08-07-2019 04:19 PM
At the moment, I'm trying to use my HP Spectre 2 in 1 PC for productive work - the primary reason why I bought a high spec 6 physical core (12 logical core), 16GB machine.
I have the HP Command Center set to thermal profile "Performance"
Before starting work, when the CPU utilisation was idling at around between 4% and 6%, the CPU speed was showing as ~4Ghz... fantastic... except hardly anything was using the CPU at that point to benefit :^)
But then moment I then actually try to do anything, the CPU clock frequency nose dives to around 1.5GHz or lower.
And more over, something seems to throttle the CPU utilisation in addition to reducing the CPU clock speed.
To show what I mean I've run the HP CPU diagnostics. This is supposed to thrash all the cores at 100% for 2 minutes. And when I bought the PC (just over 1 month ago), that's what happened when I ran this test - I'd see all the cores max out at 100% for the duration of the test.
But not now!!
This is ridiculous, it starts for a few seconds at 100% on each logical core (just gone off of the left hand side of charts in screenshot), then within literally just a couple of seconds (1 or 2 seconds) of starting the test, the CPU utilisation drops to around ~50-60% and sits there - as visible in the screenshot above.
That is in addition to it dropping the CPU speed to 1.2Ghz.
At the end, the test says "Passed" but quite frankly that is nonsense - no way can it be considered a pass.
It should be able to run at least at the base frequency (2.2GHz) @ 100% CPU utilisation for the full 2 minutes of the test when on high performance. I would only expect the 'turbo' from 2.2GHz up to 4GHz to be subject to thermal throttling; I accept the turbo from 2.2GHz up to 4GHz is only sold as being a temporary 'turbo boost' for a brief, temporary spurt of additional performance, but the unit's thermals should be designed to cope with operating the CPU continuously at the base frequency.
Needless to say, the CPU core temperatures are then staying in the 40-60 degrees (Celsius) range (4 out of the 6 are low end of 40degC!), and as such, the fan is hardly even coming on. At those temperatures, I wouldn't really expect it to!
So it definitely isn't being throttled in response to any overheating - the CPU is at the bottom end of expected temperatures - even for a PC idle doing nothing!
If I were using this in tablet or laptop mode on battery, or on "Comfort" mode, this would be good power management / expected.
But I'm not using it on battery, I'm not using it as a tablet.
I've got it plugged in to the original 135W HP power supply, on a desk, setup with a proper desktop keyboard, specifically because I want to do the productive work that I bought this high spec PC to facilitate.
Yet, here I am, with a CPU limiting itself to 1.2Ghz - that's slower than most bottom end laptops, and furthermore, even with that reduced clock speed, something (I can't figure out what) in addition is also preventing anything from even using anywhere 100% of that reduced clock speed.
I've effectively got a 0.7Ghz machine (x12 logical cores)
Even with the 12 (logical) cores, the combined performance is worse than the few years old dual core Surface Pro 3 that I bought this supposedly higher spec PC to replace.
What is going on?
Things I've Tried....
I've searched online and found suggestions to disable the IntelPPM.sys. I've tried this (via editing the "Start" key for it in the registry)...and sure enough, it fixes the CPU clock speed to 2.2Ghz (i.e. fixes it @ the processor base frequency, which shows it was now disabled), but that still doesn't seem to stop something else from throttling the CPU utilisation. And it also means I lose the ability to turbo boost up to 4Ghz occasionally, so wouldn't be a fix anyway, so I've re-enabled this.
I have also tried creating a new power plan, and setting the minim processor state to 100%. It felt more responsive switching between windows and responding initially to mouse clicks, but TaskManager showed it wasn't stopping the CPU throttling (in terms of utilisation) nor stopping the CPU throttling in terms of clock speed as well.
I'm at a loss what next....
- Speed fan shows me that it isn't overheating - far from it!
- The fans do come on occasionally- though barely at all during the stress test - they very time I would expect them to be on full! But it does suggest they are working.
- I have it set to "Performance" in the HP thermal control panel (And I've tried switching to normal then back on to performance just to make sure / let it reapply the settings just incase)
- It's plugged in, fully charged, and using the original 135W HP mains adaptor that came with the PC.
- The Microsoft power management icon in the system tray shows that it's supposedly at "Best Performance"
Surely it's got to be a setting somewhere, or a conflict between various parts trying to manage the system (the HP software, Windows 10, and the Intel power management), ..... but I'm at a loss what to try next....
As far as I can tell, everything is set how it should be to give me maximum performance (or is there something I've missed?)... but the computer is delivering exactly the opposite... probably the most effective power saving / worst performance possible!... just at the time that I actually want the performance I paid a fair amount of money for.
08-08-2019 02:58 PM
TL/DR - Looks like a problem with BIOS version F.31
Further Information / Investigation
I went through the HP automatic assisted help ...
Performed a SFC and DISM ... made no difference.
I've now installed Intel XTU ... I've no intention or interest in overclocking but it does at least give me some additional information.
The main thing is that it shows the CPU is being "Power Limit Throttled" excessively.
That's not a fix... just more info - and I'm NOT going to start playing around with settings in that program to try and fix the issue... I just want the normal proper out-of-the-box retail performance that I expect from a machine with this CPU and memory (and price!).
So I next tried re-installing the current BIOS F.31 (this being the latest that I already had installed). Perhaps a clean install might help...
- Result.... No difference what-so-ever....
(This is performing the HP CPU Stress Test again)
I then decided to revert to a previous BIOS version (because I recall that I was able to get the thermals up to 99degC and 100% utilisation when I bought it only a couple of months ago!)... so I downloaded BIOS F.28 from the HP website..
- Result... WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!
(Again, screenshot showing performing the same HP CPU Stress test but now on BIOS F.28)
- The CPU now flatlines at 100% (GOOD)
- The POWER Throttling doesn't come into play (GOOD)
- The package TDP goes up to 45+W (GOOD)
- The THERMAL Throttling DOES come into play ... BUT @ 97DegC that's fair enough! (GOOD)
- And moreover, even with the Thermal Throttling in play, the clock speed is still up at 3.6GHz... still well above the base frequency!! (GOOD)
- THIS is what I'd expect from my brand new PC on high performance thermal profile!! (GOOD)
To confirm the investigation, I then reinstalled F.31 again, and sure enough, again the POWER limit Throttling came straight back into play and the problem returned... any CPU use above idle resulted in the clock speed crashing down to around 1GHz (at one point I saw 0.8GHz and possibly 0.7XX GHz!!). Even just cycling the tabs in Task Manager resulted in the power limit throttle coming on - that's just ridiculous!!
I then reinstalled back to F.28 AGAIN, and sure enough, the good performance / clock speed is now back again.
The only snag is that I installed F.31 because I was having a problem at the other end of the scale... with F.28 I have the problem that the fan is almost always on, even in normal profile, and even when the CPU is doing virtually nothing - i.e. at times when I do want low power use / low heat. (see https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Hardware-and-Upgrade-Questions/New-HP-Spectre-fan-running-alm... )
So where does that leave me?
It seems I'll have to choose one problem or the other...
Since I bought this machine for performance, I'm going to have to stay on F.28 until HP release a fixed BIOS that fixes both issues. (The whole point of me buying this machine was the performance... with BIOS F.31 the performance is simply unacceptable, by a large margin).
I hope someone from HP reads this and can confirm if / when a BIOS update to fix this problem might become available.
10-15-2019 03:54 PM
I am experiencing the same problems, I can’t get the 28 firmware back, how did you do it?
Went to the drivers download page...
(Check it's the correct page for your specific model - the link seems to have my PCs specific model number in it - yours might be slightly different - though not sure how much it matters - I suspect most in the range share the same BIOS)
Expand the BIOS section, then at the bottom of that section is a small "Previous Version" expandable section. Under that it has many previous versions. I believe F28 was the original my PC came with, and when I revert to that, it doesn't seem to have this throttling problem (just the unnecessary fan problem even when the CPU is cold)
I chose to right-click the "Download" link, select "Save Target As" and just run it as a standalone executable. It does some pre-installation then asks you to reboot. When it reboots (ensure your PC is plugged in) give it plenty of time to finish (e.g. 5 to 10 mins). It should eventually go to your logon screen, but a few times it might appear to have switched off. Just be patient :^)
BTW - Thank you for posting - it's good to know I'm not the only one experiencing this.
Can I ask - are you still on Windows 10 home, or have you upgraded to "Pro"
I upgraded to "Pro" (purely for the bitlocker drive encryption - can't believe on a PC this price and with the claims of security, that they don't offer this as standard)... BUT... at one point during the support call I have open with them, one of the guys tried to suggest this performance problem might be because I'd upgraded to windows 10 Pro, and that the F31 BIOS isn't compaible with Windows 10 Pro.
I work as a software engineer (20yrs commercial experience) and believe that is nonsense (I'm being diplomatic :^)). I believe that Pro is just the same underlying version of windows with just a few additional features enabled that Microsoft believes businesses will pay extra for - the only one I'm interested in being the drive encryption to protect my data if the PC gets nicked.
But it would be good to know if you're having the same problem on the factory installed "Home" version, as that would be pretty definitive to prevent them trying to pull that one again.
(To be fair, I believe - although it's now around a week since they promised to call back in 24/48hrs but haven't - that they are still looking into it, so I don't think they've settled on the "pro" upgrade excuse as being the problem - in the last email they did seem to acknowledge that their "engineers" had confirmed a problem with the BIOS)
10-15-2019 03:59 PM - edited 10-15-2019 04:08 PM
thanks for the advice, I downloaded this version and tried to install it, but I get the message that this version is old and incompatible with the configuration. I use the home version of windows.
modele a little different - HP Specter x360 - 15-df0037ur
10-15-2019 04:10 PM - edited 10-15-2019 04:14 PM
Sorry - I just posted a reply then realise that I missed that you'd put the model number and link. D'oh!
I've just looked at the specs of your model and it does look very similar so I guess it might just be a region difference.
Try the "Choose a different produce" link at the top of the drivers page and try navigating to the drivers page specific for your model number.
10-15-2019 04:33 PM
Sorry - re-read your post again, and realise the link you put in you'd already gone to the right page for your model. (I'm in the UK and it's getting late at night here so I was rushing a little)
Though it does look like it's the same BIOS download, so probably the same issue.
I suspect my first reply, which I edited out above may have been more relevant... did you left click or right click the "download" link?
When I originally left-clicked it opened up some HP support tool to download and install it.
I didn't want to be bothered with that so I just cancelled that support tool download, and instead right clicked the "download" link and chose "Save Target As", then when the download finished, I just ran that executable that it had downloaded.
Maybe if you left clicked, instead of right clicking, the download tool might be performing a version check to ensure you don't install older versions?
(I speculating a little, because I never let the HP download tool finish - each time I accidentally left clicked the download link, I just cancelled it and reverted to right clicking and saving the 'exe' directly so that I could run the firmware upgrade directly without faffing about with extra layers getting in the way)
10-16-2019 02:33 PM
thanks for the tips. I think I’m doing everything right, I’m downloading SPXXXX suitable for me. exe, maybe this is a bug in this series or something
Update: I cannot now revert back to either F28, nor even F31.
I just tried to revert from F32 as it's just not usable with the latest BIOS (nor F31 but I cannot now even revert back to that 1 step backwards).
I'm now getting the same error as you when I try to install F28 (orF31) again.
This is now really unacceptable.
I am absolutely not getting the performance out of this supposedly high spec PC that I paid for. And now the workaround I was previously using reverting to a previous BIOS to get the performance back has been blocked off for some unknown reason.
I feel like I've bought what I thought was a Ferrari (and paid Ferrari price), only to find when driving it that the engine is limiting itself to 20mph.
Yesterday, the HP website asked for my feedback and whether I'd recommend HP to a friend or colleague. Well, right now... NO.. I've now had this supposedly high spec computer for over 3 months, and don't have the performance that I thought I was paying for.
I could have saved myself over £1000 if I only wanted a PC with the performance that I'm currently getting.