Troubleshooting

Enable DisplayPort via USB-C

In some XMG laptops, the DisplayPort signal on the USB-C port has to be enabled manually in BIOS setup first. This would usually disable the Mini DisplayPort that is located right next to USB-C. This note only applies to some of those XMG laptops that have a Mini DisplayPort port. Here are some of the related options:

  • Reboot and enter BIOS Setup by holding the F2 key.
  • “Advanced” → “Advanced Chipset Control” → “DDI Control”: set from “DDI to mDP” to “DDI to TBT”.
  • “Advanced” → “Intel Thunderbolt”: set “Intel Thunderbolt Technology” to “Enabled”.
  • Set “Security Level” to “Unique ID” (if available).
  • Then save and restart.
Does it still not work?

If a docking station that is sure to support DisplayPort “Alt Mode” or Thunderbolt does not deliver a display signal despite a correctly set or non-existent “DDI Control” setting, then check out the tips under the next question.

Finding the cause

Unreliable docking station operation can have a variety of causes. We provide a few general tips here:

  • The USB-C cables included with docking stations are not always the best due to cost-saving measures. It is worth trying to swap the cable for a higher-quality cable that is certified for Thunderbolt 4. This also applies to docking stations on laptops that do not support Thunderbolt. The certification for Thunderbolt 4 promises the highest quality – no matter which features are ultimately used. Ideally, the cable should not be longer than 30cm.
  • If there are problems with the connected displays at the docking station, we recommend step-by-step reduction of the display refresh rate to limit the problem. For example, if the display supports 1440p at 144hz, we would try operating at 120Hz next.
  • It can also help to replace the DisplayPort and/or HDMI cables behind the docking station with shorter and potentially higher quality cables.
  • If the docking station has its own power supply port, please make sure to connect it its own power adapter.
  • If the laptop is capable of charging via USB-C (currently only applies to XMG CORE 14), it is worth attempting to use the dock without this feature. Simply plug the laptop’s original charger into the charging on your laptop (not on the dock).
  • You might want to check if we provide firmware or driver updates for your laptop. USB-C and Thunderbolt compatibility depends on EC, BIOS, chipset drivers, and the graphics drivers used for image output, among other things. Especially the effect of EC/BIOS updates should not be underestimated. You can find corresponding instructions in the download area.
  • Finally, it is of course also possible that the docking station itself has a defect. Please try the docking station with the same peripherals on another laptop with USB-C.
Further steps

If there is no improvement despite these tips, please contact our support team. Please state the exact model name of the docking station and all connected peripherals. Please also state which tips you have already tried and with which resolutions and refresh rates you are using external monitors on the docking station. If the problem is difficult to put into words, please record a short video with your cell phone and make it available to us, e.g. via streamable.com.

Which docking features does my laptop support anyway?

You can find information about the docking station compatibility of different XMG laptops in the FAQ category “Portfolio” under the question “Which docking stations are recommended for XMG laptops?”.

This actually should not happen

Normally, after complete installation of all drivers (from our USB stick or from the download portal), there should not be any unknown devices in Device Manager – as long as no external peripherals are connected. Still, if this happens to you, please check for the following causes:

  • The Windows installation media was very outdated.
  • Some drivers were skipped by the user during installation.
  • The installation of some drivers was not completed (e.g. aborted with error message).
  • Wrong drivers were installed – either because we mistakenly supplied the wrong USB stick or because the user downloaded the drivers of a different model.
Identify device

To find out what the unknown device is, we recommend the following procedure:

  • Double-click on the device to open its properties.
  • In the “Details” tab select the “Hardware IDs” property.
  • There you will find a combination of Vendor and Device IDs:
    • VEN = Vendor / Manufacturer
    • DEV = Device
    • Example: VEN_PNP&DEV_C000
  • Search for this combination online to obtain a clue to the identity of the device.

With this hint it is then usually possible to quickly guess which driver package may have been skipped or incorrectly installed.

Introduction

Problems with Wi-Fi reception can have very different causes. Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN; WLAN) is a highly complex technology with which digital data is transmitted via the medium “air” – it is a so-called “shared medium”, i.e. a medium that is used by very many participants at the same time. These include the Wi-Fi networks of neighbors, Bluetooth connections, car door openers, microwaves, baby monitors, and many more. – all of these applications operate in the 2.4Ghz frequency band and adjacent/overlapping ranges. To prevent confusion, complex mechanisms are employed to ensure that all data packets are uniquely identified and encrypted, and that all Wi-Fi participants only ever transmit in an alternating rhythm and not simultaneously. Since Wi-Fi standards have gone through many iterations, revisions and improvements over time (a/b/g/n/ac/ax), connection problems and incompatibilities cannot be completely avoided. Therefore, here are some practical tips on how to solve or at least work around Wi-Fi connection problems.

Wi-Fi driver update

If the Wi-Fi module is fairly new (i.e. it has only been on the market for a short amount of time), a simple driver update can sometimes solve problems. Current Wi-Fi drivers can be downloaded directly from the manufacturer – they are equally valid for all laptops. You can also update your Bluetooth driver while you are at it.

For Intel Wireless Module:

For Intel Killer Wireless Module (formerly RIVET Networks):

Firmware update in the Wi-Fi router

“Router” is used here synonymously for Access Point (AP).

If the Wi-Fi module is of the very latest generation, but the Wi-Fi router is somewhat older, older routers may not be able to cope with the latest modules. All Wi-Fi standards are in principle downward compatible. But as always, the devil is in the details.

Every router has its own firmware, which can be updated through the router manufacturer. Many routers can update their firmware semi-automatically via the router’s web interface. With some, you have to manually download the update file from the manufacturer’s website beforehand. More rarely, combined devices consisting of a Wi-Fi router and DSL/cable modem can only be updated directly from the provider via remote access. The first port of call is always the manufacturer of the router or the service provider who provided the router to you.

To find the web interface of the router, proceed as follows:

  • Open command line with Win+R: cmd
  • Type “ipconfig” → Windows displays the IP address of the LAN and Wi-Fi connections.
  • Under “Default Gateway” you will find the IP address of the router
  • Enter this IP address in the address line of the browser
  • The user name and password of the router were assigned during the initial setup. You may also find the data on the type plate on the bottom of the router.

Please note: some Wi-Fi routers automatically reset themselves to factory settings after a firmware update. Therefore, you should have a LAN cable ready before any firmware update in case you no longer have Wi-Fi access after the update. If the Wi-Fi router also functions as a DSL/cable modem, you should also have the Internet access data of the Internet provider ready, for example by copying it (if possible) from the router’s web interface before the update.

Disable/uninstall security/tuning software

As already explained in the FAQ category “Tips”: we advise against overloading the system with countless tuning and security programs, as they can sometimes have unexpected side effects or get in each other’s way. In case of Wi-Fi or Internet problems, we recommend uninstalling all security software (firewalls, virus scanners) as a test. Based on our experience, simply deactivating protective functions might not sufficient – only a full uninstall will do.

Change router settings

If Wi-Fi problems do not improve even after following the above tips, you can try to change a few settings. Sometimes it happens that Wi-Fi module and router speak the same language, but have “differences of opinion” in individual points and do not harmonize properly with each other. The web interface of a Wi-Fi router usually offers a wide range of settings that can be tried out for troubleshooting. Often these settings are hidden behind an “expert mode” or labeled “advanced”.

For all setting changes on the Wi-Fi router: write down what you have changed! Especially when you change the encryption settings, you should be careful not to accidentally change the Wi-Fi password. Again, having a LAN cable on hand might be a good backup. If you accidentally lock yourself out of the Wi-Fi completely, you will definitely be able to reconnect with a LAN cable.

Should all attempts fail – i.e. should you not be able to connect to the router despite all attempts – you can always use the reset button to go back to square one. Every router has a tiny button that you can press with an unfolded paper clip for 5-10 seconds. This will reset the router to factory settings – but you might have to re-enter the connection data of the Internet provider (if the router is a combination device with DSL/cable modem).

Here are a few tips on Wi-Fi settings that can be changed in the router:

  • Disable WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). This function is actually there to simplify the connection to the Wi-Fi (e.g. via “configuration at the push of a button”). In practice, however, it can also lead to problems. We therefore recommend deactivating this function and using the SSID (Wi-Fi Network Name) and shared Wi-Fi password to connect in the traditional way.
  • Switch from WPA2 to WPA. Many routers offer a hybrid mode by default, in which both WPA and WPA2 are used as encryption methods. Some (especially older) Wi-Fi modules do not cope with this. Since WPA2 offers no advantages for home users, we recommend switching to simple WPA without hybrid mode. “WEP” however is not recommended – that standard is obsolete and can be cracked too easily.
  • Switch channels. Wi-Fi standards in most countries offer 11-13 radio channels (in Japan even 14) in the 2.4Ghz frequency band. Many routers are set by default to automatically select the best Wi-Fi channel. However, this automatism might not always do the best job. It might be better to manually select a channel by yourself – if you can find one that is mostly unoccupied by other Wi-Fi networks. To find out in which corners of your house which channels are particularly busy, you can find some good Wi-Fi Scanning apps for Android smartphones.
  • Switch between Wi-Fi frequency bands 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Many Wi-Fi routers and modules can also transmit in the 5Ghz band. This capability is also known as “dual band”. Some routers are set in such a way that they can transmit in both bands at the same time. This can have its advantages, but it can also lead to problems. If the connection is frequently interrupted, you can try to select either only the 2.4 GHz band or only the 5 GHz band in the router. But beware: in the exclusive 5GHz mode, the Wi-Fi can no longer be used by devices that are not 5GHz-capable. This is especially true for very old laptops and very old smartphones. To get these devices back on Wi-Fi, simply reactivate the 2.4 GHz band in the router.
  • Switch between a/b/g/n/ac/ax standards. All these different Wi-Fi standards build on top of each other and are mostly backward compatible. Most routers are set to support multiple standards simultaneously. In rare cases, however, this can also lead to problems. It can therefore be worthwhile to try out individual standards. In the previous listing, the standards are sorted by age from left to right (“ax” is the newest standard). Older standards may be associated with slight performance losses, but might possibly be more reliable. But the reverse is also possible: the network may respond better if only one of the newest standards is active (presuming that all Wi-Fi participants support it as well).
Replacing the Wi-Fi module is always a possibility

If none of the above measures help and if a software cause can be ruled out 100%, there are still two possibilities: either the Wi-Fi module and the router simply do not get along with each other or the Wi-Fi module is simply defective. In both cases, the Wi-Fi module can be removed individually and exchanged for another model via our Advanced Warranty Replacement. It won’t be necessary to RMA the whole laptop for this process. Please contact our support to learn more about this process.

What is backlight bleeding?

Backlight bleeding refers to bright halos or bright areas on the monitor that are primarily visible when viewing dark content, such as in games or movies. The halos usually appear at the edge of the display and are caused by a different arrangement of liquid crystals in the display, which allow different amounts of light to pass through.

How does backlight bleeding occur?

IPS displays consist of several layers that are placed exactly on top of each other at different angles. Even the slightest deviation in layering can cause a slight pressure inside the display, which shifts the liquid crystals slightly. This allows more light to pass through in some places than in others. The resulting halos are called bleeding.

What can I do against backlight bleeding?

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about this phenomenon. Even changing the display might not solve the problem of backlight bleeding. Therefore, sending in the device is unnecessary in most cases.

Schenker Technologies relies on high quality standards in the production of its products, which keep the impact for the user as low as possible. However, it is unfortunately not possible to completely exclude backlight bleeding for technical reasons.

Does backlight bleeding subside over time?

It happens that certain types of backlight bleeding diminish over time. Freshly produced displays are subject to a certain amount of mechanical stress, which decreases during the first weeks and months of use. This acclimation period does not yet occur in the warehouse, as it depends on the panel’s operating temperature. An example of a decrease in backlight bleeding after 25 days is documented in this post on Reddit.

This can have various causes. We give three essential tips on the topic here.

Firmware root cause using XMG FUSION 15 as an example

There was an issue with the NVIDIA USB-C driver that caused the laptop to wake up exactly 3 hours after entering standby mode. The laptop tried to enter hibernate mode (Hibernate, Suspend to Disk) during this process, but failed. This problem was fixed in BIOS 0062 and later reappeared. It will now be fixed shortly with BIOS 0142 for XMG FUSION 15.

Disable wake timer (applies to all PCs and laptops)

Depending on the Windows configuration, there might be certain schedules for tasks (including Windows updates) that prompt the laptop to wake up from sleep or go into hibernation. More information about this is provided in this article. The most common solution is to disable the “Allow Wake Timers” option for “Plugged-in” and “On Battery” in the advanced power options. Please note: This setting might have to be applied for each power profile, such as Quiet, Balanced and High Power.

Check the cause of the wake-up

There is a simple command that might be able to tell you the reason why your laptop woke up last time. Usually this is something like “power button” or “open lid”, but in the case of an automatic wakeup, this command might point to a specific driver or Windows component. To check on this, open “Command Prompt” in the Start menu and type:

powercfg -lastwake

This command does not require admin rights. If you are unsure how to interpret the output of the command, please copy the output or take a screenshot and contact us via one of our support channels or via the community.

How long should it normally take?

On current models with Windows installed on SSD, the cold boot and wake from hibernate should not take much longer than 12 seconds between pressing the power button and the login screen appearing. If the laptop takes significantly longer, we offer the following tips.

Enable “Fast Boot”

Enabling “Fast Boot” in the BIOS is a prerequisite for using Microsoft’s “Hybrid Boot” technology, which saves a lot of time during cold boot. We enable “Fast Boot” in all XMG laptops before delivery – but it can happen that this feature is disabled by the user. On a certain model (XMG FUSION 15), it can also be disabled during a BIOS reset. To make sure that “Fast Boot” is enabled, please perform the following steps in the BIOS setup:

  • Open the [Exit] menu and confirm [Restore Defaults], but do not reboot yet.
  • Navigate to the [Boot] menu and select [Boot Priority].
  • Search [Fast Boot] and set it to [Enabled].
  • Back in the [Exit] menu, select [Save Changes and Exit], which will reboot the system.

(the position of the “Fast Boot” option in the BIOS setup may slightly differ depending on the model)

Update firmware (and double flash if necessary)

The boot process can be roughly divided into BIOS time and Windows time. The time the system spends in the state before the XMG boot logo and the small Windows loading circle appear for the first time is BIOS time. On XMG FUSION 15, for example, it usually takes about 7 seconds between pressing the power button and the first appearance of the XMG boot logo. If this time span is significantly longer on your laptop, the cause could be in the hardware or firmware.

Examples from practice:

  • User already had a system with Thunderbolt firmware NVM v56. But based on a hunch, he simply tried updating the same firmware again, and that immediately fixed the long BIOS time (source).
  • Later, Thunderbolt firmware NVM v62 further reduced boot time for certain edge cases, including certain docking stations (source).
Clean up TEMP folder

Taken from this post:

“Found out, during each boot Windows (namely it’s ProfSvc service) takes everything you have in users/yourprofile folder and writes over those files. I suspect it’s changing some meta data in the files. Probably edditing read/write premissions. But it goes one by one. And logon process waits for it to finish. As long as your computer is relatively clean, this operation takes a second or two. But when Visual Studio update “forgets” 160 000 files in your AppData/Temp folder, it results in 35 secs of profile loading during boot. All I needed was to empty the Temp folder and the bootups are back in normal!”

You can either empty the temp folders manually or use a software like CCleaner. Please note that we recommend CCleaner only for Temp folder cleanup, not for Windows Registry cleanup. The latter may have unexpected side effects in some circumstances. Deleting temp folders with CCleaner, on the other hand, is quite safe.

Riot Games ‘Vanguard’ may block a driver

If you have installed games from Riot Games, the “Vanguard” software may block the “inpoutx64.sys” driver on some of our systems. This driver is related to the Control Center. We know of cases where the presence of Vanguard led to a significantly prolonged boot time.

Consider clean reinstallation

It may be inconvenient, but in cases of very long boot times with unclear cause, you might also want to consider a clean Windows installation. “Clean” means that the system partitions on the SSD are deleted in the first step of the installation process. Before that, you should of course create a backup of all important data on another data medium.

Troubleshooting

Bluescreens and other random problems can have a number of reasons. Sometimes the error message or the mentioned driver in the bluescreen can already point to the cause – but sometimes the messages are not very clear. Also, random image errors in Windows (artifacts, glitches) don’t necessarily have to be caused by the screen or the GPU: because the integrated graphics of Intel and AMD use system memory (RAM) as shared graphics memory, visual glitches might be caused by bad memory or related CPU/memory issues.

Let’s start with a rather generic step-by-step procedure to narrow down the root cause:

  • If any undervolting (core voltage offset) was performed in BIOS Setup, Control Center or via third-party software, please deactivate it (set it back to zero).
  • Perform a BIOS update.
  • Perform a BIOS reset (load defaults and save).
  • Make sure that all drivers are installed correctly – at least that shouldn’t be any yellow exclamation marks in Device Manager.
  • Make sure that no system tuning software or third-party drivers are loaded.
  • Open the laptop (see FAQ category “Maintenance”) and remove both RAM modules. Plug one of the two RAM modules back in properly. Run the laptop with only one RAM module for a while to see if the bluescreens or random image errors disappear.
  • Consider a clean reinstallation of Windows.
  • Run a full check of both RAM modules with MemTest86, booted from a USB stick.
Instructions for MemTest86 to test RAM

To test the system with MemTest86, please follow these steps:

  • Download the free version of MemTest86 here: https://www.memtest86.com/download.htm
  • The Pro version is not needed for private uses, so there is no need to purchase anything yet.
  • A file called “memtest86-usb.zip” will be downloaded. Unzip it into a new subfolder.
  • Connect a USB thumb drive to the laptop. Make sure that there is no important data on it.
  • The next steps will delete all data on this USB thumb drive!
  • Execute the program imageUSB.exe in the unpacked folder and confirm the administrator prompt.
  • A user interface opens (see screenshot). Confirm the drive letter of the emptied USB drive.
  • Click the “Write” button and read and confirm the following screen instructions.
  • Once the USB stick has been successfully set up, reboot Windows while holding down the F2 key to enter BIOS setup.
  • Make sure that the laptop’s charger is plugged in and connected to external power.
  • Some laptops require “Fast Boot” to be disabled first in order to boot from USB. Most laptops also require “Secure Boot” to be disabled in order to boot MemTest86. Therefore search and deactivate “Secure Boot” and “Fast Boot” in the BIOS setup. No other options need to be changed. Enabling CSM or Legacy Mode are no longer required for modern versions of MemTest86.
  • Exit the BIOS setup with “Save & Reset”. Press and hold the F7 key (or F10 key on XMG FUSION 15) during the reboot to open a “boot media select” prompt.
  • Select the USB drive from that boot media menu.
  • MemTest86 will automatically start and begin testing (see screenshot). If an error is detected, please take a screenshot (e.g. with your cell phone) for the purpose of contacting our support later.
  • If the first run (Pass: 1 / 4) completes without errors, the probability is quite high that no further errors will occur in the following runs. You could then abort the test and restart it with Ctrl+Alt+Del. If in doubt, you can also run the test overnight with several runs.

Note: for a typical gaming laptop, MemTest86 might consume about 100 watts at the AC wall socket. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but significantly less than most gaming or other full load scenarios. A sustained overnight run is therefore no problem, provided the laptop has adequate ventilation.

What to do when MemTest86 has found errors

Crashes or MemTest86 errors are not always due to actually defective modules. If one of the modules simply has bad contact, it can help to remove the modules once and reinsert them properly. Advice about how to open your laptop can be found in the FAQ category “Maintenance”.

If MemTest86 has indeed found errors and they can’t be eliminated by reassembling the modules, you can now try to test both memory modules individually. Remove one of the two modules and run it again with MemTest86. If the errors only occur in one of the modules, try the same module again in the other (empty) RAM slot. If the same module shows errors in both RAM slots during the single test, it may actually be defective. In this case, we can replace it via our Advanced Warranty Replacement service without having to RMA the full system.

Everything back to zero

After completing these tests, please don’t forget to undo the changed BIOS settings. Go back to the BIOS setup (F2) and reload the defaults, perhaps activate Fast Boot again and save everything with Save & Exit.

Electromagnet triggers sensor

The “close lid” function, which puts the laptop into standby mode by default, is based on a magnetic sensor (so-called Hall sensor), which is located on the front edge of the laptop in most models. If you touch this sensor with a magnet, it triggers the corresponding action. It can happen that you accidentally trigger this sensor with an object on your wrist, e.g. a fitness wristband, a smartwatch or the new “MagSafe” accessories of recent iPhones. So, if it happens that the laptop sometimes goes into standby mode supposedly “by itself”, you should first set the action for “Close lid” to “Do nothing”. The fastest way to find the option is to search for the word “lid” in the Start menu.

Thunderbolt as a possible cause

Some users have reported having a high CPU load (greater than 10%) at idle when certain devices are connected via USB-C. The following workaround was found:

  • Device Manager → System devices → Thunderbolt Controller → Power Management.
  • → Disable “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”.
Reset might be able to help

There are a few basic tips for problems with keyboard lighting and other RGB LEDs:

  • Most models have a “Reset” or “Restore” button in the Control Center to reset all keyboard settings to default. Please try this button once.
  • The keyboard illumination is controlled by the EC firmware and the EC is related to the BIOS. Please perform a BIOS reset first (Load Defaults, Save & Reset).
  • If a BIOS reset does not help, please perform an EC update. If the EC is already up to date, you can still flash it again, i.e. overwrite it. Then perform a BIOS reset again.

After this procedure, we would also recommend reinstalling the Control Center. You can find the latest version in the download portal of the respective laptop.

Polling rate too high for USB hub

Some users of USB gaming mice with ≥1000Hz polling rate have reported that the mouse sometimes does not work or has dropouts when used behind a USB hub (e.g. in a monitor) or docking station. This applies to both hubs and docks via USB-A and USB-C (Thunderbolt).

In such cases, we recommend installing the latest official drivers from the mouse manufacturer. If this does not help, you can try to reduce the polling rate to 500 Hz. It is sometimes the case that some USB hubs cannot cope with a particularly high polling rate.

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature

High-performance laptops tend to consume more energy in standby than other devices. This especially affects the XMG FUSION and XMG NEO series with opto-mechanical keyboards. Reason: the keyboard also consumes a bit more than 1W in standby because the keyboard keeps the opto-mechanical switches alive. There is a small infrared light barrier under each individual key, which is supposed to register the keystroke.

Keyboard wakes system from standby

The keyboard is powered because it is supposed to be able to wake up the system from standby. This results in a total power consumption (with power supply, measured at the socket, including power loss of the power supply) of up to 1.8 watts in standby with an otherwise fully charged battery. This system feature is hardwired into hardware and cannot be disabled. A complete shutdown of the keyboard only takes place in hibernate (S4, Suspend to Disk) or when powering down (S5).

Hibernate instead of Standby

We generally recommend using the hibernate mode. Practically, once the system is in hibernate, it does not consume any energy anymore – the laptop shuts down completely. Before that, the system memory’s content is frozen and cached on the SSD. The system proceeds quite intelligently: it does not the entire RAM capacity, but only the actually used parts of it. Thus, before switching to hibernation, it is worth closing some windows and programs that you probably won’t need anymore.

By default, the standby mode automatically switches to hibernate after 180 minutes. You can shorten this period in Windows’ advanced power options (see screenshot). You would have to do this for each of the available power profiles (Energy Saver, Balanced, High Performance), if available. For hibernation to be available for selection in the Start menu, you will have to activate it first (see screenshot).

Production tolerance

If the space bar or another large-area key seems to be unreliable in its actuation, we might have a little production tolerance issue on hand. We usually catch such issues in our own quality control checks, but on some occasions, it might still end up with the user – also considering that everyone is using different amount of force when typing.

A hotfix might be possible

Besides returning the laptop, it may help to increase the height of the space bar with a simple piece of tape. However, this modification is not very easy. Another way of improving response might be to slightly bend the metal stabilizer bars in a certain way – but that’s even more difficult and error-prone.

Schematically, the tape solution works as follows (using the space bar as an example):

  • Remove space bar
  • Stick a small piece of tape on the bottom of the space bar – where the space bar touches the switch underneath.
  • Repeat this step several times, if necessary, until the required height is reached.
  • Reinstalling the space bar

Removing the space bar is comparatively easy on the XMG FUSION and XMG NEO with a mechanical keyboard (see video). For all other models, the risk of damaging the latch located underneath the key is much higher. For this reason, we recommend contacting our support team first in case of such keyboard problems.

Cleaning the keyboard might help

If the problem only occurs after a few months or years of use, some particles (e.g. a grain of sand) underneath the key might possibly be responsible for the unreliable release behaviour. Please check the FAQ item “How to clean the keyboard” in the “Maintenance” category.

It’s complicated

The issue of DPC latency for realtime audio applications (DJ and music production with especially low buffer sizes) has always been quite complex and has recently become even more complicated since the introduction of Modern Standby (S0ix).

Remedy exists

For guaranteed low DPC latencies, we recommend taking a look at the specially optimized laptops in the audio category of our online store bestware.

For other models, we collect a few general tips here:

  • Please make sure you are using the latest EC firmware and BIOS.
  • Try to uninstall the NVIDIA GameReady driver and switch to the NVIDIA Studio driver (see screenshot)
  • Uninstall driver packages like Sound Blaster, THX Spatial Audio other third party audio applications
  • Uninstall all third-party applications that are deeply integrated into the system, including: system monitoring and tuning, antivirus, firewalls, copy protection, anti-cheat, etc.
  • Run the laptop in the high-performance profile if possible – even if that means the fan control should be a bit more aggressive
  • Follow the tips on this website: Sweetwater Audio: PC Optimization Guide for Windows 10, especially the Power & Disk Optimization
Last but not least

We hope these tips will help you when using realtime audio. If all else fails, you can also accommodate DPC spikes by increasing the buffer sizes in the music program. For guaranteed smooth operation in a professional audio environment, however, we recommend the audio category linked above on bestware.

Introduction

Battery life, power consumption and fan noise are closely related. If the system consumes more power than necessary at low load, then the case temperatures increase, the fan noise increases and the battery life decreases.

An unnecessarily high power consumption can have various root causes:

  • A background process permanently loads the CPU, possibly even only a single CPU core.
  • Despite hybrid graphics, the dedicated graphics card dot not switch off because something is keeping it awake.
  • A component or a driver prevents the CPU from entering deeper sleep states despite being idle.
  • A component (e.g. SSD) creates a high consumption for itself in idle.

Sometimes several of these factors can play a role at the same time.

The following sections will shed light on how to investigate these potential causes and eliminate them if necessary.

Examine CPU utilization

Please follow the steps below:

  • Open Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc).
  • Open the “Details” tab and sort it in descending order of CPU usage.
  • Now the processes with the highest CPU usage should always be at the top of the list.
  • If a process generates permanently more than 1~2% CPU load, this already indicates a problem.
Why can already single digit percentages be problematic?

Your CPU consists of multiple cores, e.g. 8 cores and 16 threads. The operating system sees threads as “logical cores” – from the operating system’s point of view the CPU has 16 cores.

Now, if only one of these 16 cores is 100% utilized, then Windows will show an overall utilization of only 6 to 7%. Why? Because: 100% divided by 16 cores is 6.25%.

task manager single thread fully loaded 500

Screenshot: Task Manager with Cinebench R15 in “Single” mode.

Since the other 15 logical cores have virtually nothing to do in this example, the CPU puts all its energy into the one single core that is active, to make it clock as high as possible. The consumption of the individual cores is therefore not constant, but scales dynamically with the respective load. A load of “only” 6% already leads to the CPU consuming almost half of the specified TDP (Thermal Design Power).

Power Consumption Graph of i7-11800H in Cinebench R15 Single vs. Multi

This diagram shows the energy consumption of an i7-11800H in XMG CORE 15 in Cinebench R15 Single compared with R15 Multi. The “Multi” benchmark is repeated 5 times in a row here because it is over so quickly. The vertical axis shows the CPU consumption in watts, the horizontal axis the time (total 1 minute, 55 seconds).

You can see from this graphic:

  • The multi-benchmark briefly reaches 105 watts and then tends towards 80 watts due to control temperature.
  • The single benchmark briefly reaches 27 watts and is then remains at 22 watts for the rest of its duration.

22 watts is pretty much exactly half of the TDP of 45 watts – so the CPU is already quite busy with a load of nominally “only 6%”. By the way, the CPU’s idle consumption should normally be 3 watt or less.

How do I see if the CPU load is concentrated on one core or if it is evenly distributed?

Please follow these steps:

  • Click on the “Performance” tab in the Task Manager.
  • Right-click on the big diagram and select “show logical cores” (see screenshot).

The performance diagram now shows all threads (all logical cores) individually. From this you can see very well if a single core is fully loaded. Sometimes it happens that certain system or background programs are badly programmed, have a bug or simply crashed. Something like that then manifests itself in a high load of a single core. If you have identified such a program in Task Manager, please terminate the program or uninstall it completely.

What if I don’t find anything in the Task Manager or the result is not clear?

Very rarely it happens that the Task Manager cannot see certain programs and background services. Or even if it does, the entries (sorted by CPU) constantly jumping back and forth are a bit confusing. Let’s check out a more powerful tool (also free of charge) directly from Microsoft:

Here is how it works:

  • Download, unpack ZIP, start procexp.exe with admin rights
  • Sort the processes in the list by CPU
  • Better: Right click on the table header of the process list → Select Columns… → Process Performance → Check “CPU Time”.
  • This will bring up a new column on the right called “CPU Time” by which you can now sort the list.
  • “CPU Time” shows the cumulative CPU usage of all processes since the last restart (i.e. not just since Process Explorer was started).

A few programs will always be at the top of this list:

  • “System Idle Process” and “Interrupts” – this is effectively the idle time.
  • dwm.exe – this is the Windows component that takes care of rendering all windows. If you move windows back and forth, you will see the load of dwm.exe increase – this is normal.
  • svchost.exe – this is the collection process under which countless background services are operating. As long as this is not at the top of the list, you can pretty much ignore it, because most of the services (especially the services which are not Windows on-board) are listed separately in Process Explorer.
  • WmiPrvSE.exe – this is the “WMI Provider Host”, a core component of Windows. Can be ignored as long as it is not above dwm.exe.
  • System – also a collection process. Contains among other things the “Interrupts”. Can probably be ignored.

Again, a process that constantly causes more than 1% CPU load at idle is fundamentally suspicious.

If you are not sure how to interpret the values, please take some screenshots (snipping tool) and contact our community or support.

Examine power consumption: CPU, graphics card and battery consumption

If Task Manager and Process Explorer don’t immediately reveal a cause, we’ll go one step deeper. For this we use the system monitoring program HWiNFO64. With it, you can display sensor values like energy consumption and temperatures in clear visual diagrams.

Screenshot of HWiNFO64 with 3 sensor diagrams

There are other programs that do the same – but HWiNFO64 is in our opinion especially well suited, because its programming is extremely light on resources and thus does not interfere with the sensitive idle power consumption. More information about this can be found in the FAQ category “Tips” under the question “Which tuning and system software is recommended by XMG?”.

To observe the energy consumption with HWiNFO64, please proceed as follows:

  • Set your laptop to a moderate performance profile, e.g. “Balanced” or “Entertainment” mode (depending on the model).
  • Remove the power adapter to switch the laptop to battery mode.
  • Start HWiNFO64, select “Sensors only” and click on “Run”.
  • A long list of sensor readings will open.
  • We will now display a chart for a few selected readings. To do this, we scroll down and double-click on the desired values:
    • CPU Package Power
    • GPU Power
    • Charge Rate

Each chart has an upper and lower limit predefined by HWiNFO64. CPU Package Power, for example, has an upper limit of 300 watts by default – this is obviously much too high for our purpose. For an idle investigation, we would recommend setting the CPU’s upper limit to 45 watts. Alternatively, you can simply click on “Auto Fit” in each chart – then the limits automatically adjust to the smallest and largest measured value in each case.

If you cannot find “GPU Power”, then your NVIDIA graphics card is probably still sleeping. Check this by briefly opening the NVIDIA Control Panel (right-click on the desktop). This will wake up the NVIDIA GPU for a short moment and register it with HWiNFO64. Afterwards the GPU should go back to sleep and show a GPU power of “0” (zero) in HWiNFO64. You can now close the NVIDIA control panel.

If you cannot find “Charge Rate” (located at the bottom of the list), then you are not in battery mode. If you are in battery mode, “Charge Rate” will show a negative (minus) value. The value shows how much energy (in watts) is drawn from your battery.

Clarification: a “Charge Rate” value of -30 is considered higher than -7 in the further text, because it indicates a higher consumption (30 watts is more than 7 watts).

What conclusions can I draw from these values?

The values interact with each other. If the GPU is active, then the CPU consumption also increases because the CPU has to maintain a PCI Express connection to the GPU. If the CPU and GPU consume a lot of energy, the battery consumption naturally increases as well.

To rule out the individual causes, we proceed as follows:

  • “GPU Power” is permanently above zero? → GPU is not sleeping.
  • “CPU Package Power” is permanently above 3 watts, although “GPU Power” is at zero? → Something is keeping the CPU busy.
  • “Charge Rate” is consistently over 10 watts even though the GPU is at zero and the CPU is less than 3 watts? → Some other component is causing the power consumption.

The following sections address each of these three core causes.

Why won’t my GPU go to sleep?

If your GPU power is at 0 watts (zero watts) or not even listed in the first place, then it is apparently sleeping. That’s good! In this case you could skip this section.

If your XMG laptop is equipped with a desktop CPU, you can also skip this section. Laptops with a desktop CPU do not use NVIDIA Optimus – the dGPU is thus always active.

Explanation of terms:

  • iGPU = Integrated Graphics, i.e. the “small” graphics unit in your Intel or AMD CPU.
  • dGPU = Dedicated graphics, i.e. the “big” graphics card from NVIDIA

If the dGPU doesn’t go to sleep when idle, this can have various causes:

  • NVIDIA Optimus is disabled.
    • On some XMG laptops, you can disable NVIDIA Optimus in Control Center or in BIOS setup. This connects the laptop’s display directly to the NVIDIA GPU. In this state, the GPU can never go to sleep.
    • Solution: → Re-enable NVIDIA Optimus.
  • An external display is tethered to the NVIDIA GPU.
    • On most XMG laptops, the HDMI and DisplayPort outputs are connected to the NVIDIA GPU. Once an external monitor is tethered there, the GPU cannot go to sleep. So this is normal.
    • Solution: → disconnect external monitors.
  • A program is executed on the NVIDIA GPU.
    • With NVIDIA Optimus enabled, Windows can run any program on either the iGPU or the dGPU. Similarly, programs running on the iGPU can call on (“wake up”) the dGPU for additional calculations. Windows controls whether a program is executed on the iGPU or the dGPU by means of a certain automatic feature. This is explained in more detail in the next section.
How does Windows decide whether a program should be executed on the iGPU or the dGPU?

In the past, this selection was the responsibility of the NVIDIA Control Panel. There, you were able to specify which GPU should generally be preferred and you could set exceptions for custom programs.

Windows 10 has taken over this control since around 2019. The corresponding menu can be found by searching for “Graphics” in the Start menu.

graphics settings de 250

The GUI for selecting the integrated and dedicated graphics card still exists in the NVIDIA Control Panel (see screenshot) – but it no longer has any effect there. Since then, the system works as such:

  • Microsoft has an internal (non-public) list of program names. In this list, Microsoft specifies on which GPU a program should be executed. It can be assumed that Microsoft basically runs all 3D programs on the dedicated GPU. This also includes quite simple 3D programs like Microsoft’s own “Paint 3D”.
  • You can set an unlimited number of user-defined exceptions in Windows Graphics settings. Thus, you can manually specify whether certain programs should be executed on the iGPU or the dGPU.
  • If a program to be executed does not appear on Microsoft’s internal list nor in a user-defined exception, then the NVIDIA control panel takes control and starts the program based on an NVIDIA-internal list or based on an exception configured in the NVIDIA Control Panel.

The system thus determines on which GPU a program should be executed according to a predefined order. The priorities are set as follows:

  • Microsoft List → Custom Exception in Windows Graphics settings → NVIDIA Control Panel

The NVIDIA Control Panel is at the very end of this chain and is thus virtually obsolete in terms of choosing between iGPU and dGPU.

How do I find out if a program is running on the dGPU?

There are two methods. First, you can add another column in Task Manager under “Details”, called “GPU engine”. Right-click on the table header, select “Select columns” and check “GPU engine”. The new column will appear on the far right. With drag & drop you can move it to the left. Now sort the processes in descending order by this column.

As soon as a process uses the hardware acceleration of a GPU, it will be displayed in Task Manager. The two GPUs are numbered.

  • GPU 0 = iGPU (energy saving GPU)
  • GPU 1 = dGPU (dedicated GPU)

task manager gpu engine 500

Example in screenshot: the graphics benchmark “Furmark” renders on “GPU 1”, while HandBrake encodes a video on “GPU 0”. Edge browser and dwm.exe are also running on the iGPU.

Second method:

  • Open the NVIDIA Control Panel and select “Display GPU Activity Monitor Icon in Notification Area” in the menu at the top under “Desktop”.
  • To find the new icon in the systray (the notification area of Windows at the bottom right, next to the clock), you will first have to expand the notification area by clicking on the small arrow. Then you can drag and drop the new icon and put it next to the clock to make it easier to find in the future.
  • Clicking on the icon will open a small popup window. This shows a list of programs that are currently running on the dGPU (see screenshot).

Generally, when idle, this list should be empty. When the list is empty, the GPU should go to sleep (GPU Power at zero). If the GPU goes to sleep, then all is well.

If the GPU does not go to sleep even though the list is empty, then you may have a program running on the iGPU but keeping the dGPU awake as well.

How can I set a program to run on the iGPU?

As already described, these settings are located in the Windows Graphics settings. You can find them by searching for “Graphics” in the Start menu (see screenshot). There you click on “Browse” and look for the path of the .exe file that represents the program. Alternatively, you can select a shortcut on the desktop or in the Start menu here, as long as it points directly to the .exe file.

If you can’t find the .exe file of your program on the first try, please proceed as follows:

  • Start the program that you want to put on the iGPU.
  • Open the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc)
  • Find the program in the list in the “Process” tab or in the “Details” tab
  • After a right click on the list entry: select “Open file path”.
  • The newly opened explorer window shows the folder where the .exe file of the program is located.
  • Press Ctrl+L to switch to the Explorer address bar.
  • Press Ctrl+C to copy the address path of the folder to the clipboard.
  • Go back to the Windows Graphics settings and click Browse again.
  • Press Ctrl+V to enter the address path from the clipboard into the search mask and confirm with “Enter”.
  • Now select the .exe file and confirm again.

The new entry for your program is now in the list. This list is always sorted alphabetically. Select your program in the list, click on “Options” and select the desired graphics card for this program.

graphics settings gpu choice de 300In the screenshot: Furmark is manually set to the iGPU.

Which programs are able to keep the dGPU awake, although they should actually run on the iGPU?

If a program insists on using the dGPU for graphics acceleration, it cannot be prevented in a general sense with on-board methods. Even if you define in the Windows graphics settings that the program should run on the iGPU, this does not prevent the program from using the dGPU anyway (if the program deems it necessary).

To test if a program is running its activities on the dGPU, you can again use Windows Task Manager:

  • Select the “Performance” tab in the Task Manager and click on the history diagram of the NVIDIA GPU.
  • Now open the program you want to test. Play around in the program a bit, e.g. by loading pages, starting actions or just zooming in and out.
  • If you see a correlation between your actions in the program you are testing and the NVIDIA GPU activity in Task Manager, then it is very likely that the program is responsible for that activity.

Here is a list of programs that usually (unfortunately) keep the dGPU awake:

  • Web browser
    • All modern browsers (Edge, Chrome, Firefox) use hardware acceleration to speed up the building or rendering of websites.
    • Usually it goes like this: if the browser detects that the dGPU is already running at startup, then the browser jumps on the bandwagon and uses it as well. Then the browser keeps the dGPU awake until the browser is terminated or restarted.
    • This has the following effect: if you start a browser while an external monitor is connected to the dGPU, the browser will still use the dGPU even after you have disconnected the external monitor.
    • Interesting fact: you can disable and re-enable the dGPU in Device Manager. This releases the browser from its dGPU “dependency” – without crashing. If the dGPU is then reactivated, it goes to sleep after a few seconds – the browser continues to run its hardware acceleration on the iGPU. So the old IT running gag is actually useful here: have you tried turning it off and on again?
    • However, disabling the dGPU permanently in the Device Manager is not a solution. The reason for this is explained down below in the section “Disabling the dGPU manually is unfortunately not a solution!”.
    • Solution #1: → Restart browser.
    • Solution #2: → disable dGPU and reactivate it immediately (do not disable it permanently).
    • Solution #3: → Disable hardware acceleration in the browser. Screenshots: Firefox Chrome.
  • Browser-based apps
    • Many modern programs use a web browser engine. What has been said about web browsers applies to these apps, too.
    • These include: Microsoft Teams, Slack, Discord, Spotify, Microsoft Visual Code and many more.
    • Many of these programs use Electron as their engine, but some programs also use their own implementation of e.g. Chromium.
    • Solution: → The above solutions #1 and #2 also work with these browser-based apps. An option for solution #3 (disable hardware acceleration) is usually not available in these apps.
  • System monitoring programs
    • Some (not all) system monitoring programs keep the dGPU awake to read its values (e.g. temperature). This is the realization of Heisenberg’s uncertainty theorem: the observer changes the result by the act of observation.
    • Which programs are acting like this can be found in the FAQ category “Tips” in the article about tuning and system software. Fortunately, HWiNFO64 is not
    • Solution: → Terminate or uninstall such monitoring programs and switch to an alternative.
  • Content Creation, Streaming and Video Encoding
    • Programs that have something to do with video production like to use the dGPU to accelerate video encoding.
    • An interesting example is HandBrake: by default the program starts on the dGPU and thus keeps the dGPU permanently awake, even if it does not render anything (e.g. in the “Open file” dialog).
    • If you define in Windows Graphics settings that HandBrake should start on the iGPU, then it still wakes up the dGPU briefly at startup, but then puts the dGPU to sleep again when it has nothing to do. If you then select the NVEnc encoder in HandBrake and start a video encoding, the dGPU wakes up again and does its job properly.
    • Conclusion: → Run video editing programs on the iGPU if possible. You can then still tell it to activate the dGPU as needed.
  • Game Launcher (e.g. Epic Games Launcher)
    • A “game launcher” is a program that is not yet a PC game itself, but only represents the “antechamber” of a PC game. In these “launchers” you can find e.g. advertising, option menus and access to DLC and other peripheral content of the game. Once installed, these launchers tend to run in the background (or hide in the systray) and keep the dGPU awake (see example).
    • Solution: → Create an exception for these programs in the Windows Graphics settings and/or remove them from automatic startup.

The list is long, but certainly not yet complete. As an OEM, we unfortunately have no direct influence on these circumstances. Although we have forwarded our papers on this topic to NVIDIA and (later) also to Microsoft every now and then – not much seems to have improved so far. Apparently, it is the responsibility of Microsoft and their partners to create order in this “MSHybrid” standard and enforce reasonable defaults.

Incomplete driver installation can keep dGPU awake

We documented a case where a user had manually unselected the “Audio” and “USB-C” components during the custom installation of the NVIDIA driver. This resulted in the dGPU being permanently “On” even when idle, although it was demonstrably not being used by any program.

Solution: → Install the NVIDIA driver completely – do not uncheck any components.

Disabling the dGPU manually is unfortunately not a solution!

According to the information above, one could assume that it would be a good workaround (in battery mode) to simply disable the dGPU completely in the Device Manager. Unfortunately, this causes exactly the opposite of the desired result.

Why is that? When you disable the NVIDIA GPU in Device Manager, you don’t disable it in hardware. You are merely taking away the operating system’s ability to exert an influence on the dGPU’s activity. As a result, the dGPU is permanently “awake” without being directly visible. The “sleepless” dGPU also increases the CPU’s energy consumption.

You can see this very well by keeping an eye on the “Charge Rate” in HWiNFO64 in battery mode. In a correctly configured system, the charge rate should be less than -10 watts in idle (all programs closed). If you disable NVIDIA GPU in Device Manager, you will see the Charge Rate rise to over -30 watts and stay there.

Conclusion: → Disabling the dGPU manually is counter-productive. It needs to be tamed…

This was now the last word on the NVIDIA GPU. Let’s turn to the CPU next.

GPU is asleep, Task Manager is quiet, but CPU power consumption is still too high – what now?

If the GPU is demonstrably asleep (i.e.: not disabled Device Manager yet still zero watts GPU power in HWiNFO64) and you don’t find any abnormalities in Task Manager or Process Explorer, but your “CPU Package Power” is still constantly well above 3 watts at idle, it gets a bit complicated. The next couple of steps would be in the realm of “Trial & Error”.

But before that, we can break down the CPU consumption a bit more precisely.

Analyze CPU sleep states

Sleep states are cycles during which the CPU sleeps with various levels of intensity – the more time the CPU spends in such states and the deeper those states are, the less energy it consumes. At Intel and AMD, these sleep states are called “C-States” – and we always refer to the complete “package” of the CPU, i.e. not only the processor cores but also the integrated chipset and the iGPU.

Reminder: this analysis is only helpful if the NVIDIA GPU was already excluded as a root cause.

Sleep states can be analyzed very easily with HWiNFO64.

  • Search in the sensors of HWiNFO64 for the value “Package C2 Residency”.
  • Among them you will find a number of other so called C-States: C3, C6, C7 etc. – the higher the C-number, the deeper the CPU sleeps.
  • HWiNFO64 shows in the column “Current” in % how much time the CPU has spent in which C-States during the last two seconds.
  • The column “Average” gives an average value, measured from the time when HWiNFO64 was started. To restart the average measurement timeframe, you can click on the square button with the analog clock in the lower right corner.

In idle you ideally want to spend as much time as possible in C8 or lower. Values of over 40% in C8 should be possible if all background programs are really closed.

hwinfo64 package c8 residency 500

Screenshot: an Intel Core i7-11800H with an average of 74.3% package C8 residency.

If your “CPU Package” is not in C8 at any time (0%), then something is wrong.

Trial & error to isolate the cause of insufficient sleep states

We can now do a little trial & error to see what effect this has on the sleep states.

Reminder: this analysis is only helpful if the NVIDIA GPU was already excluded as a root cause.

Beginner-friendly steps:

  • Put the laptop into power saving mode
  • Put the laptop into airplane mode
  • Remove as much periphery as possible, incl. USB and network cables
  • Observe situation both with and without power supply
  • Change refresh rate, Adaptive Sync and other graphics options (details below)
  • Remove as much software from the autostart as possible
  • Uninstall suspicious software
  • BIOS reset (Load Defaults, Save & Reset)
  • Uninstall the Control Center software associated with the laptop
  • EC and BIOS update (see instructions) and BIOS reset again

Uninstalling suspicious software has often led to improvements in the past. Here are a few examples:

  • Corsair iCue (source)
  • Epic Games Launcher (source)
  • Paint 3D (source)
  • Intel Driver & Support Assistant (source)
  • Outdated Killer WLAN drivers (or Killer Performance Suite)

Of course, these examples might only reflect a moment in time. It may well be that newer versions of these programs have fixed their problems or reduced their CPU consumption. But there might also always be new problems of this kind with different applications. The developers are not always to blame: it can very well happen that a new Windows update causes any program to run out of sync, e.g. by abandoning a previously used API method, and corresponding requests from third-party software then run into a timeout.

If such sleep-breaking issues are found on any particular software, it’s always best to notify the software vendor directly.

When refresh rate, Adaptive Sync and Modern Standby have a negative impact on sleep states.

Windows is now packed with new features that are supposed to reduce energy consumption. These include Modern Standby (S0ix) and various techniques that regulate the consumption of the LCD panel, for example by dynamically lowering the refresh rate if no active content is displayed on the screen. Most of these options were established with the 11th generation Intel Core (Tiger Lake).

If the laptop’s display is connected to the Intel graphics (if NVIDIA Optimus is active or if the laptop doesn’t have NVIDIA graphics at all), then you can control many of these options in the Intel Graphics Command Center. You can find this in the start menu by searching for “Intel”.

intel graphics command center de 500

Possible options are:

  • Changing the refresh rate – e.g. a reduction to 60Hz
  • Adaptive Brightness
  • Panel Self Refresh
  • Display Power Savings
  • Enhanced Power Saving

We have recently found that some of these options can have a adverse effect on power consumption and sleep states on certain systems. An investigation into this has just begun (November 2021). If other options have already been exhausted, we are happy to advise playing around with these Intel graphics options as well.

Trial & error for advanced users

Once the above factors have been largely ruled out, we can go one level deeper.

  • Undo the activation of optional Windows features. Examples:
    • Virtual Machine Platform
    • Windows Hypervisor Platform
    • Windows Subsystem for Linux
  • Check whether all device drivers are correctly installed. For example, it can happen that a device may be working, but it still keeps the CPU from sleeping due to missing drivers (example).
  • Remove the system memory (RAM) and test it with only one module if necessary (see notes in the FAQ section on Maintenance).
  • If there are several SSDs in the system: remove the SSD on which Windows is not
  • Disconnect the Wi-Fi module from the mainboard.
  • Perform a clean Windows reinstallation.
  • Install Windows on an SSD of a different type.

The notes about the SSD are not arbitrary here: there has already been at least one case where an M.2/PCIe SSD from a smaller SSD manufacturer resulted in the CPU not being able to go into deep C-states. At that time, it was an SSD that was not offered for sale by XMG.

If none of these steps lead to a significant improvement in CPU sleep states, please contact us or open a new conversation in our community.

If you noticed an improvement between the different trial & error steps, but are still not satisfied with the result, please document the before/after state. For example: note which is the “deepest” sleep state reached in idle and how much time (in percent) the CPU spends in this state. Additionally, please note with which of the steps outlined above the situation has improved significantly.

CPU consumption low, sleep states okay – but still high battery consumption? Almost impossible!

For comparison: a correctly installed XMG gaming laptop should show a consumption of less than 10 watts in idle battery mode under normal conditions. The CPU package power should be below 3 watts on average.

If your battery consumption is above 10 watts or even far above 20 watts, although your GPU is asleep and your CPU package power is below 3 watts, then something is really wrong. Such cases are extremely rare and poorly documented – so this section is rather academic. If you still have such a situation, please contact us.

Other potential power drains in the system are:

  • Display
  • Keyboard
  • System memory (RAM)
  • Wi-Fi module
  • Other mainboard components (LAN adapter, card reader, Thunderbolt etc.)

The display is of course the most obvious consumer: if you compare the battery consumption (charge rate with minus values) between maximum and lowest screen brightness, you should notice a difference of a few watts. The higher the physical screen resolution and the higher the brightness, the higher the consumption. OLED displays consume more when showing white/bright content than when showing a mostly black screen.

For comparison:

  • 17.3″ Ultra HD (4K/60Hz) in XMG ULTRA 17 consumes a maximum of 8.4 watts.
  • 15.6″ WQHD (1440p/165Hz) in XMG NEO 17 consumes a maximum of 5.9 watts.
  • 14.0″ Full HD (1080p/120Hz) in XMG CORE 14 consumes a maximum of 4.7 watts.

These values are based on the spec sheets of the respective panel manufacturers and include both the panel’s logic and its backlight at maximum brightness. This comparison shows quite well the range between different screen sizes and resolutions. The comparison also shows that we currently do not offer panels that consume more than 10 watts. Thus, a battery consumption of more than 20 watts cannot be caused by the LCD panel alone.

The keyboard illumination is also relatively insignificant: the savings by turning off the keyboard illumination are hardly measurable. The system memory and Wi-Fi module can also consume power, but their consumption is usually also capped at relatively low values. The system memory’s consumption is also linked to the CPU’s consumption: if the CPU is asleep, then the system memory cannot be busy either.

Note on laptops with a desktop CPU

The comparison values given in the previous sections only apply to laptops with mobile CPUs. Laptops with desktop CPUs (XMG ULTRA and some variations of XMG APEX) have much higher consumption rates on average and do not use NVIDIA Optimus – so the dGPU is always active in them. However, desktop CPUs should also be able to reduce their power consumption when idle. So you can use the above mentioned analysis methods for desktop CPUs. The minimum consumption will be higher, though; a desktop CPU won’t reach such low sleep states due to the permanent dGPU connection. For a comparison with the community, we recommend the channels #xmg-apex-xl and #xmg-ultra on our Discord server.

Contact us with screenshots and logfiles

If you want to contact us or open a new conversation in the community, it helps us to know as much about your system as possible:

  • How is your system configured?
  • Which of the above steps did you follow?
  • What results did you get? Do you have screenshots and log files?

For a deeper analysis you can create a full sensor log with HWiNFO64:

  • Click on the green [+] symbol in the lower right corner of the sensor view.
  • Define the folder and filename of your new log file.
  • As soon as you click on “Save”, HWiNFO64 will start logging.
  • The green [+] symbol has now changed to a red “x” – you can stop logging by clicking on that button again.

During logging all sensor values are written to a CSV file every 2 seconds. This CSV file can later be analysed with the free tool GenericLogViewer or further dissected with a spreadsheet program.

generic log viewer cpu power vs usage vs c states 500

In this example screenshot you can see how the CPU power consumption drops to well below 5 watts after the end of a benchmark while the package C8 residency increases to over 60% at the same time. You can display as many diagrams next to each other as you want. The X-axis is synchronized so that the diagram lines are always in direct relation to each other.

Two well written guides on this topic can be found here:

Both links lead to the wiki of r/TechSupport, a subreddit for general PC/Tech support.

Creating a System Report with HWiNFO64

A system report lists all installed hardware components and all driver and firmware versions. This can be helpful later on when troubleshooting.

  • Restart HWiNFO64, uncheck “Sensors-only” and click “Run”.
  • In the big window you will find a big disk icon in the upper left corner, labeled “Save Report”.
  • Now click on “Browse” and define folder and filename for your report file.
  • Click on Next and leave all other options as they are.
  • Afterwards a HTML file will be created, which we can comfortably read in our browser.

The system report does not contain any personal data – even the name of the user account is not included.

However, it does contain serial numbers of components from which we can derive the customer number and production date through our inventory management system. Such details can help our support team in troubleshooting as well.

Final words

Windows PCs are complex, Windows laptops are more complex – due to the high degree of freedom in terms of components and installed software, the high level of integration of firmware and hardware, and the high demand for energy-saving potential and battery life, there is virtually an infinite number of potential things that can happen. We hope to have helped you with this detailed guide in an active and solid troubleshooting.

Well-researched customer feedback can of course also help us identify and eliminate bugs and errors in our own hardware and firmware. We are also happy to pass on solid feedback to our suppliers and partners. If you have come to the conclusion that we or one of our partners have a serial defect, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do you want to know more?