Laptop suddenly can't run any game decently

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  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 12:10:49 11,006 posts
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    Hi all,

    I am at my wits' end with my laptop.

    It is by no means an amazing machine, and I have not deluded myself into thinking it should play every game to perfection, but I know from experience it used to run games better than this.

    Previously I could play most games at a decent setting with a very decent frame rate. The last games I played were Spec-Ops: The Line, Fallout 3 and Borderlands. I thought I'd treat myself to some games off the Steam sale.

    State of Decay - Completely unplayable - sub 10fps. I thought ok, this game is notorious for not performing well, I'll leave it for now, but

    Gone Home - 15ps max on the lowest settings - when I press detect (I assume this isn't completely accurate, but still) it sets it to high all round.

    Other games don't fare any better, even old ones that most definitely used to be fine.

    I am not really that tech-savvy but I'll list the specs and try explain to the best of my ability what I have tried so far.

    Specs: ACER 7750G

    Intel core i5-2430m

    2.4ghz turboboost to 3.0ghz

    5gb DDR3 RAM

    AMD RADEON HD6650M ,2GB VRAM graphics (switchable graphics - on-board Itel HD 3000 or something)

    (copied and pasted. Please say if anything is missing)

    Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge nothing major has been changed on the system to have caused this. I regularly use CCleaner but that's the only maintenance I perform as it's usually just used for Photoshop and Illustrator (which both work just fine).

    So far I have tried the following with no success:

    1) Changed the BIOS to force the PC to only use the Radeon GPU even though it was doing so, I wanted to be sure. This has been my focus and I'm 100% sure it is working as I spent a lot of time making sure.

    2) Overclocked the GPU even though I had no reason to do so before. No real noticeable difference.

    3) Scoured the internet for suggestions and the only one worth trying, which I did - disable C-STATE. No change.

    4) Downloaded various drivers. Tried sets from AMD, Intel and custom ones (currently installed and recommended). I have updated drivers on all other important components.

    5) I tried ThrottleStop but either I'm not using it properly or it wasn't necessary.

    So... the only thing I can think of is that the CPU is not performing, but when I monitor them (just through Ctrl, Alt, Delete) it seems "fine". Maybe I need monitoring software, although I'm not sure what to look for. My knowledge on the subject is already stretched and I'm likely to brick the thing if I keep fiddling.

    Any suggestions/help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Edited by Zizoo at 12:12:50 23-06-2014
  • Murbs 23 Jun 2014 12:12:37 23,685 posts
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    Dust?
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 12:13:55 11,006 posts
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    Could that really cause such a drop in performance?
  • billythekid 23 Jun 2014 12:14:14 12,177 posts
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  • TheMayorOfJugs 23 Jun 2014 12:16:00 6,464 posts
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    Download any unusual porn as of late, or an unusual quantity?
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 12:18:28 11,006 posts
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    No more than usual.

    I did run a virus scan and it came back with nothing other than not liking my hotspot application (which I've since removed). Using AVG which I know isn't the best.
  • Deleted user 23 June 2014 12:18:56
    Desktop pcs fall in performance due to the amount of crap on them. I assume the same happens with laptops, except laptops havnt got the spare resources in the first place.

    Just curious when exactly did this happen and what is performance like in games you have previously ran. Such as the line and borderlands.

    Edit : good shout on dust, heat will lower performance as you won't have much space inside the case.

    Edited by Sharzam at 12:20:10 23-06-2014
  • Deleted user 23 June 2014 12:23:38
    Zizoo wrote:
    Could that really cause such a drop in performance?
    Yes. CPU will get hot and will have to run at a lower speed to stop overheating.

    Swiped from a quick Google:

    "00. Ensure the PC is getting enough cooling:
    1. Clean out all the air intakes grills,
    2. Clean out the fans, ensuring they run well and aren't "laggy"
    3. Replace any slow or non-working fans, especially on the CPU.

    0. Ensure the Hard Disc Drive is not damaged or faulty.
    Solution - Run CheckDisk:
    a. Start> Computer >select C Drive>Right Click C Drive>select "Properties">"Tools" > click "Check Now"> Select both boxes and click "Start".
    b. This can take a long time, so let it complete (may take all night or longer. Be patient.)

    1. Do a System Restore to a point before this was a problem:
    a. Start - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - System Restore (click to open);
    b. Select a restore point well before you started having these problems;
    c. Start the restore process and let it complete (Name the restore operation something descriptive like "Browsing Repair").

    Note: you will need to re-install any programs and maybe the updates that were installed after that restore point -- one of which may be the cause of this. Re-Install one at a time so you can see if any one of them causes the problem).

    2. Get good Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware programs (AVG is good for Anti Virus; MalWare Bytes is a good, free anti malware program -- see links below. Get the AV if you don't have one and Malware Bytes).
    a. Download Malware Bytes and install it
    b. Run a complete (full) SpyWare scan with Malware Bytes and handle whatever it finds.
    c. Run a complete Virus Scan and handle whatever it finds (if you are going to change AV programs, remove the old one first before installing AVG).

    3. Next, ensure the Registry is clean and the disk's clutter is also cleaned out.
    Solution: Get and run a good registry cleaner.
    a. Check to see if there is a registry cleaner already on the system;
    b. if none, get CCleaner at the site below
    c. Run the Registry cleaner till it finds and corrects all errors
    d. Run the "Cleaner" to analyze the disk and see what it finds to delete and then delete the files that are not needed (most of the files it finds are unneeded, but look through the categories to be safe).

    4. Run a good disk defrag. If you use the computer more than occasionally, the built-in may not cut it. Consider downloading a free trial of a third party commercial defrag tool.

    Third party programs are more robust and many work in the background so you can use your PC while defragging.

    Most third party programs offer a free, fully-functional trial (the better ones are for 30 days).

    Below is a recent Top 10 Reviews side-by-side comparison of the best defrag programs available.

    a. Select a program and install it. The better defrag programs are automatic and the top placers in the above review can defrag while using the PC. The top placer was the only defrag program that prevented fragmentation (see the review).

    You can get a free trial for the gold medal winner via the review or at the site listed below.

    b. Defragment your disk drives. The best defrag programs are very fast. You will be able to see the progress and with the gold medalist, you can use the PC while it is working with no problems.


    ..
    Source(s):
    ..
    AVG AntiVirus: http://download.cnet.com/AVG-Anti-Virus-...
    MalWare Bytes: http://download.cnet.com/Malwarebytes-An...
    CCleaner: http://download.cnet.com/ccleaner/
    Defrag Reviews: http://disk-defragmenter-software-review...
    Gold medal defrag winner: http://www.diskeeper.com/de"
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 12:28:12 11,006 posts
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    Sharzam wrote:
    Desktop pcs fall in performance due to the amount of crap on them. I assume the same happens with laptops, except laptops havnt got the spare resources in the first place.

    Just curious when exactly did this happen and what is performance like in games you have previously ran. Such as the line and borderlands.

    Edit : good shout on dust, heat will lower performance as you won't have much space inside the case.
    It only happened, or at least I only noticed it when I tried playing the games I bought - State of Decay and Gone Home.

    Spec Ops was around 25fps on low to medium, sometimes 30fps. I reckon I could've pushed the settings a bit higher.

    Borderlands was 30fps on pretty high settings iirc.

    Fallout 3 was pushing 40fps.

    I don't have Spec Ops installed anymore but Fallout 3 has taken a massive hit.
  • Rusty_M 23 Jun 2014 12:30:02 6,700 posts
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    As well as giving it a good dust inside, check the power management options. I had an Acer and it's power management software kept setting the maximum CPU speed to 0%. It absolutely killed performance.

    Took me ages to figure out why it would run a lot slower when plugged in than on battery.

    Removing the Acer power management software and just using Windows cleared the issue up for me.
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 12:30:34 11,006 posts
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    @LegacySystem

    Thanks.

    I'm definitely going to look into the dust situation, defrag, and run disk check.

    I clean the registry often, but during my search for a solution last night I read it doesn't really help much. I have tried System Restore as well, but I think these problems go back a while.
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 12:32:33 11,006 posts
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    I currently have 100gbs of 500gbs free on C Drive, and 400gbs on the other. Is that clogged up enough to affect performance?

    @Rusty

    Cheers, I did have a look at that last night and pretty sure I have it all set up optimally, but I'll double check.

    Edited by Zizoo at 12:33:12 23-06-2014
  • BigOrkWaaagh 23 Jun 2014 12:34:36 6,806 posts
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    Are you sure the games are using your AMD GPU and not the Intel junk?
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 12:36:31 11,006 posts
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    100% sure.
  • Duffking 23 Jun 2014 12:37:09 14,857 posts
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    midnight_walker wrote:
    Are you sure the games are using your AMD GPU and not the Intel junk?
    That was my thought as well, it's not unheard of for the GPU to not be utilised properly in laptops. If other's suggestions don't work, download something like GPU-Z or Afterburner to check it's under load.

    EDIT: Ah never mind...

    Edited by DUFFKING at 12:37:23 23-06-2014
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 12:42:08 11,006 posts
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    It was the first thing I went after and can be no more sure. All games that have the option in their launcher do detect it.
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 12:51:04 11,006 posts
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    It seems it defrags every Wednesday.

    Yet to clean it out, but quickly checked the temps and they seem normal. Fans never really kick in much anyway.
  • Deleted user 23 June 2014 12:58:50
    Gamebooster? It's free.
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 13:02:04 11,006 posts
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    I'll check it out, thanks.

    I'm just certain something just isn't operating properly rather than my laptop not being up to it. I mean, Gone Home should run pretty great, especially since it auto-detects to high but can barely run on low being the biggest indicator something is wrong.
  • Deleted user 23 June 2014 13:04:50
    Defrag? Do windows machines still need defrag?
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 13:06:02 11,006 posts
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    Tried that, but it had been defragged recently.
  • Deleted user 23 June 2014 13:06:41
    @Zizoo Should do I'd imagine. My laptop is worse than yours but can handle pretty new games that aren't incredibly taxing such as portal 2...
  • BigOrkWaaagh 23 Jun 2014 13:07:35 6,806 posts
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    Are you in Power Saver mode or running on battery?
  • Dirtbox 23 Jun 2014 13:08:51 89,298 posts
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    Post deleted
  • THFourteen 23 Jun 2014 13:17:36 46,247 posts
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    Haven't read the whole thread but have you been to control panel, power options and made sure everything is on high performance

    Also go into advanced settings there and make sure the CPU isn't throttled
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 13:26:12 11,006 posts
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    I'm on Windows 7, 64 Bit

    Ok, so I think I see the problem. Not sure how to fix it though

    Using GPU-Z, here's the front end for the AMD:



    and here it is running Gone Home. From my limited knowledge, the default core clock and memory clock speed jump out at me as not right.



    You can see on the front end that those are default speed when it should be 600mhz and 800mhz respectively. Any ideas why this is and if it is a problem, how could I fix it? Overclocking was my first idea, I assume that was silly (didn't work anyway)

    Here's the Intel card front end which shows a higher default:



    and here "sensor" showing it isn't running (the stats don't change):



    Edited by Zizoo at 13:27:55 23-06-2014
  • PearOfAnguish 23 Jun 2014 13:28:08 7,573 posts
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    Didn't call it a 'rig', has actually done a load of troubleshooting before asking here. Nice.

    Had an old Dell that almost had a meltdown when too much dust built up inside, bit of Googling revealed both official teardown info and some user made guides. Worth looking to see if there's any info on how to get at the innards because some laptops drag crap deep inside the casing and it can be a mission to give it a proper clean.

    Bremenacht wrote:
    Defrag? Do windows machines still need defrag?
    Yeah, but only for HDDs.
  • Dirtbox 23 Jun 2014 13:29:06 89,298 posts
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    Post deleted
  • Ziz0u 23 Jun 2014 13:32:17 11,006 posts
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    I just double checked the minimum requirements for Gone Home and it lists an Intel card, so to test that it is my AMD GPU, I'm going to switch to my Intel one and if Gone Home runs better... well then we know.
  • PearOfAnguish 23 Jun 2014 13:34:50 7,573 posts
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    Could be a temperature thing? If there is a load of dust inside the GPU might be throttling back to keep things cool.

    Found this discussion of the same problem on the same series of GPU: http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-17-m17x/635006-fixed-radeon-6990m-core-clock-stuck-100mhz.html

    Few things to try in there, that guy fixed it by fiddling with the clock settings using AMD Overdrive.

    Edited by PearOfAnguish at 13:35:59 23-06-2014
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