Understanding Terms (Laptops)

Cenksenci

Bronze Level Poster
Hello guys. After I ordered my Ionico, I have been checking the forum regularly and I felt like a little bit dumb after seeing some users' 3DMark results. I am considerably new among you guys and I am having issues to understand the terms like PL1,PL2 etc... What is Dynamic Boost and why should I keep it on/off? Before you say "google it", I have tried and couldn't find decent explanation. So can someone explain me what are these PL (I am assuming the initials stands for power limit?) and why there is no PL3 but only 1,2,4? To be clear, I am talking about what voltage values and what do I need to do when I get my Ionico first? Do I need another 3rd party app beside CC, such as Thorttlestop or etc? How hard to use BIOS? Ionico owners as far as I know @Romain337 @Macco26 @WJS , and also @barlew , can you guys help me to understand of? Thank you all very much already.

(Ionico 17.3" , RTX3070, 16GB 2666Mhz, 1TB SSD - In testing stage so far)
 
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Macco26

Expert
Ok,
CPU POWER LEVELS
Intel CPUs have different Power Levels, PL4 and PL3 are pretty unknown and very temporary (like spikes) we cite PL4 bc the new Control Center allows to fiddle with it (it's like 165W, probably for just for a fraction of seconds).
PL2 is the first temporary boost power, lasts 56 seconds and generally is higher than prolonged PL1, which is the stock rating.
Unclear if those parameters in the CC actually work well, I'm still digging; however for sure using third party app (Throttlestop) PL1 and PL2 do work.

UNDERVOLT
CC has some sliders for Core Voltage and Core Voltage offset but I don't know if they works, I don't know if they are undervolting (thus power saving) or overvolting (not really useful on laptops which can't be overclocked). I didn't touch them. Thottlestop is perfect to lower the voltage offset a bit (too much and you BSOD, you have to experiment). an undervolted CPU heats less, so can boost at higher Ghz for same temperature limit.

THROTTLE TEMPERATURE
CC do allows to set a given max Temperature for throttling, or else, allows to set the delta from 100C. Default is 5 (aka 95). When you set like 120W boost clock, it won't be reached ever. Temperature will block any further. You set in the CC as low as 90. Else Thottlestop can go even further.

GPU POWER LEVEL + DYNAMIC BOOST
TGP is the same as PL but for the NVIDIA GPU. It's 125 default for the RTX 3070 Max-P of this chassis (Ionico) but can be lowered to 115W.
Plus there is Dynamic Boost. An additional 5 to 15W (selectable by the CC) which sums up to the 125W only when CPU is not very much utilized, like 35W or less. Useful fo gaming, where generally, especially at 1440p resolution, you need a lot of resources from the GPU and way less from the CPU. So in the end our GPU can boost up to 140W (125+15) but only in light CPU scenarios.

MUX
Finally, MUX, as you asked elsewhere.
In every Optimus laptop, the internal screen is wired to the iGPU. 3D workloads can be shifted from iGPU to dGPU but the iGPU will be the final tool to command the screen to draw things.
See that like the dGPU as a co-processor. It does things, but gives any result to the iGPU, even during gaming.

With the MUX, if you turn 'dGPU only' (if you had), the wiring to the screen is switched over the dGPU so things reverses. dGPU is always turned on to pass the signal to the screen. If screen has G-Sync it now is being detected by Nvidia.
The differece? Not having to pass everything to the iGPU there are 3 consequences:
1) dGPU is always on, so consume more juice (not suited for battery usage ofc)
2) dGPU can stretch its legs, especially in esport titles with 100+ FPS you'll see benefit of up to 80-90 FPS more by implementing MUX. On the same machine
3) iGPU turned off, consume less heat, a bit better for the rest of the CPU doing its tasks during gaming.

In the end it's a no brainer (beside having to restart PC every time for the switch) to use MUX during gaming. It's always better. Advanced Optimus (whish very few laptops have, allows on the fly MUX switch, this is not the case for those however).

If it wasn't for the locked MUX of new BIOS Ionico is a great machine. It's very hard to understand why PCS disabled it after past generation had it and first batch of Ionico also.
I do hope in a newer BIOS version soon, but don't know if I am allowing them to keep pace on it. I've a returning 14 days window clocking in. There are other retailes which offer the VERY same machine but advertised the MUX, hence they can't take it away like PCS blatantly did.
 
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ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
Moderator
Ok,
CPU POWER LEVELS
Intel CPUs have different Power Levels, PL4 and PL3 are pretty unknown and very temporary (like spikes) we cite PL4 bc the new Control Center allows to fiddle with it (it's like 165W, probably for just for a fraction of seconds).
PL2 is the first temporary boost power, lasts 56 seconds and generally is higher than prolonged PL1, which is the stock rating.
Unclear if those parameters in the CC actually work well, I'm still digging; however for sure using third party app (Throttlestop) PL1 and PL2 do work.

UNDERVOLT
CC has some sliders for Core Voltage and Core Voltage offset but I don't know if they works, I don't know if they are undervolting (thus power saving) or overvolting (not really useful on laptops which can't be overclocked). I didn't touch them. Thottlestop is perfect to lower the voltage offset a bit (too much and you BSOD, you have to experiment). an undervolted CPU heats less, so can boost at higher Ghz for same temperature limit.

THROTTLE TEMPERATURE
CC do allows to set a given max Temperature for throttling, or else, allows to set the delta from 100C. Default is 5 (aka 95). When you set like 120W boost clock, it won't be reached ever. Temperature will block any further. You set in the CC as low as 90. Else Thottlestop can go even further.

GPU POWER LEVEL + DYNAMIC BOOST
TGP is the same as PL but for the NVIDIA GPU. It's 125 default for the RTX 3070 Max-P of this chassis (Ionico) but can be lowered to 115W.
Plus there is Dynamic Boost. An additional 5 to 15W (selectable by the CC) which sums up to the 125W only when CPU is not very much utilized, like 35W or less. Useful fo gaming, where generally, especially at 1440p resolution, you need a lot of resources from the GPU and way less from the CPU. So in the end our GPU can boost up to 140W (125+15) but only in light CPU scenarios.

MUX
Finally, MUX, as you asked elsewhere.
In every Optimus laptop, the internal screen is wired to the iGPU. 3D workloads can be shifted from iGPU to dGPU but the iGPU will be the final tool to command the screen to draw things.
See that like the dGPU as a co-processor. It does things, but gives any result to the iGPU, even during gaming.

With the MUX, if you turn 'dGPU only' (if you had), the wiring to the screen is switched over the dGPU so things reverses. dGPU is always turned on to pass the signal to the screen. If screen has G-Sync it now is being detected by Nvidia.
The differece? Not having to pass everything to the iGPU there are 3 consequences:
1) dGPU is always on, so consume more juice (not suited for battery usage ofc)
2) dGPU can stretch its legs, especially in esport titles with 100+ FPS you'll see benefit of up to 80-90 FPS more by implementing MUX. On the same machine
3) iGPU turned off, consume less heat, a bit better for the rest of the CPU doing its tasks during gaming.

In the end it's a no brainer (beside having to restart PC every time for the switch) to use MUX during gaming. It's always better. Advanced Optimus (whish very few laptops have, allows on the fly MUX switch, this is not the case for those however).

If it wasn't for the locked MUX of new BIOS Ionico is a great machine. It's very hard to understand why PCS disabled it after past generation had it and first batch of Ionico also.
I do hope in a newer BIOS version soon, but don't know if I am allowing them to keep pace on it. I've a returning 14 days window clocking in. There are other retailes which offer the VERY same machine but advertised the MUX, hence they can't take it away like PCS blatantly did.
Super stuff from @Macco26, many thanks. I've copied this post and made it a sticky at https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/forums/threads/laptop-technical-terms-explained.79494/
 

Cenksenci

Bronze Level Poster
Thank you so much @Macco26 , this is really really helpful for a new user like me. Couldn't be more better. Thanks again sir!

Edit: @Macco26 Maybe I am asking alot, Could you please share with us your Thorttlestop / CC settings? I know it does make difference from each spec to spec but to make an opinion on people mind. Or you can create a whole different topic to make a guide for a new users like me. People like you should share more their knowledge 😊 I love this community💪🏻
 
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Romain337

Active member
UNDERVOLT
CC has some sliders for Core Voltage and Core Voltage offset but I don't know if they works, I don't know if they are undervolting (thus power saving) or overvolting (not really useful on laptops which can't be overclocked).

Yeah that thing is weird.... I don't want to try it to since I think no one on earth know what it does.... plus or minus... only the dev know ...
 

Macco26

Expert
From what I could tell by slightly moving those Voltage sliders while HWInfo64 open and monitoring, nothing actually changes. Well, better than a sudden BSOD.
 

kshnnnn

Active member
UNDERVOLT
CC has some sliders for Core Voltage and Core Voltage offset but I don't know if they works, I don't know if they are undervolting (thus power saving) or overvolting (not really useful on laptops which can't be overclocked). I didn't touch them. Thottlestop is perfect to lower the voltage offset a bit (too much and you BSOD, you have to experiment). an undervolted CPU heats less, so can boost at higher Ghz for same temperature limit.
If you BSOD, will this damage the laptop in any way? Also, do you undervolt the CPU Core, CPU Cache AND Intel GPU? Or only one or some of them?
 

Macco26

Expert
I undervolted only CPU and CPU CACHE. And so far 10875H is a wonderful beast. Probably one of the best binned CPU of Intel (because it has to reach far higher than 5 Ghz in some scenarios): since yesterday I can undervolt the 2 above of -100 mV, not that bad for a 10th gen. And still no problem. Wonder how much I can stretch.
iGPU uV? Once I did, some after some glitched appeared on the display. So better avoid in my case.

PS: BSOD don't ruin anything unless you are running background tasks which do something risky, like writing all day to the storage. But you limit your testing at test benches for this reason, no I/O required during those stress tests.
 

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
Moderator
If you BSOD, will this damage the laptop in any way? Also, do you undervolt the CPU Core, CPU Cache AND Intel GPU? Or only one or some of them?
No, taking a BSOD will cause absolutely no damage at all. However, some BSODs happen because the hardware has already become damaged (through overheating for example).

For further information: BSODs are caused when the Windows kernel detects an unrecoverable error. Because the kernel runs at a privileged level (called kernel-mode) it typically can't use the normal error recovery processes to recover, all it can do is halt the system to prevent a potential catastrophic cascade of errors that may cause corruption of critical user data. One of the basic design rules of kernel-mode code is that it must stick to a set of very rigid rules, one of which is that it must behave predictably, if it doesn't do that then the kernel will halt the system. To give you a fighting chance at establishing what error caused the kernel to halt the system, the kernel does a couple of things before it halts...

1. It writes a memory dump, this is a copy of the contents of RAM at the time of the error that we can use to identify the cause of the problem. At the time of the BSOD the memory dump is written directly to the paging file, this may take some time to complete. When the system restarts after a BSOD, the Session Manager checks the paging file to see whether it contains a dump and if it does then it's copied out to a regular disk file, by default that's C:\Windows\Memory.dmp, and this too may take some time to complete.

2. It displays a blue screen with a stop code (IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL, for example) and then halts the system - this has become known as the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD). The Stop Code is useful because it gives a general indication of what went wrong. Often we can make a pretty accurate guess at what went wrong just from the Stop Code - the example above is almost always a faulty third-party driver for example.
 
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