5 Replies Latest reply on May 21, 2011 9:47 PM by parsec

    Very low performance on HP Envy 15

    snuke

      Hi everyone. My first post here!

       

      I recently got an HP Envy 15-1195eo Notebook PC with an Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 GHz processor. Now, I'm been unhappy with the performance (which I believe is only slightly better than my old HP dv5's performance which had a Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz processor). I got a 4.7 score with Windows Experience Index for my processor!

       

      So I googled and googled on how to fix this. I forgot it for a while because I was with stuff but now that I'm free, I tried to play a few video games which are getting lousy performance even though I have an ATI Radeon 5830 card! I downloaded and installed the Intel Processor ID Utility and it showed me an expected frequency of 1.60 GHz but a reported frequency of 0.93 GHz ONLY!

       

      What's going on here? I also have installed the Turbo Boost Monitor and it never goes over 1.60 GHz. Has this happened to anyone else? Does this mean damaged hardware? Can an expert help me out here?

       

      Regards,

      Ali

        • 1. Re: Very low performance on HP Envy 15
          parsec

          The specs for the i7-720QM processor can be seen here:

           

          http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=43122&processor=i7-720QM&spec-codes=SLBLY

           

          It's standard speed is 1.6GHz, with max Turbo speed of 2.8GHz.  The reported speed you saw of 0.93GHz is likely the result of power savings options being activated, those being Enhanced Intel Speed Step (EIST) and C-States, used with Mobile as well as Desktop processors.  When EIST is enabled, the processor will (should) vary it's frequency depending upon it's load.  The processor utility reads the actual processor frequency once for display during the test, and most likely caught it when it was lowered by the power saving options, by chance.

           

          If Turbo Boost Monitor shows a maximum of 1.60Ghz, that can be caused by a few things.  First, is Turbo Boost enabled on your processor?  You may be able to check that in the BIOS of your notebook, have you ever been in the BIOS?  Another way to check is to download, install and run this free program:

           

          http://www.hwinfo.com/download32.html

           

          In the main window, if you double click on Central Processors and then i7-720QM, you'll see a huge list of processor info.  Scroll down and look for Enhanced Features, which will look something like this:

           

          procinfo.PNG

           

          Notice the last green spot on the page, Intel Turbo Boost Technology, and that it is supported and enabled on my PC.  Hopefully you'll at least see this and have an answer.  Apparently, some (if not most/all) notebook manufactures do not enable this option, or don't allow it to be enabled, particularly on notebooks, to save energy (battery) and lower heat generation.  But this may not be the only reason it is not working.

           

          In Windows, check which power option you are using, in Control Panel, and Power Options.  You may need to set this to High Performance to get Turbo working.  With any mobile PC, power saving is of great importance, to save the battery.  So any and all power saving features are usually activated.  Using your PC's charger may allow you to get Turbo working, as I doubt it is allowed when running on battery power alone.  I cannot guarantee that changing this will work.

           

          Although mobile PCs have improved considerably, they still simply cannot match the capabilities of a good desktop PC.  Only very expensive and much less portable mobile PCs will approach desktop performance.  Gaming puts great demands on a PC,  more so than most applications, which is one of the worst case situations on mobile PCs.

           

          There may be a program or special button you need to activate to get Turbo working on your PC, but I don't own your PC, so I can't help you with that.  HP should be able to tell you if Turbo can function on your PC, or check it's manual or help info.

           

          If you have more questions, post here again and let us know what you discover.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Very low performance on HP Envy 15
            snuke

            Thank you, parsec, for such a helpful and thorough answer! Yes, I've checked and Turbo Boost is indeed running. The utility you mentioned also confirmed it, but I figured it would be running because a Windows service TurboBoost was also running.

             

            Yes, I've been into the BIOS of my computer many times. I'm not exactly a beginner (thank God! )

             

            I've found this utility called ThrottleStop which puts an end to the blocked multipliers allowing my process to go Turbo (or even higher - I'm assuming it just overclocks it.)

             

            The reason I want my laptop to be gaming capable is because I've spent a decent buck on it. If you Google for Envy 15, you'll find that HP doesn't sell those anymore and it's not exactly cheap. The only thing bad I see about this are the first generation processors. The rest of the specs are top notch!

             

            Since the battery doesn't last me more than an hour and a half anyway, I'd like it to disable SpeedStep so I can at least play videos games at decently. I cry when the performance is actually worse than my Core 2 Duo computer

             

            I have adequate cooling in my room, and I could even get a cooling pad if needed, so my priority here is performance. The GPU on my laptop is an ATI Radeon HD 5830 and with 8GB of DDR3 memory, I think I'm all set for gaming if I can get the CPU to behave. Add an SSD and it's a dream machine!

             

            As you might already know that HP uses the InsydeH2O BIOS which is very limited (basic monitoring and boot options are the only thing on it!) so I cannot disable SpeedStep from there. And since ThrottleStop disables it temporarily, I'm assuming it can be done from OS level. Can it be done? Should I reinstall my Windows? Changing power profiles doesn't do anything.

             

            Thanks again!

            Ali

            • 3. Re: Very low performance on HP Envy 15
              parsec

              Thanks snuke, and sorry I didn't get how much you understand, most laptop users use their PC for a purpose, not as a toy itself as I must admit I do.

               

              So you just were able to get Turbo going with ThrottleStop?  That's good, I figured your BIOS would be minimal, how high did you get it up to?  I'd start with the Intel spec of 2.8GHz and see how it goes.  Turbo changes the multiplier, which is fine, safer than changing the base clock frequency.  Your CPU has as many transistors as most i7-900 series desktop CPUs, and is a serious processor, so if you can deal with the heat issue, get it running at 2.8GHz via Turbo, and it ought to be way better than your old CPU was.  I'm surprised you say that it is worse, something else is part of the problem, likely the HDD is slow, typical for laptops.

               

              Windows itself cannot change EIST.  The problem is the BIOS code sets that when it runs, on reboot, so gets set to the BIOS's default, enabled.  A given on laptops, and really is Ok to have, I use it on desktops, saves power, keeps things cooler, and shifts out of it immediately when needed, really no need to disable it permanently IMO.  Reinstalling Windows won't help with that.

               

              If you can get an SSD, that would be great, likely the best upgrade for a laptop you could do.  I'm sure it would impress you, speed wise.

              • 4. Re: Very low performance on HP Envy 15
                snuke

                Hey, parsec. It's completely all right

                 

                And I don't think I got Turbo Boost working with ThrottleStop. It was something else, cause the multipliers were all varied for every thread. Normal is all fixed at 7, and after I turn on ThrottleStop, it's between 7 and 15 at random for every thread and it also changes every second (for every thread) - unless that's how it's supposed to be.

                 

                So, my choice is to ask HP to unlock my processor? Cause it performs badly on AC power and even worse on battery and it's just heart breaking

                 

                I'm quite disappointed at HP for this unlocking business. If I own a product, I want full control over it, not limited because it might lower the battery time or overheat my computer :@

                 

                What do you suggest I do?

                • 5. Re: Very low performance on HP Envy 15
                  parsec

                  Actually, you did get Turbo boost working with ThrottleStop.  It just needs some more adjustment for best performance.  I suggest you read the help and documentation for it to get the most out of it.

                   

                  Some explanation on how CPU power savings features and Turbo boost functions will clear things up.  But first an analogy for you.  Imagine if the engine in your car ran at full throttle all the time, say 5000 RPM, and all we did was adjusted what speed we wanted, independent of the engine speed.  While stopped at a red light, we would be wasting so much fuel and energy doing nothing, terrible.  If we were in the city going 25MPH, it would still be a big waste of fuel.  Only on a race track moving at 120MPH would we be using all the engine's power.  But now that you are racing, you use your Turbo boost to run your engine at 6000 RPM or more to pass another car.  Your engine can run at that speed for a while, but not constantly since it will overheat and be destroyed, so once you pass that car, you shut off the Turbo boost.

                   

                  The same concepts can be applied to a CPU.  Your CPU's standard speed is 1.6GHz.  When your laptop is idle or not running more than one or two programs that aren't demanding, you don't need 1.6GHz of processing speed.  That is when Speed Step (when enabled) lowers the CPU frequency to 0.93GHz.  As soon as you start doing something that needs more processing speed, Speed Step allows the CPU to run at it's standard speed, 1.6GHz.  Speed Step does not hurt performance, since it immediately puts the CPU at a higher speed when necessary.  When you see your CPU frequency displayed as 0.93GHz, that is just at that moment when there is low processing demand.  Speed Step is fine to use, it does not hurt performance.

                   

                  Turbo goes the other direction of course.  But Turbo boost is really not supposed to be permanent, only increasing CPU speed as long as it is needed.  The problem is Turbo boost can overheat a CPU if it keeps running at the higher speed.  So after a while Turbo boost is shut off, even if it still could be used, to keep the CPU from being damaged.  In your case, Turbo Boost sets the frequency of your CPU as high as 2.8GHz when necessary.  It might only go to 2.0GHz, or 2.5GHz if that is all that is needed.  When Turbo Boost must shut off to prevent damage, your CPU will return to 1.6GHz.  If the high demand on the CPU ends, it's frequency will also return to normal, or less, down to 0.93GHz.  This system works and is a good compromise, and also saves energy.

                   

                  What changes your CPU's speed down with Speed Step and up with Turbo Boost... the multiplier!  Your CPU has a Base Clock rate of 133MHz, common to all i7 CPUs.  When you see your CPU speed at 0.93 GHz, the multiplier is 7, since 133MHz X 7 = 931MHz or 0.931 GHz.  Your CPU at it's standard speed of 2.0GHz, has the multiplier at 12, as 133MHz X 12 = 1,596MHz or just under 2.0GHz.  For your maximum Turbo boost speed of  2.8GHz, the multiplier of 21 gives 2.793GHz.  If your maximum Turbo multiplier is set to, say 15, your maximum CPU speed will be ~2.0GHz.

                   

                  If you study ThrottleStop (TStop), you can set these mulitpliers yourself, otherwise it has built in sets of multipliers, that are meant to work generally with laptops, so may not provide you with the best performance possible.  You've already tried that, and it worked, the changing multipliers and core speeds is normal and how it all works... yes that is how it is supposed to be.

                   

                  Will HP "unlock" Turbo for you? I don't know, they might refuse, they may not be able to without a custom BIOS (which might exist) or a program that does that, but I doubt your warranty will be valid after it is enabled.  Your best method is using TStop, it's free and works and can do all sorts of things for you.  But, you need to study it and do it right.  Part of right means not over-doing it, very high mulitpliers can cause problems, so experiment carefully.

                   

                  One comment about your laptop's performance with games.  In contrast to the past, the CPU plays a much smaller role in gaming performance.  It is the Video Card that does most of the work during gaming, and if performance is lacking, that is the first place to look.  Hopefully getting your Turbo settings increased will help gaming performance, but if it doesn't, the first thing you need to check is the video card.