09-14-2019 03:24 AM
Got my Thinkpad P1 Gen 2 three weeks ago. Really nice machine! However, its thermal policy seems unfinished to me and unnecessarily holds back the laptop. I also put in a support request in the Netherlands but I was told that all they could do was fix hardware issues; they offered to replace the motherboard but I said that would be a waste and instead asked them to escalate the issue to the team that actually looks at these things. The agent said he'd do that, but it doesn't hurt to give this a shot as well. And perhaps other people have something to contribute as well.
So, long story short: this laptop has powerful components that generally perform well but not as well as one expects. To keep the laptop cool and quiet Lenovo seems to have implemented dynamic power limits which, depending on the situation, can strongly reduce performance. And I get it, this is quite a thin and light machine, there are limits to what the cooling can do etc. But what I don't get is that quite conservative power limits are enforced (in an illogical way) when the laptop is in maximum performance mode, isn't very warm and when the fans don't actually spin at their maximum (and don't come close to it). This is marketed as a mobile workstation!
What I noticed is as follows:
Again, I get that there are limits to the performance one can expect from a rather thin and light chassis. But what happens now just seems arbitrary and badly implemented or tested. I am not anywhere near the thermal limits of the platform, this is just weird policy. When ONLY the CPU is in use, things are fine. But whenever the GPU is active (whether under load or not) the CPU's power limit goes wonky, and the GPU itself is arbitrarily constrained at too low a power limit. Please let Lenovo fix this so that full performance can be had when desired.
09-19-2019 08:37 AM
09-20-2019 12:42 AM
Here are my HWMonitor Screenshots
1. Rendering in Adobe Premiere with GPU and running Cinebench for CPU load:
CPU throttled to just 12W TDP with 100% utilisation. Temps around 60C
2. CPU Only with Cinebench R15 - expected 45W TDP.
09-21-2019 10:03 AM
09-21-2019 03:42 PM - edited 09-21-2019 05:02 PM
Thanks for looking.
- When you refer to TDP, do you refer to Thermal Design Power? The continuous power a package was designed to work at?
I'm referring to the CPU Package Power
I am surprised however at your #1 screen capture showing 100% CPU, ~15W package power, and only 60C temperature.
So am I - surprised and dissappointed. This behaviour only happens when both NVidia GPU and CPU are under load. The easy way to reproduce is to run CineBench R20 and OctaneBench together for a few minutes - it begins with 45W CPU Package power, then drops to 15W and stays there with temperatures only around 60C.
Ensure your BIOS and Embedded Controller (EC) are up to date, they manage the fans and power settings. Post their versions back here.
Done that already. Lenovo Vantage reports all is updated, I also checked online - the BIOS installed is the newest version - 1.25.
Unfortunately, I have a P52, not a P1, so my results are not comparable.
Still would be interesting to see what your temperatures and power are when running Cinebench and OctaneBench at the same time
I am not usually running benchmarks on my hardware but I noticed that the Premiere render times were considerably slower than I expected and started to investigate.
Considering that it is not an isolated incident, I believe Lenovo engineers can fix this behaviour in a BIOS update and would be prepared to wait and beta test the BIOS update if Lenoveo commits to fixing it. However I am still withing the 30 day return period for another 2.5 weeks and am tempted to just return it get a replacement from another manufacturer that is not crippled by thermal throttling.
09-21-2019 11:56 PM - edited 09-23-2019 08:07 AM
A real world scenario from today - converting imags from Canon RAW (.CR2) to JPEG in Adobe Bridge using both CPU and GPU. CPU utilisation - 100%, Power - 15W only, Core Clock 1995 MHz temperature 65C! Painfully slow for 1500 files...
09-23-2019 01:18 PM
I thought I would chime in here because I have a Dell Precision 5530 (nearly identical to the XPS 15 (9570) except for quadro graphics (p2000) and my machine exhibits the exact same behaviour that you are describing. If the GPU is active much at all the CPU gets incredibly downclocked and it's incredibly annoying. Perhaps this isn't a problem that is specific to Lenovo. I've been trying to find a solution, but I haven't found anything that is useful.
I also have a 15" MacBook Pro from 2016 (first touchbar version) and if I do the same test (GPU load + cpu load) in Windows 10 Pro (version 1903, same with the Precision 5530) the CPU does not downclock all the way to 800 mhz like I'm seeing with my Dell. Even with a full synthetic load on both, the GPU stays at 100% and the CPU holds pretty steady around 2 ghz (below base clock, but what do you expect when running full load on GPU + CPU). The GPU in that machine doesn't draw as much power as far as I'm aware so perhaps that is the cause. There is also no graphics switching when running Windows on a Mac so I wonder if that has something to do with it?
09-23-2019 02:04 PM
P1 G1 seems to perform similarly. When running Cinebench R20 and OctoBench 4 simultaneously, the CPU package power drops as low as 15W, ~ 1.8 GHz, temps in the 70's. It doesn't stay at that minimum power very long, it seems to rebound to about 20W.
If I run CB 20 by itself, the CPU package power doesn't drop below about 37W.
Overall the system seems to sacrifice CPU performance in favor of GPU performance.
10-05-2019 06:01 PM
Never had time to post again here. Good to see others making some noise too. I just noticed that Lenovo issued BIOS 1.26 a few days ago with the exciting note "Improve Thermal control policy for better performance". Did anyone try it out yet?
10-05-2019 07:19 PM - edited 10-05-2019 07:28 PM
I've been testing BIOS 1.26 for two days now and so far the results are very encouraging. Almost no power limit throttling with CineBench R20 and I am getting great scores: just over 2700 (!) with moderate 100 mV undervolting.
When I run it with Octane at the same time it still throttles but less agressively - around 30W CPU Power and 75-80C temperature (Cinebench scores are above 2000 when Octane is running in parallel). More importantly though, when rendering in Premiere with the GPU, the CPU temperature now stays above 90C with very little throttling.
So overall - very happy with the update. It could still do a bit less restrictive throttle when GPU is in use, but it seems to resolve most of the thermal throttle issues.
Note that I needed to power off and power back on after the BIOS update before the thermal issues went away.