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Undervolting + prolonging life of MS Surface Pro 6 with i7-8650U

ctp9

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First off - great forum and I'm really digging ThrottleStop. Likewise, all of unclewebb's efforts and contributions to the overclocking community are noted and highly appreciated.

Next, I'd like to get your advice on undervolting and getting the most performance out of my Surface Pro 6 that I'm using as a desktop (plugged in 24/7 - only unplugged to discharge battery once in a blue moon):

ThrottleStop_SRFC_Pro_6.png


ThrottleStop_SRFC_Pro_6_FIVR_CPU_(Performance).png


ThrottleStop_SRFC_Pro_6_TPL.png


ThrottleStop_SRFC_Pro_6_C10.png


Undervolting summary:
CPU Core / Cache................................... -87.9 mV
iGPU / Unslice / System Agent........ -50.8 mV

My current issues are:
- Setting Speed Shift - EPP to "0" triggers insane EDP OTHER limits. Boxes remain lit solid red and my mouse freezes intermittently
- Massive spikes in DPC latency after PC has been left idling overnight (please check my other thread about this)

Seems like throttling of some sort is occurring when I try to push the CPU to run at full frequency. Or perhaps I'm under-powered.


Any help / advice / insights are welcome. Thank you in advance!
 
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What are your temps & Vcore at stock? While plugged in just so there's no confusion.
 

ctp9

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These are the stock readings. This device is plugged in 24/7.

stock_vcore_temps.png
 
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unclewebb

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You cannot overclock an 8650U so leave the turbo ratios at their default values of 42, 42, 39, 39.

If your C State screenshot is when your computer is idle, you have way too much stuff running in the background. Here is how an 8550U looks when idle.



It looks like your CPU might not be using the deeper package C states correctly. There are some driver bugs that can limit the CPU to package C2 instead of package C8.

EDP OTHER throttling typically refers to the current limit. Increase the PP0 Current Limit up to 100 and increase the IccMax to the max which is 255.75. See if this gets rid of your problem.

When plugged in I would be using a Speed Shift EPP value of 0 for maximum performance. Your screenshot shows that you have Speed Shift EPP set to 128. On some laptops, WIndows 10 is capable of managing EPP correctly. To do some testing, clear the Speed Shift - EPP box on the main screen of ThrottleStop. Now open up the FIVR window and look in the monitoring table to see what EPP value the CPU is actually using. Switch Windows power profiles back and forth and watch how Windows manages the EPP value. If the Windows High performance power profile gives you an EPP setting of 0 then let Windows manage this. If you want ThrottleStop to manage EPP, go with the Windows High Performance setting and then check the Speed Shift EPP box and you can adjust the number where it says 128. Click on 128 and edit away. Watch the FIVR window to confirm whether ThrottleStop or Windows is in charge of EPP.

If cooling is adequate, you might want to try bumping up the turbo power limits another 5 watts or so. Microsoft appears to be using a very conservative thermal throttling temperature of only 90°C compared to the Intel spec which is 100°C. A new version of TS is in the cards for this weekend that might just take care of this annoying problem. :D

Cinebench R20.

While Cinebench is running, open up the ThrottleStop Limit Reasons window and see if there is any throttling going on. Anything lighting up in red is not good. You can make ThrottleStop adjustments while Cinebench is running. It is also nice to enable the Log File option for testing purposes. Remember to enable "Add Limit Reasons to Log File" in the Options window before you start testing.
 
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ctp9

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Thank you. My answers:

I keep everything pretty lean and don't have too much stuff running in the background except certain essentials for my profession.

I put turbo ratios back to their default values of 42, 42, 39, 39.

C-states on idle:

C_states_on_idle.png


Increased PP0 Current Limit and IccMax to the recommended values (do I also crank IccMax for Cache and GPU? Please let me know)

Tested to see how Windows manages EPP: It is locked to 120 no matter which power profile is chosen. EPP can only be changed via ThrottleStop. However - an EPP value of 0 does not work properly for me. My mouse freezes intermittently on the value of "0" when my CPU is not at a steady load and EDP OTHER stays solid red. Changing the value to a higher number fixes the intermittent mouse freezing and EDP OTHER goes away. Any idea how to get the CPU to work properly at EPP 0?

I will experiment with a slight increase in turbo power limits and will report back.
 
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If you feel bored, you can do whatever you want, obviously.
The "prolonging life" part is really doubtful...

And why do you discharge the battery once every month?
 

ctp9

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Undervolting helps prolong life, there's no question about that. Reduced voltage = less heat to damage components.

And I said that I discharge the battery once in a blue moon - not every month. This device is plugged in 24/7, and batteries can implode if never fully discharged... especially if you're feeding them juice for years at a time. I actually had the battery on my previous Surface Pro implode so bad that it popped the LCD completely out of the assembly.

Update:

I just came across a thread that described the very mouse freezing issue I've been encountering when setting EPP to a value of "0" (Maximum Performance plan in Windows):

https://www.reddit.com/r/Surface/comments/aujg3d
It stated that mouse polling rate of 1000 Hz is the culprit. Upon reducing the polling rate to 500 Hz - mouse freezing issues @ EPP 0 went away. Now I can run the PC at EPP 0 without the mouse freezing whatsoever. (This is 100% Microsoft's problem and there isn't an official fix for this issue yet)
 
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unclewebb

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I keep everything pretty lean
Your C state data does not back up that claim. When a computer running Windows 10 is idle, the cores can average as much as 99% of the time in the low power C7 state. Your cores are averaging just over 75% in C7. If only 3 of your 4 cores are idle, that means one core is active 100% of the time processing some background task. This load might get bounced around from core to core but it is a good sign that a program or a driver on your computer is stuck in an infinite loop doing absolutely nothing but wasting CPU cycles and creating unnecessary heat. Open the Task Manager and look at the Details tab. Click on the CPU heading and organize the running tasks by CPU usage. You might find something running in there causing this problem. You bought a four core CPU but one entire core is being wasted.

I also crank IccMax for Cache and GPU? Please let me know
You can use ThrottleStop to adjust your CPU however you like. You have to test your own laptop. If you have a problem, make an adjustment and determine if this helps the problem or makes the problem worse. How you want your laptop to run is totally up to you. Some users are plugged in 24/7 and only want increased performance while others want lower fan speeds and reduced noise. There are a wide variety of adjustments in ThrottleStop to give you full control of your CPU and get it running however you like.

Upon reducing the polling rate to 500 Hz - mouse freezing issues @ EPP 0 went away.
Good work finding a solution. I will try to remember this next time I hear about this problem. My laptop used to have a bad track pad driver that must have been sampling the track pad billions of times per second. Even resting my thumb on the track pad without even moving it showed a huge spike in C0%. It took years before this was fixed with an updated driver. Sampling a mouse or track pad a 1000 times per second (1000 Hz) is OK. Sampling anything a billion times per second is definitely not OK.

The "prolonging life" part is really doubtful...
I have to agree. CPUs and laptops tend to last a long time no matter how you treat them. My closets are full of computer hardware that still works just fine. Most CPUs become obsolete long before they significantly degrade or die.
 
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Undervolting helps prolong life, there's no question about that. Reduced voltage = less heat to damage components.
You know this because you're a trained semiconductor or integrated circuit expert? Or maybe you've heard that on a PC forum?

OK, so you buy a CPU and it runs at a default voltage U_f. You say that if you change the voltage to U < U_f, it will make the chip work for longer.
So here's the question: how does this relation look?
The smaller U you set, the longer the chip will work? (monotonical)
What do you think?
And I said that I discharge the battery once in a blue moon - not every month. This device is plugged in 24/7, and batteries can implode if never fully discharged...
Because of a well known physical/chemical effect called...?
I actually had the battery on my previous Surface Pro implode so bad that it popped the LCD completely out of the assembly.
Did you by chance undervolt that Surface Pro as well?
When did that happen? Which Surface Pro?
 

ctp9

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Thank you for your responses. Here are my replies:

Your C state data does not back up that claim. When a computer running Windows 10 is idle, the cores can average as much as 99% of the time in the low power C7 state. Your cores are averaging just over 75% in C7. If only 3 of your 4 cores are idle, that means one core is active 100% of the time processing some background task. This load might get bounced around from core to core but it is a good sign that a program or a driver on your computer is stuck in an infinite loop doing absolutely nothing but wasting CPU cycles and creating unnecessary heat. Open the Task Manager and look at the Details tab. Click on the CPU heading and organize the running tasks by CPU usage. You might find something running in there causing this problem. You bought a four core CPU but one entire core is being wasted.

Correct - I have one background program that is eating some cycles. It's a file server that I need for my profession and must be running 24/7. Other than that, I don't have anything else in the background that might be keeping the CPU busy. By the way - do you know why the CPU in this device never spends time in package C8? Is it due to buggy firmware? And if so - is there any workaround, perhaps?
You can use ThrottleStop to adjust your CPU however you like. You have to test your own laptop. If you have a problem, make an adjustment and determine if this helps the problem or makes the problem worse. How you want your laptop to run is totally up to you. Some users are plugged in 24/7 and only want increased performance while others want lower fan speeds and reduced noise. There are a wide variety of adjustments in ThrottleStop to give you full control of your CPU and get it running however you like.

I understand, however, my question was very specific regarding the correct usage of your application. I wouldn't want to make any dramatic changes without knowing if they're the correct actions... which is why I asked if IccMax should also be cranked to the max for Cache and for GPU? Because at the moment - both Cache and GPU have their default IccMax values, while Core was adjusted to 255.75 as per your suggestion.
Good work finding a solution. I will try to remember this next time I hear about this problem. My laptop used to have a bad track pad driver that must have been sampling the track pad billions of times per second. Even resting my thumb on the track pad without even moving it showed a huge spike in C0%. It took years before this was fixed with an updated driver. Sampling a mouse or track pad a 1000 times per second (1000 Hz) is OK. Sampling anything a billion times per second is definitely not OK.

Apparently there's no fix for this issue yet... and Microsoft has been aware of it for almost 2 years now.
I have to agree. CPUs and laptops tend to last a long time no matter how you treat them. My closets are full of computer hardware that still works just fine. Most CPUs become obsolete long before they significantly degrade or die.

Heat kills all electronics, nothing new. If you treat your electronics badly, such as exposing them to prolonged bouts of heat - their lifespan will be shortened prematurely.


You know this because you're a trained semiconductor or integrated circuit expert? Or maybe you've heard that on a PC forum?

OK, so you buy a CPU and it runs at a default voltage U_f. You say that if you change the voltage to U < U_f, it will make the chip work for longer.
So here's the question: how does this relation look?
The smaller U you set, the longer the chip will work? (monotonical)
What do you think?

Look, I'm not an expert. I simply read literature and pass the knowledge to others. Swelling batteries are due to buildup of gases inside. The gases are produced from the electro-chemical oxidation of the electrolyte. This swelling is actually designed as a safety mechanism as the gases are toxic/corrosive and need to be contained. Deformed lithium batteries are a fire and explosion hazard. This occurs when a) the battery is overcharged or b) the battery is charged using a faulty charger or c) the battery is faulty.

Common causes of battery swelling include:
  1. Overcharge conditions which accelerate parasitic reactions between the electrodes and electrolyte, with release of heat and gases.
  2. Poor cell quality and design with low anode to cathode stoichiometric ratios, particulate contamination
  3. Mechanical damage to electrodes induced either during cell assembly or from the product application
  4. Excessive temperatures
  5. Deep discharge of cells
Because of a well known physical/chemical effect called...?

I'm going to quote a study for you:

"The anode of the lithium ion battery undergoes several degradation mechanisms during aging.
Lithium plating is one aging mechanism which ends the life of a battery more rapidly due to the
formation and growth of lithium dendrites. The decomposition of the electrolyte and subsequent
formation of the film surface layer on the anode, cause an increase in the impedance and the
consumption of recyclable lithium ions. These degradation mechanisms rarely affect the crystal
structure of the anode electrode. The addition of various stabilizers, robust electrolyte systems, and
temperature treatment are some of the methods that have been adopted to mitigate these aging effects
on the electrode."
Did you by chance undervolt that Surface Pro as well?
When did that happen? Which Surface Pro?

No, the previous Surface Pro was never undervolted (it was the Pro 4 model). I was not familiar with undervolting back then. The device ran fully stock and it would often feel extremely hot to the touch on the back of the case.

It is only after the battery severely imploded and popped the LCD out of the assembly that I started researching undervolting and heat reduction. That's when I came across ThrottleStop for the first time in my life and wondered whether it can help reduce heat of my new Surface Pro 6 (purchased 9 months ago)...

Lastly - according to Microsoft phone support - the battery imploded due to heat and overcharging; I never discharged it (not even once) in the 4 years of owning the device.
 
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I have to agree with the swelling of Lithium batteries as i've had a couple of mobile phones where that has happened.
There has also been documented cases of fires and explosions of Lithium batteries in the past due to charging methods.
Anyway, enough off topic.
 

Juriyx

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You can use ThrottleStop to adjust your CPU however you like.
Hi, unclewebb. I don't like how my tablet, Surface Pro 5 with i7-7660u regulates frequencies under load by default.
1. After 5-7 minutes of Skype call with screen sharing, CPU frequencies were at 900 Mhz and the interface frozen.
2. In games, the GPU throttles to 600-650 MHz though it can reach 1000-1050 MHz (I would like to play some games on it before I buy a PC with discrete GPU).
3. In my summer cottage where it's much hotter in summer, it throttles much and freezes as well.

I was able to change throttling behaviour using settings below but with these settings, components have acceptable temperatures (83-84℃) only with external fun. I investigated that the cooling system can keep up with heat only with 24W Long TDP.
Do I understand right that with ticked option "Disable and Lock Turbo Power Limits" and unticked "BD PROCHOT" the Surface heats to the PROCHOT limit despite ambient conditions and shutdowns if gets to critical temperatures?
How do you recommend to configure the tablet so that the battery does not degrade faster (or not much faster)?
And does "Intel Power Balance" option do anything? I tried changing it by increasing GPU coefficient and nothing changed regarding the GPU in tests. What coefficients should I use?

The ideal option for me would be when under load the CPU and GPU heat to a maximum of 85 ℃ while reaching the maximum possible frequencies and thermal throttle when the cooling system cannot keep up with it. Is it possible to achieve this goal with ThrottleStop?
Or at least to be able to choose a different TDP, depending on external conditions and the presence of a cooler, and this would be allowed by profiles. But the problem is that in the current version of the application, TDP is not saved between profiles, it is the same for all profiles.
Is it possible to somehow solve this in the current application version (9.2 Stable)?
 

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ctp9

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Hi, unclewebb. I don't like how my tablet, Surface Pro 5 with i7-7660u regulates frequencies under load by default.
1. After 5-7 minutes of Skype call with screen sharing, CPU frequencies were at 900 Mhz and the interface frozen.
2. In games, the GPU throttles to 600-650 MHz though it can reach 1000-1050 MHz (I would like to play some games on it before I buy a PC with discrete GPU).
3. In my summer cottage where it's much hotter in summer, it throttles much and freezes as well.

I was able to change throttling behaviour using settings below but with these settings, components have acceptable temperatures (83-84℃) only with external fun. I investigated that the cooling system can keep up with heat only with 24W Long TDP.
Do I understand right that with ticked option "Disable and Lock Turbo Power Limits" and unticked "BD PROCHOT" the Surface heats to the PROCHOT limit despite ambient conditions and shutdowns if gets to critical temperatures?
How do you recommend to configure the tablet so that the battery does not degrade faster (or not much faster)?
And does "Intel Power Balance" option do anything? I tried changing it by increasing GPU coefficient and nothing changed regarding the GPU in tests. What coefficients should I use?

The ideal option for me would be when under load the CPU and GPU heat to a maximum of 85 ℃ while reaching the maximum possible frequencies and thermal throttle when the cooling system cannot keep up with it. Is it possible to achieve this goal with ThrottleStop?
Or at least to be able to choose a different TDP, depending on external conditions and the presence of a cooler, and this would be allowed by profiles. But the problem is that in the current version of the application, TDP is not saved between profiles, it is the same for all profiles.
Is it possible to somehow solve this in the current application version (9.2 Stable)?
You're talking about a different processor, but I'll share the settings for my i7-8650U anyway. Check the screenshots - maybe this will help you.
 

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wpcoe

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You're talking about a different processor, but I'll share the settings for my i7-8650U anyway. Check the screenshots - maybe this will help you.
I have the same Surface Pro 6 with an i7-8650U. However, on mine the FIVR options are "Locked." Are yours still unlocked? Has MS done some locking out of the FIVR controls since Dec. 2020 when you posted?
 

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unclewebb

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BIOS updates during the last year have locked out CPU voltage control on many different laptop models. Do a Google search for Plundervolt to find out why CPU voltage control has been disabled. Try going back to an older BIOS version if possible.
 

wpcoe

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BIOS updates during the last year have locked out CPU voltage control on many different laptop models. Do a Google search for Plundervolt to find out why CPU voltage control has been disabled. Try going back to an older BIOS version if possible.
Ah, "plundervolting." No good deed goes unpunished these days...

Thanks!
 

ctp9

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I have the same Surface Pro 6 with an i7-8650U. However, on mine the FIVR options are "Locked." Are yours still unlocked? Has MS done some locking out of the FIVR controls since Dec. 2020 when you posted?
Nope - mine are no longer unlocked. I recently noticed that all my FIVR options are now grayed out.

Very disappointing... to say the least. I was using undervolting with the hopes of prolonging the life of this device (by reducing the heat inside the crammed chassis).
 
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