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  1. #1
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    GTX 670M Problem! GPU Usage Drop = Frame Drop

    Hello there,

    I've just received my MSI GT780 back from a repair that took forever. Apparently there was an issue with the old Nvidia GTX 560M, which have then been replaced by a slightly better Nvidia GTX 670M.

    But!

    As I was excited finally trying out this new promised piece of hardware, I booted up Far Cry 3, and I get serious frame drops sometimes. I've since set the settings from High to Low, getting a typical frame rate around 50-60, yet I still get extensive frame drops every few minutes, when travelling through new grounds.

    I activated MSI Afterburner to get a look at the GPUs stats, but it seemed bugged, so I've additionally activated Nvidia Inspector. By the looks of it, I get these massive frame drops because the GPU Usage often drops to around 20%-30% usage. Here's a screenshot:https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4849353/gt670m/gpu_usage_drop_equals_frame_drop.png


    Any ideas what might be causing this? And how I may get a work around. I would hate to send it back to repair once more, only getting to wait two additional months of no gaming.

    I have of course the newest Nvidia Driver, but seeing there's no effect, I've also tried deleting all Nvidia Drivers and only installing the original from 2012. I've also tested the issue in other "lighter" games like CS:GO and the issue is the same. I've also tried running Far Cry 3 borderless, windowed, full screen, DX9, DX11 - but the issue persists...

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    My laptop specs:
    MSI GT780 Notebook
    Intel Core i5-2410M CPU @ 2.30GHz (4 CPUs)
    6144MB RAM


    Cheers,
    Noodle
    Last edited by Noodlemonk; 14-11-2013 at 02:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    Those graphs suggest that the GPU is pausing for some reason - the fact you're seeing a reduction in core speed, usage and power which match-up means that the GPU is almost certainly 'waiting for something'

    That would suggest the problem is external bandwidth of some sort - which could be system memory, HDD, thermals, power or a sync issue of some sort.

    The 670M is rather better than the 560M but I imagine it has greater demands and it's possible your laptop just isn't upto the job of providing those or at least not setup properly to do so.

    Changing GPUs in laptops is something few people have any experience of (I've done it with a Dell - once - it went well but it was a rare opportunity and if it hadn't I'd have had no route to fixing it!!) - all I can suggest is that you rule out all other possibilities first by

    a - defragging the HDD thoroughly
    b - stopping everything else on the system from running - I mean everything including services you don't use!
    c - testing on an external screen AND the laptop screen to see if the issue is with both.

    I'd also test a few other games and see if they share the issue. If they do, then you have a case to go back to MSI for more help. If they don't - they'll just say it's down to FC and not them (they're likely to blame drivers etc. also - it will be a long fight to get any help I suspect)

  3. #3
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    Thanks a bunch for the suggestions, trjp! I'd start defragging right away. I'm fearing the GPU isn't capable of working properly with the rest of the laptops original hardware.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, most likley reason for the GPU to suddenly stop working so hard, is because it's waiting for something else - so you're dealing with a bottleneck somewhere.

    The other would be throttling due to heat, but that would be less abrupt and brief.

    The fact that you say it happens particulary when travelling points pretty hard to memory bandwidth somewhere being the holdup.

  5. #5
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    The specs for those chips aren't hugely dissimilar but the new chip certainly needs more power.

    One place to have a dig are any Clevo owner forums - people who have those often do upgrades and they tend to know about the requirements of various GPUs etc. - esp when it comes to memory and power and heat issues.

  6. #6
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    Appreciate your thoughts, guys. After a clean defrag I've been trying again, now also monitoring my CPU as well, but alas with no luck what so ever.

    This picture is taken after standing still for 5 minutes in game:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/..._cpu_stats.png


    As you can see the CPU temps look alright, but the GPU Usage drops every 30 sec. or so.

    I think it's a clear bottleneck, I'm afraid. God, I hate sending things back for another insurance repair and wait another one and a half month, when it should have been fixed the first time around (and in a slightly faster tempo, if I may say so)...

  7. #7
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    I'm going out on a limb and suggesting that returning it will be a waste of time because they'll simply say there's nothing wrong with it and the problem is in the game or the drivers or somesuch shit.

    You can't ask a repair centre to solve an FPS issue - they want a solid reproducible fault not a software glitch to find...

    Thought: Have you tried removing all nVidia drivers and then reinstalling a new set - it may jog them into noticing a change of card which might help?

  8. #8
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    I hear you, trjp. I'm thinking the same thing. I did try removing all the drivers yes, even installing the original, some in between, before "settling" on the newest update, as it had no effect which to use. Perhaps I should just try and unscrew the thing and juggle a bit with the card? I'm no tech savvy though...

  9. #9
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    That sounds risky - if this were a hardware issue (overheating/voltage/connection problem) you'd be seeing crashes and BSODs I reckon.

    My money is on either a sync issue (beyond you, I or anyone else to resolve as it's a fundamental hardware incompatibility) or there's a bottleneck we're missing.

    The fact you tested 'standing still' removes a lot of variables but I assume you've checked that nothing else is running on the PC in the background at all?

    Does this affect games other than FC - indeed does it show-up in a pure benchmark like Furmark?

  10. #10
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    The issue persist in any game. And it's very visible. I've tried various benchmarks, and they all say it's alright, but I can tell that for example the final score in 3DMark is actually a bit lower, than the standard for my GPU.

    I got back to the repair guys, and thankfully they "seem" understanding of the problem. I made them look up my current i5 CPU's capabilities with the new GPU, and they admitted that it actually doesn't work out. (?!) They're currently looking into sending me a new i7 CPU to compensate. Finger's crossed, eh? Still, pretty bad job on their part, if I may so myself...

  11. #11
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    At this rate you'll have a FrankenPC!!

    I seriously doubt an i5 would struggle to power the GPU (an i7 would only offer more cycles or cores - and it will use more power) - it's more likely that any problem relates to the 'bridge' chips not being able to keep-up-with/sync everything which is going-on for whatever reason - down to configuration issues or somesuch stuff.

    Nice that MSI are offering support tho - I would, perhaps, raise a ticket with nVidia and see if you can get past the first-line support to a tech, because they are probably the ONLY people who will be able to answer your question properly. They will point you at their own diagnostics and that may tell you why it's 'dropping off' specifically (power/memory speed/sync/heat).

  12. #12
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    There and back again!

    I'd hate to bother you guys again, tjrp, CMaster, or any other who might feel like sharing an opinion on the issue, but I've finally received my PC (again), now with

    MSI GT780 Notebook
    Intel Core i7-2710QE CPU @ 2.10GHz (8 CPUs)
    6144MB RAM

    Yet the problem with GPU Usage dropping persist, albeit not as frequently as before. Does anyone have any idea what to do next? Try and disassemble and reassemble it myself? I at a a loss to understand any of this...

  13. #13
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    If I were you I'd be

    a - pretty impressed with MSI's service - they're showering you with toys :)
    b - turning my attention to trying to get something out of nVidia now

    You'll have to try to navigate the depths of nVidia support (could prove VERY hard) in the hope that someone from their proper tech team can offer ideas on why you're getting the frame-drops. You'll probably get blown-off with a lot of C+P replies about removing and reinstalling drivers and other stuff - all I can suggest is you reply politely and repeatedly until you get an actual human and hope they can help.

    One thing is interesting tho - if it's less common than before we can probably rule-out power or thermal problems because putting an i7 in there would have made those worse and not better?

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus somini's Avatar
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    Not very helpful, I know, but since it seems a software issue, have you tried installing Windows from scratch? It's better if you have a spare HDD lying around. Not sure how Windows reacts to having the hardware changed under it's rug.
    Or test Linux on it, just to see if the problem persists.
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  15. #15
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    Cheers for the quick reply, guys.

    trjp, I should mention, all this is covered by my insurance (not the guarantee) which is handled by a questionable helpful company not connected with MSI or Nvidia. But of course getting in touch with Nvidia could still prove helpful - and very tedious.

    I agree with your thoughts on power and thermal problems. This particular i7 shouldn't actually be that much more power hungry than the old i5, and using analysing software I can't find any change there.

    I'm very much considering your suggestion about testing out another clean installed OS, somini.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noodlemonk View Post
    I'm very much considering your suggestion about testing out another clean installed OS, somini.
    That's the only thing I can think of now too. As others have said before, it's unlikely that it's a hardware or temperature related problem, seeing what you've already done so far. An OS reinstall has fixed stranger problems before :)
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  17. #17
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    Good morning, fellows!

    I tried formatting and reinstalling Win7. Running CS:GO the effort clearly had no effect, unfortunately.


    FINALLY I checked up on a suggestion I stumbled upon on the GeForce forum:

    Every driver past 314.22 my laptop, running a GTX 675m, throttles down because of the GPU in irregular intervals. Temperatures of CPU and GPU are monitored and always fine. CPU never goes past ~75 Celsius, GPU never past 80 Celsius, at which point my laptop's fan spins up to it's maximum and brings the GPU down to ~72 again. Working fine, no temperature alerts of any kind.

    I fiddled around a bit and used the ThrottleStop utility to create log files while my laptop does these throttles. I found that it is the "BD Prochot" function of my Intel chip that triggers the throttle pretty much as soon as NVidia Optimus switches from my Intel HD4000 to my GTX675m. Deactivating BD Prochot via ThrottleStop gets rid of the problem, but of course I then have to be careful and always monitor the temperatures. Also, I could solve the problem by doing a clean install of the 314.22 driver (again, if I remember correctly), the throttling stopped immediately. But since Battlefield 4 refuses to run stable on my laptop with that driver installed, I now run the newest driver with BD Prochot deactivated... please solve this so I can turn this function on again for the sake of my laptop's safety!
    I tried it and disabling BD PROCHOT works like A CHARM! 60+ with everything maxed out in newer games, and never a single Usage Drop. Now, not taking any chances, I'm going to use Afterburner to monitor my temperatures a lot more when gaming, since this might cause it to heat up more (so far, I'm only experiencing temp rise around 5+ degrees), but at least everything is completely fluid now!

    Thanks a bunch for all the suggestions, guys. Really appreciate it. The Franken PC is alive! IT'S ALIVE!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noodlemonk View Post
    I hear you, trjp. I'm thinking the same thing. I did try removing all the drivers yes, even installing the original, some in between, before "settling" on the newest update, as it had no effect which to use. Perhaps I should just try and unscrew the thing and juggle a bit with the card? I'm no tech savvy though...
    No. They can be very good. Might have a dodgey power cap or voltage regulation. Might be overheating (but not reporting properly). Depends on the cost. Turns out the manufacture did help them a bit.
    Last edited by TechnicalBen; 14-12-2013 at 01:06 PM.

  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noodlemonk View Post

    I tried it and disabling BD PROCHOT works like A CHARM! 60+ with everything maxed out in newer games, and never a single Usage Drop. Now, not taking any chances, I'm going to use Afterburner to monitor my temperatures a lot more when gaming, since this might cause it to heat up more (so far, I'm only experiencing temp rise around 5+ degrees), but at least everything is completely fluid now!

    Thanks a bunch for all the suggestions, guys. Really appreciate it. The Franken PC is alive! IT'S ALIVE!
    Whatever works I guess, but it's a strange problem and solution for sure. I use a piece of software called PC Probe II to monitor temperatures on my pc. It enables you to set a limit for the temperatures of different components, and it will alert you (using sound) if the temperature rises above the limit. It came on a cd I got with my mobo, but maybe it's available somewhere online?
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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus somini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    Whatever works I guess, but it's a strange problem and solution for sure. I use a piece of software called PC Probe II to monitor temperatures on my pc. It enables you to set a limit for the temperatures of different components, and it will alert you (using sound) if the temperature rises above the limit. It came on a cd I got with my mobo, but maybe it's available somewhere online?
    ftp://ftp.asus.com.tw/pub/ASUS/misc/...pVistaWin7.zip
    http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/deta..._probe_ii.html
    Apparently is does. Very useful, too "bad" my laptop doesn't have the power to overheat.
    Last edited by somini; 14-12-2013 at 11:59 PM.
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