Question Max Core Frequency while in-game sets to lowest Active Core ratio speed ?

Inzababa

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____

EDIT :

--> When running benchmarks and stress tests, the P-Core ratios seem to be applied correctly. When stress testing all cores, the stress test runs at the speed set for 8 active cores. When benchmarking 1 core, it runs at the speed set for 1 active core.
--> I tested in another game and it seems to work for settings of 3 to 7 active cores. (it was hard to tell because the game never used much CPU). So higher than 8, which is what I was trying to see.

This suggests my issue is specific to the game I'm currently playing.



I have been exchanging emails with Intel support. In their last message, they told me that XTU monitoring was intended to be used for stress testing, not for gaming. They said this in response to me questioning whether the information provided in XTU and in particular the "Active Core Count" was accurate.

Basically the game officially runs on 4 cores, but XTU is showing only 1 active core count, so I was asking "is it the game running on 1 core even though it officially runs on 4? Or is it XTU saying it is running on 1 even though it is running on 4?"

Even though they didn't literally say it, it is clear that Intel is implying that information shown by XTU when using XTU outside of stress testing can be inaccurate.



So I looked for other ways to monitor the number of active cores, couldn't find any, so in the end used MSI Afterburner's chart to check CPU core utilisation. This showed that all the cores are being used when I play this game, the utilisation for each of them was similar to all of them. I intuitively feel that this isn't normal, however I'm not competent enough to even have any idea to explain it.

It might be that, in this game, my computer is using all the cores together even though it shouldn't.






__



Hi,

I have been trying to overclock my i7-12700KF CPU. I've been using XTU and haven't touched the BIOS except to set XMP profile.

I thought I had achieved a stable profile, with no crashing and safe temperatures (bellow 90°C during stress test and usually bellow 60°C during gaming but with peaks of up to 80°C).

I followed this guide : https://www.tomshardware.com/how-to/intel-alder-lake-cpu-overclock-guide

I don't have all active cores at the same ratio, I played around with them a bit and currently have them set to 1 Active Core 53x, the next 6 Active Cores on 52x and the last one (8) on 51x.

So for example with that set up, while in game, my Max Core Frequency will cap at 5.1GHz and not 5.3GHz.

In the guide, it is recommended to set Windows power settings to balanced. When I do this, the CPU max frequency drops to around 2.8GHz while idle or browsing internet (that's intended) and increases during gaming to whatever I set the 8 active core ratio too . If I set Windows power settings to ultimate, then the CPU frequency goes up to 5.3GHz while idle or browsing internet but then drops to whatever I set the 8 active core ratio too (currently 51x = 5.1GHz).

I wrote to intel support, they replied that they couldn't help me because I had overclocked my CPU. I wrote to the support of the company who sold me the CPU and they said the same thing. They did mention though that this was probably due to a lack of "tension", that the CPU was limiting itself due to lack of power. Thing is, I tried increasing the voltage offset, changing turbo settings, but nothing worked.

In the end, I also tried reducing the Performance Active Core ratios way down to factory settings but the problem is still the same, simply at a different speed : when I game, the Max Core Frequency caps at whatever Active Core ratio I have set for 8 active cores.
 
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Aeacus

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Few things to understand;

Unless you play a single core game, where the game is allocated to the 1st active core, which runs 5.3 Ghz, you can not get 5.3 Ghz in-game. Most modern games today, require 4-8 cores and when game is allocated to a core that runs 5.1 Ghz, then this is the max you'll see in a game.

I wrote to intel support, they replied that they couldn't help me because I had overclocked my CPU. I wrote to the support of the company who sold me the CPU and they said the same thing.

There is a reason for that. Intel doesn't officially acknowledge that their CPUs can be OCd, hence 0 support for OC. Sure, Intel has made unlocked multiplier CPUs, that you can OC, but if you do that, you'll do it at your own risk, with 0 support from Intel and 0 warranty if you fry your CPU with OC.

It's like having a car, driving 100mph/160kph, while speed limit is 37mph/60kph and then complaining to car manufacturer that you have hard time controlling your car at those high speeds.
 

Inzababa

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Few things to understand;

Unless you play a single core game, where the game is allocated to the 1st active core, which runs 5.3 Ghz, you can not get 5.3 Ghz in-game. Most modern games today, require 4-8 cores and when game is allocated to a core that runs 5.1 Ghz, then this is the max you'll see in a game.

If I run XTU on my second screen and play a game on the first one, I can see the CPU stats while I play. One of them is "Active Core Count". When I play, the Active Core Count is 1. I assume that means the same thing as "1 single core".

However the frequency I used; 5.3GHz, was an illustration. If I reduce the active core ratios, same thing happens.

Basically :

1 Active core : 51x
7 Active cores : 50x
8 Active cores : 49

---> When I game, the Max Core Frequency is capped at 4.9Ghz (instead of 5.1GHz). >It never goes higher.



Shouldn't the Max Core Frequency reach 5.3GHz with 1 active core and a ratio of 53x? Or 5.1GHz when that ratio is 51x?

As I wrote in my original post : when I game, and using only one core, the Max Core Frequency caps at whatever Active Core ratio I have set for 8 active cores (instead of capping at the Active Core ratio I have set for 1 active cores).
 
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Inzababa

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ok that's weird, before downloading and testing with HWinfo64, I launched MSI Afterburner. The "CPU clock speed" in Afterburner was 100Mhz higher than the "Max Core Frequency" in XTU.

However, in the setup I am using at the moment (1 Active Core 52x, the rest at 51x), the Afterburner CPU speed was still 100 Mhz bellow what I had set ( it shows as 5.1GHz with 1 active core, instead of 5.2GHz).



I made a mistake. Both fluctuate but neither one ever went higher than 5.1GHz. Which corresponds to the ratio I set for 8 active cores (but not 1 or 2 active cores)

PS. When stress testing, the CPU frequency sets at the lowest speed too. So for example if I have 1 active core at 53x and 8 active cores at 49x, then the stress test runs at 4.9GHz, but I thought that was normal since when stress testing, the CPU is testing all the cores.
 
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Aeacus

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Both fluctuate but neither one ever went higher than 5.1GHz. Which corresponds to the ratio I set for 8 active cores (but not 1 or 2 active cores)

I think it's something to do with the OC method you used.

If you'd have All Core OC, everything would be the same, all cores at e.g 5.3 Ghz regardless the load. <- This is the oldest OC method.
Per Core OC lets you to fine tune each core to their maximum, and while most work, also gives the best result.
Your OC seems to be Turbo Ratios, whereby you tell CPU that it can turbo 1 P-core to e.g 5.3 Ghz, 6 P-cores to e.g 5.2 GHz while keeping all 8 P-cores at 5.1 Ghz. As of why your chip doesn't want to turbo at those levels you've set for 1 and 6 cores - i don't know. Could be silicone lottery, could be thermal headroom, could be power delivery. Way too many variables to deal with. That, and the fact that you use XTU, rather than straight from BIOS.
 

Inzababa

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If you'd have All Core OC, everything would be the same, all cores at e.g 5.3 Ghz regardless the load. <- This is the oldest OC method.

Yes.

I can OC to all cores 51x (51GHz) and that works fine. But I can't go higher than that using this method. It's that last one, the 8 active core ratio, if I bump it to 52x, I crash.

I noticed that I could increase the ratio for less than 8 cores higher while at the same time keeping descent temperatures and having a stable system. I also noticed that on factory settings, the ratios weren't all identical. So for example I managed to run 52x for 7 cores and 51x for 8. Since that worked, I went higher, 53x for 1 and 2 active cores, 52x for 3,4,5, and 51x for 6,7,8.

When I say it worked, I mean it passed the stress tests and benchmarks. No crashing, no high temperatures.

Problem is, and the topic of my thread, is my computer (when gaming), when the ratios aren't all the same, only ever seems to apply the lowest one, even if there is only 1 or 2 active cores, it'll set the frequency at the 8 core one.

What I would like to underline, is that this happens at all ratios that I set, not just the high ones, so if I set 1 active core at 48x and 8 active core at 46, it'll run (in game) at 4.6GHz not 4.8GHz

I've done a lot of searching and reading, I can't figure this out. What I found while googling is people complaining that their CPU frequency drops while gaming, and the solution is usually because that CPU is power limit throttling. But here this is not the case, temperatures are fine, there is no power limit throttling .. I'm stumped.



EDIT : The reason I am using this method is because of what is written in the (Tom's Hardware) guide "Intel Alder lake CPU overclock guide". It's also why I decided to ask here, on the (Tom's Hardware forums) :)

I quote :

Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Software overclocking Alder Lake with XTU is a bit simpler because it uses a standardized nomenclature for the various settings, whereas motherboard vendors can use different names for the same settings. Additionally, overclocking via software allows you to make changes in real-time. In contrast, changing the values in the BIOS requires a system reboot before you see the impact.




Alder Lake allows you to overclock the CPU frequency in three ways: All core, Per core, and via Turbo Ratios. The 'all core' setting is what we traditionally associate with overclocking. 'All core' is the simplest method by far because it assigns one static frequency to each type of core, be they P-cores or E-cores. Simplest doesn't normally translate to best, however.


Overclocking Alder Lake via the Turbo Ratios is one of the best ways to dial in a refined overclock, as this allows you to define the peak boost frequency based on how many cores are active. This feature can help you eke out a slightly higher overclock, but just as importantly, it allows the processor to drop back into its base frequency when the chip isn't under load.

This allows the chip to run cool when it isn't busy and also reduces the amount of time the chip is at the highest frequencies, which is important for chip longevity.
 
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Aeacus

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Problem is, and the topic of my thread, is my computer (when gaming), when the ratios aren't all the same, only ever seems to apply the lowest one, even if there is only 1 or 2 active cores, it'll set the frequency at the 8 core one.

What I would like to underline, is that this happens at all ratios that I set, not just the high ones, so if I set 1 active core at 48x and 8 active core at 46, it'll run (in game) at 4.6GHz not 4.8GHz

I've done a lot of searching and reading, I can't figure this out. What I found while googling is people complaining that their CPU frequency drops while gaming, and the solution is usually because that CPU is power limit throttling. But here this is not the case, temperatures are fine, there is no power limit throttling .. I'm stumped.

And i don't know that much about OC to tell why it happens. Nowadays, CPU OC has become quite complex, and it doesn't help either that Intel now has P- and E-cores, which OC differently.

Though, nowadays, CPUs run so efficiently that manual OC of them isn't worthwhile. There isn't that much of an OC headroom anyways, 200-300 Mhz extra won't give any noticeable difference in real world usage, except in synthetic benchmarks. IMO, CPU OC is a dying niche and outside of record breaking, not much of an use for average user.

Back in the day, with older CPUs, e.g i have i5-6600K with 3.5 GHz base and 3.9 Ghz boost. With CPU OC, i could get it 4.5 Ghz all core (increase of 600 Mhz over boost), or with delid, ~4.7 Ghz all core (800 Mhz over boost). And there have been some delidded i5-6600K CPUs, that can hold 5 Ghz all core.
Your CPU (i7-12700KF) is so efficient that you can only hold all core stable at 5.1 Ghz (100 Mhz over boost), thus having so little OC headroom, that OC, IMO, isn't worthwhile.
 

Inzababa

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It makes a difference to me because I bought a 4090 graphics card, which is way too powerful for anything I play right now, which means I'm bottlenecked on the CPU, so I'm trying to boost it as much as I can because every little bit does help in this case.
 

Inzababa

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Then upgrade CPU to i9-13900KS? :unsure:

That's not helpful ...

Does it really make a difference if, on average, you get 130FPS @ 4K instead of 125FPS? :unsure:

It's more than 5 fps difference, plus it's more to do with keeping the FPS at my screen's refresh rate, but that's off topic..

And while monitoring HWinfo64, run CPU bench, e.g CinebenchR23, and look if some or all of your cores go to the max limit you've set.

I realised I hadn't done this because of the after burner thing got me distracted, so tonight I ran Cinebench R23 on "single core" mode while monitoring my max core frequency speed and it worked ! During the benchmark, which as I understand it was using only one core, the speed that my CPU ran at matched the ratio that I had set in XTU (under Performance Active-Core Tuning). That ratio was 53x (5.3GHz).

In game however, this still does not happen, the CPU runs at the ratio I have set for 8 active cores (51x).

So that kind of narrows it down a bit, I guess I am now looking for what is wrong in the specific relationship between my CPU and the games I play.


EDIT : maybe a setting somewhere, like in NVIDIA Control Panel "Manage 3D settings", or some setting in the game itself. I can't think of any Windows setting that might come into play but then again I don't know much about Windows Settings.
 

Aeacus

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That's not helpful ...

Well, if you have money to buy the best GPU, why not go with the best CPU as well? Especially when you have CPU bottleneck. :unsure:

and the games I play

Those games are?

EDIT : maybe a setting somewhere, like in NVIDIA Control Panel "Manage 3D settings", or some setting in the game itself. I can't think of any Windows setting that might come into play but then again I don't know much about Windows Settings.

Nvidia is to do with GPU and not CPU.

How about ditching the XTU and doing CPU OC straight from BIOS, like it's supposed to be done? :unsure:

Using XTU is like slapping a turbo to an engine and hoping to get the best results, without doing the chip tune and dyno, for optimal performance.

Overclocking from BIOS, on the other hand, offers the most complete access to all available system performance settings. If you’re interested in manually fine-tuning your system settings and managing every aspect of your overclock, you should do it through the BIOS.
Source: Intel - https://www.intel.ca/content/www/ca/en/gaming/resources/bios-overclocking.html
 

Inzababa

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Well, if you have money to buy the best GPU, why not go with the best CPU as well? Especially when you have CPU bottleneck. :unsure:

I'm sorry, did you think that was helpful too? It wasn't.

I have a problem, I'm trying to solve it, you're not helping. Buying another CPU is not a solution to this problem.

Please don't bother replying anymore unless you have anything constructive to say, we'd be wasting both of our time.
 

Aeacus

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you're not helping

I asked what games you play, to find out how many cores the games use. If games use 6-8 cores (like most AAA titles nowadays do), there is clear evidence why your CPU clocks remain to the 8 core frequency.

Also, XTU has it's limitations and while it's simple to OC CPU with it (like you've done), you can not fine tune your OC to exactly what you want it to be. For that, you have to OC the CPU from BIOS. If you do not want to do that, that's you. Then, you have to live with the limitations of XTU.

What one wants, and what one can have, are two different things. While you may not like my suggestion of using BIOS, but without actually doing the OC from BIOS, you can't say that it won't fix your issue.

If you're not willing to accept, that games may use 6-8 cores, thus limiting the CPU frequency to 8 cores and/or trying CPU OC from BIOS, then this is where it ends. No point trying to help, if one doesn't want to be helped.
 

Inzababa

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As I wrote in my original post : when I game, and using only one core, the Max Core Frequency caps at whatever Active Core ratio I have set for 8 active cores (instead of capping at the Active Core ratio I have set for 1 active cores).

If I run XTU on my second screen and play a game on the first one, I can see the CPU stats while I play. One of them is "Active Core Count". When I play, the Active Core Count is 1. I assume that means the same thing as "1 single core".

If the game were using more than one core wouldn't the "Active Core Count" be higher than 1?

Also, XTU has it's limitations and while it's simple to OC CPU with it (like you've done), you can not fine tune your OC to exactly what you want it to be. For that, you have to OC the CPU from BIOS. If you do not want to do that, that's you

I'm not trying to fine tune it : I'm trying to get it to work properly and it does when benchmarking it with CinebenchR23 using the single core option.

While you may not like my suggestion of using BIOS, but without actually doing the OC from BIOS, you can't say that it won't fix your issue.

I already tested setting the ratios in BIOS rather than using XTU and I get same result.

If you're not willing to accept, that games may use 6-8 cores, thus limiting the CPU frequency to 8 cores and/or trying CPU OC from BIOS, then this is where it ends. No point trying to help, if one doesn't want to be helped.

I'm willing to accept whatever is true, if it's true, but if the game were using 8 cores the active core count would show 8 cores, in the same way, for example, as if I use the CinebenchR3 benchmark with the multi core option, then my different monitoring devices (including XTU) show "8 active cores".

Or, if I use the "stress test" feature in XTU, same thing, the stress test uses 8 cores. When I game, it uses only one. (rarely and for very short times 2)
 

Inzababa

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(thread moved here from overclocking)

Ok so Intel basically said "we don't know, it's an old game, you should ask them". So I asked them but they replied "we don't know". I asked them if at least they knew how many cores the game used and they replied "sorry, we don't know". So now I feel I've tried everything.

It's not a huge bummer, but it's a bummer .. Basically, as I understand it, the issue is specific to this game, the system, the CPU, the software works fine otherwise. So that's not too bad.

On the negative side, I'm missing out on 0.2GHz of frequency, at least, but at this stage, I have spent so many hours trying to figure this out, I'm just gona let it go, since it's only for this game.

That said, if anyone reads this and has any ideas, please feel free to share them, I'm not qualified or competent in IT.
 

Aeacus

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Even though they didn't literally say it, it is clear that Intel is implying that information shown by XTU when using XTU outside of stress testing can be inaccurate.

I did say as much:
XTU can be iffy on displaying CPU stats.
Also, XTU has it's limitations ...
:rolleyes:

Ok so Intel basically said "we don't know, it's an old game, you should ask them". So I asked them but they replied "we don't know". I asked them if at least they knew how many cores the game used and they replied "sorry, we don't know".

That, game devs reply, i actually don't believe. Unless the game is so old that it fails to take into consideration the new P- and E-cores within Intel CPUs. Many older games have issues with P- and E-cores.

This suggests my issue is specific to the game I'm currently playing.

Until you reveal that specific game name, no-one can help you.