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Acer Swift 3 SF314-57G extreme throttling

gags94

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Hi guys,

I purchased Acer Swift 3 SF314-57G (2020 version) around 7 months ago for around $850.

The specs are:

Processor: Intel i5 1035G1
RAM: 8 GB DDR4
Drive: 512 GB SSD
Graphics: Intel UHD and Nvidia MX250 (2 GB)

I was busy with college all this while and thus was unable to test the laptop's functionalities. Now that I was free, I decided to play light games such as FIFA 19 on 720p and low settings.

I am not much of a gamer and I know that this laptop is not meant for gaming. However, the presence of 10W MX250 should give some gaming performance.

I was devasted to learn that the $850 dollar laptop cannot run FIFA 19 without extreme CPU throttling. Moreover, this throttling is not limited only to games. It is applicable to all heavy tasks that use GPUs. Cisco Webex with some 30-40 odd videos makes the laptop cry.

I filed a complaint with Acer yesterday. Till now, they have just asked for my laptop's serial number. LOL.

I am desperately looking for a solution and I trust you guys on TechPowerUp more than some third party Acer support.

Please help a fellow out here.
 

unclewebb

ThrottleStop & RealTemp Author
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In the ThrottleStop Options window check the Nvidia GPU box so it can monitor your Nvidia GPU temps and speed.

Turn on the Log File option and go play a game for at least 15 minutes. When finished testing, exit the game and then exit ThrottleStop so it can finalize your log file. The log file will be in your ThrottleStop / Logs folder. Attach one to your next post or copy and paste the data to www.pastebin.com so I can have a look. Also post some screenshots of ThrottleStop.

You have to thoroughly test a new laptop the day you buy it, not 7 months later. Many low end laptops have extreme throttling issues. If you buy 10 different laptops in this price range, there is a good chance that you should immediately return 9 of them. Maybe all 10.

Some laptops might decide to power limit throttle the CPU whenever you are using the Nvidia GPU. They never tell you stuff like this when you are buying a laptop.
 

gags94

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In the ThrottleStop Options window check the Nvidia GPU box so it can monitor your Nvidia GPU temps and speed.

Turn on the Log File option and go play a game for at least 15 minutes. When finished testing, exit the game and then exit ThrottleStop so it can finalize your log file. The log file will be in your ThrottleStop / Logs folder. Attach one to your next post or copy and paste the data to www.pastebin.com so I can have a look. Also post some screenshots of ThrottleStop.

You have to thoroughly test a new laptop the day you buy it, not 7 months later. Many low end laptops have extreme throttling issues. If you buy 10 different laptops in this price range, there is a good chance that you should immediately return 9 of them. Maybe all 10.

Some laptops might decide to power limit throttle the CPU whenever you are using the Nvidia GPU. They never tell you stuff like this when you are buying a laptop.
Thanks, unclewebb for the reply.

I have tested the system a lot over the past few days in various combinations.

I have two interesting tests. I would like to share this data with you.

Tests:

1. Stock options in Throttlestop and ran benchmarks on Heaven
2. Ticked "Disable and lock turbo power limits" in Throttlestop and played FIFA 19.

I understand that the tests are different but the loading characteristics are similar. In fact, the behaviour observed in Test 1 is similar to what I would have observed had I played FIFA instead of Heaven. I have seen this firsthand but don't have the records currently.

Surprisingly, Test 2 solved the problem. But, what's happening here? Can you please help me understand this? Like what's happening behind the scenes?

Also, attached some screenshots of Throttlestop in default mode.

1.JPG
2.JPG


3.JPG


Please let me know if I need to share anything else. Thank you once again.
 

Attachments

  • Test 2.txt
    43.9 KB · Views: 26
  • Test 1.txt
    51.6 KB · Views: 25

unclewebb

ThrottleStop & RealTemp Author
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Messages
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The Core i5-1035G1 has a 15W TDP rating and can go as high as 25W. In your Test1, the power limit is slowly forced down to 7W. This causes severe throttling. The CPU must slow down so it does not exceed 7W which has it running at a miserable 400 MHz. Not sure what engineer thinks that this is a good idea. Definitely not a real engineer.

Looks like the Disable and Lock option in ThrottleStop prevents this silliness from happening. This tells the CPU to power limit throttle based on the rated 15W TDP limit. This allows the CPU to run much faster. 2700 MHz vs 400 MHz is a 575% increase. Not bad considering you only had to check one box in ThrottleStop.

Someone at Acer also thought it would be a good idea to set the thermal throttling temperature to 90°C instead of the Intel recommended value which is 100°C. Lowering the throttling temperature lowers maximum performance. Have a look in the ThrottleStop Options window. You will see that PROCHOT Offset is set to 10 which tells the CPU to begin throttling 10°C too soon. If this option is not locked, you can change this value. I think Acer locks this setting so you will probably see a lock icon above this setting.

Try setting the core and cache offset voltages to -50 mV for each. That can help reduce power consumption and temps and will improve performance. The other thing you can do is try increasing the turbo power limit from 15W to 20W or 25W and clear the Clamp option.

Download and use the latest version of ThrottleStop. I posted a link for you.

The other problem is the Speed Shift EPP value is set wrong. Move the Windows power slider back and forth in the system tray and watch in the FIVR monitoring table what Speed Shift EPP value the CPU is using. For maximum performance, you want Speed Shift EPP to be set no higher than 84. Your FIVR screenshot shows that Speed Shift EPP is set to 178 in the CPU. This will limit maximum performance.
 
Last edited:

gags94

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The Core i5-1035G1 has a 15W TDP rating and can go as high as 25W. In your Test1, the power limit is slowly forced down to 7W. This causes severe throttling. The CPU must slow down so it does not exceed 7W which has it running at a miserable 400 MHz. Not sure what engineer thinks that this is a good idea. Definitely not a real engineer.

Looks like the Disable and Lock option in ThrottleStop prevents this silliness from happening. This tells the CPU to power limit throttle based on the rated 15W TDP limit. This allows the CPU to run much faster. 2700 MHz vs 400 MHz is a 575% increase. Not bad considering you only had to check one box in ThrottleStop.

Someone at Acer also thought it would be a good idea to set the thermal throttling temperature to 90°C instead of the Intel recommended value which is 100°C. Lowering the throttling temperature lowers maximum performance. Have a look in the ThrottleStop Options window. You will see that PROCHOT Offset is set to 10 which tells the CPU to begin throttling 10°C too soon. If this option is not locked, you can change this value. I think Acer locks this setting so you will probably see a lock icon above this setting.

Try setting the core and cache offset voltages to -50 mV for each. That can help reduce power consumption and temps and will improve performance. The other thing you can do is try increasing the turbo power limit from 15W to 20W or 25W and clear the Clamp option.

Download and use the latest version of ThrottleStop. I posted a link for you.

The other problem is the Speed Shift EPP value is set wrong. Move the Windows power slider back and forth in the system tray and watch in the FIVR monitoring table what Speed Shift EPP value the CPU is using. For maximum performance, you want Speed Shift EPP to be set to at least 84. Your FIVR screenshot shows that Speed Shift EPP is set to 178 in the CPU. This will limit maximum performance.
That is insightful analysis. Thanks, unclewebb.

A few followup questions I had in mind.

1. From what I understand, the "Disable and Lock" option takes care of the second set of power limits (You mentioned somewhere that there are 3). Could it be possible that the laptop is power throttling in a bid to protect other components? So, essentially, in the long run, the CPU will do fine but maybe the other components will fry out. Is it safe to check this option?

2. Should I be worried about the temperatures in Test2 if I move ahead with this option?

3. What does the clamp option do?

4. Apart from "Disable and lock" and underclocking by 50 mV as suggested by you, are there any other exclusive measures I can take to solve the power limiting problem? By exclusive I mean ONLY that particular measure needs to be implemented. Measures once combined deliver superior results. Such as both "Disable and lock" and underclocking done on the same laptop.

Thanks in advance! :)
 

unclewebb

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1) Your laptop is power throttling down to 7W due to bad design. You paid for a 15W CPU. If your laptop cannot run all day and all night at 15W then there is something wrong. Manufacturers that enforce power limits way below the rated TDP are being dishonest. You should have tested and returned this laptop immediately for not being able to run at its rated power specification. That is bad design.

2) You never have to worry about your CPU temperature because Acer set the thermal throttling temperature 10°C below the Intel spec. You can run your CPU as long as you want at 90°C because that is well within the 100°C Intel specification.

3) When power limit throttling, the Clamp option allows the CPU to slow down below the Base Frequency. The base speed of the 1035G1 is a measly 1000 MHz. No reason to have your CPU throttling slower than 1000 MHz so no reason to check the Clamp option.

4) Adjust the offset voltage to -50 mV for the core and cache and bump the turbo power limit (PL1) up to 20W. Run another log file and see how your CPU performs. Most of these CPUs should be stable at -75 mV but I always recommend starting out conservatively. Adjusting the voltage, bumping up the turbo power limit and using the Disable and Lock option can make a world of difference. Not sure why huge companies have such a difficult time designing a laptop.

The 7W power limit being imposed by Acer is worthy of a class action lawsuit. Imagine if a car company sold a car and charged a consumer more money for a 300 HP option. If later testing showed that this engine was only capable of 150 HP, crap would hit the fan, this would be on the news and lawsuits and recalls would follow. Computer companies get away with this deception all of the time and nothing ever comes of it. There are no consumer protection laws that cover computer consumers.
 

gags94

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1) Your laptop is power throttling down to 7W due to bad design. You paid for a 15W CPU. If your laptop cannot run all day and all night at 15W then there is something wrong. Manufacturers that enforce power limits way below the rated TDP are being dishonest. You should have tested and returned this laptop immediately for not being able to run at its rated power specification. That is bad design.

2) You never have to worry about your CPU temperature because Acer set the thermal throttling temperature 10°C below the Intel spec. You can run your CPU as long as you want at 90°C because that is well within the 100°C Intel specification.

3) When power limit throttling, the Clamp option allows the CPU to slow down below the Base Frequency. The base speed of the 1035G1 is a measly 1000 MHz. No reason to have your CPU throttling slower than 1000 MHz so no reason to check the Clamp option.

4) Adjust the offset voltage to -50 mV for the core and cache and bump the turbo power limit (PL1) up to 20W. Run another log file and see how your CPU performs. Most of these CPUs should be stable at -75 mV but I always recommend starting out conservatively. Adjusting the voltage, bumping up the turbo power limit and using the Disable and Lock option can make a world of difference. Not sure why huge companies have such a difficult time designing a laptop.

The 7W power limit being imposed by Acer is worthy of a class action lawsuit. Imagine if a car company sold a car and charged a consumer more money for a 300 HP option. If later testing showed that this engine was only capable of 150 HP, crap would hit the fan, this would be on the news and lawsuits and recalls would follow. Computer companies get away with this deception all of the time and nothing ever comes of it. There are no consumer protection laws that cover computer consumers.
I've unchecked clamp option, checked disable and lock option, and undervolted by 50 mV. There seems to be some improvement with undervolting as visible in the data. PL1 is not being hit regularly as was the case in Test 2.

I have purposefully not increase PL1 to 20W as the laptop body becomes too hot even at 15W. Probably the cooling sucks. Prochot is disabled.

Can you please check the data unclewebb and suggest any insight that I may have missed?

Further, I have undervolted to 75 mV. TS Bench is stable in this setting. I will try with FIFA 19 again tomorrow and see if this can be reduced further to improve the temps and power draw.

Some pics below.

1614715823736.png


1614715871579.png
 

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  • 2021-03-02.txt
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unclewebb

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laptop body becomes too hot even at 15W. Probably the cooling sucks.
That sounds like the cooling is working well. The extra heat is being transferred away from the CPU into the chassis. Consider using an external keyboard and mouse to protect your hands. Maybe a pair of light weight welder's gloves will be an option someday for modern laptops.

Does the Speed Shift EPP value change in the FIVR window when you move the Windows power slider in the system tray? An EPP setting of 178 reduces maximum performance. You can usually reduce the EPP value by moving the slider to Best Performance. If you are trying to control heat, I understand why you are using 178.

Prochot is disabled.
Do you mean that PROCHOT Offset is locked in the Options window? Many laptops use the BIOS to lock this setting.

I am not sure what undervolt settings work best for these CPUs. Every CPU is unique so keep trying lower values. If you ever have a BSOD or a game crashes, you have probably gone too far with the voltage.

When you are limited by too much heat, not much else you can do.
 

gags94

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Do you mean that PROCHOT Offset is locked in the Options window? Many laptops use the BIOS to lock this setting.
Yes, it's locked.

I am not sure what undervolt settings work best for these CPUs. Every CPU is unique so keep trying lower values. If you ever have a BSOD or a game crashes, you have probably gone too far with the voltage.
I tried 75 mV. It didn't work. The laptop froze after 3 mins of gaming. But, now I know one thing for sure that the limit is between 50 mV and 75 mV. For the time being, I have reverted back to 50 mV. Once I get time, I will experiment a little.

The average GPU and CPU temperatures are:

GPU: 70
CPU: 84

The CPU temperature is a tad bit higher as the laptop was on charge.

I hope these temperatures should be fine?

Any tips on how to reduce the temps, unclewebb?
 

unclewebb

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Any tips on how to reduce the temps
You are already doing all you can do. Many modern laptops are poorly designed and run hot. Barely adequate has become the norm for laptop design. It is like the engineers get a bonus when they find a way to shave a couple of more grams of metal out of a heatsink.

I found this sorry looking thing in my daughter's thin and light Lenovo C930. That solid copper block looks like aluminum with a microscopic layer of copper sprayed on to it.
They drilled a few holes so it looks like a high performance brake rotor from a race car. Pathetic.

 

gags94

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They drilled a few holes so it looks like a high performance brake rotor from a race car. Pathetic.
Haha. That's a sham! Moreover, some companies use planned obsolescence as their core strategy. What a world we are living in! What if I want a reliable machine that stands the test of time? The strategy means I won't be able to buy something like that today.
 

gags94

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When you are limited by too much heat, not much else you can do.
Something new happened today Unclewebb.

My BIOS got updated automatically. On system restart, as previous Throttlestop settings were stored, they were put into action. However, I thought because of the BIOS update, I should also reset Throttlestop once. Moreover, I also downloaded the latest version v9.3.

The PL1 limit apparently increased. Is this from Acer's end?

Why would Acer do this when the Intel website says the TDP for this processor is 15W? Moreover, why increase the TDP limit when the thin laptop has a very basic cooling system and already struggled with 15W.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Please find below the new screenshots.
1615063210566.png
1615063237840.png


1615063274421.png
 

gags94

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Ran the game for some time. This is the result I obtained.

Funny observation: PL1 TDP limit is 28W acc to Throttlestop but the laptop throttles to 15W while gaming. Not only the laptop but also TS Bench.
 

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  • 2021-03-07.txt
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unclewebb

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Disable and Lock
@gags94 - That option in the FIVR window is not checked in your latest screenshot so your computer is running like a slug again. A laptop in 2021 that is running at 400 MHz is terrible.

Intel CPUs have multiple turbo power limits that are duplicated. Maybe setting the main turbo power limits to 28W helps trick people who are not smart enough to know that there is a secondary power limit throttling the CPU down to 8W. Why do manufacturers do this? Because they can. They know that the vast majority of consumers are not smart enough to sort through these issues. They take whatever BS excuse a manufacturer tells them. Working as designed or as intended is the common line.

What percent of people do you think have complained about your laptop model running at 400 MHz? 0.1%? I doubt it. More like 0.001%. Complaints are rare so shoddy laptops with huge throttling problems are the norm.

To find out what your new default limits are, you need to exit ThrottleStop, delete the ThrottleStop.INI configuration file and then you need to completely shut down your computer so the CPU can reset itself. The proper way to do this is to hold down the Shift keyboard key and while this is held down, select the Windows - Shut down menu option. When you boot up and start ThrottleStop, it will read whatever values the BIOS set the CPU to.
 
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