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Weird Ryzen Mobile behavior (3500U)

gwynbleidd997

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Evening,
I recently got a mid-range laptop with a Ryzen 5 3500U and noticed some strange behavior with power consumption and clock speeds;
I would launch a light game, the CPU clocks would sit around the 2.4-2.9Ghz range, GPU clocks vary from game to game I guess but it usually starts at 900Mhz to 1.1Ghz, everything is cool, temps are in check (sub 70c), no thermal throttling, plugged in, everything's great. A couple minutes later, the CPU clocks drop to 2Ghz or under, GPU goes all the way down to 400-500Mhz and stays there regardless of the load/temp. CPU package power goes from the normal 10-11 watts down to 5-6 watts for no apparent reason. And the strange thing is that it stays like that for the rest of the gaming session, regardless of what happens. Same behavior whether the laptop is plugged in or not, it doesn't matter.

I tried every solution available (except Ryzen Controller which I don't wanna use), added hidden power options through cmd and tweaked them, windows battery slider is always on Best Performance...etc to no avail. No matter what options I change, it always behaves the same.
I also don't understand why it doesn't hit the advertised 15 watts TDP, it's designed to reach that so why is it not doing so? even when I stress test the CPU, FPU and RAM, it only ever scratches 12 watts max.

Provided some screenshots from AIDA64 to illustrate the problem.
This is driving me crazy, if anyone has any idea what the hell is happening and how to fix it your help is appreciated.
Thanks.
 

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What laptop is it? It's possible the laptop's cooling is only good for 15W in short bursts, and then the chip TDP-downs to something less. Also, what do you have for settings on your CPU power plan?
 

gwynbleidd997

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What laptop is it? It's possible the laptop's cooling is only good for 15W in short bursts, and then the chip TDP-downs to something less. Also, what do you have for settings on your CPU power plan?
The first screenshot shows the temps graph. Max reached was 63c, nowhere near throttling territories.
What do you mean by CPU power plan?
 
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Laptop brand as @Darmok N Jalad already asked?
Since you checked so many aspects so far, only one thing I can think of... The laptop vendor could have some kind of restriction either through BIOS or through owned pre-installed software.
 

gwynbleidd997

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Laptop brand as @Darmok N Jalad already asked?
Since you checked so many aspects so far, only one thing I can think of... The laptop vendor could have some kind of restriction either through BIOS or through owned pre-installed software.
It's an Acer Aspire 5, not exactly enthusiast friendly I know but I googled this problem and people with Lenovos, HPs... all have the same issue so I suspect it might be an AMD thing.
 
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The first screenshot shows the temps graph. Max reached was 63c, nowhere near throttling territories.
What do you mean by CPU power plan?
I don't mean that it is throttling, but that the laptop OEM has setup the BIOS to reduce clocks when certain thresholds are reached so temps don't get too high. Laptops have to be more mindful about max temp since there is limited space for removing heat, and they don't want to damage neighboring components or possibly even burn the user.

EDIT:
Also, this isn't just limited to AMD. Intel mobile CPUs have also been reported to throttle. Your model looks more like an ultrabook form factor, and those were never meant for serious gaming, so it may just be a design limitation. For serious gaming on a laptop, you need the thicker models that have ample cooling.
 
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gwynbleidd997

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I don't mean that it is throttling, but that the laptop OEM has setup the BIOS to reduce clocks when certain thresholds are reached so temps don't get too high. Laptops have to be more mindful about max temp since there is limited space for removing heat, and they don't want to damage neighboring components or possibly even burn the user.

EDIT:
Also, this isn't just limited to AMD. Intel mobile CPUs have also been reported to throttle. Your model looks more like an ultrabook form factor, and those were never meant for serious gaming, so it may just be a design limitation. For serious gaming on a laptop, you need the thicker models that have ample cooling.
That's exactly what I'm trying to find out, what those certain thresholds are because where I'm standing, there doesn't seem to be anything that should hold back performance in any way.
I never said my goal was serious gaming, I already have a desktop PC for that, as I stated I was just enjoying some casual light games that run perfectly fine on the integrated Vega 8 iGPU (like Dishonored 2012 in the screenshots). I paid for 512 shader units at ~1.2Ghz but getting 400-500Mhz instead, however low-tier the performance the iGPU provides, I want to be able to use all of it.

EDIT: This guy also has an Acer Aspire (lower tier 3) with the exact same CPU and he can hold around 800-900Mhz for long periods of time where I can only do like 1-2 minutes max.
 
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Could be the motherboard throttling than the cpu if cpu temps are decent.
You still have a VRM and Chipset that can cause this type of issue.
Can you monitor these peripherals?
 
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That's exactly what I'm trying to find out, what those certain thresholds are because where I'm standing, there doesn't seem to be anything that should hold back performance in any way.
I never said my goal was serious gaming, I already have a desktop PC for that, as I stated I was just enjoying some casual light games that run perfectly fine on the integrated Vega 8 iGPU (like Dishonored 2012 in the screenshots). I paid for 512 shader units at ~1.2Ghz but getting 400-500Mhz instead, however low-tier the performance the iGPU provides, I want to be able to use all of it.

EDIT: This guy also has an Acer Aspire (lower tier 3) with the exact same CPU and he can hold around 800-900Mhz for long periods of time where I can only do like 1-2 minutes max.
Based on what you’re describing, it sounds like a limit not based on the APU, but possibly the motherboard as suggested above. Does this model take in air from underneath the chassis? Either way, maybe try elevating the bottom so you get better airflow underneath. It sounds like some thermal threshold is being reached and so it engages a TDP-down.
 
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Could be the motherboard throttling than the cpu if cpu temps are decent.
You still have a VRM and Chipset that can cause this type of issue.
Can you monitor these peripherals?
I was wondering if the OEM may have put a power limit in the BIOS for the VRM section could be a temperature limit for the VRM as well.
 

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@ShrimpBrime @Darmok N Jalad @biffzinker I was determined to know what the hell was happening, so I pulled out my 9000 BTU portable air conditioner (I think you know where this is going), positioned the laptop on its side and the air conditioner directly facing the bottom intake side of the laptop, turned it on and left it doing its magic.
Idle temps were between 12-15c (APU), when it reached thermal equilibrium, I launched Dishonored again to replicate the same scenario from last time and taadaa, the exact same thing happened again while plugged in (see attach.)
So I can confirm this has absolutely nothing to do with temps of any component including VRMs, as the backcover was so frosty I was concerned about condensation. This seems to be programmed in, like a turbo boost window of some sort, even if you cool it with god damn LN2 it will still throttle back after 1-2 minutes. Good job to whoever thought this was a good idea.

PS: The graphs might seem smaller but that's because I changed the graph refresh rate from 1 second to 2 seconds, it's otherwise the exact same result from last time.
 

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Yeah, the "on-purpose" throttling was making more sense to me from the beginning, but its always usefull to rule out stuff (as obvious as the may be) by testing them. Wasnt false advice by any means.
Laptop brand as @Darmok N Jalad already asked?
Since you checked so many aspects so far, only one thing I can think of... The laptop vendor could have some kind of restriction either through BIOS or through owned pre-installed software.
Have you check any of this yet? If anything is visible or accessible of course...

There are a few reasons why any vendor would do such a thing... could be for the heat reduction configuration/design, could be for the power delivery (VRM) a couple I can think of leading down to longevity of the system as a whole. Maybe one of them or both of them cannot guarantee sustainable operation for large amounts of time and for the years to come, so the laptop manufacturer cuts down power/heat before anything bad happens. Heat tends to soak for the first 20~30min of usage on any PC (Desktop or Laptop) Especially configurations relied mostly on passive heat dissipation.

EDIT
Is this you product?
Aspire A515-43

Anything on ACER caring Center?


What is your BIOS version?
 
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gwynbleidd997

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Yeah, the "on-purpose" throttling was making more sense to me from the beginning, but its always usefull to rule out stuff (as obvious as the may be) by testing them. Wasnt false advice by any means.

Have you check any of this yet? If anything is visible or accessible of course...

There are a few reasons why any vendor would do such a thing... could be for the heat reduction configuration/design, could be for the power delivery (VRM) a couple I can think of leading down to longevity of the system as a whole. Maybe one of them or both of them cannot guarantee sustainable operation for large amounts of time and for the years to come, so the laptop manufacturer cuts down power/heat before anything bad happens. Heat tends to soak for the first 20~30min of usage on any PC (Desktop or Laptop) Especially configurations relied mostly on passive heat dissipation.

EDIT
Is this you product?
Aspire A515-43

Anything on ACER caring Center?


What is your BIOS version?
The BIOS is a joke, it can't get any more basic than what they have here.
I used Acer Care Center once when I first got the laptop, it has basic information like S/N, model number... basic functionality like clean trash...etc.
I did a fresh windows install and never installed anything from Acer again. I mean if advanced power options are not in the BIOS, they will certainly not be available in a user friendly pre-installed software.
Yes that's my laptop. Latest BIOS v1.06 installed.

"Maybe one of them or both of them cannot guarantee sustainable operation for large amounts of time and for the years to come"
Don't you find it dumb, though? I mean they made the conscious decision of putting a 15w CPU and pair it with apparently incredibly shitty VRM components that can only sustain a load of 5 watts for longer than 2 minutes thus greatly reducing the performance of the CPU to that of a much cheaper one. Why not go with a cheaper CPU in the first place? I would gladly pay 5 more euros for an adequate power delivery system, even with that, the components when bought in bulk by manufacturers, probably cost a couple cents a piece.
 
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Don't you find it dumb, though? I mean they made the conscious decision of putting a 15w CPU and pair it with apparently incredibly shitty VRM components that can only sustain a load of 5 watts for longer than 2 minutes thus greatly reducing the performance of the CPU to that of a much cheaper one. Why not go with a cheaper CPU in the first place? I would gladly pay 5 more euros for an adequate power delivery system, even with that, the components when bought in bulk by manufacturers, probably cost a couple cents a piece.
Cant argue with that... if manufactures/vendors stop making dumb decisions, as they often do, we actually will end up with much better products for every budget.
How it performs on something like CPU-Z bench and CB R15/20
For the record this laptop has a 45W PSU.
 

gwynbleidd997

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Cant argue with that... if manufactures/vendors stop making dumb decisions, as they often do, we actually will end up with much better products for every budget.
How it performs on something like CPU-Z bench and CB R15/20
For the record this laptop has a 45W PSU.
It's so infuriating, especially when they can't even let you tweak it however you want.
It does pretty good on CPUZ and CB R15 (didn't try R20),1800-2000 multi and ~350 single on CPUZ bench and 650-690 on CB R15 (realtime priority) all while plugged in of course. This is not an issue since as I showed, it works completely fine for a couple minutes, which is just enough to get those scores and to fool people into thinking that it will perform like that at all times.
Seems like the only course of action is to wait for a modded BIOS to make this thing reach its advertised TDP.
 
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It’s been awhile since I bought an Acer. Are they more of a value buy in the OEM heap? Another possibly sad thing is, this may be intentional on AMD models since they are considered the budget brand. We’ve seen this before where OEMs even do such dumb things as make their AMD laptops single channel only, resulting in a huge performance loss with the Vega graphics. Other dumb design decisions include only small batteries for poor battery life. It’s as though there would be no reason to upgrade to premium-priced Intel chips if such obvious design improvements were made. It would really suck if Acer intentionally limited this device so that it performed as a budget product, as it would take planned obsolescence to a new level.
 
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We’ve seen this before where OEMs even do such dumb things as make their AMD laptops single channel only, resulting in a huge performance loss with the Vega graphics.
I was just looking at this disassemble, and upgrade video. One channel populated with a single 4 GB stick.

Untitled.jpg
 

gwynbleidd997

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It’s been awhile since I bought an Acer. Are they more of a value buy in the OEM heap? Another possibly sad thing is, this may be intentional on AMD models since they are considered the budget brand. We’ve seen this before where OEMs even do such dumb things as make their AMD laptops single channel only, resulting in a huge performance loss with the Vega graphics. Other dumb design decisions include only small batteries for poor battery life. It’s as though there would be no reason to upgrade to premium-priced Intel chips if such obvious design improvements were made. It would really suck if Acer intentionally limited this device so that it performed as a budget product, as it would take planned obsolescence to a new level.
I was just looking at this disassemble, and upgrade video. One channel populated with a single 4 GB stick.

View attachment 138825
This Acer model is actually the cheapest laptop I found with a 3500U, 8GB of RAM (single channel yes) and a 1080p IPS display with a 48 Wh battery and a 1TB Intel 660p NVMe SSD. It was 540 euros.
I ordered a 2x8GB HyperX Impact soDIMM kit (CL14) from amazon to replace the stock single channel crap they use. Will sell the 8GB stick to offset the cost a bit.
I thought about an HP Pavillon or an Acer Nitro 5 but they look ridiculous with those cringy gamery accents. I wanted a laptop for uni and something to take with me to do work on the go, so gaming is definitely not my focus. This one actually looks pretty professional, I love the sleek design and form factor, you can actually take this out in public and not feel like a 12 year old.
 
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This Acer model is actually the cheapest laptop I found with a 3500U, 8GB of RAM (single channel yes) and a 1080p IPS display with a 48 Wh battery and a 1TB Intel 660p NVMe SSD. It was 540 euros.
Is this Acer Aspire you bought?
 
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Hmm.

Look at the GPU power states. Is it stuck at a random number or stuck at a particular power state?
 
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I'll continue some searching to help, but for now, try this.

Setting min CPU power state to 5% increases iGPU headroom in this particular laptop.
 
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