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141 Posts

11-12-2019

Israel

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  • Message 1 of 17

E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-12, 13:45 PM

Hi! I hope someone from Lenovo will pay attention to this post and escalate it so the problem gets fixed.

 

I am a reseller, specializing on Thinkpads. I normally test machines for my clients before shipping them, as an optional service. I am also a professional computer technician. Mentioning this to make clear that chances of user error in my case are lower than usual.

 

Currently I'm looking at E590 with i7-8565U CPU, 16GB RAM and Radeon RX550X GPU. OS is Windows 10 Pro 1809 (stock Lenovo installation). The computer is fresh from the factory.

 

First, I noticed that there is a BIOS update (Version 1.20) that should improve the performance of the CPU - I installed that, and indeed the expanded power limits improve the performance significantly (by about 30% on this machine). I also installed all the latest drivers for the machine, downloaded from the official page for this model on Lenovo site. That includes everything related to power management.

 

Second, there is still an unresolved bug with the CPU power management.

 

The bug manifests itself in 2 ways, both show up after reboot, both have the same temporary workaround.

1) Prolonged stress of the GPU causes CPU frequency to drop to 200MHz once GPU hits 67C. CPU stays at 200MHz until GPU temperature drops. Obviously, this has severe impact on the usability of the machine.

2) Under CPU stress (without any GPU load) CPU won't utilize the supposedly allowed 29W or 25W. It only consumes about 20W for a couple of seconds, then drops to about 15W. CPU temperatures stay at about 65C all that time.

 

All that happens despite the Power Mode slider in Windows being set to Best Performance.

 

The workaround is to move the slider to the middle position, and then back to Best Performance. As soon as I do that, both problems are gone and performance is normal. CPU can utilize 25W after that and GPU stress doesn't make CPU throttle down to 200MHz. Until reboot or power-off and power-on, which is when the same issue comes back.

 

Additional and likely related issue is that if I create a custom power plan in Windows control panel, regardless of the CPU, graphics and power settings, same behavior shows up where the CPU package is long-term limited to 15W and throttles down to 200MHz when GPU hits 67C under stress. For this use case, there is no workaround since there is no Power Mode slider for custom power plans.

 

The problem occurs when the computer is connected to the power adapter. Not sure whether similar issues happen on battery power or not.

(Edit: similar issues occur on battery power, with the same workaround)

 

Clearly this is a bug either with Intel or Lenovo power management driver or with the BIOS. This is not exclusive to the specific unit as I've noticed this behavior with other E590 with discrete GPU before (though I admit that recent BIOS versions improved the behavior). Hopefully, this can be resolved quickly so I don't have to tutor my clients to mess with the slider in order to make the computer behave properly. The E series are actually very nice and as soon as this is resolved, they will be very easy to recommend.

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19 Posts

08-17-2019

Czech Republic

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  • Message 2 of 17

Re: E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-13, 8:12 AM

long... long thread about problem here: https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-11e-Windows-13-E-and/Thinkpad-E590-Radeon-RX-550-performance-issue/td-p/4472857/page/11

Problem known from april 2018 !!! on E580, not solved yet !!!:  unsufficient cooling design, workarounds - cool it, either with repasting cpu/gpu, or by overspeeding internal fan, or with external cooler, and the best: do all-in-one. Nice " tutor my clients to mess with the slider" workaround, its really funny how it works, despite it broke my theory about BIOS interrupt hooking.  

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141 Posts

11-12-2019

Israel

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  • Message 3 of 17

Re: E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-13, 12:00 PM

TomasTregl you did not clarify whether the workaround helps with the issue for your use case with the E580 and I believe that clarification could help other people facing this problem, as well as Lenovo engineers working on it (hopefully someone is working on it).

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19 Posts

08-17-2019

Czech Republic

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  • Message 4 of 17

Re: E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-13, 13:36 PM

For E580 best "workaround" is to reroll BIOS to "pre-throttling" 1.13. And not to forget to cool the beast :-)

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141 Posts

11-12-2019

Israel

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  • Message 5 of 17

Re: E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-16, 12:59 PM

As to the underlying problem, I think it's a combination of 5 things.

 

- First, in one word, complexity. The CPU power management is done in a very complex way, and complexity means more surface area for bugs. Power management policy is tied to a GUI element (the slider). Then there is a chain of events that needs to work correctly in order for the CPU power to work correctly. The slider, the power management logic built into the OS, Lenovo power management drivers, Intel power management drivers, and the BIOS. On top of that, there is additional complexity of different use cases which all that power management logic needs to take into account. If any of these are buggy, the CPU power will not be working correctly. That's a whole lot of many different things that may go wrong and there is no surprise at all that some of that does indeed go wrong.

 

- Second, a core hardware function is tied here to a single GUI element and there is no resiliency against GUI failing. There is no alternative way to control CPU power. While I appreciate Lenovo trying to make use of a stock Microsoft GUI to provide easy access to how CPU power and cooling systems work, I consider a non-resilient design a problem of itself because software (including GUI) has bugs by definition and it looks like the concept of buggy software has not been taken into account sufficiently in Lenovo's implementation.

 

- Third, there is an additional bug in the aforementioned logic where the CPU power appears to be completely slaved to the GPU temperature and a proper balance between CPU and GPU performance is either not implemented or not working.

 

- Fourth, there is yet another software bug where the CPU, once throttling because of the GPU temperature, goes to the absolutely ridiculous 200MHz frequency.

 

- Fifth, some variable's state is not being stored in a persistent way. That comes across as a slider that's been set to Best Performance but not having the desired effect. Because of the aforementioned complexity and the lack of alternative ways to control the power management, there is no way for a user to determine in what part of the design the bug is located.

 

Hopefully, Lenovo engineers can debug the software and find the bugs in logic. However, I think in the long term, someone needs to think again about the whole CPU power management thing and implement it in a way that's less complex, more resilient, takes into account software bugs, doesn't rely on a single GUI element, implements proper balance between GPU and CPU power and temperatures, and provides alternative means of control (such as a BIOS setting) to override bad behaviour caused by software bugs.

 

Dear Lenovo, we love your hardware but we hate software bugs that come with it. This sort of problems in business-class machines is a major hit to your reputation of a manufacturer who makes reliable computers. Please save yourself from the reputation hit.

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141 Posts

11-12-2019

Israel

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  • Message 6 of 17

Re: E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-21, 11:42 AM

Dear Lenovo representatives, I have a client who is interested in buying a few E590's for their office but they won't go ahead with the deal unless the issue with CPU power management is sorted out soon. Is there any progress on solving this?

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19 Posts

08-17-2019

Czech Republic

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  • Message 7 of 17

Re: E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-21, 12:53 PM

Sy, but i dare to disagree - the primary problem is not in software, but unsufficient cooling, unadequate to R550 demands. If not that, no successive problems will appear.

But you did good job in catching and describing workaround software bugs: 200MHz core drop /I believed it was core frequency of GPU - is it really CPU core?/ is really - surprising, and unstability of performance setting (behaviour after restar: real LO perf + announced HI state by GUI slider) is annoying. And Lenovo support in position "dead beetle" may have only deterrent effect to all potential customers.

 

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141 Posts

11-12-2019

Israel

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  • Message 8 of 17

Re: E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-21, 13:49 PM

TomasTregl, unfortunately, there is no such thing as "sufficient cooling" in modern laptops, at least with 25W and higher CPUs in the mainstream sector. The CPU and GPU will always be technically capable of more performance than the cooling system can afford, and hence the performance will always be limited by the cooling system. So thermal throttling must and will occur in laptops - it's a matter of design decision at what point it occurs and how it is managed. There are additional variables in this equasion, such as power budget, weight and price point of the machine. All of these affect the ultimate performance. The manufacturer makes a decision about all that at the product design stage. This is true for Lenovo, Dell, HP, Acer, Asus and any other manufacturer. All laptops throttle because this is how the world is rolling.

 

The specific bug here is that the software that is supposed to manage the power is not working as designed.

 

And yes, Lenovo should look into this ASAP. The E series are the bread and butter of Thinkpads and when hardware performance is tied to software, that software becomes just as important as the hardware.

 

I don't blame Lenovo for not solving this within 1 day or week as any update to system-critical software must go through multiple testing phases and so delays are understandable. What I do expect is acknowledgement of the issue and updates on progress with solving it. In the absence of these, it becomes very difficult to sell their products.

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19 Posts

08-17-2019

Czech Republic

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  • Message 9 of 17

Re: E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-22, 8:02 AM

O-HO! This will be longer than usual, but it is intelectual pleasure to "quarrel" with someone who knows what he is talking about.
You said "All laptops throttle because this is how the world is rolling". I mean your idiom si not apropriate. I read "The how the world is rolling" as - this is a part of a World that was given (even to us), and there is nothing we can do about it, maybe just observe, study and adore. But I am almost sure this is not THAT world. Notebooks are just human development product, and as an object of comerce are modified to comply human desires and expectations. So it is just "how the society is build" (not the world rolling). And I believe, that there are many of us on customer side, who want not to been dazed with promises that cannot be fullfilled. Maybe I am wrong in this, and the world (read: society) wants to be tricked, but I feel myself too old for that - i dont like to feel deceived, and i believe i am really not the only one.

And so notebook which can use its potential for few minutes, and than is "throttled" is really not what is expected. In this special case - E5x0 without RX550 manages to sucessfully cool itself on max performance for a long time, but not with RX550, so the configuration with RX550 should not be sold. Specially, it can be sold only in "bundle" with some cooling docking station AND with disclaimer, stating that RX550 cannot be fully used outside the dock. That would be (for me) enough. I am convidced that normal user cannot foresee, that his "wonderfull configuration for reasonable price" will work just "for few minutes", and justly expects more. Isn´t this exact definition of "consumer deception"?

And if there is no throtling BIOS workaround, there would be no software "slider" disbalancy after restart. OK, software setting of CPU performance can be solved separately, and sure not within an hour ("Merry Jaffar or die", do you remember?), neither in few days. But I hope a month is adequate time; not a year and a half, for which this problem has been existing, recognized but unsolved.

Hope no personal discrepancy between us remains. שלום

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141 Posts

11-12-2019

Israel

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  • Posts: 141
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  • Message 10 of 17

Re: E590 with Radeon RX550X - CPU power inconsistent after reboot. Bug and workaround

2019-11-22, 13:34 PM

I agree with you on some points but disagree on others. This discussion, however, is outside the scope of a bug report thread and I'd like to avoid introducing offtopic here.

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