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8600M GT downclocking...again....


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I've made countless posts trying to solve this problem, and this is sort of a last ditch post seeing if there's ANYONE out there who can come up with a solution to this downclocking problem with the 8600M GT. It's been going on for months now and I cannot find anything that will work.

RMClock on max performance (with all boxes un-checked in the "Advanced CPU Settings") doesn't work...

Disabling PowerMizer doesn't work...

RMClock + PowerMizer doesn't work...

What else is there guys?? I'm stumped and this is really depressing...

Thanks to anyone who helps and has helped.

Below is some specs:

Dell XPS M1530

256MB nVidia Geforce 8600M GT

4GB Ram

Vista 32-Bit

Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz processor

Overclocking to 560/800/1160 from 475/702/950...

The game I play it on is AOC (Age of Conan) which doesn't have DirectX10 yet and uses Shader Model 3...

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  • Kaaji1359


  • AV Logistics


  • wook


  • alexdino


I read a lot of the post on this subject u had a few days ago. And since none of the solutions are working for u I believe its a thermal issue. Also remember

that nvidia announced that g84 and g86 mobile cards have had serious thermal issues and are expecting to payout 200mil in replacements/fixes/etc.

Why it affects some and not others probablly has a lot to do with when u bought the pc. Since nvidia figured out it had faulty thermal designs on g84/g86,

they probably reduced the temp the gpu needed to hit before it entered low power 3d mode. This would be of course to give the end user a lesser chance

of having the gpu fail. That also explains why certain drivers wouldn't downclock, but newer ones will, in order to prevent gpu failure. So every time

your pc downclocks, it hit the thermal envelope that nvidia set and is going into low perf. 3d mode to prevent gpu failure.

From the way I understand nvidia vga bios is that there are 3 seperate clocks: 2d,low perf. 3d, and full 3d. The only possible way I could think of to eliminate

the downclocking issue is to change low power 3d clocks. You'd have to flash the vga bios. But do note that doing so would increase your overall power

consumption and the risk of frying/damaging ur card permanently. If u ask me, nvidia shouldn't be offering the g84/g86 cards to consumers anymore, but

everywhere you look, they still are.

Edited by AV Logistics
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AV Logistics has made me think of something. There is a new BIOS for your XPS 1530. A09 (apparenly supposed to stop the issues nVidia mentioned about the 8600 chipset. APPARENTLY)

But as i said previously (or maybe i said it to another user that had the same issue) check to see the temperature when the downclocking occurs. anything into the high 80's or low 90's means hardware needs replacing. You have tried every software option i can think of, so contact dell and tell them that your system is overheating... 93 Oc + and they will replace your motherboard, heatsink/ fan etc.

That might solve your issues.(Even if your system has not hit 90 Oc, tell them it has !!)

Edited by wook
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I get the problem too, my gpu works perfectly at higher temperatures for the 169 series of drivers, there seems to be something in the 170 series that makes the gpu downclock, overriding powermizer after around 15-30 mins of gaming. I don't think it's a temperature issue since my card stays relatively low at around 60C whilst gaming and others play with temps around 70-80 with overclocking. However i could be wrong since the first symptom that occurs is the game freezes and only after switching back to the desktop and then the game does it recover but with a lower clock.

The only thing you can do for now is to use earlier drivers, ie the 169 series.

Furthermore does this only occur for dell users? It seems most if not all people who post about it are dell users..........

Edited by anonymous1986
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This is not a dell only issue. Dell is just more aggressive with modifying the vga bios clocks to a lower setting to prevent failure, and thus prevent more money

they have to payout to fix/replace. And using a lower driver version will only work if u have an older vga bios/bought the pc a while ago. That is why dell

released a new bios. I can almost guarantee that if someone with a xps1530 has no downclocking issues, and then updates the bios, they will. Its just

to cover their own a** since they offer a lot of G84/G86 based laptops. See for yourself. Use gpuz to back up ur vga bios. Then open it up with NiBiTor

and look at the clocks yourself. Whatever its downclocking to is the low perf. 3d mode.

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Anonymous: same problem where the game freezes and resumes with a lower clock... pretty annoying ><

Wook: The laptop is only 2 months old so I doubt it's a hardware issue at all. I have no clue whatsoever what a "new BIOS" is... but from what AV Logistics said, aren't all the new BIOS's the ones that downclock??

AV Logistics: Come to think about it, that makes perfect sense. When my laptop isn't on for an extended period of time, I can go sometimes over an hour without my game downclocking. After I re-start and it's back up to speed, it might only be good for about 10-20 minutes before it downclocks. I even have a cooling pad but apparently it doesn't do enough...

I've only monitored my temp once with this problem and stupidly I didn't monitor it until my laptop downclocked. It got to 79C at the time. I'll monitor my GPU and report back to the temp whenever it downclocks.

IF this is the issue, what do you guys think would be a good way to solve this? Should I try the "new BIOS" that Wook has mentioned? Or is there a code in my laptop that says "when the GPU reaches X temperature, downclock"?? If so, I could possibly change the threshold temperature... what do you guys think?

Edited by Kaaji1359
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You got it right. Theirs a set temperature that tells the gpu to downclock to low performance 3d. I don't know about changing the temperature at what its

triggered at, but changing the low performance 3d clocks would definitely eliminate the problem. If u did that you'd definitely wanna make sure u have

adequate airflow when gaming. And updating the bios might or might not help. They could have raised the thermal envelope for the trigger, or lowered

the thermal trigger. My moneys on lowering it to prevent having to fix anything/ thus resulting in losing money. It seems that the consumer always,

and I mean always gets screwed in the end :)

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So I just tested it out the temperatures while playing AOC. My laptop got up to 76-78 relatively fast, but it never went above 78 at all. When it finally downclocked it was only at 76. Afterwards, it went down to 67-71 really fast.

So, are we sure it's a temperature issue now?? I know above 90C is bad, but mine never got to 80C...

Either way, I would still like to upgrade the BIOS AND change the threshold temperature. Do you have any idea how to do this???


Oh BTW... what's a safe temperature for the CPU core to be at? I think it hit 60C (maybe higher, I wasn't monitoring it).

Edited by Kaaji1359
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Well the bios update wook was referring to can be found Here

But as I said before, I doubt that will solve your problem. And your thermal trigger is probably 76C-78C. I think its still a temperature issue even though

thats not really that hot. But according to the vga bios it is and its protecting itself. If u want to modify the vga bios clocks u need NiBiTor.

Then u have 2 flash it at boot with a usb or cd. There are plenty of guides to this u can find by googling. Try the bios update and see if that makes

it worse or better first. And most mobile c2d are rated for 90c so 60c ain't even warm! If u do try the bios update plz report back and let us know how

it went. One way or another, we'll figure it out :)

Edited by AV Logistics
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Great!! Thanks a ton!! I just finished installing the A09.

Unfortunately I doubt I will be able to test it tonight. Unless something weird happens with my work schedule, I should be able to report back tomorrow evening. So... hopefully I'll talk to you then...

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Alrighty then :)

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It can't be a temp issue then, since mine downclocks at around 60C sometimes, it has gone to a max around 65 when playing ut3. Furthermore i have the latest bios from dell (A09) and there does not seem to be a difference in temps from the old bios (A09). Also the Inspiron 1520, 1720 laptops are not affected by the heat issues according to the reference/other sites.

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It can't be a temp issue then, since mine downclocks at around 60C sometimes, it has gone to a max around 65 when playing ut3. Furthermore i have the latest bios from dell (A09) and there does not seem to be a difference in temps from the old bios (A09). Also the Inspiron 1520, 1720 laptops are not affected by the heat issues according to the reference/other sites.

It Is A temp issue. G84/G86 cards have a thermal problem. Dell purposly set the throttiling clocks low to avoid failure and have to replace/fix units.

Don't believe me? Download gpuz. Make a clean backup of your vga bios. Then get nibitor and open up the rom file. Look at the temperature

they have it set to throttle down. Whatever temp ur card downclocks at, thats the temp threshold. And the inspirons are bigger and probably have better

airflow then the sleek, slim xps line.

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I'm just saying that it's weird that it downclocks at largely different temperatures. Also since the inspiron line is bigger you would expect it to downclock at a higher temperature than the xps line since it has better cooling. Since mine downclocks around 60 and kaaiji's xps at around 79 and we both have the same gpu it seems contradictory. Also just wondering whether nvidia said that all G84/G86 cards have this problem?

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Its weird indeed, I definitely agree with u there. But remember that he just updated his bios to A09 and isn't going to test temps until tommorow. I think

the reason his was downclocking at a higher temp is because he didn't have the new bios yet. If my moneys where my mouth is, he'll probablly report

downclocking around the same temp as u tommorow. But did u get the machine with the A09 bios or did u upgrade as well. If u upgraded, can u recall

downclocking temps b4 the update. I personally don't own a dell or a G84/G86 card, but I would love to know exactly what the bios update is doing

besides increasing fan speed. I bet its lowering the triggering temp for the gpu as well. And they say all G84/G86 cards are affected since they all

use the same ASIC (application specific integrated circuit).

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I didn't update my bios until recently (heard the news on this site) to A09, i am 90% sure that i had problems with downclocking with the old bios, i remember games such as ut3 freezing after some time and then running slower. This was only with newer driver though (170xx series). I had to restart my laptop to play my games and decent framerates again after the semi-crash. However i just googled the 8400 and 8600 problems and it seems that it affects all cards as you said so it might be a temperature issue. From what i read online the bios just seems to slightly increase the fan speed. Lucky i've got a 2 year warranty on my laptop, i'm gonna contact dell and ask them about this issue, hopefully they reply. Pretty s*** of nvidia if they shipped out so many faulty gpu's. Cheers for ur help AV.

Also just to add that the driver did not always crash, sometimes i played ut3 for around 45 mins without any problems and no crashes, sometimes after 15-20 mins i would have a crash.

Edited by anonymous1986
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If u could plz do me a favor if u have time. Get nibitor. Its a single executable requiring no installation. Use gpuz to make a copy of your vga bios.

open it with nibitor and take a look at the temperature settings. Look at what ur critical and throttling temps are. I would really appreciate this :)

And the customer is always bottom priority when it comes to corporations :)

Edited by AV Logistics
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This is the official nvidia reponse to the heat issue:

NVIDIA has identified a potential weakness in the die/packaging material set in certain versions of its previous generation GPU and MCP products used in notebook systems. Certain notebook configurations with GPUs and MCPs manufactured with a certain die/packaging material set are failing in the field at higher than normal rates. NVIDIA has initiated discussions with its supply chain regarding this material set issue and is working closely with notebook manufacturers to resolve the issue.

1) The issue is limited to a few notebook chips only; we have not seen and don't expect to see this issue on any NVIDIA based desktops

2) Only a very small percentage of the notebook chips that have shipped are potentially affected and the problem depends on a combination of environmental conditions, configuration and usage model

3) We continue to work closely with our partners and have taken the necessary steps to ensure that all NVIDIA chips currently in production do not exhibit the problem

As a result, it is very unlikely that your NVIDA based notebook product is affected. As always, the primary support contact for any issues you may be experiencing is your notebook computer provider.

It might be that the new drivers have the downclocking set to a lower critical temperature, and that's why the gpu downclocks.

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Nvidias statement is a crock of s***. Just look at how many users have reported problems with G84/G86 cards. Even the macbook pro has

had quite a few issues due to this. And thats why u guys have downclocking issues, because they set the thermal limit lower than what its really

cabable of, not to fix, but reduce the number of units they have to replace. U should'nt have to suffer a great performance loss just because they

made inferior chips. Thats not right. You payed for it, so u should be able to use it to the full advantage

Here's a Look at my temp settings in nibitor

Edited by AV Logistics
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It?s just not justified to blame this under clocking issue on nVidia's openly admitted problem of the G84/G86 chips/ cards.

I had this problem about 4 months after I purchased my XPS 1530. Around the same time I started posting on this issue, I viewed a lot of other users (with different video cards/ GPU's) saying they had the same issue. So, it?s not just these chips that are having under clocking issues. My system and almost everyone else?s problems stopped when we modified the registry.

But... about a month after that, I had massive temp jump. Mine was running at 83 Oc, and would not down clock (after I modified the reg). Then the temp. jumped to 93 Oc and would under clock again. (Mind you, this was totally fine, as 93 Oc in an XPS is bloody hot!) After dell sent a techie over, replacing a new mother board, heat sink/ fan combo it was back to normal) (but personally I think it was the thermal pad connecting the heatsink, as I replaced the thermal pad with AS5 paste, and am currently running @ 78 Oc. Anyway I diverge.

According to dell, the A09 revision fixes the following video errors:

Multiple images

Random characters on the screen

Lines on the screen

No video

Now I've had a look in the BIOS new version, and all I can see with the change from A07/8 to A09, is that the cooling fan is set to cycle on more frequently.

It's set for:

1500 rpm @ 50 Oc - which it have previously been set for 1500 at 55 Oc,

2500 rmp @ 55 Oc

3500 rpm @ 60 Oc

4500 rpm @ 70 Oc

5500 rpm @ 75 Oc

(now 5500 rpm @ 75... i'm pretty sure my fan does not go that fast, in fact when i did a system diagnostic, the max my fan got to was 4486 rpm. So not sure what thats about)

As you can see, fan speeds have been set to go off 5 Oc earlier. It seems it's just an attempt to cool the system down earlier and nothing more.

Now... granted I have not looked into every part of the BIOS and compared it. I only looked at the fan settings as that?s what dell specified they changed.

Edited by wook
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I definitely see what your saying. I also looked into the revision of the A09 bios. And yeah, it looks like the only thing they changed was the fan speed.

As I said b4, I don't have a Dell or a G84/G86 so I can't say I've experienced the problems u all have went through. In the beggining of the post

I was just tryin to make it known that the only way I know u won't have underclocking issues is to change the vga bios clocks, or modify

the temperatures at which its throttled i.e. underclocked. And I'm on ur side anyway. How much did u pay for that laptop. What, around 2k or so.

So for 2k u get a product that constantly gives u problems and u have to modify things on ur own just to get it to perform the way its supposed to?

I just don't think thats right personally. Its like paying for a vette but getting the performance of a cavalier. :)

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haha.. or buy a real car like an evolution! : b

Well, yeah that should solve their problems. But would make their peak temp. a little higher. You guys will need to keep a check on that. under 90 is fine. (apparently the 8600GT has been tested up to 120 Oc and worked fine) But that data could be based on desktop machines.

Replacing my motherboard seemed to fix the underclocking for me... well so far. It came with A09, not sure if they made a new batch of motherboards with different onboard video chips, (i would say 90% NO!) but for me, hardware totally solved it.

Not to mention changing to XP and scrapping vista helped also. XP runs maybe 2, but certianly 1 Oc cooler than vista.

[On my machine]

Edited by wook
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Well I've been putting effort into this post all day and I only wanna know 1 thing? At what temp does dell throttle the gpu?

Please if u have the time, make a quick copy of ur vga bios with gpuz and open it up with nibitor. I would really like to know what the temps are they have set.

It would give me some closure on this whole xps underclocking issue. I would appreciate it :)

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i have a back up of my BIOS in case of emerg. But for some reason norbie can't detect the ID, (GPU says my Id is 10DE - 0407. may help ya)and therefore the clock settings. im pretty sure i have set the clocks on my old bios and reflashed it. anyway here it is. I've got so much work i need to get done before friday, have not got the time at moment... you can give it a go.

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