Solved! Laptop is persistently underclocked

thedeathclox

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Jun 22, 2012
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First thing, the specs of the system:

Dell Latitude E6540, i7-4800MQ (2.70GHz base clock, 3.70GHz boost)
16GB RAM, 500GB SSD, Radeon 8700 series switchable graphics.

So basically, this system is my work computer - I actually work in IT at my workplace, and this one has been stumping me. I had a work laptop before but it had an i5-5200u in it - a dual core, quad thread. I work heavily in VMware for preparing a number of system images for deployment in machines here, so when I had an opportunity to switch over to this laptop with a quad-core i7 with hyperthreading, I jumped at the chance.

Now, this laptop has been generally outperforming the other system, allowing me to run my VM's while also maintaining the Host OS and running all my work apps, but I noticed it chugging from time to time. Checked the performance counter, system keeps clocking down to 700MHz, bouncing from 700MHz to around 2.20GHz at absolute maximum. Here is a list of steps I have taken to mitigate the issue:


  • Installed Dell Command Power Utility, set it to "ultra Performance" - no difference
    Made sure my system was set to "Maximum Performance"
    Tried multiple power supplies (ranging from 60w up to 160w dell adapters)
    Checked BIOS settings, both enabled and disabled C1E states and SpeedStep to see if it would help
    Reset bios
    Re-imaged my own system with fresh copy of Windows 10
    Tried Intel Extreme Overclock Utility
    Tried Throttlestop
    Checked temps - laptop idles at stupid high temps (70-75) - resolved this by replacing the stock compound on both the CPU and GPU with Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut (liquid metal compound), Removed bottom panel because shitty engineering doesn't leave a vent under the CPU fan, set laptop on its side (plugged into dock and laying on its side, propped up) to allow maximum airflow and no trapping of heat. Temps now idle in low 40's as a result. STILL THROTTLING THE SAME AMOUNT.
    Removed battery in case of limitations there - no change
    Tried battery without AC - no change
    Updated bios and all drivers to newest - no change.
This is driving me NUTS! I have nooo idea what to do here. I'm starting to think Dell just under-engineered the system and made it incapable of achieving base-clock speeds. One thing I have noticed is that throttlestop and Intel extreme utility warn about current limit - overvolting made no change. I have on occasion for split seconds watched the cpu go up to 3.1GHz for fractions of a second, but only on one day, and only for split seconds, and only a few times.

Dafuq?!
 

mikeinjbay

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Mar 1, 2010
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Hey there Dafuq,
I had a similar issue, albeit on a much lower specc'd office laptop. the only solution was to power down, unplug the charger and battery, then power up again. Keeps on happening every now and again though... Wasn't mine, but I think that when it did happen, it was when it woke up from sleep.
Hope this helps
Mike
 

mikeinjbay

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Mar 1, 2010
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Hey there Dafuq,
I had a similar issue, albeit on a much lower specc'd office laptop. the only solution was to power down, unplug the charger and battery, then power up again. Keeps on happening every now and again though... Wasn't mine, but I think that when it did happen, it was when it woke up from sleep.
Hope this helps
Mike
 

thedeathclox

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Jun 22, 2012
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Hey, couple of things.

First, thank you for the advice - I will give that a shot.
Second, my username is TheDeathClox, not Dafuq, hahah. I had said that at the end as in "what the f*ck?!" Hahah. :)
 

mikeinjbay

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Mar 1, 2010
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hahahaha - My bad - sorry!
 

Peter Martin

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Oct 9, 2014
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so you are being throttled, yeah, your temps are too high dude. you are being thermally throttled most likely.

I would contact DELL support and discus this issue, they might replace/repair the laptop
 
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