Gaming laptop running games poorly

julian_lj

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May 6, 2017
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Hi TomsHardware! This is my first post, so I hope I'm following the forum rules in this post. If not, feel free to inform me.

I have a Lenovo Ideapad 700 which I bought a year ago as part of my polytechnic's BYOD policy, and I've also been using it as my personal gaming laptop. However, I've noticed a few months back that it has been running games very poorly as of late. Taking Overwatch as an example, the laptop can't run it at a decent frame rate unless I set the render scale to 50% and all the graphics quality settings to low, which is ridiculous as my laptop specifications definitely exceed Overwatch's recommended specifications.

These are my system specifications, according to Piriform Speccy:

Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700HQ @ 2.60GHz
RAM: 16GB Dual Channel Unknown @ 1064MHz (15-15-15-36)
Motherboard: Lenovo Skylake H DDR4 RVP11 (U3E1)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530 (integrated) / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
Storage: 465GB Toshiba MQ02ABF050H-SSHD-8GB (SATA)
Screen resolution: 1920x1080 @ 60Hz

These are the things I've done to try and tackle the issue:

- Ensured that games were using the GTX 950M graphics card instead of the integrated Intel graphics card
- Ran CCleaner and Defragger
- Set power settings to Maximum Performance
- Plugged in laptop for playing games
- Updated all graphics drivers


Despite all that, my games haven't seen much improvement in performance.

I have also run a PassMark performance test on my laptop, which returned me these results:

PassMark Rating Score: 2188 (55%)
CPU Mark: 8543 (75%)
2D Graphics Mark: 661 (67%)
3D Graphics Mark: 2063 (58%)
Memory Mark: 2572 (88%)

At the moment, I am circumventing this problem by setting the screen resolution of my games with frame rate issues to 1280x720 screen resolution, which gives me a decent framerate with good graphics settings. It is admittedly getting a little frustrating having to lower my settings on a computer that should be able to handle my games with a breeze, so I hope I could get some insight from you guys. Any answers to my topic will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

- Julian
 

surya13

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Jan 22, 2014
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The 950M is not a so good GPU. It can play latest games at 1080p only in medium settings. Your performance in hugely bottlenecked by the GPU. With your specifications, your performance is absolutely normal.
 
Here are benchmarks and game FPS for laptops with the 950m. Manufacturers could equip the 950m with GDDR3 or GDDR5 VRAM. The GDDR5 version is about 15%-20% faster. Most of the benchmarks are for the GDDR5 version, so scale your expectations respectively.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-950M.138026.0.html

According to those numbers, you should be having no problem with Overwatch. I'd suggest running some 3DMark benchmarks and compare to the site to confirm if your GPU is underperforming.

As a wild guess, have you checked your temps? GPUs (and CPUs) will throttle if the temps get too high.
 

julian_lj

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May 6, 2017
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Thanks for the reply Surya!

I'm aware that the 950M is far from the best GTX graphics card, but I know that it's no slouch either. I was actually playing my games fine with great frame rates a couple of months back; it's just that right now, it seems to have suddenly dropped in performance.

A friend of mine has a laptop with a 950M graphics card as well, and he's able to play Call of Duty: Black Ops III at 70% render scale at a consistent 60FPS. As for me right now, I'm struggling to get a comparable framerate on that same game at 50% render scale, which wasn't a problem before, so I'm certain that it's an issue with my laptop, rather than the GPU being completely inadequate.
 

julian_lj

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May 6, 2017
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Hi Solandri, thanks for the reply!

I did as you suggested and ran a 3DMark benchmark, specifically Sky Diver. And wow, talk about underperforming; my GPU is running as if it were a potato.

I received an abysmally low score of 5320, which is only better than 17% of all scores, and it loses out even to a notebook running a GeForce 840M.

Regarding your suggestion about overheating, I played a match of Overwatch while occasionally tabbing out to check the system temperature using Speccy. The system does indeed appear to be massively heating up while playing; the CPU reached 80+°C (176+°F), the motherboard reached a shocking 90+°C (194+°F), and the graphics card reached about 70+°C (158+°F). This is quite worrying. Is there any way I could solve this problem?

Massive thanks for the suggestions.
 

surya13

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Jan 22, 2014
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Instead of the Sky Diver test, I would prefer the Fire Strike test. The 950M must score 3000 to 3500 points in that test.

I don't know how accurate is Speccy for temperatures. Try MSI Afterburner. I don't know about laptop temperatures. But they run hotter than their desktop counterparts.

80°C on the CPU is normal for laptops, as far as I know and is nowhere near the throttling temperature of 100°C. 70°C on the GPU is definitely fine. But I think your motherboard reaching 90°C may be a little high — I may be wrong in this regard. I guess you are fine.

You said your friend has a similar laptop. See what temperatures he gets.
 

julian_lj

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May 6, 2017
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I'm not sure why you're recommending Fire Strike considering my laptop isn't a high-end gaming laptop, but I ran it anyway, and I didn't even get close to the score you mentioned; I scored a 1527, which is better than 6% of all results, and the benchmark video was basically a 6-7 fps slideshow city :lol:

I'm pretty certain that my computer is overworking itself, because the fans are working really hard even when I'm not doing much on it. When I start playing games, it gets even worse and the system starts heating up exponentially. I'm really worried about the excessive heat as it might damage my system components over a long term. I'll be asking my friend about his laptop temperature the next time I contact him; he doesn't have the same laptop model as I do, but his system specs are pretty similar to mine.

I've recently had a guess that one major reason for my computer's poor performance and overheating is the build-up of dust inside the system. My laptop is a year old after all, and I have not once cleared out the fans and internals since the day I bought it, because I'm worried that I'll void my warranty if I open up my laptop. I've contacted my warranty service company and asked them if they could help me with some internal cleaning. I'll report back with the results once they've serviced my laptop. In the meantime, I'm open to any further suggestions :)
 

julian_lj

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May 6, 2017
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I ran another Fire Strike test and got these results:

Overall score: 1537
Graphics score: 1609
Physics score: 8468
Combined score: 600
 

As a first attempt at cleaning, you don't have to open up the laptop. Get a can of compressed air. Turn the laptop off and take it outside. Blow the compressed air into the vents and fan duct. Be careful not to cause the fan to overspin.

Hopefully you'll see a large cloud of dust billow out. If you don't, the dust may be too caked in and will require opening up the laptop to clean.
 

julian_lj

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May 6, 2017
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Oh man, I'm so sorry for not replying for so long; I've been really busy as of late. My bad.

In the time that's passed, I've sent my computer back to my warranty service company, and they refreshed the OS and cleaned out the CPU fan. However, I don't see much improvement from before.

So I suppose the problem then is not dust buildup. What could it be, then? My laptop temperatures have gotten significantly better after the cleanup, but the performance has not improved noticeably.
 
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