Question Massive FPS problems on brand new laptop

Aug 16, 2019
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Hey there, so I bought a new Dell XPS 15 a few weeks ago. I've been playing fortnite on it and had been averaging about 250 fps on the lowest in game settings. 2 days ago I started hitting about 40 fps consistently and would only shoot back up to about 200 for 15-20 seconds. The cpu isn't being throttled, as I've undervolted and dropped the cpu temp to about 78 on average while playing to see if these issues would go away. Before I undervolted, my cpu temp was hitting about 99. I've made sure that the GPU being used is the GeForce one I have and not the integrated graphics card. But I'm still stuck at anywhere from 25-50 fps. It's not capped when its low either, it fluctuates.

Does anyone have any ideas? I've tried just about everything i can think of, including disabling the integrated graphics card.
 
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britechguy

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First, don't undervolt the processor!! If you have an i5 or i7 the maximum normal operating temperature is 100° C, and the probability of your actually reaching that is very close to zero. And there is still room between that and the critical temperature where the processor would be throttled.

When you start messing with "the juice" available to the CPU, and particularly when you deprive it of what it is designed to expect, all sorts of issues can, and often do, ensue.
 
Aug 16, 2019
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First, don't undervolt the processor!! If you have an i5 or i7 the maximum normal operating temperature is 100° C, and the probability of your actually reaching that is very close to zero. And there is still room between that and the critical temperature where the processor would be throttled.

When you start messing with "the juice" available to the CPU, and particularly when you deprive it of what it is designed to expect, all sorts of issues can, and often do, ensue.
Ehhh... undervolting is a pretty tried and true way of increasing performance. Processors receive too much "juice" from the factory and it impacts performance negatively.

I agree though, OP, that since it sounds like this is one of the last major tweaks you did before experiencing the problem, you should try reverting back to your original voltage settings and see if your performance goes back to normal.

If that doesn't do it, I'd recommend using something like MSI Afterburner to monitor your CPU and GPU clocks, power, and usage, then take a peek at the graphs after playing for a minute our two. That will tell you what component is underperforming and help you get to the bottom of it.

It sounds like there's a power saving setting that's kicked in, and your CPU and/or GPU are clocking down to save power. I know it's almost silly to ask, but are you on the High Performance power profile? Is your laptop plugged in when this happens? Even though your GPU is set to use the Nvidia GPU, is it actually using the Nvidia GPU? (monitoring usage will tell you this).

Report back and let us know!

Cheers,
Figrin
 

britechguy

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undervolting is a pretty tried and true way of increasing performance. Processors receive too much "juice" from the factory and it impacts performance negatively.
As I have often said, and not just in the realm of computing, "the received wisdom is often anything but." Those that design computer hardware know what they're doing.

The amount of unwarranted concern I see about "temperatures" just makes my jaw drop. Until or unless you're actually having problems, which means running at or above Tmax for long periods of time when under heavy load, or close to it at idle, you don't try to fix a non-existent problem.

However, we are both in agreement here with regard to reversing this change. It is a major one and it should be the first thing switched back to factory default as part of a diagnostic process.
 
Aug 16, 2019
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Ehhh... undervolting is a pretty tried and true way of increasing performance. Processors receive too much "juice" from the factory and it impacts performance negatively.

I agree though, OP, that since it sounds like this is one of the last major tweaks you did before experiencing the problem, you should try reverting back to your original voltage settings and see if your performance goes back to normal.

If that doesn't do it, I'd recommend using something like MSI Afterburner to monitor your CPU and GPU clocks, power, and usage, then take a peek at the graphs after playing for a minute our two. That will tell you what component is underperforming and help you get to the bottom of it.

It sounds like there's a power saving setting that's kicked in, and your CPU and/or GPU are clocking down to save power. I know it's almost silly to ask, but are you on the High Performance power profile? Is your laptop plugged in when this happens? Even though your GPU is set to use the Nvidia GPU, is it actually using the Nvidia GPU? (monitoring usage will tell you this).

Report back and let us know!

Cheers,
Figrin
Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I've had my laptop plugged in while playing. When I go to the power plan options to switch onto the high performance option, I don't have one listed, oddly enough.

And for the GPU, on MSI Afterburner it says it's reading the GTX 1650, and this fps problem happens when I've disabled the integrated graphics as well.

I still have the problems without undervolting as well.
 
Aug 16, 2019
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As I have often said, and not just in the realm of computing, "the received wisdom is often anything but." Those that design computer hardware know what they're doing.

The amount of unwarranted concern I see about "temperatures" just makes my jaw drop. Until or unless you're actually having problems, which means running at or above Tmax for long periods of time when under heavy load, or close to it at idle, you don't try to fix a non-existent problem.

However, we are both in agreement here with regard to reversing this change. It is a major one and it should be the first thing switched back to factory default as part of a diagnostic process.
I have to continue pushing back a little. CPU's will often never reach TMax because they're thermal throttling to prevent temperatures from getting that high. So even though components aren't being damaged by heat, the performance impact affects user experience in a real way.

...in fact, the impact is big enough that "those that design computer hardware" are starting to undervolt CPUs straight out of the factory. Maybe this is just a cheap way of avoiding designing proper cooling systems... but in a few years, I bet it's going to be the norm for all performance laptops.
 
Aug 16, 2019
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So I just played a game on the integrated graphics, and fortnite used like 98% of that compared to like 70 something on my nvidia one. At first i was getting like 500 fps in the lobby (which is higher than i normally get) and was about 350 in game, but then it started to drop a ton and i was consistently at about 45.
 
Aug 16, 2019
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So I just played a game on the integrated graphics, and fortnite used like 98% of that compared to like 70 something on my nvidia one. At first i was getting like 500 fps in the lobby (which is higher than i normally get) and was about 350 in game, but then it started to drop a ton and i was consistently at about 45.
At least we know that your dedicated GPU is being utilized.

Did you by chance make sure that your laptop is plugged in and not using any power saving settings?

I still think it would be useful for you to see the wattage, power, and frequency of your CPU and GPU while you are playing the game in order to see what's being limited. If you take a screenshot of those graphs from MSI afterburner and post them here, folks might be able to give some more precise advice.
 
Aug 16, 2019
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Well, it's not letting me post the screenshots for whatever reason, but here are the numbers

CPU wattage: was about 31.8 the whole game
CPU Clock: about 3988 throughout
CPU temperature: about 81/82
CPU power: 21.7
GPU 1 power limit: went from 0 to 1 on intervals of about 2 minutes
GPU temp: 59

Worth noting i switched back to my nvidia gpu for this game
 

britechguy

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Tmax is WITHIN NORMAL LIMITS, not over it, so throttling will not occur until it is exceeded, and not just by one degree. The i5 and i7 will chug along without throttling up to 100 degrees C, and a bit beyond because there is typically a couple of degrees before throttling kicks in and even a few more degrees before Tcritical and shutdown.

Trying to preemptively fix what isn't a problem is a problem. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 
Aug 16, 2019
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Tmax is WITHIN NORMAL LIMITS, not over it, so throttling will not occur until it is exceeded, and not just by one degree. The i5 and i7 will chug along without throttling up to 100 degrees C, and a bit beyond because there is typically a couple of degrees before throttling kicks in and even a few more degrees before Tcritical and shutdown.

Trying to preemptively fix what isn't a problem is a problem. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Well given that i had problems when it got to about 100 degrees, i tried to fix it.
 

britechguy

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But, back to the issue at hand. You should not be seeing this sort of behavior, period, let alone on a brand new machine.

If you can return it for refund or exchange that's precisely what I would do. Having this sort of issue almost straight out of the shoot screams "lemon!"
 
Reactions: sublilman
What has changed since all was well?

I might guess that your cooling fans are no longer working or the pathways are clogged.

If the processor bumps up against 100c. the multiplier will be lowered impacting your gaming.
After a bit, the temperatures return to nominal, the multiplier is bumped up to max and the cycle repeats.


I suppose there is a utility that can record a timeline of your temperatures.
I don't know what that might be.

HWmonitor will give you the current, max and min temperatures along with fan speeds.
If the max was near 100c, you can suspect throttling.
 
Aug 16, 2019
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What has changed since all was well?

I might guess that your cooling fans are no longer working or the pathways are clogged.

If the processor bumps up against 100c. the multiplier will be lowered impacting your gaming.
After a bit, the temperatures return to nominal, the multiplier is bumped up to max and the cycle repeats.


I suppose there is a utility that can record a timeline of your temperatures.
I don't know what that might be.

HWmonitor will give you the current, max and min temperatures along with fan speeds.
If the max was near 100c, you can suspect throttling.
From the time I had no problems to when the problems started occurring, I only updated the game. My friends have had no problems with this, and I haven't seen anything else about people have fps problems since the latest update.
 

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