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Last reply by 10-22-2022 Solved
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Severe performance issues on XPS 17 9720 after updating BIOS from 1.9.0 to 1.10.0

XPS 17 9720

Hello,

I updated BIOS to 1.10.0 on my Dell XPS 17 9720 with Core i9 12900HK and noticed severe performance issues. The performance under sustained load decreased by 40%.

I did some research and found that the PL1 power limit dropped from 45/55W to 20W. The PL2 limit is the same - 115W. As a result, the CPU is limited to 20W Total Package Power after a few dozen seconds and drops performance significantly. Before the update, it was limited to the nominal TDP of 45W (Optimized) and 55W (Ultra Performance)

I've tried rolling back BIOS to 1.9.0, but it did not help.

Other things I've tried:
- Reset BIOS settings (both Factory and BIOS Defaults)
- Reinstall all the drivers for Intel devices from the Dell website
- Reinstall and uninstall Dell Power Manager app and service
- Change power plans in Windows 11 settings
- Switch the power mode in the Dell Power Manager and BIOS to Optimized and Ultra Performance
- Stop/Start the Intel(R) Dynamic Tuning Technology Telemetry Service
- Loading Windows 11 in the Safe Mode. The issue still persists there as well
- Tried connecting the original Dell 130W power supply to the different port

None of those things did not help. The CPU is still limited to 20W and does not perform as it should.

How can I solve this issue?

Thank you!

Solution (1)

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Yesterday Dell replaced the motherboard in my device. Right after the replacement, I launched Windows and got the same 20W PL1.

Also, Windows automatically initiated the BIOS upgrade procedure through Windows update to 1.10.0. During the upgrade, all the firmware parts (including EC, ME, Thunderbolt controllers, etc.) were updated. This process took longer than usual.

Right after the BIOS upgrade, I decided to enter the BIOS settings, make a factory reset, and switch power modes from Optimized to Ultra-Performance and again to Optimized. 

I've noticed that this time fans started to spin faster once I selected the Ultra-Performance mode. That was a good sign.

But once I loaded it into Windows, I got the same 20W PL1. I decided to try installing the fresh 22H2 version with all the drivers but without any Dell software (including Power Management service).

After installation, Windows installed a weird update with Dell firmware with version 1.9.0. The laptop BIOS version is still 1.10.0, but in the Device Manager I see "System Firmware 1.9.0".

Before the Windows reinstallation, there was a device called "System Firmware 1.10.0".

The behavior of the PL1 limit was also changed. Now it is very dynamic. Under sustained load, it is settled to 45W, but during burst or combined loads, it changes from 30 to 75W.

Summary:

1. It looks like this issue was caused by the configuration issues between BIOS, Windows, and virtual devices like "System Firmware 1.10.0";

2. I don't think it is caused by drivers, because I've installed the same versions as I had before;

3. Motherboard replacement might help, but I'm not completely sure.

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Replies (18)
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 I've found a workaround for this issue. I lock the MMIO through ThrottleStop. I can set PL1 to 45W again in this case, but the system is freezing on the Dell logo on restart:

Turbo Power Limits 2022-09-16 21.40.59.png

Without this tweak in ThrottleStop, the laptop uses the 20W PL1 limit regardless of temperature, system load, selected power mode, etc.

At the same time, PL2 is set to 115W, and it works properly.

There are some issues with the new BIOS version (1.10.0).

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I did some additional tests today.

I restarted the device, made a factory reset for BIOS settings, launched HWiNFO, and started the CB R23 MT test. The PL1 limit was set to 20W, and the CPU followed it:

HWiNFO64 v7.26-4800 - Sensors Status 2022-09-18 10.png

Then I launched the ThrottleStop with locked MMIO and did the same testing:

HWiNFO64 v7.26-4800 - Sensors Status 2022-09-18 11.png

Now the CPU behaves as it should and follows the MSR PL1 limit (75W). There's some thermal throttling, but it is expected considering chassis limitations and stock thermal interface.

All the tests were made while the device was plugged in. On battery, the issue is still there.

It looks like an issue with BIOS, which sets the incorrect power limit during the device initialization. It may be very noticeable because the performance drops by 40%.

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I have made a 30-minute test in CB R23 MT today with no other apps running (including ThrottleStop). Here's how the 20W power limit looks:

CINEBENCH R23.200 2022-09-19 21.31.21.png

For reference, with the default 45W PL1, the laptop achieves nearly 14000 points. I hope this issue will be fixed, and I won't need to use workarounds

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I have found a workaround to fix an issue with the laptop restart with ThrottleStop enabled. I enabled the Sync MMIO option and set the correct PL1/PL2 levels:

Turbo Power Limits 2022-09-21 17.50.42.png

At the same time, this issue is very confusing. I've paid $3700 for a laptop and want it to work according to the specs.

20W PL1 limit is unacceptable.

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@TwistedAndy wrote:

Dell XPS 17 9720 with Core i9 12900HK and noticed severe performance issues. The performance under sustained load decreased by 40%.


1. Reset BIOS settings (both Factory and BIOS Defaults)

2. Reinstall and uninstall Dell Power Manager app and service

3. Loading Windows 11 in the Safe Mode.


I have a XPS-15 (9520) here ... which I think is similar. I haven't noticed any performance problems. I'm currently on Firmware/BIOS v1.4.0 (6-9-2022). 

1. Good. I've found it's usually better to leave all the TurboBoost and related settings Enabled/Auto (instead of turning them off and trying to force it higher or to max).

Have you checked Fan control? I use Optimized (I think the alternate Quiet setting might throttle).

2. Uninstalling it is a good idea (like maybe it's not quite-right and is limiting performance somehow).

3. Maybe just clean install Windows-11 and leave ALL the Dell stuff behind.

Your Throttle-Stop testing is informative. Dell will see it. Whether it is broken or by design would be for the Dell Engineers to decide. At least, you found a work-around.

Since it's a UltraBook (with expensive CPU and motherboard) I'm guessing that they try to keep them from melting down (as that is not good for anyone). Dead/fried machines don't render very well. That said, the Precision close-relative of this laptop might go higher (up to the edge).

Mine also has the Nvidia GeForce RTX-3050 (Laptop GPU version). When I get both the CPU and GPU cookin, seems like the engaged Nvidia card would allow the Intel Iris Xe graphics (IGP) to power-down or barely run. You would think this would provide more on-chip watts/thermal-space for the CPU-section to run closer to full-throttle. Still, I would try to run AfterBurner on the Nvidia with a slight power-limit on it (like maybe 10-20%) just because I don't want to damage it either (I'm not a big Over-Clocker or even believe in that).

Finally, be sure you are queuing-up way-enough work for the CPU/GPU. I've learned that is required to get everything cranked-up to full-speed.


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Thank you!

As I've mentioned before, I have reset all the BIOS settings to factory defaults a few times. TurboBoost is enabled by default, the power profile is set to Optimized. Previously, I had 45W PL1 on that profile and 55W on Ultra Performance. Now I have only 20W and 3 (three) times worse performance. I believe this is a bug and not something made intentionally by Dell to quietly fix some other issues.

I'm using a clean Windows 11 installation once I've purchased a device. I've played around with Dell software, but in most cases, it is useless and doesn't affect my problem.

As for the idea of reinstalling the system, I don't see a lot of sense to do it again. I have tried launching the system in Safe Mode. The PL1 is also limited to 20W there.

This power limit is set by firmware during the system initialization. It is something managed by BIOS and its settings.

943


@TwistedAndy wrote:

1. I've played around with Dell software, but in most cases, it is useless and doesn't affect my problem.

2. It is something managed by BIOS and its settings.


1. There have been reports of Support Assist and other Dell Apps interfering with various systems. A clean install (using microsoft.com installer) is one easy way to erase it all.

2. With UEFI systems, Windows can change options and BIOS, and vice-versa. There is little separation. 

Thanks again for posting the detailed and informative info.


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Like many of you, I can appreciate a good game-engine.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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1. I have done a clean Windows install two months ago with almost no Dell software (except Power Manager). The device worked flawlessly till the BIOS update.

2. In theory, Windows or some apps can change some unlocked system registers, but they usually don't do that.

At this point, I think I have a picture of what's going on and why I had an issue with the system restart with the MMIO lock.

BIOS sets the wrong power limits to the MMIO memory location during the device turn-on and initialization. It is something taking place before Windows starts loading.

When MMIO is locked, and I trigger the system restart, the BIOS performs a hybrid restart procedure when some memory contents (including MMIO lock) are kept in place.

As a result, during the initialization, the BIOS can't set power limits to MMIO because they are locked, and the laptop is freezing on the Dell logo.

This also explains why there are no issues if I shut down the device and turn it on again. All the memory contents, including the MMIO lock flag, during the shutdown are cleared.

Dell, could you fix this issue?

It's not too hard, please check the value set to PL1 during the device initialization and implement an additional check if the memory is not locked before changing it.

I'm not asking to fix the broken S3 sleep mode. It is something much more straightforward.

868

Weird my PL1 says 75.. not sure what is different.

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