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dalvarez
Journeyman III

Puzzling, Hard FPS Drops on MacBook Pro (Radeon Pro Vega 20)

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Dear forum members,

Since about two months, I am experiencing regular, hard FPS drops with my late-2018 Macbook Pro while gaming.


Here is the config:

Intel Core i7-8850H, 6-core, 2.6-4.3 GHz, 16 GB RAM, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, 512 GB NVME SSD. The games are installed on an external Seagate 1TB OneTouch SSD, USB 3.0, 400 MB/S, due to space constraints.

Windows 10 (64 Bit, 20H2, Build 19042.985) via Bootcamp, driver version updated to 20.10.36.01.

 

FPS used to be fine for my purposes, at about 35 for Far Cry New Dawn (1080p ultra) and about 50 for Doom Eternal (1080p medium-high). Being busy, I stopped booting into Windows for several months. When I tuned back in, the FPS drops kicked in.

Now, in Far Cry New Dawn it is pegged at about half the performance at 16 fps, and about every 15 seconds, it drops down to 3 fps and stays there for about 20 seconds. Then it goes back up and repeats the cycle, almost regularly.

Doom Eternal is no different, frequently dropping to about 6 fps and back up.


I suspected a thermal issue. But I installed MSI afterburner and thermals are OK at about 60° C / 140° F. Curiously, they start out at about 72° C / 165° F right after the game launches, then gradually sink to about 60° / 140° F during play.

GPU utilization is at 100% throughout, and CPU utilization at about 10-20% throughout.

I cannot see a single indicator of anything unusual or changing - be it thermals, utilization, or voltage - other than FPS dropping hard and then back up.

I used MSI Afterburner to configure a custom fan curve to put the fan at 100% when the system hits 50° C / 122° F, just to make double sure to optimize thermals.

It does not appear to be a loading issue either - I can stay where I am (in the game world) and it still happens.


There are no concurrent applications running. I disabled Windows Defender both in the settings and permanently per registry key. I also updated the driver to the version listed above.

In the Task Manager I can see that the "Anti-Malware Service" is still running - strangely - but it does not seem to consume any resources, so it seems inactive.

The laptop is plugged in, Windows Game Mode is on, and Power Mode is set to "best performance".


I suspect some update issue or weird power-management effects, but can't pinpoint it. I remember Windows updated itself before this started happening, so I guess this is the most likely cause.


I want to avoid a reinstall if at all possible.

Any ideas on how to resolve this are much appreciated.

Thank you!

Best,

Daniel

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1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
dalvarez
Journeyman III

Re: Puzzling, Hard FPS Drops on MacBook Pro (Radeon Pro Vega 20)

Jump to solution

After taking the laptop to a repair shop, the underlying issue was in fact a thermal problem, and quickly solved. The fans, inlets and outlets were severely clogged with dust.

Why this did not manifest in the afterburner temp readouts is a mystery to me. I got suspicious when I manually set the fans to full blast when idle, and the temps did not change at all. So I decided to take a chance on the readouts being bogus, and it turned out true.

After the fix, now the thermals are shown to be higher than before, at a roundabout constant 72° C / 162° F when gaming, without sinking. However, I do not fully trust the readouts, given that they were likely wrong also before.

Most importantly, gaming works now and I am back at a constant 35-45 FPS.

Problem solved.

View solution in original post

1 Reply
dalvarez
Journeyman III

Re: Puzzling, Hard FPS Drops on MacBook Pro (Radeon Pro Vega 20)

Jump to solution

After taking the laptop to a repair shop, the underlying issue was in fact a thermal problem, and quickly solved. The fans, inlets and outlets were severely clogged with dust.

Why this did not manifest in the afterburner temp readouts is a mystery to me. I got suspicious when I manually set the fans to full blast when idle, and the temps did not change at all. So I decided to take a chance on the readouts being bogus, and it turned out true.

After the fix, now the thermals are shown to be higher than before, at a roundabout constant 72° C / 162° F when gaming, without sinking. However, I do not fully trust the readouts, given that they were likely wrong also before.

Most importantly, gaming works now and I am back at a constant 35-45 FPS.

Problem solved.

View solution in original post