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Self-throttling Xa 2528 and relationship of wifi and graphic

All kinds of problems or malfunctions without known reason. Also general problems with the notebook as a whole.

Self-throttling Xa 2528 and relationship of wifi and graphic

Postby dotJack » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:47 am

Hello,

I consider myself a gamer and so the change of going from a large box to a thin book-like creature scared me but I gamed on as if nothing had happened and for a while things were good.

Problem number one:

I got my current notebook (FSC Amilo Xa 2528) a few months back [see link under profile for details] and it has been running quite well these past few months but recently - and I don't know if the problem appeared recently or if it has just started annoying me this past month - it has been freezing up in games or to be more exact - slowing down for short bursts. It started with Team-Fortress 2 and now that I think of it, it happened even only a short while AFTER I got the laptop but I just thought I was pushing the system too much.

For reference, I play Counter-Strike: Source and Left 4 Dead among other things.

I didn't think much of it at first, figuring it was just loading some models or textures or the usual stuff that goes on behind the stage of playing any game. But one night I was bored and, mind you, I play Left 4 Dead with minimal settings at, when compared to the normal 1400x900 resolution, 800x600. I figured, it might be a bit slow etc so I just stuck with that.

Anyway, I was bored one night so I decided to boost this to the rec. settings, much higher than my current ones. Lo-and-behold it ran exactly the same. I boosted it to maximum graphics and noticed only slight drops in frames-per-second when intense stuff was going on - dozens of zombies chasing after the players in rain for instance.

Here's the problem'y bit. After some time of gaming, the system goes slow. I enjoy fps's of around 25+, which for me is quite nice. Not SUPER-AWESOME but still completely playable and not at all annoying. But when the system goes slow, it drops, no matter the graphics, to around 2 to 6 frames per second.

AND THIS, is what gets to me, it doesn't matter what graphics I'm playing on. I checked that nothing else was randomly hogging up CPU power and it hasn't got anything to do what's going on inside the game because these slow downs can occur even if there are a hundred models on screen jabbing at people from whichever sides .. or when I'm staring at a wall with nothing rendering behind it.

Now, here's my take on the situation + concerns.

The fan is dirty and needs cleaning -> It heats up to a certain temperature at which point some sort of sensor inside the thing does its job and realizes the notebook might be overheating and starts throttling it to counter-act this which in turn causes it to run like a PC from the year 1999 which would not run L4D at the rate it should.

I live in England but bought the computer in another country and the warranty was from a specific shop which means that I would have to send it there to have it cleaned, only thing is that that sounds a bit silly. My other concern is that trying to open the thing up might result in voiding the warranty but I do not see any sort of stickers that I might break if I try to open it.

The heatsink (hot bit blowing out air) is on the right of the notebook itself and is usually very warm but from the outside I can't really see any dust, so maybe it is something else. Or maybe it is nothing at all and it's all in my head.

I just don't think its supposed to do this - is this laptop meant for office work? With the things under its hood, I think not (said dotJack, in a Shakespearian tone)!

As far as the graphics drivers are concerned, to the best of my knowledge (and the scanner that the driver's page uses) they are up to date.

Any ideas?

Problem number two:

Thought not so much a direct and crucial problem, it still bugs the hell out of me.

Sometimes when I use torrents (and NO, I do not download illegalé songs/films/etc, there are actual legal uses for the thing) the graphics driver makes like a jet with no engines and crashes. It quickly reboots itself but it starts with the screen freezing, then going black and then, what I assume, is the rebooting of the graphics drivers - the mouse shows up on a black background and eventually (after about a minute) the rest of the things that belong on screen appear on the screen. This has been going on for quite a while and for a bit I was getting used to it, until I got bored. (this only happens with the torrents program running)

The Xa 2528 has the wifi exterior control button in the front front (alongside the badly-placed audio ports). I have discovered that whenever the screen DOES lock up, I can switch the status from on to off then to on again then to off again and then once more to on, to "magically" speed this process up from about a minute's worth of rebooting to about 5 seconds + 4 seconds grace time if I'm running a lot of programs. In the case of most games, however, that game crashes.

Any fix to this or is this even a fixable issue?


A bonus note: I did try to recreate the fps drop in single-player but it either didn't happen at all or I just missed it. When playing online, it's noticeable. Could the two problems be linked? Extreme network usage leads to graphics drivers going KABLOOE!

Issue (not problem) number 3:

What the hell is up with the Power Manager thing? There's this throttling button, which I've sort of understood the purpose to ( I think ). It basically cranks down the usage of power by the notebook by making it run slower, I get that. But why is there absolutely no mention of this in any documentation. I think I found mention of it but nothing specific and I have yet to find any place to configure how much this thing stupifies my computer.

Well, those are my problems.


I did try searching the forums for similar problems but failed to find any or at least any that fit my situation.

I hope you've not been bothered by my ramblings and can provide me with some sort of useful feedback.

Chris
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Re: Self-throttling Xa 2528 and relationship of wifi and graphic

Postby aspettl » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:03 am

Regarding your first problem, I also thought of a heat problem. Maybe you can monitor your CPU clock while gaming?
In combination with problem two, did you upgrade your wireless driver or can you install another version? Or even better, is it possible to deactivate wireless and run the torrents and the game with a simple LAN connection?

PowerManager:
The "silent button" reduces the maximum CPU clock and voltage, some models also reduce the speed of the frontsidebus and increase the temperature limits for the fan.

Regards
Aaron
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Re: Self-throttling Xa 2528 and relationship of wifi and graphic

Postby dotJack » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:53 am

I don't think it's a heat thing. Well it is, but not because it's actually dangerous, just because the WiFi is on.

Here's what I've discovered/recalled:
1) as stated before, this slowdown only occurs when I'm playing with WiFi enabled.
2) When it does occur, I can manually override it for half a minute up to 2 minutes by turning the throttling button on and then off again.

I think there is something running in the background that likes throttling it automatically. What connects how the computer runs and wifi? I'm thinking Power Manager.

Does it run as a service that I can disable? Can it be uninstalled? Anyone?
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Re: Self-throttling Xa 2528 and relationship of wifi and graphic

Postby maisac » Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:18 pm

My xa2528 works perfect when it is cool, logging the temperature tells me that after a minute, when temperature exceeds abt 80 C, performance turns unacceptable.
Charming british language by the way, takes some effort to read and appreciate.
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Re: Self-throttling Xa 2528 and relationship of wifi and gra

Postby maisac » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:53 pm

Same lousy performance with XP as Vista, the solution seems to be to change to Windows 7 64-bit. Performance increases dramatically, and the lag is all gone. Its all floating fine with Battlefield 2 and high settings.
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