M17X R4 - 980m - Throttling Research and Workaround

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by Schurke, Jan 16, 2016.

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  1. King of Interns

    King of Interns Simply a laptop enthusiast

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    I hope you can get this working soon. M17x R4 is one nice machine. Ivy bridge (unlike my nehelem) still really current in terms of performance.

    Shortly I will be installing a 980M in my M15x. Lets compare benchmarks. I warn you I use dual PSUs ;)

    Should be fun to compare old vs ancient alienware from the golden days of the brand.

    Sent from my SM-A500FU using Tapatalk
     
  2. mariussx

    mariussx Notebook Evangelist

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    I really hope 330W PSU fixes all your throttling problems. Just a quick update on the 3D 120Hz screen install (quite easy by the way) - got it installed today and I had to re-install nvidia drivers. I don't know what it is with these drivers, but I had to through DDU - install the 359.00 driver - set max performance in nvidia cp and 3d mark run procedure for like 4 or 5 times. The card throttled like hell on the first installs and although I did not change anything whatsoever, just repeated the exact same procedure, I got it working finally. It was really frustrating at first, but finally it's back to normal - no more throttling. There might be a way to fix it with a p state matching, but in all honesty I did not want to go through it since I knew it was working fine before and it can be achieved by simply re-installing the drivers. The added bonus is the card never throttles in any game or benchmark afterwards, which kept me going.

    3d mark 11 got 15.7k points in the gpu score:)
    http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/10837854
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  3. Schurke

    Schurke Notebook Geek

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    @King of Interns - you should talk to @mariussx for benchmarks - he seems to have things pretty much sorted out. The M15x still hits above its weight... and is weirdly up-gradable. I've heard that it can field a 970m or 980m (while even the M17x R3 can't). How does that even... work? I have a largely stock M15x at my place still that might inherit my 680m (if all of this gets sorted). Is there a thread about that particular upgrade?

    @mariussx - That's some pretty spooky behaviour... I'm waiting on the mail (probably another week) for the 330w. When it comes I'll post some notes and GPUz sensor screengrabs. We'll see what happens... That said, your benchmark is VERY impressive - congratulations! Now, when your card does start throttling, is it bottoming out to the 300-400mhz range or is it just jumping down to the base full clock (whatever it is... 1000 and change) or some other arbitrary range? Anecdotally, the p-state matching didn't do anything for me when my card was bottoming out on 359, but did work as described on 353.
     
  4. mariussx

    mariussx Notebook Evangelist

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    Sorry, I honestly did not even check what was the throttling like- as soon as I saw the FPS dip in 3D mark way below what they should be, I quit the testing and wiped the drivers. Then installed them again. After about 4-5 times, they fixed themselves - there was no more throttling whatsoever. I ran firestrike and 3d mark 11 + some games and restarted/cold booted/woke the laptop up from sleep multiple times to confirm the drivers are installed ok this time - everything seems fine now. Card never throttles anymore - it was still quite frustrating to have to reinstall the drivers so many times. I am happy it's sorted now and I know there will be no more throttling until the next driver re-install.
     
  5. Solo wing

    Solo wing Notebook Consultant

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    Bought a 330W PSU from Dell. I can officially say that the 240W PSU is not enough to power an Oc'd 980M (1202/3000) + 4.1 GHz 3940XM. 1100 points increase due to the PSU upgrade is great!
    These are latest results:
    3d11.PNG
    fs.PNG
    I'm hoping to push into the 10k for Fire strike.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
    shatteredx and mariussx like this.
  6. Schurke

    Schurke Notebook Geek

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    Hi, @Solo wing - I'm still waiting for mine but that is great to hear - Congratulations on the wicked score!
    Can I ask which vbios you're using? Also, has the 330w allowed you to move on from the 353 peg mod driver? (I think I saw you mention you were stuck on 353 - possibly on the Tech Inferno thread).
     
  7. Solo wing

    Solo wing Notebook Consultant

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    Cheers mate,
    I'm using SVL7 vbios:
    https://www.techinferno.com/index.p...vbios-mods-900m-series-overclocking-versions/
    I like how the core is OC'd at 1202 @ 1.000v so the card runs super cool. I did not try another driver yet, 352.84 + J95 profiles are working great.
    Driver 352.84 is for Win10, 353 is for Win 8.
     
  8. willoc

    willoc Notebook Enthusiast

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  9. Schurke

    Schurke Notebook Geek

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    So... My 330w PSU arrived today. Before I even start, I'm going to frame this by saying that I just had a really... weird... breakthrough?

    Let me explain as an anecdote:

    Last week, my card just started working correctly for no discernible reason. By correctly I mean that the clock speed stopped flopping whenever I hit high load. I noticed when we were doing some demos on the Rift - usually I give testers a disclaimer before the run, saying that my computer is a bit botchy blah blah blah frame rate may not be ideal. That day, it ran through all of the demos without a hitch (un-optimized, photo-realistic room, two eyes, 75fps sustained). That night, I checked out Fallout 4. No clock/framerate drops even at 99% load (Ultra is pretty demanding). Firestrike run - piles of PWR performance caps, but no clock/framerate drop. Looked like this:

    [​IMG]

    Remembering what @mariussx said about his good state (how he would get to it using repeated applications of DDU - but that it would hold after when he used his machine primarily docked) I changed my behaviour a bit and started using sleep and restart as my power cycles, avoiding shutdown. Card ran perfectly for two weeks like that.

    SO... what happened? Scratched my head on that one for a bit, then remembered that prior to changing my habits, my machine hibernated one night (left it in my bag, didn't take it out until the next day). That was the only thing that changed.

    With my new PSU in hand, I decided to confirm my findings. I performed a cold boot (battery out, discharge) on the new 330w PSU.
    1. Firstrike test: GARBAGE.

    [​IMG]

    Okay fine. Disappointing after waiting so long on the PSU but not entirely unexpected.

    2. Hibernate.
    3. Wait 5 seconds.
    4. Hit the power button.
    5. Machine wakes up fine. 3D mark and GPUz are still open.
    6. Firestrike test: Good.

    [​IMG]

    7. Cold boot - repeat whole process. Test: **** show. Hibernate. Test: Good.
    8. Repeat again, this time using the 240w. Test: **** show. Hibernate. Test: Good.
    9. Either PSU. Restart after good run. Test: Still Good.

    (both good runs: max volts 1.03, peak draw at outlet 230w)

    So... I'm at a loss as to why this works on my machine. I'm still using the prema vbios Woodzstack shipped. Still using 359.06. CPU still at 43/41/41/41. Still windows 8.1. Literally the only difference is... Glitching the card into behaving by exploiting hibernate, apparently?

    I did a limited OC run (and then afterwards a power-state-matched OC Run) of firestrike (limited because the vbios I'm using is limited to a 135mhz oc). Clocks held good-ish. No peculiar behavior. Power-state matching kept the card from dropping to its base clock (1035) and kept it between 1170-1260 for the test. (note - visibly smoother but doesn't seemingly do anything for the score above a normal oc).

    I am... going to flash prema mod 1.1.1 to see if it exhibits the same behaviour on my machine. I'll post again later.

    In the mean time, can someone else with a similar config confirm my findings at all? @mariussx , I wouldn't ask you to muddle your machine on purpose, but if you happen to drop your state... maybe give it a go. @Lord Fisher - I saw your thread... you might want to try this and see if it works for you. If you do... please post here.

    Oh - if anyone tries to reproduce this - the only other setting I can think of that may or may not matter is that I have "Prefer max performance" set in the control panel
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  10. Schurke

    Schurke Notebook Geek

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    Premamod v1.1.1 addendum.

    0. Backed up the old vbios
    1. Flashed the card.
    2. Cold boot.
    3. Firestrike test: garbage

    [​IMG]

    4. Hibernate.
    5. Wait 5 seconds
    6. Resume
    7. Firestrike test: perfect
    8. Apply sloppy OC (200/200 - guestimate based on baseline .03v bump on this vbios)
    9. Firestrike test: perfect

    ...like... eerily perfect. It held the clocks absolutely, without the application of power-state matching.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/10857036?

    10. Restart. Test. Still perfect.

    Notes:
    Card runs about 10 degrees hotter using this vbios
    Peak power draw at outlet: 247w
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
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