Question CPU stuck at .4 Ghz, slow, fan always on

trileysm

Honorable
Jan 23, 2014
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Hello All,

I've had problems with my less than 2 year old Acer Spin 3 for a year now, and have posted about it previously: https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/acer-spin-3-with-ssd-sluggish-issues-with-windows-explorer-and-streaming.3579514/

It got suddenly very sluggish after being lightning fast, and now it is to the point where it's nearly always too slow to do much of anything. I can't even use Zoom for work, so I need to fix this before I return to my job later this month or get a new machine. If I could just get some more months out of this, that would be very, very helpful.

The CPU speed is stuck at .4 Ghz, regardless of whether I'm doing anything. I've done tons of malware scans, have no bloatware left, and the 256gb SSD is nowhere near full. The person who responded last time suggested updating BIOS, which I haven't done yet as I'm worried it might cause problems? I'm happy to try it if people recommend it, I've just talked to two repair specialists who don't think BIOS is the issue. I started the laptop in safe mode just now, and while it was still pretty slow with basic tasks (Windows explorer, etc), the CPU was at 2.21 ghz as it should be.

With the fan on almost all the time and the laptop itself getting pretty hot if I try to do much, I downloaded CoreTemp to check the CPU temperature, which hovers at around 48 Celsius (not a huge deal as far as I can tell?). I'm tempted to use ThrottleStop, but also nervous I could make it worse. I could try opening the back up and cleaning the fan after watching YouTube tutorials, but just like with BIOS I'm more a noob than an expert and don't want to mess the thing up too bad.

Performance is the same whether on battery or plugged in. I've heard this could be a power supply issue (battery/performance settings are set to the max so that's not a problem), so I'm willing to buy a new charger, but not sure if that's the case if I'm having this issues while plugged in as well. My cat did chew on the cord a couple of times, and I'd be surprised if he is the culprit but hey, I'm stumped.

Any help is much appreciated!

Thanks,
T
 

trileysm

Honorable
Jan 23, 2014
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10,510
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Thanks for the suggestions!

I’d consider reinstalling chipset drivers unique to your system; perhaps they we’re botched or replaced with MS default drivers during a Windows update. Certainly can’t hurt!
I went into device manager and uninstalled/deleted the drivers under the system tab which started with Intel(R) before restarting and there's no change - should I do this with additional drivers?

And make sure you are not in any sort of Power saving ‘Economy’ mode for Windows Power plan mngmt, normally Balanced mode is fine..
Yes, it's on a high performance mode.

Any other tips?
 
May 22, 2020
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I'm tempted to use ThrottleStop, but also nervous I could make it worse
Your CPU is already running at its lowest possible speed. How could you possibly make it worse?

ThrottleStop is the only software that includes features to specifically solve this problem. Download ThrottleStop and post some pictures of it if you need help. Usually clearing the BD PROCHOT box on the main screen will instantly solve the problem you are having.
 

trileysm

Honorable
Jan 23, 2014
19
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10,510
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Usually clearing the BD PROCHOT box on the main screen will instantly solve the problem you are having.
Just downloaded ThrottleStop and deselected BD PROCHOT. This increased the CPU speed and the laptop is running much faster, though it's with the loud fan running all the time, which is also what I'm trying to avoid since it's been loud enough that I can't record myself or video call well for work (I'm a teacher). Any thoughts on working around this? Should I be concerned about temperature? (see screenshot)

Side note: I cleaned the fan this morning and removed quite the dust bunny, this has helped a little bit with the fan noise and the heat I feel by touching it, but not by much. This loud fan is a killer. Just for reference, I'm not trying to game or anything, just use Zoom, Youtube, and Netflix, sometimes with other Chrome tabs open along with Word and/or Powerpoint. I have 8GB memory.

Thanks again for all advice.
 

trileysm

Honorable
Jan 23, 2014
19
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10,510
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Update: I just selected and deselected BD PROCHOT and the temp shot up to over 95C immediately. Measured it in ThrottleStop and CoreTemp simultaneously. So looks like I have a volcano on my hands. Any advice?
 
May 22, 2020
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Intel says the maximum "safe operating temperature" for an 8th Gen Core i CPU is 100°C. Acer set the thermal throttling temperature to 95°C so your CPU will always run at a safe temperature. Intel has been using the same throttling temperature for 10+ years on the vast majority of their CPUs without any problems.

The result is that manufacturers have decided to use heatsinks that are completely inadequate. They do not dissipate enough heat so the fans end up running like a jet engine. Great design. My 4th Gen Lenovo is fast and whisper quiet. The heatsink is not paper thin. I would not trade it for any recent thin and light laptop with inadequate cooling.



Here are a few things you can try. Open the TPL window and reduce the turbo power limits. Less power consumption equals less heat that the inadequate cooling system has to deal with. Try setting both the long and short turbo power limits to 15W.

You can pull your laptop apart and try to replace the thermal paste between the heatsink and CPU. This can deteriorate over time depending on the quality of thermal paste that the manufacturer originally used. I recently did this to a similar 8th Gen laptop and there was a 15°C drop in temperatures. This decreased the fan noise.

Have a look in the ThrottleStop Options window. On the right hand side there is a setting called PROCHOT Offset. This lets you adjust the maximum temperature your CPU will reach. If there is a Lock icon to the right of the Lock PROCHOT Offset feature, you will not be able to adjust this. The register is locked.

If this is not locked, you can change the PROCHOT Offset variable. A setting of 0 will allow the CPU to thermal throttle at the Intel default value of 100°C. Set PROCHOT Offset to 20 and your CPU will thermal throttle and never go above 80°C. (100°C - 20).
 

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