FPS Drop in CS and other Games..

By FatalRemedy
Oct 31, 2004
  1. I am running a dell inspiron 600m laptop, with 1gb ram, ati radeon 9000 mobility, centrino 1.3 Ghz.

    My problem is that after 5-10 minutes (but it has been as long as 30minutes) i experience a massive fps (frames per second) drop.

    I have done quite a bit of research and still have not found any solutions.
    I looked into irq sharing problems, bc my mouse has also been malfunctioning... but even after I switched the computer to standard pc mode, it still happened...

    After a clean reinstall of xp pro (using ACPI again) i have looked into many different drivers for my ati radeon card... I cannot installed the standard catalyst driver updates, as they do not support mobility cards...
    In catalysts stead i have installed omegas installation, and under various drivers i have had the same problem.

    Ati posted that this is a problem, and to switch back to catalyst 3.6 (or omega release of the modded catalyst 3.6 for me), and I have tried that, and that did not work...

    I have tried the drivers that came with my laptop...
    I used to be able to use counterstrike and all my 3d problems w/out a problem, but only in the last month or two has this problem arisen... I thought it could have been my bios update that I performed, but I have already flashed the original version, and I am still having problems.. bios updates is the only venue I have yet to fully exhaust...

    I have no idea whats wrong now, and the only thing I havent looked into is that my fps drop when my harddrive spins up.....
    Any leads on what you think could be wrong, or what I can do would be much apreciated...
    Thanks Alot,

    Blake "FatalRemedy" Edwards
  2. yellow5

    yellow5 TS Rookie

    Same problem

    I also have a gig of RAM, and a Radeon 9000 mobility 128 mb, and I'm also getting the same problem.

    I've tried reformatting, older versions of DNA and Omega drivers, and the default drivers that came with my laptop. I can get 150 fps in Counter-strike, then after about 5-15 minutes it drops down to 30-50, and can last up to 20 minutes before it goes back up to 150, only to repeat after 5-15 additional minutes.

    If anyone can help us solve this issue, I'm sure we'll both be extremely grateful.
  3. TacticalFlow

    TacticalFlow TS Rookie Posts: 30

    hmm 150 fps. What res you guys using on cs?
  4. FatalRemedy

    FatalRemedy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I used 1024x768,
    Yellow, have you updated your bios at any time? or read anything about irq sharing problems?

    Mine goes from 100 to 5-6 so I havent even waited another 5-10min for it to go back to normal....

    yellow, Does your harddrive spinup when this happens?
  5. zorex

    zorex TS Rookie

    Same problem

    I have the same problem...

    But it isn't just in CS and new games when I tried an old game like Diablo 2 I get the same problem...

    No one who knows how to fix this? :confused:
  6. teqsun

    teqsun TS Rookie

    I have the exact same problem. I am running an alienware area 51 with a mobility 9000, a gig of ram and a 2.8ghz processor. I normally get like 99 fps, then after about 5 min ingame it drops to 10-15. It just gets worse the more that i play. also in games like battlefield and other DirectX games, I have problems with missing polygons. Like i will be coming up to a hill and i can see right thru it, there are missing triangles that make up the terrain. In half life 2, i get weird artifacts coming at me from different angles. No idea wats wrong, but if you guys find out post it please.
  7. xerous

    xerous TS Rookie


    I have a pretty good guess as to why the Inspiron 600m causes a slowdown after a few minutes of play. I plan on purchasing a 600m and was researching the problems it might have with games, so I stumbled into this forum. This problem concerned me so I kept searching reviews and I found a review for the 600m on notebookforums (I'd post the url but the forum complains)
    where crawfordna tells of how after a few minutes of using a program his processor slows down to unacceptable speeds because of the auto CPU throttling, and that he has to maintain his cpu speed with 3rd party programs. He also states that this happens even when the notebook is connected to an A/C power supply, which would make little since because there is no immediate power to conserve.

    At any rate, I'd conclude that it would be worth considering 3rd party CPU controllers. A CPU auto throttling down would seem to be a worthy explanation for a problem such as this, noting that the "Centrino" is supposed to be mobile and conserve power.
  8. azhad

    azhad TS Rookie

    Dell Inspiron 600m CPU Throttling

    I have been living with the CPU throttling problem for over 10 months now. Not much help from Dell.

    I used i8kfangui utility to monitor temperatures while playing games. The throttling occurs when the temperature in the DIMM area going above 60 degrees C. The processor is throttled to the minimum 600Mhz (down from 1400Mhz). Not even SpeedswitchXP can return the CPU speed to maximum. Speed returns to maximum after the temperature drops to 53 degrees C.

    Strangely, this only happens when playing games. I did try Prime95 to strain the memory modules but this does not cause throttling. So, it has to be the graphics card. And this is not the normal Intel SpeedStep throttling - SpeedStep puts processor on maximum when needed (WinXP pre-SP1 may require SpeedStep fix).

    The solution remains with Dell. I think it can be modified by the BIOS. It appears to be a type of "hardware" throttling. So far, have found no means to fix it. Maybe a laptop cooler will help.

    If any of you know a program which prevents this, please let me know.
  9. xerous

    xerous TS Rookie

    You know what, I guess it has been winter over here but I posted that reply before I bought my laptop. I got it anyway and have not had any problems with the CPU throttling while the cable is plugged in. Of course it goes down to 600MHz when nothing is happening but I've played hours of Counter-Strike Source on my laptop and had no difference in Framerate...I have 2 256mb sticks of RAM and the 32 mb edition of the Radeon 9000...The problem may acually lie in the 10 months ago that you bought the laptop. If you also have the 32 mb edition of the video card then I would assume Dell has fixed the problem on the new models.

    I haven't currently had to do any monitoring or only concern is that when my laptop isn't plugged in it throttles down to 200MHz and won't rise for games, but thats a minimal problem. Hope I was in some way of some help.
  10. azhad

    azhad TS Rookie

    Winter and Air Conditioners

    One more thing I forgot to mention - I use the laptop in a room that is not air conditioned. Room Temperatures would be around 30 degrees C.

    But in an air-conditioned room, it rarely slows down (about 10 times less frequent). Air-conditioned = Winter?

    Mine is one of the old models, 1MB CPU cache and RAM of PC2100. Do Newer models have 2MB CPU cache and PC2700 RAM?

    I guess Dell would have fixed the problem before released the new 600m's. Do keep posting if any details about the problem.
  11. azhad

    azhad TS Rookie

    Laptop Cooler did not work

    I tried using a Laptop Cooler, works on USB port, having 2 fans of 1500rpm and 28 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of airflow.

    I ran ATItool, check for artifacts while observing the change of temperature in the DIMM area.

    Sadly, it didn't work. The cooler did increase the time to reach 60 degrees C and then the CPU throttled to 600Mhz. There goes the frame rate. The longest the cooler held the temperaure was 8 minutes.

    I am waiting to try a better brand of laptop cooler (Antec, supposed to have abour 32CFM) but I am very skeptic. Was hoping that the laptop cooler could fix the problem but it doesn't.
  12. azhad

    azhad TS Rookie

    Problem Solved !!!

    Problem Solved !!!

    I searched in Dell Forums, and one person had mentioned to "downgrade" the BIOS to A06. It worked!

    Temperatures reached 65 degrees C without a throttle in the CPU Speed. (tested using I8kfangui).

    Reading the BIOS changes for A07, there is an entry that mentions some optimisation was done in thermal control - guess this is what the change is.

    Note: The A06 BIOS worked for Inspiron 600m (Banias chipset). I read that the A06 BIOS does not work with Dothan chipsets (the computer doesn't boot-up).
  13. llllskywalker

    llllskywalker TS Rookie

    what a load of crap!

    yeah, i too have the EXACT same problem... games work for a while and then go to sh*t. I just bought the 600m a few days ago and i'm so mad that i did. everyone gives them bad reviews and dell's support sounds like a nightmare. the current bios versions are up to A18 and now i'm supposed to revert back to A06 which was written back in like 1999? what a joke! i bought a 1.5ghz computer not a 600mhz cpu! if i wanted a 600mhz computer i would have bought a mobile athlon system for 300 bucks. and heck, i bet that system would at least play unreal tournament with decent framerates.

    i am so angry with dell and AMI right now... i really want to exchange this load of junk for another brand, but since i'm stuck with it, i would at least like to get dell to exchange it for one with the dothan chipset so i don't have to downgrade the bios all the way to A06. now i get to call them and be on hold for 3 hours and talk to some guy who's broken english will require a translator and who most likely doesn't even know the difference between a BIOS and the fried chicken he ate for lunch.

    i'm glad azhad is here... he hit the nail right on the head. i searched around and it appears that a lot of other people have fixed our little problem with A06. i owe you one azhad... i probably would have wasted another 2 hours trying to follow my first theory -- that it was a speedstep issue. if only there were more smart guys like you around instead of these monkeys working at dell.
  14. azhad

    azhad TS Rookie

    Gaining more Game Time

    If Dell guarantees that the A06 BIOS (Build Date: 08/19/2003) will work with your system you could try it. Do PM me if you need a copy/source for the BIOS. If your system is one of the old Banias models, it should work. Check the page for features that you may miss due to the downgrade.

    Does anyone have experience with the heating problem on the Dothan motherboard?

    If anyone is unable to apply the BIOS or solve the problem you could try putting the laptop on two DVD covers/books/etc. Make sure the fan on the bottom far left corner is not covered by the DVD cover on the left. Also make sure that your system is balanced properly by adjusting the right DVD cover. Aim is to make more space for the memory panel marked "M".

    Doing this increases the gap for air flow to the bottom especially to the memory panel (which is where the heating creates a problem). You could use any other method which does the same. It doesn't solve the problem, but does help gaming a bit. Using a table fan to pass air through the gap may even prevent the problem. AC room + above method gives good results too.
  15. AvatharTri

    AvatharTri TS Rookie

    Well, since dell seems to have covered up their shoddy design with a cheap BIOS hack, I did some testing of my own and ended up getting prolonged life with a cheap (a few cents) physical hack. My findings using the Half Life 2 demo:

    43C --> 60C === 14min. (throttled down)
    60C --> 53C === 3 min. (throttled up)
    53C --> 60C === 5min. (throttled down)

    0min. === 43C
    15min. === 50C
    30min. === 50C
    45min. === 51C
    60min. === 53C

    Gather two unused ziplock sandwich bags. Fill one to 2/3 capacity with crushed ice and seal it. Water leackage is usually at the seal, so insert filled bag into second bag such that the seal of the filled bag goes into the bottom of the second bag. Seal second bag. Place napkin over seal of second bag and always position second bag seal towards you (incase of any leakage). Place your new icepack under the part of the laptop labeled "M". It is the unscrewable box in the middle-front between the battery and the fan (The box nearest the fan I think is the cpu, and a pack there is for a whole 'nother problem). Enjoy.

    After my hour of half-life 2 gaming, the ice pack still contained around 90% ice, which leads me to believe that much use can be had out of one pack. The best practice is to use it while the memory is still cool so as to reduce melting (and possible leakage). I haven't tried prolonged gaming yet, but if I do, I'll try and measure it as well (and post the findings).

    I know, I know, this was all over dramatic and over climactic for a post about ziplock bags and crushed ice. It's just with all the anger associated with dell and fears about having to do a BIOS downgrade (is it really from 1999?), the solution was a welcome relief.
  16. nitrusoxide

    nitrusoxide TS Rookie

    Sorry for resurfacing this thread from so long ago, but I had two questions about this thread:

    1) azhad, how do you know if your laptop is OK to downgrade? What might happen if you downgrade and your computer is not OK?

    2) Have any of the people who have done this downgrade experienced any negative effects from the downgrade? What I mean by this is has anyone noticed a loss in key features or hardware stopped working, stuff like that?
  17. llllskywalker

    llllskywalker TS Rookie

    rotflmao!!! that crushed ice solution hilarious!!

    i think A06 was actually release in 2003... but still pretty old and a lot of fixes for dell's many problems were fixed since 03. look at that link azhad put up and you'll see the list of stuff you'll miss after the downgrade.

    nitrus - i haven't noticed any problems with the old bios version, but then again, i got fed up with dell's crap and gave the laptop to my mom who thinks half life is something that happens when you die early.

    just so you know... i now live with 5 college roomates, and a couple of us are computer whiz's so we are always fixing computers at our house. at any one time we usually are working on 6 or 7 desktops and/or laptops. about 90% of the laptops that require hardware fixes are Dells, and most of the time they require fixes for stuff like overheating, bad fans, hard drives, motherboards, soundcards and displays. lots of bad fans and overheating. if i had 10 thumbs, i'd give dell 10 thumbs down!
  18. azhad

    azhad TS Rookie

    If your 600m has a Banias chipset and a Pentium-M with 1MB cache, there is a very high chance of the A06 BIOS working.

    Dothan chipsets with a processor having 2MB cache may not boot up if the downgrade is done. These were introduced by Dell India around June 2004.

    To identify the processor, you can use the PID utility from the Intel website.

    I haven't been able to find any programs to differentiate Banias chipsets from Dothan, but by default, Dothan chipsets come with Dothan CPU's. Dell Technical Support maybe able to help you identify the chipset.

    I have read in a forum that the computer may not boot up if it is a Dothan chipset for which the solution is to call Dell Technical Support.

    My 600m originally came with A06. You can read the changes to the A17 BIOS to see if you find any important changes or differences.
  19. nitrusoxide

    nitrusoxide TS Rookie

    Thanks for the replies. The PID utility says I have a 2mb L2 cache, and I got the computer about nine months ago, so I guess I have the Dothan chipset. I'd rather play it safe, so I guess I won't downgrade.
  20. NH*

    NH* TS Rookie

    Hello all. Right i have had this problem a few times and as much as i like all the technical responses stated above, i'm going to go out on a limb and put it down to one problem...Overheating. (Especially when dealing with laptops) To help get rid of this there are a couple of methods

    1) Check the fans on the base of your comp (for notebooks) If you see dust then you're going to need to get rid of it. You can use the hoover method (quick fix but not really recommended) or do it properly. To do it properly you need to take the base which surrounds the fans off your comp (usually just a couple of screws). Once in you have done that check to see if there is any visible dust blocking the fans, fan covers (on base) and the Exhausts!!

    2) This is VERY IMPORTANT!! If you have been running your laptop for 6+ months and subjecting it to gaming then the chances are the "Thermal Paste" on your CPU has dried up! When this happens your CPU overheats VERY easily when gaming and can cause all sorts of problems as well as FPS drops. So, i recommend re-applying thermal paste. For those who don't know what this is, which will be quite a few of you Arctic Silver 5 is a very good one, Or just search for another brand online. This should be re-appplied every 4-6 months if you are gaming a lot!
    Be sure that when you apply this to your CPU that you clean the CPU first with a tissue or soft cloth and that when you apply the past you get an even spread!! You don't need much either!

    3) If the fans are on the base of your notebook, prop it up at the back with something like a couple of cd cases to allow air flow. Don't bother wasting your time with notbook coolers, there is no need. Also make sure you keep your comp area dust free!!

    Anyways, i've babbled enough. Good luck
  21. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Overheating doesn't explain the problem at all. If it were overheating, the game would exit, or freeze, not drop in FPS.
  22. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Heat can slow down computer parts, especially the processor.
  23. NH*

    NH* TS Rookie


    Heat can effect the processor which can inturn effect the power distributed to your graphics card. This would explain a drop in FPS through overheating!
  24. jerryxinjie

    jerryxinjie TS Rookie

    I have the the same problem with my 600m. If some one happen to have BIOS version A06 for DELL 600m, could you please email me a copy? I much appreciate it. My email address:

    Thanks again.
  25. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 822

    You realize this thread is three years old right?
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