Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Laptop CPU slows down to 40%!

I play games on my laptop, a Dell D610 1.86GHz, 1.5GB memory, an ATI X300 with 64MB dedicated graphics card and Windows XP Professional with SP2. Nowadays I'm into Defense of the Ancients (dota), a custom map of World of Warcraft III.

For a long time now I have always wondered why my laptop would sometimes slowdown after around 30 minutes of gameplay. I didn't mind at first because it was not that intermittent. Lately though it's becoming an annoyance. I even installed a new Windows XP on another partition and tried it but with the same problem.  

Frustrated, I fired up my system monitoring tools. What I diagnosed was that the CPU drops down to 751MHz as I play the game, that's a staggering 40% drop! Now I am a computer programmer, I know about Intel SpeedStep, I have always set my Power Scheme to Always On, and sometimes used SpeedSwitchXP just to prove a point. But after alloting 3 hours looking at Dell forums, there were no solutions to my problem.

Somebody in the forums mentioned that the CPU will underclock automatically if it is overheated. Now I don't have aircondition in my room. Although it is well ventilated, the laptop gets really hot at the left side of the keyboard where the CPU and graphics card is. So hoping-for-the-best and crossing-my-fingers, I tried putting a stand fan next to my laptop to supplement the CPU fan. I then played DOTA to test my theory and sure enough, no lag was experienced, CPU is at 100% 1.86GHz speed, and I had a lot of triple kills. ;)

After all of the hassles I've been through, it's all a matter of overheating issue.

Is it hot in here?

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