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Review: G51JX-A1 Review

 Posted - 2/26/2010 2:55:14 AM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

Knowing the similarities with the Dell case, I was about to go to sleep but I decided to first look into the Dell issue a bit more to confirm what I've read and there are hundreds of replies a day in the various threads about this since Dell promised to send out the 130W adapters and issued the new BIOS fix. I was curious to see if anyone with a XPS 1645 and a 90W adapter had tried the new BIOS to see how much of an effect it had (if any) but so far no luck on that (even though the Dell reps recommended installing this BIOS update first, before getting the new adapter. Also still looking around for the original 210W tests, a lot of people discussed them there including some mentioning the results, but I can't seem to find the original data.

With only the 90W adapter the Dell users didn't have enough overhead to even charge the battery, let alone run extra USB devices while under heavy GPU + CPU such as playing a game - we at least have that extra power with the 120W being more than the limit, but we are still being very limited in our performance for both the stock CPU w/Turbo Boost and/or the GPU at overclock if the power requirements get even close to that level.

What I can say is people are reporting that instead of the 90W limit, with the new BIOS A07 they now appear to have a 110W limit - so they are still seeing throttling if they push the GPU and CPU, but just not as extreme. This would result in the sort of throttling we are seeing on the J and the Jx where they need to be running the GPU and CPU under load to see throttling (before all they had to do was run Prime95 on it's own and they'd see it).

There are actually 2 separate laptops that Dell has this problem with:

Dell Studio XPS 16 w/Core i7 720QM and ATI 4670 1GB and FHD Screen is a Studio XPS 1645.

Dell Studio XPS 16 w/Core i5 430M, Core i5 520M, Core i5 540M, or Core i7 620M and ATI 4670 1GB and FHD Screen is a Studio XPS 1647.

Dell decided (to this point anyway) that the XPS 1647 requires only the BIOS upgrade because the low end i7/i5 processor models use less power. The XPS 1645 models though definitely showed a large difference with the new BIOS only if they had the new adapter - and vice versa (new adapter with no new BIOS had little effect, unless you were also using ThrottleStop).

Therefore, Dell might have had a lower limit on the XPS 1647 laptops, below 90W or they found that raising the limit beyond 90W still let the system run to its maximum without burning the adapter. Or they may find that users are complaining as much as they were about the 1645 and they may have to replace those adapters as well. Time will tell.

If the TDP is anything to go by (which it probably isn't when comparing products from completely different competing manufacturers) then the TDP on the ATI 4670 @ 35W is a little lower than that of the GTX260M and the same as the GTS360M.

There was a thread titled: "S-XPS 1645 AC Power Throttle Issue Investigation" and here is the updated list of findings from there from before Dell started sending out the new adapters:

quote:
  

Here is our group findings so far

1. The power conservative BIOS forces the system to throttle to 7x when the power consumption is around 90 watts due to one or more of the following reasons:

a. Limitation of the power supply capability

b. Limitation of the motherboard to accept more than 90 watts (This reason is from DELL, but we suspect it)

c. To increase the battery life

d. To limit heat generation

obviously DELL should be blamed for poor design if it is a, b, or d.

2. Thanks to unclewebb there is a software now to unlock the throttle, this one will almost certainly put the 90 watt charger to rest or fire.

3. Due to the power limitation, it looks like the people with the RGBLED are most affected by the problem due to the added power consumption.

4. DELL is aware of the problem, but according to them it only affects a small percentage of people that put the system on full performance.

5. DELL keeps saying that the 130 watts adapter is not the solution of the problem, which is quite true as it needs both an adapter and BIOS update.

6. After a long wait, DELL acknowledged that there is a problem and that they will address it soon without announcing a time frame.

7. We as a group lack the trust in DELL fixing the problem to our satisfaction.

I think most of our group will agree on the above.

With all the above said, i am quite happy that mine was returned back to DELL after a frustrating experience with DELL level 1, 2, and 3 technical support. This doesn't represent the other members as most of them are happy with their notebook but expect action from DELL.


From "S-XPS 1645 Throttling Info. and Updates":

quote:

Its first important to understand how the intel i7 cpu's work. MHZ is calculated by taking the currently multiplier times 133mhz, ex 12x * 133 = 1.6ghz. The 720qm and 820qm run at a nominal 1.6ghz and 1.73ghz. To save power when the cpu is not under load, under normal conditions it will downclock to approximately 933mhz. Turboboost is the touted feature for these processors, If only one core out of the four is being used it allows the 720qm to clock up to 2.8ghz, and the 820qm up to 3.06ghz. If only 2 cores its somewhere in the middle and so on.

Throttling mostly occurs only when the gpu and cpu both are being loaded, by games and other demanding software. This is so the computer can maintain its 90w power requirement for the 90w adapter. It has been observed the cpu will first throttle the multipliers from the 15x-21x it should be during games, down to a measly 8-10x. (taking that max of 2.8-3ghz down to sub 1ghz.) The lowest multiplier it can go is 7x (930mhz) if that isnt enough to limit power consumption it will then do what is called clock modulation...


It feels like deja vu - though I still think from our tests that we have a 100W limit rather than just 90W the G51Jx is definitely exhibiting the symptoms as them.

PJPeter

P.S. Here is the official post from one of the Dell Admins on the Direct2Dell Blog: http://en.community.dell.com/blogs/direct2dell/archive/2010/02/24/throttling-update-for-studio-xps-1645-customers.aspx  "This Studio XPS 1645 throttling issue is a limitation related to the 90-watt adapter. The resolution is to update the system BIOS, and for some, replacing the 90-watt adapter with a 130-watt adapter." - I think this post could be a good thing to quote when discussing the issue with ASUS Techs if they do not believe that the issue is happening with other i7 laptops (users of Acer laptops are also looking into it). It also specifies that it is a BIOS and Adapter limitation requiring a 130W adapter for systems that are about as power hungry as our G51Jx and potentially less power intensive than the G51J. I think all in all, it can be a good official resource for us to mention, in addition to all the user tests and info discussed here.

Last Edited By - PJPeter on 2/26/2010 3:33:25 AM

 Posted - 3/1/2010 2:43:57 AM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

zzzmaverickzzz
User
30 Contributions

Hi,
Great job man,very interesting & helpfull.I'm UK based ,got G51JX-A1 a week ago from US,total price £1200(incl customs,stated real price as I didn't want to mess around with them).Similar model will be available here in the UK at the end of March at cheapest price £1,680.00 so think I've done the right purchace.Have to say my model got the same RAM as yours (3x2Gb of 1333MHz - but 1066MHz stated on the box , nice!!!).I'm up for online racing games,one of them CM Dirt 2,got high end PC (build myself based on RAMPAGE II Extreme motherboard) but purchaced this laptop to play & work when I'm away from home. Have to admit -GTS 360m doesn't cope with ingame settings to"HIGH" so had to reduce it to "LOW" & "NORMAL" with lots of "DISABLE" to allow play 60 frames/sec. To keep temp low bought ANTEC 200- does help a bit but I'm not really happy with that GPU/CPU's plastic cover on the back
.Planing to do some DIY (want to make a hole & fix mesh in it like on G51J to allow cooling airflow from ANTEC 200).What do you think about it?
But my general question is about overclocking settings of GTS360m,
could you please  !!!!!   state highest safe mode I can do??? !!!!!! There is too much information for me there in your posts ,would be grate if you just state it in reply please.
Also got OCZ Vertex Turbo120Gb to replace original HDD -will post outcome test if you interested at the end of the week.
Do you think it will help to speed up gaming mode if I'll get 4th RAM added? Thanks in advance

 Posted - 3/1/2010 12:08:38 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

Welcome to the club maverick - congrats on getting the better RAM and the good deal too .

Sorry to hear about the game - what resolution were you using? FHD 1920x1080? But it's true, laptop graphics cards even at max can't match desktops of the same generation (outside of the most extreme super-huge 'laptop' systems the GPUs generally don't even use 1/4 the TDPs of desktop models) or even one or two back sometimes. This is near the top of the list though - and it does overclock quite well.

The highest stable and safe overclocks I could get with only stock cooling and the 120W adapter and no BIOS edits is 615/2000/1600 - at that level my GPU has never gone above 87*C even with FurMark - but if I go a little higher then I start to get problems with 3DMark06 crashing, and it appears to be because of lack of power. These overclocks were with Wifi/BT enabled, Full Screen brightness, USB mouse and keyboard backlight - if you take some of these out of the mix you can overclock a bit more. I've been trying to get some good GPU Overclocked 150W adapter tests, but haven't found anyone with the adapter who is willing to overclock as much as me (despite the temps being so low) - one guy with a working G73 150W adapter that fits saw the FurMark melted GPU pics and got scared . Hoping to get some solid test data before investing in a new brick - if we do things right as the Dell users did, then we might be able to get free upgrades from ASUS.

The mesh on the G51J was covered within with tape inside and within drilling holes there was no real benefit to the grill in that model anyway. Some people have done copper mods as well - some even just using thermal tape so they can remove them if they ever need warranty service - but the G51Jx does have a double copper heatsink that helps with this more than some of the previous G51 models.

I might very well give a try to increasing the airflow with a type of mesh you mentioned - but only if I can get another back panel so I can keep this one if I need to use the 3 year warranty I got free from ASUS + the one year from Visa. First thing I'd do though is apply some better thermal compound that stock - once we have all the CPU throttling and BSOD issues behind us I think I will .

I don't think adding the 4th stick of RAM would help much, but it might a bit - depends on what price you can get it for really - with only the 3 I can't give you any hard data, sorry.

Thanks for your reply and looking forward to the Vertex Turbo results :),

PJPeter

Last Edited By - PJPeter on 3/1/2010 12:09:09 PM

 Posted - 3/2/2010 5:34:26 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

Update: A work-around for the CPU Throttling issue has been found.

It was discovered through the help of an anonymous source that if one were to change the MSR bit 0x1FC then you can disable the thermal protection on the CPU which was the primary cause of throttling in the G51J/x. It stops the CPU from being throttled to 7x when the power reaches 100W and therefore Turbo Boost being disabled.

I've found it to be safe even on FurMark after 15 minutes - but my PSU hit a peak of 165W and had a sustained drain of up to 144W during the test with a 615/2000/1600 overclock - so you've been warned. We should have 150W power adapters for this laptop - even without any overclocking it started at 130W+ with no fan movement and no extra devices plugged in and 20% screen brightness.

On the G51J some users have had their PSU's shutting down and have had to unplug to get the system running again - I have not observed that at the highest clocks I've been able to sustain on my G51Jx - but you have been warned. You may want to invest in a 150W adapter if you find yourself needing/using this fix often.

It is recommended you only apply this fix before running something you know will be intensive and you should pay attention to your temperatures/power use and if they go too high you'll want to disable it.

Toggle1FC Throttle Fix v. 2.0

To enable the tool just unclick the box. You may need to click and then reclick after rebooting or doing some actions on the computer to reset the bit. With this fix, there is no BIOS adjustments needed - just unclick the box to set the bit to the nonthrottled value, and reclick it to re-enable ASUS's planned throttling scheme.

The tool was created by unclewebb (author of the Throttle Stop app) based on steps provided and tested by thalanix which was facilitated by data from an anonymous source.

This fix improves CPU performance - sometimes dramatically - it has completely solved stuttering problems in some games and gives generally better CPU performance, especially when the GPU is being taxed or the system is otherwise under a heavy power load (burning DVDs, charging lots of USB device, gaming, or any combination of these).

Good luck and if you see a change please do post your results ,

PJPeter

Last Edited By - PJPeter on 3/2/2010 5:39:20 PM

 Posted - 3/3/2010 5:36:38 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

If you want to get more battery life out of your G51Jx or make it run cooler, then you can bring down and monitor the multiplier using apps like ThrottleStop, or CrystalCPUID. To change them you can simply use Power4Gear Hybrid and set the Maximum processor state to below 100% (Note that at anything less than 100% Turbo Boost is disabled and the Multi's begin to be limited).

SuperPi Mod 2M Test Set to Affinity only on CPU0
W/o Throttling Fix 0.987V clocks: 38.005s - 62W average power draw from wall throughout test (55.04W CPU reported by HWMonitor) - Turbo Boost going full force
W/o Throttling Fix 12x Multiplier: 1m 02s - 48W average power draw from wall throughout test (45W CPU reported by HWMonitor)
W/o Throttling Fix 11x Multiplier: 1m 08s - 46W average power draw from wall throughout test (36.50W CPU reported by HWMonitor)
W/o Throttling Fix 7x Multiplier: 1m 47s - 43W average power draw from wall throughout test (15.34W CPU reported by HWMonitor)

8x Multiplier 18.96W reported by HWMonitor
9x Multiplier 26.31W reported by HWMonitor
10x Multiplier 29.41.96W reported by HWMonitor
13x Multiplier in ThrottleStop (Basically Max Multi) 55.04W reported by HWMonitor

Ok, so we can see a steady curve of power use per performance. I know it's a given based on everything we worked on in the throttling front, but seeing the data I think there will be cases where it will be useful for me in this way. :)

The power usage amount for the CPU appears to be estimates by HWMonitor as they do not match up cleanly with the actual power draw from the wall (and if you take into account power brick efficiency, and other usage, then you can see it is impossible that it is fully accurate). It changes the values instantly and there is no actual jump of those degrees in the rest of the system. If it were accurate then the jumps would have to not nearly as great. And the power left for the rest of the system - assuming the given minimum 87% brick efficiency - is 6W at max multi and 24W at min multi. So HWMonitor is not accurate at all - but it's good to know the actual differences when we need that extra time on battery.

For Power4Gear:

It's good to know how it works though - For the "Maximum Performance Processor Control" and "Moderate Battery Saving Processor Control" up to 65% Max processor state in P4G it will keep the multiplier at 7x. 66%-72% 8x, 73%-83% 9x, 84%-90% 10x, 91%-98% 11x, 99% 12x, 100% = Unrestricted w/Turbo Boost. It does nothing up to 65% and then gets practically logarithmic near the end there . For "Maximum Battery Saving Processor Control" no matter what % it is, it never goes beyond 7x Multiplier.

It's good to understand that P4G has these % bars but it doesn't make any difference really - there are 5-10 states that are represented pretty unevenly by the % bars and there is no difference often between even greatly different %s unless they trip the next state (same for processor state as for brightness).

So now I know better how to utilize the utilities and when changes to them actually matter, or not.

PJPeter

Last Edited By - PJPeter on 3/3/2010 10:42:03 PM

 Posted - 3/4/2010 1:37:39 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

After doing further tests under-watting the processor, testing out overclocks based on the default GTS360M GPU Ratio (1:3.25:2.4) I've come to the conclusion that 615/2000/1600 is the best stable overclock I'm going to get with my particular GTS360M without overvolting.

I've found that under full load, charging my PDA can cause the system to go over the edge and no longer be able to provide enough power to the GPU to continue to perform at these levels - but even with more power available (by restricting the power via. locking the Multiplier at 7x, minimizing brightness, no USB devices, etc...). With more power though the GPU still will crash and be lost during a 3DMark06 when set for 630/2000/1600.

I was able to successfully run a benchmark at 620/2015/1600 giving the result of 10640 3DMarks, SM2.0 4537, SM3.0 4514, CPU 3182 with Extreme Turbo enabled, Full Screen Brightness, CPU Throttling Fix enabled and with the 120W adapter (Max wall power draw 128W, 85*C max GPU temp, 73*C max CPU Core 0 temp and 22*C ambient temperature) - however this takes the memory clock past the 2000 limit recommended by nVidia so I would not use it as my daily gaming clock. No artifacts were observed at this level (At 630/2050/1600 I noticed some horizontal line distortions similar to VSync issues).

Therefore, though I would be curious to see 150W tests, and I still think that ASUS should provide us with 150W adapters as our 120W ones may overheat/shut down if pushed too hard (which we can already do with FurMark/Prime95 and Stock ASUS clocks) - but I think the GPU is bottlenecked by a voltage cap which wouldn't allow it to utilize the increased available power successfully. Note that when you reach the limits of the available power (which would obviously be higher with a 150W adapter) you will see a decrease in GPU and CPU performance - it's just that the increase will not give better GPU performance without some BIOS based overvolting imho.

PJPeter


 Posted - 3/5/2010 8:10:45 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

Someone asked about what are the latest GPU drivers that work with this notebook. I certainly wouldn't try modding and installing the Forcewave 196.75 Drivers (the first to include Desktop 300 Series GPU Support):

quote:
196.75 Alert!
We are aware that some customers have reported fan speed issues with the latest 196.75 WHQL drivers on NVIDIA.com. Until we can verify and root cause this issue, we recommend that customers do not download this driver. Instead, please stay with, or return to 196.21 WHQL drivers. Release 196.75 drivers have been temporarily removed from our website and we also are asking our partners and others to remove temporarily this 196.75 WHQL driver as well.
- Ref: Link

Apparently a lot of people are reporting "massive overheating" when gaming caused by this driver breaking the fan speed controls. I have a copy and was going to try installing it via Device Manager - but I think I'll stick with the 195.62 drivers (which I also installed via Dev Manager) instead and read up on this issue. I think the G51J/Jx units get hot enough as it is without nVidia adding to the issues...

PJPeter

Update: LaptopVideo2Go has posted that Dell released a 196.81 driver for Notebooks, but it still does not include the 360M (though the 189.07 drivers from last week that do seem to install w/o additional modding btw) - maybe we could mod it, but I'm good now knowing how shoddy new nVidia drivers are to wait for an official release. I'm not officially retiring my G51Jx from being a cutting edge overclock/fresh test system. I was the first one with it and luckily it's still going strong - I'll let you guys take over now :).

If anyone does have any requests on this to try though, I'd be happy to try to accommodate you.

Oh and by the way, ASUS has acknowledged the 0x124 BSOD issue and is working on a fix as I write this

Last Edited By - PJPeter on 3/5/2010 8:13:57 PM

 Posted - 3/6/2010 8:25:16 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

Nokuma
User
19 Contributions

Hello PJPeter, I have just purchased the G51Jx-A1 on the 2nd, and received it the next day. I love how well this laptop preforms and with the i7 processor, the price was just right.

Now i have a question, How much better do games run on your modded drivers for the 360m than the ASUS stock original?

And, if anyone was thinking about purchasing this laptop and wants benchmarks other than 3Dmark, since it doesn't necessarily equal real world performance, i'd be glad to provide them.


 Posted - 3/7/2010 1:51:57 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

Hey Nokuma,

Welcome to the forum - Now that I've started using the G51Jx as main computer I really enjoy just how much snappier it is than my old Z96JS when just doing things like loading websites, applications, etc.. - part of this might be that the HDD on the other is getting old (though I reinstalled XP recently) - but either way this thing is fast even without a reinstall .

I haven't noticed much of a difference at all with these drivers and the original ones unfortunately, on 3DMark anyway. However, as you said I haven't done much game play. I know it works great with Civ4 and Oblivion both on max settings - but those games are somewhat old now and I ran the tests on them because they were reported as big 0x124 BSOD culprits rather than to push the limits. I installed Mass Effect last night, but haven't had a chance to play it. Since I didn't try it though with the old drivers I can't say if there is a difference at all, sorry.

Certainly you can give it a try if you like - and if you have any benches then please do post them - I just didn't do much because I was past my bandwidth limit and don't have too many games to test with.

There are still no new actual 360M drivers though - so it'll be nice to see those when they do finally post them - though there may be a delay now with them running extra WHQL and other testing setups after that whole 196.75 debacle...

PJPeter


 Posted - 3/9/2010 7:59:45 AM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

Nokuma
User
19 Contributions

Heres my first benchmark, got two more on the way. First, Resident Evil 5.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoeRZPj9q8c

Last Edited By - PJPeter on 3/9/2010 3:09:00 PM

 Posted - 3/9/2010 3:14:55 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

Very cool Nokuma - thanks . I edited your post to make the link click able - but the video looks professional and definitely shows what this system is capable of - I see it is 1280x1024 resolution, is that max settings otherwise btw?

Oh and FYI, I've found that there may be a discrepancy with the GTS360M and how it performs in our systems and in the G60Jx - I'm investigating it now to see if there might be some difference in VBIOS, voltage, drivers, or something else that might be causing it. The G60Jx is nearly identical to our systems, except with only 2 RAM Slots (4GB preloaded) and a 16" 1366x screen instead of our nice Full HD 15.4". We have the same motherboard beside from the fewer slots - so we should definitely get the same performance with the same video card (though theirs comes with an inferior CPU) - will investigate more and get back to you if there are any positive results. The user I spoke to though was able to overclock to 650/1900/1500 (a much higher GPU clock than I've been able to achieve) and got approximately 20% better GPU performance w/the same GPU at the same stock clocks as in our system - so here's hoping we can get that same sort of boost too .

Here is a comparison of the stats btw:

His (G60JX):

Mine Stock G51JX-A1:

His (G60JX) Overclocked to 650/1900/1500 w/same temps as before:

Mine Overclocked G51JX-A1:

PJPeter

Last Edited By - PJPeter on 3/9/2010 3:18:53 PM

 Posted - 3/9/2010 5:16:39 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

Nokuma
User
19 Contributions

Its actually 1280x720, i did that to show it would run 720 maxed out. It will run at 1080 but with antialiasing turned down to 16x or 8x.
I will be uploading i mirrors edge video very soon.

 Posted - 3/9/2010 5:56:30 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

Very true - I tried to read it from the small Youtube Window and saw the 1280 and then filled in the second # based on memory of XGA/SXGA/WSXGA/WSXGA+ etc... standard resolutions, a bad habit I've picked up over the years. Looking forward to the other tests and will keep trying to find if there is some way to boost our performance based on the G60JX .

PJPeter


 Posted - 3/9/2010 8:39:38 PM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

Nokuma
User
19 Contributions

Here is my Second Benchmark. Its using Mirrors Edge, which might i add is perfect for showing whether your rig can sustain consistent framerates. Fraps likes to subtract 5-7 FPS from the game FYI


Link

Last Edited By - nokuma on 3/9/2010 8:44:48 PM

 Posted - 3/10/2010 12:54:56 AM  - Show Profile  Edit Message

PJPeter
Site Administrator
2019 Contributions

Cool man - thanks . It definitely looks quite smooth - it's too bad the FRAPS #s were not recorded to see the frame rate displayed visually, but that game definitely looks like it stresses things a fair bit and does keep it consistent .

By the way, I didn't mention it previously, but there is one Game Benchmark that has been online put up by a reseller the day I got my system, I lost track of it with putting together the review those first few hours, but here it is: Crysis demo on Asus G51Jx-A1 notebook NV GTS360M 1GB GDDR5

PJPeter

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