Why does plugging in my laptop increase FPS?

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by GameSystem, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. GameSystem
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    GameSystem GBAtemp Regular

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    Right now I'm playing FFXIII-2 on PC and many people say that it is horribly ported and doesn't work well on most anything. I wasn't expecting to run 60 FPS since I'm on a laptop, but 5-8 FPS is kinda stupid. Now the strange thing is that when my battery is almost dead and I plug my laptop in, my FPS suddenly shoots up to 30+. Once my laptop hits around 80% charge, the FPS drops again back to 8.

    So I've been playing it unplugged until I get the notification that the battery is running low, then I plug it in and enjoy smooth frame rate for an hour or two until it charges.

    Why does it do this? I checked all my settings, and there doesn't seem to be a difference between plugged in and on battery. Also why does it stop being awesome when I hit 80% charge? I figured that my FPS would stay great while plugged in but it doesn't. I would appreciate it if someone could explain to me what is going on and how I can improve my gaming. Thanks.
     
  2. boomario

    boomario Nothing to say here.

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    It's just the normal for every notebook i known so far, in order to save battery they reduce the performance, if you want to you can change that in power management settings in windows and your graphics adapter proprieties but expect to don't play more than 30 minutes on battery.
     
  3. GameSystem
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    GameSystem GBAtemp Regular

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    All settings were already on performance optimized in power management and graphics adapter properties. What I don't understand is why that at 80% it stops the performance increase. I would like to maintain that indefinitely but don't know how.
     
  4. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

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    Yup.
    And even maximizing all the performance related settings doesn't make it perform the same on battery power and AC. It seems like it's throttled on the hardware level, maybe the battery is just incapable of providing enough power for maximum performance on its own. But I have experienced this on every laptop I've owned so far, and maximizing all the performance settings makes a little difference, but it's still nowhere near the same performance as it is on AC power.

    That's strange. I haven't experienced that.
    I guess you could use the laptop without the battery plugged in whenever convenient. It would also help the battery last longer. It's not much of a solution though.
     
  5. boomario

    boomario Nothing to say here.

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    Normally you must set to "Maximum performance" because optimized still reduces, check for advanced power plans of windows because most probably something went unseen and that's why this happen, also, check your videocard options for similar options.
    Edit: Well, maybe some hardware have limits when it comes to battery gaming but i never play outside of power plug so i have no idea.
     
  6. loco365

    loco365 GBAtemp Guru

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    It's because of the battery itself. Logically speaking, plugging it in will almost always be a better source of power for your device, whereas a battery is a bit limited, so to speak. Plugging it in will allow your device to have access to more power, so it'll run a bit better. On the other hand, not plugging it in means that it'll have to manage whatever it can from the battery, which means it won't run as well, therefore decreasing your FPS.
     
  7. GameSystem
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    GameSystem GBAtemp Regular

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    Why doesn't it continue to access more power at 80% charge? Is there a way to trick the computer to continue to keep drawing power even though the battery is almost full? Maybe I should try playing without a battery in at all.
     
  8. esmith13

    esmith13 GBAtemp Regular

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    What's the make and model of the laptop and what video card does it have? Some of what was said here can be true and there are even more possibilities still. Knowing what system you have and what video card as well would make it WAY easier to give you a useful answer.

    Assuming nothing is "broken" the answer could be OS power management settings, Video Card driver settings, user-alterable BIOS settings for the hardware or unalterable hardware settings by vendor choice or limitation/need.
     
  9. GameSystem
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    GameSystem GBAtemp Regular

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    HP - 15-f215dx with integrated AMD Radeon R5.
     
  10. esmith13

    esmith13 GBAtemp Regular

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    OK, my best guess is going to be that your system is designed to operate this way but I have some info you can use to get a solid answer yourself.
    Download SIV from http://rh-software.com/ (grab siv.zip)
    Run the SIV32X.exe or SIV64X.exe depending on your OS (32 or 64-bit).
    At the bottom of the window you will see some GPU info. Pay attention to the voltage, temp. and power (clock speed) items.
    You can also click the arrow next to the MACHINE button and choose GPU INFO to get a more detailed view.

    I would use this tool while playing your game both on battery and on AC. If the GPU voltage and/or clock speed are lower on battery then on AC, your card is being throttled by software or hardware settings.

    Also pay attention to temperature...
    It caught my attention when you said that after running the battery down and plugging it in, the game ran better on AC until your battery hit around 80% charged and then slowed down again.
    HP laptops are notorious for having cooling issues with discrete video cards and for years now have included an unalterable hardware throttle for the graphics adapter once it heats up to a certain temperature. If I had to guess it would occur around 90C. To test that scenario you would have to get your basic tests done on and off AC power first and record the temps/voltages/clock speeds and then test while charging. When charging with good game performance note the numbers and then check them again after it starts to run like crap again. I bet when charging and the performance drops you'll see a higher operating temperature on the graphics adapter then it was when it runs well on AC/charging.
    If this is the case you may just be screwed since it is common for HPs to have this issue but a can of condensed air blown in your heat vents could show a buildup of dust and debris effecting your ability to keep the system running cool.
    If cooling is indeed the issue their are a few software utilities you can try to run to force your fan(s) to high speed/cooling manually when you start gaming to help get you "ahead of the problem" so to speak but eventually it would still overheat.

    Sorry for the long read.
    Hope some of this helps.
     
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  11. GameSystem
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    GameSystem GBAtemp Regular

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    Thanks. I'll download the software and give it a shot tonight. I'll report back in a few hours.
     
  12. esmith13

    esmith13 GBAtemp Regular

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    No problem. Hope you get your answer. ;)
     
  13. GameSystem
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    GameSystem GBAtemp Regular

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    I used SIV and the only difference between unplugged and plugged in pre-80% was the GPU temperature. Max temp went up to 72 degrees on plugged in pre-80, and then dropped to 57 degrees which was the same as unplugged. GPU was always at 100%. I'm assuming that there was some increased voltage to the GPU somehow that led to the GPU to become overclocked which increased the temperature by 15 degrees. Since as far as I know there is no way to overclock integrated graphics on a laptop, how can I maintain the performance increase? I can't find a setting anywhere.
     
  14. esmith13

    esmith13 GBAtemp Regular

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    sounds like a system limit is being hit.
    First I would insure you are on the newest Catalyst drivers (from AMD's site, not HP's)
    Then I would check in catalyst control center to see if you have access to "Overdrive" and "PowerTune". You want to use PowerTune to safely overclock your GPU (in this case you're really just keeping the same higher clock in situations where it would lower on it's own) and Overdrive needs to be turned on to use PowerTune.
    If HP has locked you out of these features (both are supported on the Radeon R5 in general) you can try to use MSI Afterburner to get the job done.
    http://gaming.msi.com/features/afterburner
     
  15. GameSystem
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    GameSystem GBAtemp Regular

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    I have the latest drivers from AMD and have latest version of CCC. Overdrive isn't an option because it's an integrated card. I thought that MSI Afterburner wouldn't support integrated, but I downloaded it anyway and checked. Apparently it does but you have to click a few settings with a crapload of warnings with them. It turns out you can overclock my GPU, but I didn't like the results.

    I added 10MHz to the core clock and nothing else and my temperatures shot up to 82 degrees Celsius. I even had to limit the FPS to 60 in Riva because it was hitting 300 FPS in the loading screen and I couldn't start the game. Once I got into the game, framerate was smooth, but I didn't like the temperatures it was giving out. I'll just stick with plugging it in and letting the battery run. 72 degrees seems much better for similar performance, even if it is for only an hour or two. Thanks for the help.
     
  16. esmith13

    esmith13 GBAtemp Regular

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    Sorry I couldn't fix it for you. Last suggestion - watch the afterburner training vids and try one more time. You can over clock a R5 a lot more than 10MHz but to keep temps down you have to undervolt it as well.
     
  17. GameSystem
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    GameSystem GBAtemp Regular

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    I tried everything I could to undervolt. I can't edit it in my BIOS, and in MSI afterburner, I clicked the specified tabs in the settings, and even edited the .cfg file for the unofficial overclocking mode and had no luck. It seems my voltage is locked. Meh. I'll just have to wait until I get a real computer. If I ever decide to play games on this thing, I'll just set it on a few icepacks or something.