adjustable/dp/B01469DJLM

3. Look for thermal modding, like drilling extra holes to laptop casing or adding thermal pads to transfer heat from the motheboard to components to front / back case. (this is more advanced and you need to be careful)
 
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1. Hes right about repasting yourself , best non conductive paste is "GC gelid extreme" , clean old thermal paste with isoprophyl alcohol 90%+.

2. I tested 5 laptop cooling pads and only one which worked and actually reduced temperatures with few laptops ( i had 2 of these, one lasted 1.5 years and second one 2.5 years before dying) was kootek 5 fan cooling pad : https://www.amazon.com/Kootek-Laptop-Cooling-Cooler-Adjustable/dp/B01469DJLM

3. Look for thermal modding, like drilling extra holes to laptop casing or adding thermal pads to transfer heat from the motheboard to components to front / back case. (this is more advanced and you need to be careful)
@lga1156_ftw
  1. Is Arctic Silver MX-4 or Grizzly Kryonaut a good choice for Gaming laptops?
  2. Unfortunately these products are not deliverable to India and also not available in Indian Amazon site. I had one from some other manufacturer but it stopped working in like a month, so I'm just elevating the laptop using that stand with no cooling fans at the bottom. Even when I was using that cooling pad, there were no difference in temperatures.
  3. Looks like a difficult job to me lol, I haven't even tried opening the laptop yet since it is under warranty. But since the seal is now broken (by the technician who repasted ofcourse), I could try to repaste it using some YouTube videos as referral.
Apart from these, can this be any sort of motherboard issue? Since whenever I ask technicians about heating issue, they just tell me that it could also be a defective motherboard.
 

uWebb429

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May 22, 2020
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@xfire16451 - If your computer used to work OK then it is not a defective motherboard. I have never heard that excuse before. The problem is the technician and the thermal paste he used.

It is not unusual for thermal paste to degrade over time, especially in a laptop that constantly runs at high temperatures. Replacing the thermal paste is normal maintenance. Kind of like changing the oil in your car.
 

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