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Infuriating Power Throttling at Low Temps - XPS 13 9310

XpooS

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My goal is get every ounce of performance out of this chip, I don't care about noise or temps.

I thought my issues were thermals - so far I have:
  • Repasted with liquid metal
  • Removed the reflective tape from the inside of the case
  • Put thermal pads on the heat pipes to transfer heat to the metal case
  • Bought a fan stand for my laptop
Now my temps are amazing - idling around 38 C and maxing at 84 C - and that's the problem, I can't hit the thermal limit. I seem to be hitting some infuriating and arbitrary power limit.

I'm unable to undervolt - as I understand it this is due to the EC lock on the Dell BIOS - I've tried turning this off with no success (apparently I'm not the only one).

So from my reading my only options are to adjust the power limits - PL2 is respected for a while but then PL1 kicks in about 15 secs after full load - so my Turbo Time Limit of 28 secs also seems to be ignored. Once PL1 is hit power drops down lower than the even the package TDP that intel lists - 28W for the i7-1185G7.

In the screenshot you can see running Cinebench Multi Threaded test I am hitting this power limit which is dropping my CPU utilisation down to 81% & throttling to 2.4 GHz with power down to 16 W - all at a mild 56 C!!!! Why is this happening when the temps are so low?

My Cinebench R23 score is 3685 - lower than the 4501 Tweak Town got with the same machine. Do I have a dud?

Setting & TPL attached - Disable and Lock Turbo Power Limits is enabled.

I should also mention I have the Dell Power Management set to 'Ultimate Performance', Windows Power settings to High Performance & I have uninstalled Intel's Thermal Management/Dynamic Tuning thingy.

Please help me @unclewebb

Thanks,

N
 

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unclewebb

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the package TDP that intel lists - 28W for the i7-1185G7
Intel says that this processor has a 28W Configurable TDP-up mode. This does not mean that they intended it to run at 28W indefinitely. For the 10th Gen CPUs, Intel used to publish the TDP-up rating, the TDP-down rating as well as a long term TDP rating. They seem to be deliberately leaving that last piece of info out of their 11th Gen docs..


The similar 10th Gen 1065G7 had a long term TDP rating of only 15W.

Based on this, it is not completely unexpected to see your 11th Gen throttling at 16W or 17W.
Disappointing? Definitely yes.

Does ThrottleStop 9.2.9 show anything in the FIVR window?

On an 11th Gen U, reading or writing voltage information has been completely blocked. It might be blocked at the hardware level (fused) so there will not be any magic method to turn this feature on. The 1185G7 might be the same. Locked or unlocked does not matter if this feature no longer exists.

Check the FIVR Disable and Lock Turbo Power Limits feature. Also try checking the Lock option in the Turbo Power Limits section in the TPL window. If your CPU is still power limit throttling at 16W, I am not sure what you can do. Dell has been using the EC to force these power limits for a while now. I cannot remember anyone finding a way to get around this limitation.
 
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newtekie1

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Why is this happening when the temps are so low?

Because the weak ass VRM can't handle the power draw of the CPU.
 

unclewebb

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The screenshot shows a peak of 50W. I guess Dell's voltage regulator engineers were not planning for that.
 

XpooS

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The screenshot shows a peak of 50W. I guess Dell's voltage regulator engineers were not planning for that.

Yeah when this thing is going for the few seconds it does want to give you full gas it's glorious.

But PL1 gets hit pretty quick no matter what I set PL2 at, anything above the PL1 set by the EC and it drops to that, so I just decided to remove the PL2 limit seeing as it's gonna drop to PL1 regardless, might as well get full gas for a few seconds.

Does ThrottleStop 9.2.9 show anything in the FIVR window?

Screenshot attached - nada from the looks of it. The only voltage reading I'm seeing is the VID on the main window.

Check the FIVR Disable and Lock Turbo Power Limits feature. Also try checking the Lock option in the Turbo Power Limits section in the TPL window.

No joy with either of these unfortunately.

@unclewebb are there any other settings to play with at this point or am I asking too much of this little CPU?

Assuming the voltage is not hardware locked and I were able to remove the voltage locks from the BIOS - if I were able to undervolt I assume things would be different and I could squeeze out a lot more performance?

Because the weak ass VRM can't handle the power draw of the CPU.

I added what thermal padding I had left to the power deliver components closest to the CPU, there were still some other VRM looking things elsewhere on the mobo that I didn't have enough padding for. I have ordered more, gonna pad the shiz out of everything.

This seems to have helped, the system is now throttling to ~25W when PL1 is hit. Cinebench score now up to 4784. Thanks for the tip!
 

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unclewebb

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Assuming the voltage is not hardware locked
In previous Core i Gens, the lock bit would lock both CPU voltage control and it would also lock the turbo ratio limits. Your 11th Gen is showing that your turbo ratios are not locked so that means the lock bit that they were using is not set. Using the "change a couple of UEFI variables" method is not going to change anything because the lock bit is already not set.

ThrottleStop reports Not Available because trying to read or write any information to the one register that controls everything is being ignored. The register still exists in the 11th Gen but trying to write voltage information to this register or read voltage information from this register simply returns an error code. My best guess is that this feature might be available in the 11th Gen H or K series but it is never going to be available in the 11th Gen U series or in the G7 series like you have. If Intel was smart, they would set up a website where you could fork over another $20 bucks and have them enable CPU voltage control. Maybe that is part of their master plan.

now throttling to ~25W when PL1 is hit
Can you do an entire Cinebench R20 run at this higher power level now? Maybe the EC is checking the voltage regulator temps and decides whether to give you 25W or 16W.
 

XpooS

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Ah bummer, OK so trying to edit the bios to unlock the voltage control is never gonna work. OK then you've saved me some time messing around there, thanks.

Can you do an entire Cinebench R20 run at this higher power level now? Maybe the EC is checking the voltage regulator temps and decides whether to give you 25W or 16W.

Gotta be honest I wasn't watching it like a hawk the entire time but yeah pretty sure the whole run was around 25W. Are there any good graphing tools out there you'd recommend? Would be cool to graph the power limits with/without the thermal pads.

I say around 25W because it's not as if that is some hard stop, it fluctuates above and below that. I don't think it's a case of deciding to give 16 or 25, if it was locked to those numbers exactly I would think that, but like I say it floats around them. That makes me think it's more a case of the cooler the components the higher the power delivery. I'm assuming it has something to do with the fact that metals are more conductive at lower temps.
I have more padding arriving today so will pad the rest of the VRM components and see if I can get that ~25W limit any higher.

Thanks for the input.

Update:
Unsurprisingly I was wrong and you were right. From checking the HWinfo logs there is a 25 W limit on PL1. The pads didn't help to get past that. I actually tested it with no pads and it still hit the 25W limit. I think I was seeing the 16W limit before because I hadn't properly removed the Intel thermal management drivers, you need to do a registry edit to make sure it's removed and doesn't come back and I don't think I'd done that at that point.
 
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XpooS

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Update 2: The pads definitely help, they ensure that the hard set PL1 is locked at 25W and stays there. Without the pads PL1 fluctuates down, this lowers the clock speed and also lowers the temps. See the graphs taken from HWinfo attached. This of an entire run of Cinebench R23 multi core.
 

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Pressy

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Update 2: The pads definitely help, they ensure that the hard set PL1 is locked at 25W and stays there. Without the pads PL1 fluctuates down, this lowers the clock speed and also lowers the temps. See the graphs taken from HWinfo attached. This of an entire run of Cinebench R23 multi core.
@XpooS If your XPS 9310 was the standard clam shell model and not the 2-1, I have the same model and was wondering, what thermal pad type and thickness did you use? I'm considering adding some between the heat pipes and case to reduce throttling for intensive tasks and help avoid fans for light loads. In your second application did you add pads to the case for any components besides VRMs? I like to leave my laptops donating time to WCG or F@H and hope to see it steady at 25W rather than regularly dropping down to 15-18W. I'm cautiously optimistic that dell may improve profiles so that when throttling it reaches a stead state rather than fluctuate. If I take the ridiculous measure of resting my laptop on a room air filter the extra cool allows it to hit 5007 in R23, would have been nice if Dell had designed these with beefier thermal management.
Thanks, P
 

XpooS

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It's the clamshell.

2mm Thermal Grizzly pads is what I used.

I got the thickest pads I could find to try and ensure the gap between the mobo and the case was cleared. If you really wanna dissipate heat into the metal case remove the reflective tape they put on the inside of the case, just know the things gonna get pretty hot for lap use under load.

In your second application did you add pads to the case for any components besides VRMs?
I put the pads on the mobo components directly, they end up sticking to the case but much easier to do it that way round than to try and apply them to the case and hope you're in the right spot. Heat pipes and VRMs is all I did.
 

ryan01803

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Ah bummer, OK so trying to edit the bios to unlock the voltage control is never gonna work. OK then you've saved me some time messing around there, thanks.



Gotta be honest I wasn't watching it like a hawk the entire time but yeah pretty sure the whole run was around 25W. Are there any good graphing tools out there you'd recommend? Would be cool to graph the power limits with/without the thermal pads.

I say around 25W because it's not as if that is some hard stop, it fluctuates above and below that. I don't think it's a case of deciding to give 16 or 25, if it was locked to those numbers exactly I would think that, but like I say it floats around them. That makes me think it's more a case of the cooler the components the higher the power delivery. I'm assuming it has something to do with the fact that metals are more conductive at lower temps.
I have more padding arriving today so will pad the rest of the VRM components and see if I can get that ~25W limit any higher.

Thanks for the input.

Update:
Unsurprisingly I was wrong and you were right. From checking the HWinfo logs there is a 25 W limit on PL1. The pads didn't help to get past that. I actually tested it with no pads and it still hit the 25W limit. I think I was seeing the 16W limit before because I hadn't properly removed the Intel thermal management drivers, you need to do a registry edit to make sure it's removed and doesn't come back and I don't think I'd done that at that point.
Hi, I'm having a similar problem on my XPS 13 9310. Whenever trying to run cinebench or anything taxing on the CPU, there is a 13W power limit imposed almost immediately on the CPU, this brings temps all the way down and fans hardly spin at all, but the performance is no where near whats expected from this chip. How did you fully remove Intel Dynamic Tuning, because I know the procedure for removing Intel DPTF but am assuming the process differs on what to remove with Dyanic Tuning. For clarification, I have Ultra performance mode enabled and Best Performance selected on power plan too. So far I have tried disabling the power limit through throttlestop with no success. How you fully removed Dynamic tuning would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

XpooS

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I followed the same procedure as for DPTF. Uninstall all devices from device manager and then do the reg edit, however looking at my device manager now the Dynamic Tuning stuff is all back so guess the reg edit didn't work. I guess you will have to uninstall it every time you want full gas.

I've given up hope for this chip at this point. My goal was to have a laptop that I could use with my 2080 ti in an eGPU enclosure but this CPU is such a bottleneck it defeats the point of having such a powerful GPU. Instead I'm just going to convert my full tower gaming rig into a mini ATX and travel with that instead. You can get one that is about the same size as the eGPU enclosure so it will achieve the same thing in terms of portability but not be a laggy turd of a machine.
 

armavista

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It's the clamshell.

2mm Thermal Grizzly pads is what I used.

I got the thickest pads I could find to try and ensure the gap between the mobo and the case was cleared. If you really wanna dissipate heat into the metal case remove the reflective tape they put on the inside of the case, just know the things gonna get pretty hot for lap use under load.


I put the pads on the mobo components directly, they end up sticking to the case but much easier to do it that way round than to try and apply them to the case and hope you're in the right spot. Heat pipes and VRMs is all I did.
I could really be interested to see a picture of what you have done. So far i just repasted with liquid metal, but i was planning to put thermal pads on the heat pipes. I would really like to know exactly which are the components i could put pads on. BTW I read elsewhere 1.5mm was the indicated thickness, but i see 2mm could be better. Thanks!
 

docarter

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I have the Inspiron 14 7000 and have the same issues. Throttlestop is no longer able to modify power limits on Dell's Tigerlake products.

I actually got lucky and I'm in contact with a Dell engineer in Texas who has forwarded these issues on to the bios engineering team. I will let you know if they deliver a fix for these issues.
 

unclewebb

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ThrottleStop is no longer able to modify power limits on Dell's Tigerlake products.
Dell has been using an embedded controller (EC) to force the turbo power limits internally since the 8th Gen was released. You can use ThrottleStop to lower the turbo power limits below what Dell sets but you cannot use any software to go higher than the power limits that Dell has set. Nothing has changed recently. With the release of the 11th Gen Tiger Lake, Dell is still setting the power limits however they like. If you need to run your laptop beyond the default power limits, you will need to purchase a laptop from a different manufacturer.

deliver a fix
What needs to be fixed? Dell's laptops are running exactly as their engineers designed them to run. Some manufacturers leave the turbo power limits unlocked so they can be adjusted. Dell does not.
 

docarter

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Dell has been using an embedded controller (EC) to force the turbo power limits internally since the 8th Gen was released.



What needs to be fixed?

I understand you are the TS developer, but I have an XPS 9500 with the 10750h and Throttlestop can modify power limits and voltages (voltages require older bios rev. or modifying bios using a 3rd party program). It's just the 11th gen Tigerlake CPUs which users have reported issues with not being able to modify power limits.

According to Kevin Terwilliger (Inspiron product manager at dell) and Aaron Randall (Dell International Engineering Team) the device should not be lowering power limits as users are experiencing here, not until the processor reaches its maximum temperature limit. At the very least, this will mean users will have up to 28w sustained at or below 100C.
 

unclewebb

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It's just the 11th gen Tiger Lake CPUs
But it is not just the 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs that have this issue. Previous Dell laptops with Intel 8th, 9th and 10th Gen CPUs have this exact same problem and use this same throttling method. Dell laptops before that had different throttling issues. I have been watching this year after year since 2008 so I have become a little cynical.

Either the DPTF driver or the EC can set power limits lower than the power limits set in the ThrottleStop TPL window. There are at least 3 unique sets of turbo power limits. The CPU continuously compares these power limits and adjusts its speed based on the lowest turbo power limit that it finds.

the device should not be lowering power limits
I agree. It should not be but there are plenty of other Dell laptops with this exact same feature. It is by design. When the CPU temperature gets to the thermal throttling temperature, most laptops depend on the Intel thermal throttling mechanism to protect the CPU from overheating. This works extremely well. The CPU only slows down as much as necessary so the CPU always remains on the safe side of 100°C while continuing to deliver as much performance as possible.

What Dell has done is they have decided to override Intel's well thought out throttling system. When a laptop gets hot, some Dell laptops are reducing the turbo power limits for an extended period of time. This results in severe and continuous power limit throttling. In comparison, Intel thermal throttling is barely noticeable. This is not a new problem. It has been going on for years.
users will have up to 28w sustained
Configurable TDP-up is listed as 28W but that is not a sustained specification.


Configurable TDP-up is the average power, in watts, that the processor dissipates when operating at the Configurable TDP-up frequency under an Intel-defined, high-complexity workload.

The Configurable TDP-up frequency is only 3000 MHz for the Core i7-1185G7. It says a manufacturer can use TDP-up to optimize performance but I do not see any mention of a guaranteed level of performance or even how long one can expect TDP-up to last.

The similar 10th Gen G7 CPUs had a TDP rating of 15W. Intel used to recommend that the long term PL1 turbo power limit be set equal to the rated TDP. Not all manufacturers were following this guidance so Intel removed this rating for their 11th Gen G7. This TDP spec has been replaced with a range. If an 11th Gen G7 is operating between 12W and 28W and running between 1.20 GHz and 3.00 GHz, it is operating within spec.

Based on that, your laptop is running within spec and exactly as Dell intended. I do not see them releasing a BIOS update that is going to significantly change anything.
 

jkib

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I placed 2mm pads on the heat pipes and that improved temps by about 10 degrees. TDP readings on Throttlestop running Cinebench R23 improved from 23w to 28w multicore, and 16w to 20w singlecore.
If you look closely just below and to the right of the cpu heat exchanger area, there are a couple of silver square components, I think maybe chokes. You will notice just to the right of them a small thin piece of the heat exchanger coming off that has a black pad on it. I believe this is covering the VRM's for the CPU. I added a chunk of the 2mm pad onto this point also. Dell used this I believe to help cool them, but there is not much pad there.
I have the 9310, and I tested it on a cooling pad.
 
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docarter

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But it is not just the 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs that have this issue. Previous Dell laptops with Intel 8th, 9th and 10th Gen CPUs have this exact same problem and use this same throttling method. Dell laptops before that had different throttling issues. I have been watching this year after year since 2008 so I have become a little cynical.

Either the DPTF driver or the EC can set power limits lower than the power limits set in the ThrottleStop TPL window. There are at least 3 unique sets of turbo power limits. The CPU continuously compares these power limits and adjusts its speed based on the lowest turbo power limit that it finds.


I agree. It should not be but there are plenty of other Dell laptops with this exact same feature. It is by design. When the CPU temperature gets to the thermal throttling temperature, most laptops depend on the Intel thermal throttling mechanism to protect the CPU from overheating. This works extremely well. The CPU only slows down as much as necessary so the CPU always remains on the safe side of 100°C while continuing to deliver as much performance as possible.

What Dell has done is they have decided to override Intel's well thought out throttling system. When a laptop gets hot, some Dell laptops are reducing the turbo power limits for an extended period of time. This results in severe and continuous power limit throttling. In comparison, Intel thermal throttling is barely noticeable. This is not a new problem. It has been going on for years.

Configurable TDP-up is listed as 28W but that is not a sustained specification.




The Configurable TDP-up frequency is only 3000 MHz for the Core i7-1185G7. It says a manufacturer can use TDP-up to optimize performance but I do not see any mention of a guaranteed level of performance or even how long one can expect TDP-up to last.

The similar 10th Gen G7 CPUs had a TDP rating of 15W. Intel used to recommend that the long term PL1 turbo power limit be set equal to the rated TDP. Not all manufacturers were following this guidance so Intel removed this rating for their 11th Gen G7. This TDP spec has been replaced with a range. If an 11th Gen G7 is operating between 12W and 28W and running between 1.20 GHz and 3.00 GHz, it is operating within spec.

Based on that, your laptop is running within spec and exactly as Dell intended. I do not see them releasing a BIOS update that is going to significantly change anything.

The engineer I am working with at Dell did send over an updated bios today which fixed two of the three power limit issues I was having. The laptop will now remain at 27w across reboots if set to ultra performance and temperatures allow, in CPU only workloads. I am still experiencing power limit issues with CPU/GPU loads and I'll let you know if they also fix that issue.
 

jkib

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My latest bios is 2.0.0 for the 9310. What bios version did he send you?
 

jkib

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The engineer I am working with at Dell did send over an updated bios today which fixed two of the three power limit issues I was having. The laptop will now remain at 27w across reboots if set to ultra performance and temperatures allow, in CPU only workloads. I am still experiencing power limit issues with CPU/GPU loads and I'll let you know if they also fix that issue.
Dell issued a bios update 2.1.1 today for the 9310. It does not address any power limit issues, but a few other minor issues. I wonder if Dell would address the power limit issues in the update without mentioning the issue in the description.
Not sure whether to do the update till I see more feedback.
 

docarter

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Dell issued a bios update 2.1.1 today for the 9310. It does not address any power limit issues, but a few other minor issues. I wonder if Dell would address the power limit issues in the update without mentioning the issue in the description.
Not sure whether to do the update till I see more feedback.
HI, the newest bios ultimately set the long term limit at 20w. This was not enough but there is another workaround available. If you want higher power limits pm me and I will share the how-to.
 

jkib

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Anyone try the new bios update ver 2.2 for the XPS 9310 yet?
 
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