M17X R4 - 980m - Throttling Research and Workaround

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

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  1. Schurke

    Schurke Notebook Consultant

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    Congrats, @Solo wing -- how were your voltages and temps at that o/c?

    In other news, I've not had any luck tracking down a low-voltage vbios to test my initialization theory. I may attempt my own vbios mod; We'll see what my time looks like in the coming weeks.

    Also, no one else has confirmed the hibernate exploit... so I can only say that it works for me. At the very least, it's a reliable means to un-throttle the card on my machine. Much like mariussx, on 359 on the SVL7 vbios I can hold a no-throttle state pretty reliable through sleep/shutdown/restart after getting it. @mariussx -- if you drop out of your no-throttle state, please give it a try before going DDU crazy so we can at least confirm/rule-out the exploit on another machine.
     
  2. Solo wing

    Solo wing Notebook Consultant

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    Sooo I'm able to confirm that Hibernation cures throttling problems with Prema's V2 vbios + driver 361.91 + windows 10. Throttling was immediate after driver install and clean shutdown, but after waking up from Hibernation throttling was no more. I was able to Overclock easily and raised the clocks more than (1300/2900) with no throttle AT ALL.
     
  3. bamse1

    bamse1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hello guys, I've recently installed a 980M 8Gb card into M17x R4 (A12 standard/manufacturer bios, UEFI, Optimus enabled, Windows 8.1, Drivers 358.50 from Eurocom) and it seems that the card isn't running at it's full potential - meaning that I can't score more than 6500 in firestrike (graphics score around 7800), although I saw much higher scores from other users.
    I don't want to OC yet, the score above mentioned is at stock clocks.
    Can you please help me with some information regarding what should I do to increase the performance because I've just spent around 900 USD for not even 40% performance increase from my old 7970M, so I'm thinking that I must be doing something wrong...

    Many thanks in advance!
     
  4. Schurke

    Schurke Notebook Consultant

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    Great to hear, @Solo wing (I was beginning to feel like a proper tinfoil hat - thanks for taking the time to confirm). It's good to see also that it works on W10 w/ drivers beyond the ones I was testing.
    Now... if only we can figure out... why...

    Hi, @bamse1 - you may be able to find some answers in this thread. You may also find answers at the more venerable TI thread here. You'll want to get your hands on GPUz to see if you're getting the same behaviour as described here (normal temperatures but wild throttling triggered by high GPU load). If so, I recommend replicating some of the steps as described (up to and including the hibernation step).

    Note: I think everyone discussing here is operating in dedicated/PEG mode, which may or may not be a critical factor. Also, only two people have confirmed being able to get to a "no throttle state" using the method described. Last, there are a number of other things that can go wrong in installing the card (see here).
     
  5. bamse1

    bamse1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks Schurke, I've already read all there is out there, but I still can't find a solution.

    When I'm not playing anything and just watch GPU-Z "Sensors" column the frequencies are at 135 core clock and 162 memory clock, but once I start gaming they go at full speed (1127 core clock and 1253 memory clock) and stay there, so I guess there's no throttling to affect my 3DMark score and overall performance in games since it seems that the card promptly changes frequencies when it senses the need to do so, which I think is normal - don't you agree?

    Also the GPU temperature in idle is around 55 Celsius and in full load around 65 Celsius, so I guess the card was properly installed and works just fine.

    I was wondering if there is a newer Windows 8.1 driver (I have now 358.50 from Eurocom) adapted for 980M in Alienware M17x R4 that can solve my low score issue, since I'm not an expert like you guys and don't want to mess with other "delicate" settings like bios, voltage, etc.

    Thanks again for the help!
     
  6. Schurke

    Schurke Notebook Consultant

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    Those readings sound about normal, but check during a fire-strike run. If during the demo you are alternating between a fluid frame-rate and a death-rattle (and see radically fluctuating clocks like 1127mhz -> 300mhz -> 1035mhz -> 300mhz) then this is probably the thread for you. If it's more consistent however (like 1035mhz -> 1127mhz -> 1035mhz) it may be another issue.

    That all said, I haven't done any benchmarking in optimus mode, so I don't know what normal is in terms of scores.

    The TI thread I linked earlier has modified drivers posted pretty regularly - usually by J95. The most care-free driver for W8.1 is 353 (with J95's game profiles applied afterward to increase compatibility with newer titles). Again, take what I say with a grain of salt because I divorced optimus a while back and haven't tested much with it on.
     
  7. bamse1

    bamse1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks a lot Schurke !
     
  8. mariussx

    mariussx Notebook Evangelist

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    I only drop out from no throttle when updating to the new drivers. So far there seems to be no reason to update, so there is a very small chance I will drop out. On the next driver update though, I will test this straight away before the DDU rampage.

    By the way, although I am in dedicated mode for a while (and permanently since 120Hz screen install), the same DDU rampage worked with 359.00 (also 355.98 and older) in Optimus. It would take more time in Optimus though, since I was not taking any chances and uninstalled Intel, nvidia and then re-installed both until I get to the state of no throttle. That state would also last until the next driver update.

    Normal Optimus score:
    http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/9361162? (OC 359.00+intel driver 15.33.39.4276)
    intel released new driver version since my testing:
    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/25698/Intel-Graphics-Driver-for-Windows-7-8-1-10-15-33-

    Schurke, so when you hibernate and resume, there is no more throttle even after you turn the laptop off and then turn it on the next day?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
  9. bamse1

    bamse1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    So guys, after intensive benching I can confirm that Schurke's theory / fix is correct: all I needed to do was put my M17x R4 into "Hibernate" state once and after that it performed admirably in Firestrike 1.1, getting around 8200 points total score (around 9500 points in GPU test).

    What I did:
    1. I've benched 4-5 times before the enter the "Hibernate" state and got sloppy results in Firestrike 1.1 (around 6500 points general score and around 7.200 points GPU score);
    2. Went into "Hibernate" state once and after that I tested 4-5 times in Firestrike and got much better results - see the first line of this post;
    3. Restart the pc from Windows ; shut down the pc from Windows and push start button to turn it on ; shut down the pc from the start button and push start button to turn it on - none of those seem to affect my Firestrike performance anymore (tested 4-5 times each).
    4. Also disconnect the pc from power source and reconnect it back didn't affect my Firestrike performance (tested 4-5 times).

    All in all, it seems that all it needed for an improved performance was to enter "Hibernate" state once.

    Also, I've noticed a small but constant performance increase (around 200 extra points) in Firestrike 1.1 using "Let the 3D application decide" in Nvidia CP and not the "Quality" preset (tested 4 times each).

    My pc configuration is: Alienware M17x R4, 60Hz panel, standard / manufacturer Bios A12, Windows 8.1, UEFI Mode, Optimus enabled.

    My GPU has the following configuration: 980M 8GB, Eurocom 358.50 driver, 84.04.22.00.10 bios version, stock core and memory clocks.

    Schurke thanks a lot again for this great (and weird by the way...) "hibernation" solution for my problem and if you have the time please tell me - based on my above mentioned configuration - if you consider that I can safely try some soft OC on my 980M (my ASIC quality is 79% according to GPU-Z ; the maximum VDDC that I saw in GPU-Z during Firestrike was 1.0180 V ; the idle VDDC I see in GPU-Z is 0.8370 V) because I'm new at this and don't even know what program to use for OC :)
     
  10. Lord Fisher

    Lord Fisher Notebook Enthusiast

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    I managed to fix my issues using the 352.84 driver, did that help you at all with solving the Weird Hibernate fix. But mind you something that might be worth adding, I have an issue currently with the card not booting correctly. My fix is to force the computer to restart after windows starts loading to get the card to work correctly. On cold boot the computer boots fine but the card fails to run correctly, I get weird visual lines. The screen will mostly be white with black lines, the mouse cursors is the only thing that Is seeable (also windows seems to take longer to load up. And the loading screen cuts shortly). Restart the computer and everything works fine. So I don't know if that is a link to your Hibernation fix. Something about the card does not turn on correctly for me.

    I will see if I can get some videos up soon.
     
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