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Thread: Computer running slower after BIOS update




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    Default Computer running slower after BIOS update

    So I bought a computer. Specs below. Ran great for about a month or two. Then I got a game and, due to AMD's bulldozer CPUs not playing nice with certain Steam games, I had to update my BIOS to make it work. So I update the BIOS, and after beating the new game and going back to my other games I find out that my FPS is lower than it had been and periodically drops sharply. In addition I get significantly lower FPS. Prior to the BIOS update I'd get 200 FPS in Team Fortress 2, after the update I've been getting 100. In Minecraft I got 250, now I get 70-100. I've figured out that the sudden FPS drops were due to the CPU being throttled at 54-55C, because I disabled thermal throttling and they no longer happen.

    This leaves me with two problems. First, I have no idea why the performance has dropped so drastically. Second, having the CPU throttle at 54-55C instead of a higher temp means I have to keep throttling disabled and restart my PC to re-enable it every time I go to export a video, since exporting a ten minute video drives my temp up to around 65-70.

    Any thoughts?

    Specs
    Mobo: ASRock N68-VS3 FX
    BIOS version: P1.70
    Processor: AMD FX-8120 3.1GHz (64bit, 8cores)
    Memory: 8GB DDR3 1333 (4GBx2)
    Graphics: Radeon HD 6850 1GB
    HDD: 1TB SATAII
    Power: 600W
    OS: Windows 7 64bit

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    Default Re: Computer running slower after BIOS update

    That the new BIOS would cause the CPU to throttle seems unlikely, since that function is internal to the CPU. But, if CPU settings in the BIOS changed with the new BIOS, and need adjusting from their (new, different?) default settings, that is a possibility. Did you check that at all?

    Using the stock CPU cooler? If so, you need better cooling. If not, you still need better cooling, perhaps for the PC case itself. Games are far more demanding on the video card than the CPU, which implies your CPU cooling is not what it should be. I would at least check the mounting of the cooler, and if it is the stock cooler, get a better one now.

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    Default Re: Computer running slower after BIOS update

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    That the new BIOS would cause the CPU to throttle seems unlikely, since that function is internal to the CPU. But, if CPU settings in the BIOS changed with the new BIOS, and need adjusting from their (new, different?) default settings, that is a possibility. Did you check that at all?

    Using the stock CPU cooler? If so, you need better cooling. If not, you still need better cooling, perhaps for the PC case itself. Games are far more demanding on the video card than the CPU, which implies your CPU cooling is not what it should be. I would at least check the mounting of the cooler, and if it is the stock cooler, get a better one now.
    I noticed shortly after making the first post that the BIOS had the wrong setting for my RAM, so it may be a matter of wrong settings. The stock cooler probably does have something to do with it, but I have no money for a cooler or knowledge of what to buy, so that will have to wait.

    I've tried playing with the few BIOS settings I actually understand, but I don't understand what most of the settings do or know what the originals were. I didn't think to write the original settings down, because I'd been told in the past that the settings in the BIOS are separate from the BIOS itself, and that they stay the same between updates. I don't know if something just went wrong with the update or if I was misinformed.

    How would I go about finding out what the originals were? I've spent a few hours googling and only come up with results relating to overclocking, I don't have any documentation for the hardware because I bought the computer pre-built, and when I asked support at iBuypower (the company I bought it from) they evidently decided that I'm not worth helping.

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    Default Re: Computer running slower after BIOS update

    BIOS updates always reset any user changed settings, for several reasons. They may even have different default settings, the standard, basic settings provided with any BIOS. Some BIOS allow you to save the settings that can then be loaded later, but you would have needed to save them yourself.

    The only way you could learn what the previous settings were is to find someone with the identical PC, and tell you what they are, since your PC is sold as a package. The manual for the mother board will have the default settings listed, but those may not be the same as what iBuypower had things set to. Your mother board manual is here:

    ASRock > N68-VGS3 FX

    iBuypower owes you the BIOS settings they used, if they don't help you with that, they have terrible support. Or by changing the BIOS, did you violate their rules? So much for owning your own PC, information being withheld by the manufacture, what a joke. Do they have a customer forum you can get help with this?

    What may have happened with the BIOS update, is the settings for the CPU fan speed control were changed. But usually ASRock boards have the CPU fan speed setting set to full on by default. You should check that in the BIOS.

    Since you have a 6850 video card, which does the vast majority of the work for game playing, and is really what determines the FPS you achieve in a game, I don't see how the CPU is limiting the FPS, short of overheating, which should not be happening. It sounds like your video card is creating a lot of heat under use (which is normal) but that heat is not being removed from the case. The warm air in the case is being used to try to cool the CPU, which does not work, as you can see.

    How many fans does your PC's case have, and are they running?

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    Default Re: Computer running slower after BIOS update

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    What may have happened with the BIOS update, is the settings for the CPU fan speed control were changed. But usually ASRock boards have the CPU fan speed setting set to full on by default. You should check that in the BIOS.

    Since you have a 6850 video card, which does the vast majority of the work for game playing, and is really what determines the FPS you achieve in a game, I don't see how the CPU is limiting the FPS, short of overheating, which should not be happening. It sounds like your video card is creating a lot of heat under use (which is normal) but that heat is not being removed from the case. The warm air in the case is being used to try to cool the CPU, which does not work, as you can see.

    How many fans does your PC's case have, and are they running?
    1) I'm still working on getting the original settings from iBuypower
    2) the CPU fan speed is still set to full by default under my current BIOS
    3) The reason I think the CPU was causing the intermittent performance drops was because I watched it repeatedly hit 55C, start to lag, drop down to 53-54, then recover and do it again a minute or two later. Disabling the thermal throttling option in the BIOS stopped that, though overall the performance was still lower. Take that with a grain of salt though, since I'm not terribly knowledgeable about everything computer-related.
    4) My case has three fans on it; one on back top, one on the bottom front, and one on the side in about the middle, right next to the graphics card. I don't know what other useful information I could tell you, because as I say I'm not very knowledgeable about all this, the only hardware documentation they gave me with this computer was the motherboard's manual, and this case seems to be made exclusively for iBuypower and thus has no documentation online. If it helps, this is my computer

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    Default Re: Computer running slower after BIOS update

    A picture is worth a thousand words, good idea posting that link, here's an internal pic from their web page:

    Computer running slower after BIOS update-ibuy-pc-jpg

    Sure doesn't look like a stock CPU cooler, which is good, but apparently still inadequate (the black fan that has R1 on it.)

    That's a mini-ITX board, so things are rather close together. The video card is the black part below the CPU fan, with the large cable on top of it (why did they put the main power cable connector on the left side of the board... not asking you, just commenting.)

    Plenty of space in the case otherwise, and an exhaust fan (white, on the left) should be pulling hot air from the video card out of the case. The video card is close to the CPU cooler, and if you could see the back of the video card, it has one small vent, but most of its heat is going into the case.

    My guess is the hot air from the video card is being sucked in by the CPU cooler, which is blowing air towards the side of the case, it is not a downdraft type of cooler.

    Wait a sec, just looked up that Thermaltake CPU cooler, Newegg has it. Made for AM2 socket CPUs, up to 95Watts TDP, your socket AM3+ FX-8120 CPU is 125Watts TDP. So they went cheap on the CPU heatsink. BTW, you can't change the fan speed much if at all, look on Newegg for the Thermaltake A4022 92mm CPU Cooler.

    Your video card should have a configuration program that allows you to adjust its fan speed, which should help, is there a short icon on the desktop for that?

    So IMO, a barely adequate CPU cooler, plus hot running video card (most run hot) very close to the CPU, that is using hot air from the video card to try to cool the CPU, which doesn't work well. Can you feel any air coming out of the top rear vent of your PC case, the white fan in the picture? Do you have a PC enthusiast friend that can help you with your PC?

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    Default Re: Computer running slower after BIOS update

    Another point to check. Over time dust collects in the fans and heatsink fins that dramatically reduce the cooling capacity. Get a can of compressed air and blow out the fans and fins.

    This would possibly account for "working great new, but not now."

    Having over-sized cooling would also help, however as Parsec pointed out the cooling has been undersized.

    Your friendly neighborhood computer store *should* be able to recommend a good fan for you if you tell them what CPU you have. Expect to pay around $30.00 for a decent sized one.
    Fans are not too difficult to replace. However if you are not experienced, find a friend to help or have the computer shop do it for you.

    If you want to play with BIOS settings: To help keep the CPU cooler, I would suggest dropping the cpu voltage (vcore I believe it is in your bios) down, little bits at a time and running mprime95 or equiv. to make sure your CPU is still stable.
    Less voltage = less current = less dissipated heat. .1 volts actually makes quite a difference.
    Note: this is the opposite of what you would do to overclock. If you are dropping voltage, you wont be able to overclock much if at all.
    Be ready to clear your CMOS (and know how to do that) if you drop the voltage too low for the CPU to operate.


    Syn

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    Default Re: Computer running slower after BIOS update

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Sure doesn't look like a stock CPU cooler, which is good, but apparently still inadequate (the black fan that has R1 on it.)

    That's a mini-ITX board, so things are rather close together. The video card is the black part below the CPU fan, with the large cable on top of it (why did they put the main power cable connector on the left side of the board... not asking you, just commenting.)

    Plenty of space in the case otherwise, and an exhaust fan (white, on the left) should be pulling hot air from the video card out of the case. The video card is close to the CPU cooler, and if you could see the back of the video card, it has one small vent, but most of its heat is going into the case.

    My guess is the hot air from the video card is being sucked in by the CPU cooler, which is blowing air towards the side of the case, it is not a downdraft type of cooler.

    Wait a sec, just looked up that Thermaltake CPU cooler, Newegg has it. Made for AM2 socket CPUs, up to 95Watts TDP, your socket AM3+ FX-8120 CPU is 125Watts TDP. So they went cheap on the CPU heatsink. BTW, you can't change the fan speed much if at all, look on Newegg for the Thermaltake A4022 92mm CPU Cooler.

    Your video card should have a configuration program that allows you to adjust its fan speed, which should help, is there a short icon on the desktop for that?

    So IMO, a barely adequate CPU cooler, plus hot running video card (most run hot) very close to the CPU, that is using hot air from the video card to try to cool the CPU, which doesn't work well. Can you feel any air coming out of the top rear vent of your PC case, the white fan in the picture? Do you have a PC enthusiast friend that can help you with your PC?
    Ok, so going in order...

    First, my fans aren't the same as the ones in that picture. Not sure why, but I'm guessing iBuypower wanted to make people think they were using carefully chosen parts or something, instead of just whatever came stock. The CPU cooler is probably the stock cooler that comes with the processor, because it has the AMD sticker on the center of it. Same for the case fans, which have AZZA on them to match the AZZA logo on the case itself. Here's a couple pictures of the inside for your reference http://imgur.com/a/iUYK3

    Second, I don't know what a downdraft cooler is or the direction the air is blowing. Do you need to know for sure and is there any way for me to find that out?

    Third, yes, I have the Catalyst Control program and can manually adjust the fan speed. I'm going to have to read up more on that though, because I tried setting the fan to 100% and it sounded like it was going to start a tornado.

    Fourth, yes, my rear fan is working and pulling out hot air. And no, I don't have an enthusiast friend.


    Quote Originally Posted by synack View Post
    Another point to check. Over time dust collects in the fans and heatsink fins that dramatically reduce the cooling capacity. Get a can of compressed air and blow out the fans and fins.

    This would possibly account for "working great new, but not now."

    Having over-sized cooling would also help, however as Parsec pointed out the cooling has been undersized.

    Your friendly neighborhood computer store *should* be able to recommend a good fan for you if you tell them what CPU you have. Expect to pay around $30.00 for a decent sized one.
    Fans are not too difficult to replace. However if you are not experienced, find a friend to help or have the computer shop do it for you.

    If you want to play with BIOS settings: To help keep the CPU cooler, I would suggest dropping the cpu voltage (vcore I believe it is in your bios) down, little bits at a time and running mprime95 or equiv. to make sure your CPU is still stable.
    Less voltage = less current = less dissipated heat. .1 volts actually makes quite a difference.
    Note: this is the opposite of what you would do to overclock. If you are dropping voltage, you wont be able to overclock much if at all.
    Be ready to clear your CMOS (and know how to do that) if you drop the voltage too low for the CPU to operate.

    Syn
    I cleaned the dust from the case as best I could last month, though here in Kansas everything is always dusty and I couldn't clean everything (can't figure out how to get access to the front fan, didn't take off the CPU cooler to clean it, etc).

    Considering I have no money to pay a shop's outrageous prices to work on it, and have no enthusiast friends to ask for help, I'll have to try and clean it better when I get the nerve to go and replace the cooler myself.

    If reducing the voltage is the opposite of overclocking, wouldn't dropping the voltage exacerbate my issue of having the CPU running slower already?
    Last edited by 8bitlove2a03; 11-16-2012 at 10:44 AM.

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    Default Re: Computer running slower after BIOS update

    If reducing the voltage is the opposite of overclocking, wouldn't dropping the voltage exacerbate my issue of having the CPU running slower already?
    No not at all. Overclocking means to increase the frequency the CPU is running on. Typically at "stock" voltages you can only overclock by so much, but they DO give extra headroom.
    If you are not planning on overclocking at all, you could reduce the voltage of the CPU to the minimum amount required to stably drive your CPU.
    Reducing voltage reduces power, not performance. Less power means less heat to get rid of.


    Now "underclocking" the CPU may exacerbate the issue, however I doubt that is necessary.

    Replacing the heatsink and fan is actually pretty easy. Just make sure that the heatsink/fan you do buy comes with TIM (Thermal Interface Material, a.k.a. heat grease, a.k.a. thermal compound), if it doesn't have any, you will need to spring for that as well. The available brands and types and quality of TIM and what's best for what, is an art in itself. However you are not talking about crazy setups, so mid-range TIM should do you fine. Arctic silver is popular and goes for $5.00-$10.00 a syringe. The better quality TIM, the better the thermal transfer from CPU to heatsink.

    There are a zillion youtube vids on how to do this. It really depends on you and or comfort level with a screw driver.

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    Default Re: Computer running slower after BIOS update

    8bitlove, I checked out your pics, good idea posting them.

    I'll be danged, those IBuyPower boogers, show one cooler in their pics, use another in production, or change them... like, what-ever... Reminded me why I build my own PCs.

    Kinda hate to mention this, but did you read some of the feedback about that PC on the NewEgg page? Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

    Actually that AMD cooler does not look bad at all, probably better than the ThermalTake, IMO. At least the stock AMD cooler should be adequate for the CPU, but like stock Intel CPU coolers, they are just barely adequate. I can see dust on the CPU cooler fins in your pics. That is normal, no PC is immune to dust, just be aware of it and blow it out with those compressed "air" cans. Same thing for the video card, it has a fan and heatsink too, which gets dusty.

    This downdraft CPU cooler thing I mentioned is no big deal, all it means is which way the fan is moving air across the heatsink fins. Downdraft (not an official PC term, just my own) means it pushes air down onto the heatsink fins, towards the mother board, the opposite is pulling air up through the heatsink fins. Your AMD cooler is a downdraft type, which is much more common. I shouldn't have confused you with that.

    My real point is, the heat from the video card causes the air used to cool the CPU to be hotter than the air in your room, for example. That happens to varying degrees with most PCs. Just imagine trying to cool something with air that is 75F, compared to air that is 95F. With the hotter air, you'll never get whatever you are cooling below 95F, right?

    You have also entered the world of high performance gaming PCs, and the tradeoffs they have. One of those is more fan noise, trying to keep things cool. It is extra hard to "fix" cooling and low noise after the fact, that is after you have the entire PC before you. Your case looks like it will allow mounting more fans on the top (inside the case), usually 120mm in size, the same size as the AZZA fan in your pics. Does it look like one or two fans could be added, and fit and have clearance with the other parts? That is one option to enhance cooling. You'll be stuck with noise for a while, at least while gaming

    In the BIOS, can you find an option called Cool and Quiet, or similar? If so, enable that if it is not now. That won't fix your issue, but will keep the PC cooler under low loads, such as just browsing the Internet. I need to check your boards manual and see what can be done.

    When gaming, turn up the speed of the video card's fan with Catalyst Control Center. I know it's loud, but what can I say.

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