Help Diagnose My Laptop's Terrible Gaming Performance?

#1 Edited by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

I know I'm taking a risk here. Not only am I posting about a laptop on the PC board, but I'm posting about an old GAMING LAPTOP on the PC boards. I fully expect to get crucified, but I'm coming here with my problem first because the GB community is, by and large, pretty great.

Anyway, I bought this laptop a few years ago, because it was cheaper than a gaming PC, and portable is a big thing for me. I didn't want a hugely powerful laptop, just one to play Starcraft and League Of Legends on regularly with my buddies. It has a pretty decent (I stress "pretty decent" here, I know it's hardly going to set the world on fire) GPU and it more than passes on Can You Run It for Starcraft WoL & HotS and Diablo III (been playing them a lot recently) yet on the absolute lowest-of-the-low settings both games stutter, drop frames and lag like crazy.

I have no idea what the problem could be. I'm admittedly a noob when it comes to the particulars of PC specs, but every tool I download and every website I look at, is telling me my laptop should be playing these games in its sleep, even not at low settings. I'll list off the specs below, not really sure what to expect helpwise, just maybe some insights as to what's letting me down:

  • Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz (with Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M (up to 1760MB Turbocache)
  • 4GB DDR3 Memory
  • 500GB HDD

#2 Edited by Devildoll (831 posts) -

The thing is, you cant completely trust can-you-run-it.

It is just an automated service that compares your components to the back of the box requirements of the game.
What if the back of the box specs are total garbage that don't mean shit? well yeah, then you're screwed.

this tells me that you should be pretty fine on low though. ( scroll down to the sc2 test figures)

Since the laptop is a couple of years old. you should probably run maintenance on it.
stuff like running defrag on your harddrive, and if it is on the brink of being full, clear some up.

check your cpu and gpu usage while in the game, see what is getting choked. ( use the task manager for the cpu, and gpu-z or msi afterburner for the gpu )
Investigate if the performance changes if you turn off as many background programs as possible ( msn steam etc etc )
1760 MB's of vram is a shittone, alot more than a GT 540m would need, i'd probably set it around 700 MB's or so.
That'll free up some ram for you, in case you have it set on max at the moment.

You might just need a fresh install of windows to get rid of all the crap.

#3 Posted by JJWeatherman (14485 posts) -

Not sure if this will help much, but have you checked your power settings and set it to high performance as opposed to something like balanced?

It's possible that there's some kind of legitimate hardware issue, but things like that will usually cause crashing and be pretty obvious.

Potentially crazy theory: Is it possible that your laptop is trying to use the integrated graphics from your CPU instead of the 540M? Maybe try updating your 540M drivers or something. I'm not even sure if this is something that could happen, or if so how exactly to fix it, but it would explain your lack of performance.

#4 Edited by TAFAE (150 posts) -

Not sure if this will help much, but have you checked your power settings and set it to high performance as opposed to something like balanced?

This was the first thing that came to my mind, never neglect the stupid things you might just overlook.

#5 Edited by believer258 (11043 posts) -

Many gaming laptops have both an integrated chip and a graphics card in them. Are you certain that the games are running with the card and not the chip? They're supposed to switch when you start up a game.

#6 Edited by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@devildoll:The vram thing makes sense, I'll definitely sort that out first thing. I'll check out my cpu usage, again, apologise for my 'noobness', this definitely sounds like something I should probably have put in my first post. I'll have to probably do it tomorrow though. the laptop did come with a lot of Acer crap installed on it, though I did uninstall any of their programs that might potentially strangle my GPUs power use. It's really frustrating, notebookcheck was the site I used when looking to see the quality of the graphics card, imagine my frustration at my 1FPS whilst playing SCII on low =_=

@jjweatherman: Yeah, the power settings were originally being strangled by an Acer program, I thought uninstalling it was gonna be the miracle cure but it wasn't. Now it's set to maximum performance and I'm still getting issues. Your theory isn't crazy at all! It bugged me for aaaaaaaaages! This niggling feeling the laptop must have been using the integrated graphics instead of the GPU, to the point where I even tried uninstalling the integrated graphics card so it would default to my 540M card, but it didn't work, and screwed everything up. Apparently it only works with both GPUs working in tandem or something? That was a waste of a day.

I dunno if it's worth adding, this is an Acer Aspire (I know, Acer are trash, but again, I was on a budget!) and I've been using Razer Game Booster to shut down my background processes for me.

(Oh, and thank you for the replies guys!)

#7 Edited by JJWeatherman (14485 posts) -

@gazzum: Hey, nothin' wrong with Acer, ha.

I can see how trying to disable your integrated graphics would cause an issue. Don't do that. Maybe try updating your 540M drivers instead. You should be able to search for your card and do that on Nvidia.com.

I'll see if I can find anything out about how else you'd fix that, because I have a feeling that's the issue.

Also: what's the exact model of your Acer?

#8 Posted by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@jjweatherman: A lot of people online seem to think updating the GPU drivers will do more harm than good, something about Acer releasing their own optimized drivers? I dunno, all I know is up until a week or so ago I had fully up to date GPU drivers and the performance wasn't any better. I'd love if you could find an answer, I looked but didn't see any. It'd suck if that WAS the problem, would be pretty ridiculous :/

@believer258: I've looked high and low for a way to ENSURE the right GPU is being used, other than trusting the Nvidia Control Panel, which does show the "High-performance NVIDIA Processor" is the one being used, but I dunno, doesn't feel like it.

#9 Posted by JJWeatherman (14485 posts) -

@gazzum: Read this entire thread, and then perhaps take their advice and do a clean Windows install. First make sure that you actually have Nvidia Optimus on your system, of course. Seems like a similar issue, though. It could work.

#10 Edited by tourgen (4233 posts) -

you could look around in the BIOS and see if there is a way to force it to use the NVidia only.

You have it plugged in right? battery mode will drop your performance (to save battery).

Antivirus program other than Microsoft Security Essentials? Ditch it. Uninstall all the crap you can or just format and re-install if you're comfortable doing that.

#11 Posted by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@jjweatherman: Sorry to come back to this like 20 hours later but I've been with my family all day. My laptop has an NVIDIA Optimus sticker on it, although I've never once seen anything on here with that logo. My NVIDIA Control Panel looks identical to the guy's in that thread you linked to, except for me there's no little "Nividia Optimus GPU State Viewer" box and, as I said, I've never seen anything saying Nvidia Optimus on screen in my years owning this laptop. I did download that MSI program, and while it does say the laptop is using my GPU (this was whilst trying it out with Diablo III) any tests I try to do with the included benchmarker, always use the integrated HD graphics:

Notice how on the right of the screen it says it recognises my GeForce GPU, yet for the benchmarking test it automatically used "Intel HD Graphics 3000" with no input from me, and getting obviously horrendous results. I think, from what I'm looking at here, anytime PhysX is getting used, it's the integrated graphics that are getting used. I don't know how effective a clean install will be, as I already did one a good 7-8 months ago.

@tourgen: I haven't fiddled with Bios, pretty scared to do so, though I did have a look at them (held F2 whilst turning the laptop on) and saw nothing that could have sorted things out, at least, I don't think I did...

#12 Edited by JJWeatherman (14485 posts) -

@gazzum:

  1. That image may give me nightmares.
  2. I'm no an expert, but I'm fairly convinced that the Nvidia Optimus thing is your issue. You said that you did a clean install before, but then Optimus is still on your system. There's probably a way to reinstall all of your drivers and things while omitting Optimus.

I don't know, man. Good luck. And for god's sake, have Batman.

#13 Edited by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@jjweatherman: Yeah, that screenshot is like something from a horror movie. I've been doing a bit of testing, installed the latest driver for the GPU, and then whilst trying it while playing Starcraft, this happened:

The game slowed to about 3-5 frames a second, the game told me to lower my graphics settings as I was slowing the game down, and yet on the right, MSI says my GPU is barely even trying. Obviously something's strangling it, because my GPU only running at 5% with all that going on on screen is a bit of a slap in the face. Clearly this isn't how Optimus is supposed to work, this is absurd.

I'm apprehensive of a clean install that omits Optimus, mainly because I don't know how to do that. They gave me some clean install CDs when I bought the laptop, but I used those last time and just doing the same install again would result in the same problem happening. I think I need to have a hug... Or Batman, Batman could sort this out, no problem.

#14 Edited by Devildoll (831 posts) -

well head over to the manufacturers website and see if you cant find any optimus software listed for your model.
Otherwise, you could try to completely disable the integrated chip and just run of the 540m, if there is any option like that in your bios, that's probably a stupid idea when i comes to battery life though.

#15 Edited by WasabiCurry (415 posts) -

In the screen image above, you core clock speed is 405. Basically, it is underclocked.

My default clock speed for my Nvidia 335 mt is about 450 core clock speed and 790 for the memory clock. Also, did you update your MSI Afterburner? I mean, if your true core clock speed is 203 Mhz...that would explain a lot.

There is so much you need to run through and I would write. EVERY. SINGLE. THING. you need to do.

I mean hell, my little Alienware M11x can run everything max on 720 resolution and medium on 1080p. It is my little baby, a big mistake. However, I still love her. :3

Edited:

Honestly, I believe your clock speed is the main issue. Here is the default clock speed, which should be 672 Mhz at your core clock speed. It is possible that your Nvidia panel is in power management mode, Adaptive or Nvidia controlled. It should be set to "Prefer maximum performance." Additionally, check your Windows Power Plan and change power plan settings. After you go into that, click on the "change advance power settings." Scrolled down to locate GPU power state, click to expand, and make sure both are on max performance.

#16 Edited by Morello (74 posts) -

If it isn't using the nvidia card when it should, then go to the NVidia Control Panel and under "Manage 3D settings" change the "Preferred graphics processor" to High-performance NVIDIA processor. You should also try this individually in the profile settings there. You can also add an option to the right-click menu for which graphics adapter to use from the control panel. Check out the following video which also has a comment that might help. http://ucdavistechtalk.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/how-to-switch-between-intel-graphics-and-nvidia-with-optimus/

#17 Posted by clstirens (846 posts) -

You use Firefox as your main browser, don't you?

Turn off hardware acceleration in Firefox http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/forum-response-disable-hardware-acceleration

This was causing my GPU (and a number of other users) to underclock from 750mhz, down to 405mhz during BF3

#18 Edited by Devildoll (831 posts) -

@wasabicurry: i'd guess the reason for the low clock's is because the card isnt used, it's sitting at idle. it'll jump right up if it did, but it seems all 3d applications are using his integrated graphics instead.

#19 Edited by WasabiCurry (415 posts) -

@devildoll: You are right. Additionally, the GPU usage is barely even at 30% (I am just guessing at the highest peak from the picture). He could go into his Nvidia Control panel just as @morello stated and make certain that it will be used.

I tend to Overclock a lot, but I have it where only I can bump down the core and memory speed. I did bypass a lot of safety precautions, but I know what I am doing.

Edited.

From my observation as well. Look at the temps. They reach very high (probably around 81-82 Celsius) and that is very strange for no OC and reach that high. Perhaps the fans are not in operation as well, thus the lower clock speed. I wonder if the OP takes maintenance of the fans.

#20 Posted by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

Oh god, sorry for the super shittily late replies everyone! I hadn't checked this in days when the @ replies stopped coming into my inbox. My bad.

@devildoll: The Acer website is pretty terrible with drivers and whatnot, nothing of use there. Optimus is set up in such a way where if you have the integrated graphics disabled, the Geforce GPU won't work, as the 2 are codependent. The laptop's screen is actually attached to the integrated graphics and there's no way to attach it to the Nvidia GPU, at least not without taking it apart, and even then I don't know if you can do it. This pretty useful diagram on the NVIDIA Control Panel should illustrate it further:

Useful!

@wasabicurry: I have no idea about clocking. I'll look into it, not really sure how big an impact it will have if the GPU can't even handle low settings on any game. Power settings and changing stuff on the NVIDIA Control Panel were the first things I tried, the above screenshots are after changing all the windows power and GPU power settings for Maximum Performance.

@morello: Those things were the first things that came up when Googling this problem. Already made all those changes and more.

@clstirens: I do use Firefox. This is the first I've heard of Firefox doing this, that's nuts! First thing I'll be doing after completing this post is checking out that link.

@wasabicurry: Mentioning you twice, I know. Sorry haha. Cleaning the fans is something I've never done on this laptop, but I know it can have an impact. I was reading up about it a week or so ago but my laptop has no easy fan access at all, making the whole process super irritating. I lack confidence in hands-on technical stuff, plus cans of compressed air aint free, but I know I need to do it.

#21 Posted by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

I should add, I've been doing benchmarking tests with MSI Kombustor 2.5, and for some of the tests my laptop will use the GPU (it does well in those) then in other tests it says it is using the Intel HD 3000 (integrated graphics... and not doing so well). Namely, the application's KMark (PhysX) test and any of the Open GL 2 Burn-in tests.

The GPU (in the one benchmarking test it can actually do) is being pretty severely throttled as well. I did a screenshot of a benchmarking test in progress. On the left is the MSI GPU Monitorn and on the right is the test itself. Notice how the GPU Memory starts off high, then is immediately throttled at the start of the test. No idea what's going on at all there.

#22 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

@gazzum: The GPU temp of 98-99C is a problem. My bet is that's why you're getting throttled. I can see in MSI Afterburner from your max clock speed values that the GPU is operating normally under load for at least part of the test (in fact your max clocks are higher than what I would expect from reading here, but that could just be a manufacturer specification). I imagine that it's when you hit the high temps that your GPU gets a leash thrown round it, which judging from the limited reading I've done might happen to the 540M at around 90-95C. You can really do damage to the hardware by pushing it to such extreme levels of heat for too long. Personally, for the sake of caution I would recommend against using this Kombustor program in future. It looks like it really thrashes your hardware worse than would happen in a normal use case scenario such as playing SC2. Maybe benchmark in future simply by checking your Afterburner graphs during normal gaming, or see whether a benchmark like Unigine Heaven pushes the heat to less risky levels.

First thing I would attempt is some dust maintenance. Is there any way to access your fans and heat sinks, eg. by an easily unscrewable back panel? If not, is there an accepted way to try and clear the vents on your model of laptop, such as blowing compressed air through them (maybe check YT for guides)? Also, what is the circulation like on the laptop when you're playing, ie. can air get to the intakes which I assume are on the bottom of your case? I used to raise up the back of my old gaming laptop on a couple of wine corks, to improve airflow. A better way is to get a laptop cooler, Zalman being a popular brand from what I remember.

What's worrying is that your temps are not coming down even when the GPU is throttled. I don't have much experience with heat-throttled GPUs, but that is not what I would expect. Worst case scenario is that you need to have the GPU looked at, which probably only the manufacturer could do. In that eventuality, they might need to reapply the thermal compound to the mobile GPU (if that's possible) or they might need to replace the GPU entirely.

#23 Posted by cbarnes86 (529 posts) -

As a guy who doesn't know a lot about computers, but enough to get by, I can tell you @laivasse is right. I bought a "gaming" laptop a few years back when Starcraft 2 WoL came out. The computer's specs were phenomenal for a laptop (one of the Asus Republic of Gaming series that had just come out). It was quite expensive and I was very happy with it for awhile. About when Diablo 3 came out, I noticed my laptop started to under-perform. Long story short, I now have a dedicated desktop PC that blows my laptop away and was half the price.

Temp was a huge problem on my laptop. I would definitely clean out any dust your laptop may have and as scary as it sounds, reapplying thermal compound might be your best bet. I have noticed in the few years I've been laptop gaming, laptop coolers help a bit, but not enough to cool your boiling hot GPU. It definitely sounds like you need new thermal paste and/or new heat sinks. A lot of times (from what I've heard), factory made heat sinks that are put into laptops degrade fairly quickly. I don't know the first thing about replacing them, but I'm sure there are hundreds on this site that could help you.

My advice? If you are serious about getting good quality out of your games, build a desktop. You can build a great rig for under $1000. If you don't have the money or would rather wait, try to perform maintenance on it like what has been said or suck it up and play the games at a lower quality (which would help a little, but still probably not enough).

#24 Edited by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@laivasse: @cbarnes86:

I'll just reply to you both, as you hit on similar things. I did a Google search on how to access the fan on my make of laptop and god damn. Looks like the only thing you don't need to remove to get to the fan is the screen. Literally everything else has to be removed first in order for it to be accessible, keyboard, motherboard and all. I don't look forward to that at all. I have plenty of air getting to the bottom of the laptop, I use the frame of a cooler I had (the fans broke) that keeps it nice and raised.

Buying a gaming PC is out of the question, it's just far too much money to spend when I barely have £10 to my name at any one time.

#25 Edited by jgf (366 posts) -

@gazzum: So have you resolved your problem yet? I would also guess that it is a heat problem. So probably one of the fans broke and/or the inside got real messy over time and dust (or other stuff) is locking the heat up inside. Or the GPU cooler fell off. I would definitely try to open the laptop and clean it up as much as possible.

You could also try to tape a vacuum cleaner to the vents of the laptop. Not as a permanent solution but to check if things get better. On the other hand this might damage existing working fans, but I think its worth a try for five minutes or so.

#26 Edited by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@jgf: It's funny you sent that when you did, I was literally knee-deep in laptop innards when I got the email on my phone telling me you commented. Maybe you psychically knew I was working on it at that very moment. I'll update everyone now, it's been a bloody long day!!!

@devildoll: @jjweatherman: @tafae: @believer258: @tourgen: @wasabicurry: @morello: @clstirens: @laivasse: @cbarnes86:

Not sure how I feel about 'mention'ing all of you at once, feels like abusing the system a little bit, but you've all done me a solid by contributing to this thread at various points, so I figured I'd update everyone on what's gone on today.

This afternoon, after a bit of helpful back and forth PM'ing with @wasabicurry, I went down town and bought myself some rubbing alcohol, a mini "gadget tool" (which was basically a screwdriver with nothing but small changeable heads), a can of compressed air and some fairly cheap 'Atrix thermal Compound'. The whole lot cost just under £15, which for my unemployed ass was a huge relief.

So tonight I cleared off the kitchen table, got up a webpage on my phone that had notes on how to take the thing apart, and got to work. The fan on these Acer laptops are attached to the motherboard directly, so for my first ever leap into laptop disassembly I was going in as far as you can go. I had to do a little bit of guesswork when I got to removing the motherboard, but eventually I got the fan off. Turns out Acer use some form, I dunno, shitty foam as their factory-ready thermal protection, and the stuff just kind of felt like chewing gum, most of it just peeled off (far too) easily. There were some MEGA-TINY screws on the actual fan casing which meant I couldn't get the fan open and clean it as thoroughly as I'd like, but I gave it a good old spraying with compressed air all over, then put my new thermal gel on all the stuff that had the crappy one on before.

Closing the laptop up was horrifying. So much to remember to reconnect, and knowing just one thing missed could mean the whole thing had to be re-opened up later was something not even worth thinking about. Fortunately, I got it all closed up and the laptop turned on nice and quickly. It's not a perfect job, there's an internal wire which just won't behave, so my keyboard is a little raised on one side because it's on top of a loose wire, but I can live with that. The whole thing took me about 3 hours of being super careful, so I'm pretty exhausted. I did muster up a performance test though. I played a game of Starcraft, on the same mode as my last test and at the same graphic level and, well, compare these results to my previous ones posted further up this thread.

It's insane the difference in temperature, I can feel it on the laptop itself. Back before I performed surgery on it the temperature would slowly climb and climb during a game until it reached the high 90s, but I kept alt-tabbing out whilst playing and it seemed to be hovering around 56-58 almost constantly. The GPU usage is a bit odd, seeing as I was playing the game on low graphics, but the lowest the framerate got was 30FPS, which is a nice improvement, still not what I should be getting by a long shot, but playable, and at the VERY least I've definitely ensured my laptop lives a much healthier life and probably lasts a few years longer if I want it to.

Time will tell whether this makes a huge difference to my gaming experience, I may update tomorrow after I do some more testing, but for now, a HUGE thanks to everyone. Before posting here I would never have imagined that A) I was going to be opening a laptop up and performing repairs myself or B) To actually see the results so startlingly straight away. It's really brought my mind forward towards that "I could actually build my own PC one day, it's not that hard!" mentality that I never thought I would be capable of, and even if it turns out this laptop still sucks at playing Starcraft on even the lowest settings, at least it's not burning my balls off when it does it (insult to injury).

With any luck, the next time you see me posting on the PC board will be me asking you for advice on what the best gaming PC components to buy are or which graphics cards to go for. A guy can dream!

(Thanks again, Duders!!!)

#27 Edited by JJWeatherman (14485 posts) -

@gazzum: Glad to hear you've had some success! Honestly, if you can manage to take apart a laptop and reassemble it, building a desktop machine would be no problem. I've built a PC, but have never dared to disassemble a laptop, ha.

#28 Edited by WasabiCurry (415 posts) -

@gazzum: I am more than willing to help you with your PC issues fellow duder! Either present or future issues. Anyways, the temps have definitely came down from cleaning and applying new thermal paste. It is still an issue that your GPU is being downclocked and refusing to default to your normal clock speeds. We really need it to become normal again so that in the future it will run properly. Heck, maybe you will OC as well! :3

I do not know if you have updated your nvidia drivers, but it is a starting point. Here is a great guide for uninstalling the drivers before downloading new ones.

Link

It is a pretty long guide, but each step will guarantee safety so that software error will not occur in the future. Just a starting point.

#29 Posted by clstirens (846 posts) -

@gazzum: Good to hear! Like @wasabicurry said, we need to find out why your clock speeds aren't correct. 203 and 405 are way, way wrong. You should be playing starcraft on Medium with 60 fps

#30 Edited by StarFoxA (5123 posts) -

That's crazy. I run StarCraft 2 on an Intel HD Graphics 3000 (384MB VRAM) on my MBP and it runs fine on medium settings (20-30fps, playable enough for me).

#31 Edited by Ben_H (3200 posts) -

Holy murphy this is nuts. You should never have to do this much work to get a game to play. And yeah that performance is abysmal. Even my old Core 2 Duo Mac could run SC2 better than that, and it was on integrated. It sounds like you have put in a lot of work.

It is too bad Acer didn't put more work into making the switchable graphics work well, or at least allowed it so others could make it work since they couldn't be bothered to. To switch between GPUs on my new Mac (between a 650m and an HD 4000) is a two click process and it switches instantly. I thought Optimus allowed that to be done on Windows machines as well but apparently that is not the case (though it sounds like it is Acer's fault here, not Nvidia). This was all very strange. I was under the impression things worked smoother than this.

And keep in mind with Diablo 3 and SC2 that both are CPU heavy games, more so for SC2. But still, that performance makes absolutely no sense, even for HD3000. It isn't that bad.

Also, holy crap you took a gaming laptop apart. That takes balls. I would never do that. I can take apart Macs but they are easy to take apart. Gaming laptops are a completely different beast.

Edit: Dude build a PC. It is so much fun. If you can take a laptop apart then building a desktop will be easy. I am rebuilding mine with a small form factor case and a new CPU this summer.

#32 Edited by zFUBARz (590 posts) -

I've been stuck with laptops for a while now I'm just gonna say get some compressed air and blow that thing out, it's amazing what that does for performance when your machine spends half it's time shoved in a bag and other cluttered spaces.

#33 Posted by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@wasabicurry: @clstirens: Right, I'm awake! Did a bit more testing, tried Diablo 3 and a longer, more intense game of Starcraft and the temperatures are holding between the mid and high 50s during gaming :D The clock speeds remain unchanged from last night though, underclocked/throttled to 203 and 405. Seems like after fixing my temperatures, sorting this bit out should be the easy part right... Right?! Please god tell me I'm right =_=

@ben_h: Thanks duder, it seems like a lot of people have similar trouble with Acers, and this model of laptop in particular, and I can certainly see why after taking it apart, seems like it was made by some kind of evil mastermind. I seem to be able to play Starcraft on low settings right now, which is... something, but as you say, even integrated graphics should be doing a decent job of the game, so I'm still a little miffed.

@zfubarz:Yeah, screw taking this thing apart next time the fan feels a little dusty, I'm just gonna nuke the hell out of it with compressed air! I was surprised at how satisfying it was to use yesterday actually.

#34 Edited by WasabiCurry (415 posts) -

@gazzum: It is a process of elimination, thus that is why we starting with the drivers themselves. Afterwards, we still start with MSI Afterburner. Uninstall and then Install.

If that doesn't work, we still start going into other software that will bypass safety precautions.

Powermizer Switch is a good start.

It bypasses a feature put in by Nvidia to save your energy. As a disclaimer, these kind of software can damage your computer and I am not liable for any damage. :p Had to put that in there.

After that, we got Nvidia Inspector~

This program also has an Overclock and Default speed for every Nvidia card.

Edited for more thoughts,

It could help for more information such as GPU-Z and CPU-Z. So much software. =>

We will take it from there if those two programs won't work. For now, I have a question, what drivers do you have currently?

@ben_h I have taken apart a lot of laptops in my short time. They are not hard to disassemble and reassemble. I take apart my M11x R2 for the lolz nowadays. X3 Also, I do a lot for the sake of gaming, but I have always been a curious fellow when it comes to technology. Just learning so much from computers, either software or hardware always makes me happy!

#35 Posted by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@wasabicurry: My drivers for my GPU are up to date, 314.22 to be precise, and I did a clean install when I updated them. I can reinstall it though and make sure.

#36 Edited by WasabiCurry (415 posts) -

@gazzum: If you did a clean install of drivers, I would suggest to download Nvidia Inspector, then go over the show Overclocking and click the apply defaults button. It should reset your speed back to normal.

I am hoping that it will return it back to normal or if the GPU itself might have been damaged due to the heat.

Edited: Sorry it took me to realize, but my DVD case fell over so that was fun cleaning that up. :x Anyways, make certain that you clocking is set to performance level 2. Level 1 and Level 0 are downclocks so that you can save battery life. Which we are not doing. Here is a screenshot on what it should look like.

#37 Posted by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@wasabicurry: Here's what happened when I opened Nvidia Inspector and clicked "Apply defaults", is this better?. I can't test it out with a game just yet, will do it soon.

#38 Edited by jgf (366 posts) -

What seems odd here is that you selected Performance Level [2] (Power State P0 aka P-State), but on the left side, below Voltage your current power state is shown as P8.

I did a quick google search for NVIDIA powerstates and came up with the following information:

  • P0 = full power 3d
  • P3 = low power 3d
  • P8 = video (lower voltage)
  • P12 = 2d mode (lower voltage)

So you're essentially in lower voltage mode. I'm no expert, but this seems odd to me. The remaining question is why does it show P8 when you selected P0?

Edit: I searched for a picture that shows power state P0 for your GT450M card. So this is how it should look like - ignore the red circle, that was already in the image when I found it.

#39 Edited by GaZZuM (440 posts) -

@jgf: I didn't know what those P numbers corresponded to, I just set it to performance level [2], clicked apply "clocks and voltage" and nothing seemed to happen so I put a bit of Diablo on, played it for a good 15 minutes and the framerate wasn't great, lowered the resolution, lowered the graphics and then when the action hotted up, screen captured the NVIDIA Inspector. This is what the settings were when I had the most action going on on screen at 20FPS on the lowest possible settings:

Edit: I restarted and tried it out. Upon applying the new clock settings the P-state switched to P0 for a few seconds then went immediately to P12

Edit #2: Wow! So I got Diablo 3 to run at the overclocked settings and it was glorious! Haha. 30FPS constant at almost the highest settings, the GPU got hotter obviously, around 80 degrees after a good 45 minutes of playing, which is good enough, it cools down super quickly now as well, so all I need to do is alt-tab for a minute to cool it back down. I changed one of the power settings that I read from another forum may help. I went to advanced power settings and changed the system cooling policy to "passive". I'm not sure if that's what did it, or the restart, but for whatever reason I just had almost an hours worth of lagless, pretty Diablo and I'm on cloud nine :D

#40 Posted by jgf (366 posts) -

@gazzum: Hey thats great news! Glad the GB hive mind could help ;)

#41 Edited by WasabiCurry (415 posts) -

@gazzum: Glad everything is running better for you duder! At least now you can play all your games on better settings and FPS.

Sorry I couldn't help you out with the last tid bit, I was busy today with moving stuff around the house, thankfully, @jgf was awesome enough to push you the way there! Thank you man!

Everything that goes well will end well.

#42 Edited by zFUBARz (590 posts) -

@gazzum: It's amazing watching that massive puff of dust come out the first time you do it.

#43 Posted by galloughs (184 posts) -

it's a laptop

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.