Question Involuntary undervolting

Feb 25, 2020
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Hi! I’m posting this trying to help my brother with his laptop. He has a Lenovo V110 (full model number V110-15IKB) with an Intel i5. He is not really satisfied with the speed of his computer - and it’s an i5 that he is trying to game on, run virtual machines and do other kinds of resource-heavy stuff. That is understandable if you consider the hardware he has.

But, there is something fishy that both he and I are confused about. When the computer boots up, it sometimes prints “Under-voltage detected”, then crashes and reboots saying “Power loss detected”. Apparently he did a BIOS upgrade and it’s now improved, but it still occurs every now and then.

I am not a hardware expert - I am a programmer. But I installed CPU-Z. The only thing I’ve only messed with clock speeds on is a Raspberry Pi, but I hope I can get some help from experts here. CPU-Z on my Acer with an i7 (so I had something to compare with) showed a core input voltage above 1 volt. But on my brothers computer, this value is 1. not stable at all. It jumps from 1.1 to 0.6 to 0.9 and this changes every second. 2.The lowest value we measured was 0.589V. Google told me that an i5 should have at least above 1 volt. Remember that we don’t want to undervolt this CPU, we want it to work normally. It’s an i5, but my brother claims that when some of his games crashed, the Watchdog timer said that it was because of undervoltage. I haven’t been able to confirm that though. Roblox runs at 10FPS, so the undervolting might have something to do with the decrease of performance in his programs.

This computer is a Lenovo laptop and not the most expensive one. I have helped my brother with it quite a lot - OS reinstalls, blue screens and so on, but it’s finally working again except for this voltage problem. The laptop is about 2 years old and already has some other hardware defects. Lenovo is not the best brand and the warranty is expired. But what is the best solution? I assume the answer is a battery replacement or replacement of some other hardware (it makes no difference if the power supply is plugged in or not, and we also have two supplies that we have tested with).

I would really appreciate an answer or steps for troubleshooting and can provide more information if you need to, including screenshots of course.

The computer clock settings has never been messed with, it’s all default. It has never been overclocked or anything similar.
 
Feb 25, 2020
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Also worth to mention is that the input power differs even though the computer has no load at all - empty task manager, only CPU-Z and Malwarebytes in the background. The lowest value was measured with only the desktop open.

I’m not a hardware expert, but if the CPU core input voltage can go from 1.1 to 0.9 to 0.6 to 0.9 to 0.6 etc. (and this happens as long as the computer is running) , something doesn’t seem right.
 

MasterMadBones

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Dec 26, 2012
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That VID behaviour seems normal. A CPU will adjust it's frequency and voltage based on the load. When you're sitting on the desktop, load is low, so frequencies (and by extension, voltages) are low to to save power. The rapid changes that occur are the results of background processes occasionally taking up CPU time. Additionally, the i5-7200U is an ultra-low voltage CPU that will never go far beyond 1.0V to begin with. To verify CPU stability, you can do a prime95 or AIDA64 stress test for up to an hour.

On the performance side, I suggest you run the test at https://www.userbenchmark.com/ and post the results here to see if each component is running as well as it should.

To me, it sounds like the errors you're getting are related to the motherboard power delivery. You can attempt to use ThrottleStop to add some voltage (say 50mV) to stop the crashes, but that does not fix startup. We can assume that this laptop has no access to voltage settings in the BIOS.
 
Feb 25, 2020
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That VID behaviour seems normal. A CPU will adjust it's frequency and voltage based on the load. When you're sitting on the desktop, load is low, so frequencies (and by extension, voltages) are low to to save power. The rapid changes that occur are the results of background processes occasionally taking up CPU time. Additionally, the i5-7200U is an ultra-low voltage CPU that will never go far beyond 1.0V to begin with. To verify CPU stability, you can do a prime95 or AIDA64 stress test for up to an hour.

On the performance side, I suggest you run the test at https://www.userbenchmark.com/ and post the results here to see if each component is running as well as it should.

To me, it sounds like the errors you're getting are related to the motherboard power delivery. You can attempt to use ThrottleStop to add some voltage (say 50mV) to stop the crashes, but that does not fix startup. We can assume that this laptop has no access to voltage settings in the BIOS.
Thank you so much for this detailed response. Yeah, as I said I don’t have much to compare with for CPU voltages. My brother is 12 and I’m 16 - we both love computers and know quite a lot, but none of us have experience around CPU specs and voltages.

I will perform tests you suggested and get back to my score. This laptop is a Lenovo and the build quality started to fail us only 1 year after purchase, so it can surely be something with the motherboard.

The mainboard is a “Lenovo LNVNB161216”. There’s not much documentation available online about it and how to troubleshoot, sadly:(
 
Feb 25, 2020
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UserBenchmark
I think the devil is the 620 graphics. He’s playing Roblox but also more resource-heavy games like American Truck Simulator and BeamngDrive.

Ideally, he wants it to perform with like 60FPS but that’s not possible without a much more powerful rig obviously. If we can get Roblox from 10 up to 20 or just 15 we’d be happy (at least I). I upgraded from an i5 to an i7 and I think the computer is the limitation here. Because of our travel habits, we need laptops and he probably has to stick with the computer with another year or two, so any tips for achieving better performance are appreciated!
 

MasterMadBones

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Watch your background CPU usage. 13% is quite a lot, so make sure to close any unnecessary programs while you're playing the game and take a look in task manager to disable as many auto-startup programs as possible. Also pay attention to Windows Update. Give it some time every couple of days to do its thing.

It also looks like you're running in a low-power mode, so change the Windows Power Plan if you can. Although performance in this specific set of benchmark looks fine, stressing the CPU and GPU simultaneously, like in a game, can have a negative effect on performance if the power limit is too low. If it's set to Balanced, you can adjust the power budget using the slider that pops up when you click the battery system tray icon.

If all of that is taken care of, the only other suggestion I have for you is to lower the graphics settings. The HD 620 seems to perform fine in Roblox as long as you're on low or medium settings, preferably at 720p.
 
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