Intel-TongFang QC7 (Element/Fusion 15/MAG-15/Vapor 15 Pro)

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by B0B, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Saurabh Prasad

    Saurabh Prasad Notebook Enthusiast

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    Bob, appreciate the efforts you are taking. Just like others, for me this laptop is 'The chosen one'. Hoping intel will rectify this.
     
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  2. Papusan

    Papusan JOKEBOOKs Sucks! Dont waste your $$$ on FILTHY

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    The model won't run within Max-Q design determined by Nvidia if they increased the thermal limit to 87°C. They had to make much better (more expencive cooling) to match nvidia's certification requirements. Intel can't override nvidia's requirements. No one is forcing the manufacturer to shrink the chassis down to Apple levels.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
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  3. XMG

    XMG Company Representative

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    Hi guys,

    nice thread you got going on here. Would be a shame if anything happens to it... :rolleyes:

    As in every serious gaming/performance laptop, the DP is coming directly from the GPU. You can use G-SYNC monitors and VR headsets on Thunderbolt. We will ship every XMG FUSION 15 with an included, passive USB-C/DP to DisplayPort (female, full-size) adapter so you don't have to look around the web for compatible adapters. The first batches will be shipped with this adapter - later we will switch to a different one from our own OEM source.

    Only if you do it improperly. Otherwise, how would we notice? ;)

    We have an English FAQ about XMG FUSION 15 on Reddit and our shop bestware.com is translated into English.

    Which problem? There is no problem. See below. ;)


    First of all, good work from Bob to dive into the benchmarks. We would like to contribute with some documentation on the performance profiles in XMG FUSION 15.
    I hope it helps and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. The same documentation will be put up in the FAQ in our threads on Reddit and Notebookcheck.


    What is behind the System Performance Modes: Silent, Balanced and Enthusiast?

    In Intel’s reference design, each system profile is put together from 3 main building blocks.
    • CPU Power Mode + Windows Power Management Profile
    • GPU Performance Profile, realized through p-states
    • Different Fan Tables
    Each of these building block has 3 available settings. Intel does not allow to customize the content of each block, but we can re-arrange the blocks as they are put together.

    This is done by editing the setup.ini of the Contol Center before installation. They can also be edited later in Windows Registry. The syntax of setup.ini and registry will be explained at the end of this document.

    Let’s describe the content of each block first:


    CPU Power Mode + Windows Power Management Profile

    The numbering of the mode reflects the numbering of the profile in Intel’s setup.ini
    Smaller number = faster profile

    [​IMG]

    The PL1 and PL2 values represent the upper and lower ends of the CPU Package Power in various heavy load situations. The Prime95 collumn represents values that are sustained for a considerable amount of time after starting the benchmark.

    [This paragraph has been updated on 2 October 2019 after BIOS 0052 and CC 2.1.0.15]


    GPU Power Mode

    The GPU Modes are utilizing an NVIDIA API called p-state. Unlike Intel’s PL1/PL2 TDP states, NVIDIA’s p-states are not very flexible and can only be set in very broad strokes. For example, there is nothing between p0 and p3. In other words, NVIDIA only allows to either give 100% performance or to reduce it down to 50~60%. Those p-states are originally meant to protect the battery from overcharging when running on battery power. In this case, Intel is using p-states to create ultra-silent performance profiles with reduced GPU power consumption. NVIDIA does not allow any fine-grained, direct control over the GPU TGP.

    [​IMG]

    The GPU Performance gaps between these modes are based on synthetic benchmarks like Furmark. The real world gaps might be slightly different, mostly depending on how much VRAM speed affects in-game FPS.


    Fan Tables

    We will not publish the full fan tables due to our NDA. The fan tables have different ramping mechanims. For the purpose of this document, it suffices to know the fan table’s top speed when the GPU Temp Target of 75°C is reached.

    [​IMG]

    Due to Intel’s policy, Fan Table 3 can only be used with GPU Mode 3.


    Intel’s recommended Performance Profiles

    If you put all of these blocks together, you will arrive at Intel’s default System Modes. This is what they look like:

    [​IMG]

    In Intel’s standard, System Mode 2 is default. This puts the GPU in p3 state which is enough for casual gaming and could be described as a very CPU-centric performance mode.

    The end-user can hot-switch between each System Mode with a dedicated button, located next to the power button. The LED configuration of this “Mode Switch Button” indicates which mode is currently set.

    On top of these 3 system modes, Intel also provides a “Benchmark Mode” checkbox. This this special mode applies System Mode #1 (full speed) and lets the fans run at 100% at all times. This can be described as a debugging mode, not really made for benchmarking. This checkbox can be removed from the UI by the Local OEM via setup.ini during Control Center installation.



    Introducing XMG FUSION 15 custom performance profiles

    After evaluating our samples and various discussions internally and with trusted community members, we at XMG settled on the following reshuffle:

    [​IMG]

    Our Balanced Mode provides full GPU speed, combined with standard fan table and unlocked CPU Mode. The GPU speed is only constrained during prolonged use by reaching the NVIDIA GPU Temp Target at some point.

    With the update on October 2nd with BIOS 0052 and CC 2.1.0.15, we have aligned our Enthusiast Mode with Intel's standard. This makes the Enthusiast profile even more pronounced vs. Balanced, especially in CPU-heavy tasks. On top of the CPU Mode and Fan Mode difference, the Tcc offset is also changed (see below).

    In Gaming situations, the main performance driver in Balanced vs. Enthusiast is the Fan Mode. Higher fan speeds will make sure to keep core temperatures away from their temperature targets, thus providing higher clock speeds in sustained load situations.

    Our Silent profile is using GPU Mode #2 which makes this profile a very nice Silent Gaming profile, or alternatively: do serious 3D editing or CUDA rendering in the library or while sitting in a boring meeting room without having your fans spin up too much. This mode - when fully loaded - is roughly equivalent to using NVIDIA WhisperMode or similar frame-limiting methods. In Idle or low load situations, all 3 System Modes behave in a very similar way. The lowest recorded power consumption in Idle Desktop is between 7 and 9W on the wall socket.

    [This paragraph has been updated on 2 October 2019 after BIOS 0052 and CC 2.1.0.15]


    How does this affect battery life?

    You might worry that our 'GPU Mode 2' in Silent profile might reduce your battery life. However, this is not the case. Here is the reason why:

    As long as NVIDIA Optimus is set up with default automatics, all of your desktop apps (browser, messenger, media player, office) are running on the Intel GPU. The "GPU Mode" in above table only relates to the NVIDIA GPU. As long as there are no apps running on the NVIDIA GPU, it is fully powered down, consuming literally no energy.

    In other words, our CPU/GPU choices reflect the potential "peak performance" - the baseline however is always dynamically moved down to the lowest possible state in order to keep the system cool and extend your battery life at any given moment.

    In total, with our performance profiles, we measure the same long battery life as we do with Intel's defaults: typical numbers range from almost 8 hours for 1080p Youtube playback, 10 hours for local 1080p video files and up to 12 hours in absolute idle with lowest brightness etc. - this behaves very similarly across all 3 system modes.



    CPU Temp Target aka ‘Tcc offset’

    There is another key aspect to system performance which has not yet been described in the tables above: CPU Temp Target aka ‘Tcc offset’.

    ‘Tcc offset’ substracts a given value from the CPU’s internal maximum operation temperature, called ‘Tcc’. The exact value for ‘Tcc’ differs for each CPU (due to yield and binning) but is usually well beyond 90°C.

    For example: if we assume Tcc to be 95°C, then a ‘Tcc offset’ of -10°C would result in a CPU Temperature Target of 85°C. Approaching this Temperature Target will prompt the CPU to moderate Turbo Boost clock speeds during sustained load situations.

    Intel allows to dynamically change the Tcc offset in real-time for each performance profile. It is important to note that this Tcc offset is not attached to the ‘CPU Mode’ in above tables, but instead to the ‘System Mode’.

    Please refer to the following reference table.

    [​IMG]

    These offset numbers are hard-coded by Intel and cannot be changed.

    As you can see, Tcc offset for each System Mode has two different values, depending on whether the NVIDIA GPU (aka dGPU) is active or not. If you are prioritizing the Integrated Graphics (Intel GPU, iGPU) via NVIDIA Optimus (MSHybrid) and if you are not running any 3D applications on the NVIDIA GPU, the dGPU should stay “off” and thus allow the CPU to reach a higher Temperature Target and thus a higher sustained CPU performance.


    How to reshuffle System Power Modes on end-user side

    The Setup folder of the Control Center has a file called setup.ini. Usually at the bottom of this file, there is a section called “Power”. This is how it looks in our XMG version:

    Code:
    [Power]
    Performance = P1G1F1
    Balanced = P2G1F2
    BatterySaver = P3G2F2
    Default = 2
    “Default” describes which system mode is selected by default after installation of the software.
    The other 3 lines define each of the 3 system power modes, put together from 3 building blocks.

    As you can probably guess, you only have to adjust the numbers between 1, 2 and 3.

    P = CPU Mode
    G = GPU Mode
    F = Fan Table


    As you can see, the naming of these system modes in this setup.ini is slighly different from the UI translation in the Control Center. But it still follows the same principle: smaller number = bigger performance:

    System Mode 1 = Performance
    System Mode 2 = Balanced
    System Mode 3 = BatterySaver



    These settings can also be modified after installation in Registry Editor

    Registry Path:

    Code:
    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\OEM\GamingCenter\DefaultPower
    Registry Screenshot:

    [​IMG]

    In the Registry, "PowerMode" indicates the default profile. Profile1 to 3 are numbered the same way as the "System Mode" in my reference tables in this document.

    To load and apply these Registry changes, the user has to quit and restart the Control Center. Quitting is done via Right Click on the Control Center icon in the Windows systray.


    Conclusion and Download

    This concludes our journey into the inner workings of the system power modes of XMG FUSION 15 and our customized Control Center.

    If any owner wants to play around with our Control Center, you can already find it here:

    ControlCenterI_2.1.0.15_XMG_Signed.zip [Download]

    If you wish to install a new or customized version of Control Center, please make sure to uninstall the old version first via Windows "Apps & Features".

    Theoretically, our Control Center can be used by any owner of Intel's reference design and should result in the same system behaviour, independent of the brand.
    There are no checks in place that would verify if you're actually running an XMG system.

    This might be subject to change, in case Intel decides to allow more firmware customization in the future (for example through a DMI Editor).
    If any such customizations materialize, I will edit this post. Until then, please use our Control Center at your own risk or double-check with your system vendor before you proceed.


    Looking forward to your questions and your feedback!

    Cheers,
    XMG|Tom


    /edit Updated on 2019-10-02: after BIOS 0052 and CC 2.1.0.15 we changed the CPU Mode in our Enthusiast profile from P2 to P1, thus aligning this mode with Intel's standard. Two paragraphs have been updated.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  4. faenil

    faenil Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for all the info, that's very appreciated.

    Will I be able to setup a custom fan profile?
    It sounds to me like we are restricted to Intel's fan profiles, is that correct?

    Regarding the thermal paste, I contacted your support and I was told the warranty would be invalidated for all HW in the laptop.
    I was also told that XMG is usually 'nice' and repairs unrelated HW issues anyway.
    I am not sure I'd be happy knowing that XMG might or might not repair a HW issue which is obviously unrelated to the repaste.
    The warranty terms clearly state (and your support confirmed) that once you repaste, you're on your own. You can only rely on XMG's goodwill to repair issues unrelated to the repaste.
    It'd be quite nice if the warranty stated the warranty is only void if XMG has reasons to believe the HW issue was due to the repaste. Warranty on the rest of the HW should not be affected, those are the terms of other resellers, as far as I remember.

    Regarding the 'how would we know you repasted', it shouldn't be hard to tell the default paste from a different one. Viscosity, colour, application method, etc...

    Thanks again for all the precious information you are providing anyway, very appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
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  5. XMG

    XMG Company Representative

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    This is correct, to the best of my knowledge. But Intel's fan profiles are reasonable and sound.

    Just like our pre-applied thermal paste options. Which brings me to your next question:

    Now you're really putting me on the spot with raising such an offtopic topic in this thread. We should continue this via PM or you might want to open a new thread somewhere or use this thread instead. (As a vendor, we are not allowed to open our own threads at Notebookreview)

    Rest assured, I have raised your comment and your suggestion to our team members and it will be discussed.

    On the other hand, please also note that our strict warranty terms and our support people's strict answers are a safeguard against hobbyists who think they know what they're doing and in the process ruin their laptop and then come in to claim warranty. It's not just the repaste itself than can go wrong. Bending your heatpipe in the process either through manhandling or by applying the wrong torque or removing/adding screws in the wrong order. Especially combined CPU/GPU heatpipes are very delicate and have to be handled with a lot of care - otherwise you'll partially lose contact on the die, especially if you're using super high-end thermal compounds - those are quite intolerant when it comes to surface contact.

    This has happened way too often in the past.

    Again, it our mind, you just won't need to do a manual repaste. Contrary to popular believe, the stock thermal compound from the ODM is a well performaning and durable compound and we now even offer Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut for everybody who wants to add something a little bit special.

    This is the last word I want to write in this thread about this topic. As I said, let's move this discussion to a different area. I appreciate your feedback but I don't want to derail Bob's thread about the MAG-15 more than I already did.

    Cheers,
    XMG|Tom
     
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  6. dreamcat4

    dreamcat4 Notebook Consultant

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    Personally my opinion is that you need to provide a simple and clear instructions to users for how to repaste in a safe manner. That will guarantee not to harm the equipment. To include such a simple repasting guideline preferably on a single loose sheet of A4 paper that is shipped in the box with the laptop. And branded with a safety warning / mark. To prevent damage to the equipment the instruction should simply say: To be sure to cover the entire silicon die area in plenty of paste. And not to use a 'pea' or other 'rice grain' method. Just not to risk leaving any not covered area of the die. This step should then mostly protect against a situation where somebody did a bad repaste.

    If you want to also go further and protect the VRM then some extra instruction about the thermal pads would also need to be included.

    The main reason why I am suggesting this is because: basically all laptops will need regular repasting. Usually every 1-2 years, or sometimes even more often. And this is especially (even more) true for higher TDP gaming laptops.

    But an even better place to put this instruction would be to include on a warning sticker, that is actually on the very heatsink assembly itself. Inside of the machine. Or do both. That way it is very difficult for the user to ignore reading the message.

    But that's just my opinions here. Feel free to think of other possible ways.
     
  7. faenil

    faenil Notebook Consultant

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    Of course, agree on the off topic.
    I thought it would make sense to talk about it here since a few members are already talking about the xmg model in this thread.

    Thanks for the info, and I completely understand your point :)

    Back ot
     
  8. R3d

    R3d Notebook Virtuoso

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    Will the thermal limit be increased in the future? It seems like currently we'll either have to turn up the fans (loud) and possibly still get a performance hit compared to comparable laptops, or turn on 'balanced' or 'battery saver' mode and take an even bigger performance hit.
     
  9. eddi3x3x3

    eddi3x3x3 Notebook Evangelist

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    Can anyone here confirm a couple of things for me for the eluktronics version
    1. Can usb c thunderbolt port actually do Gsync? with or without any adapter? (might use for value index as well)
    2. Does anyone have experience with the alienware m15 keyboard? Does this keyboard feel better than that one? (by that I mean more feedback and satisfying to press)
    3. Is eluktronics plan on releasing an SDK for the per key lighting? Would be useful to use things like this https://www.project-aurora.com/
    4. What FPS do you get in league of legends with all settings maxed out in borderless window? (Silly question I know but bear with me, if this has enough CPU performance to handle league and get a consistent 144 fps even in team fights I might just buy it despite the thermal limit on the GPU).

    I really like certain things about this laptop from a buyer's perspective (PROS)
    1. Power port on the back (big deal for me, only reason I even consider eluktronics/lenovo/alienware)
    2. Windows hello (can't believe alienware doesn't have this, even on their new m15 r2 WITH tobii)
    3. Large battery (Battery life is a big plus when you go on hackathons, sadly lenovo battery isn't too large)
    4. Mechanical keyboard (I like my keyboards to have good feedback, alienware keyboard is mediocre at best BUT has a numpad and I don't know about lenovo's feedback tbh)
    5. Size/weight (This thing looks really small compared to my current alienware m15 and almost 0.7 lbs lighter! and way smaller than y740)
    6. Performance (IF they fix the thermal throttle issue on the GPU)

    What I don't like (CONS)
    1. No GPU mux switch (alienware m15 with optimus is the bane of my existence, but if it can reach 144 fps consistently in league I am 100% happy)
    2. No display port (if it can do Gsync over thunderbolt 3, I'd consider this a none issue)
    3. No Numpad (bummer but it wouldn't be a dealbreaker)
    4. No known per key lighting SDK (as far as I know, would be great so we can actually make our own programs to show CPU/GPU temps as an example or hook into alienware fx for league [did it for an old aorus I had])
    5. No fan control (as long as the fan curves are respectable I'd be ok with this con)
    6. Speakers might not be as good as Lenovo or Alienware m15 r1

    Anyone here have any reasons why I wouldn't want to switch from my alienware m15 r1 to this machine? (other than the GPU thermal limit)
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
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  10. Arondel

    Arondel Notebook Evangelist

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    It seems Aftershock's variant is named Vapor 15 Pro. It comes standard with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut.
     
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