Laptop CPU clock speeds go down to 0.78 Ghz


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Hello everyone, this has been happening for a while and I can't seem to find a solution for it. So here goes:

Laptop specs:
Alienware 17 R3 || Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 M || 16 GB RAM
Intel i7-6820HK 2.70 Ghz Base (Runs near 3.4 Ghz under normal usage)
240W Power supply
Note: I use the laptop with a non-functional battery (Not recognized in BIOS, doesn't charge at all, I use the system plugged in)

I've been experiencing consistent frame drops while playing any game save for League of Legends (relatively less taxing considering other games). Destiny 2 and Subnautica constantly drop to 20 FPS for a few minutes before going back to normal and the cycle continues. I have noticed that during this time, the task manager reports 0.78 Ghz CPU and goes back to 3.4 Ghz when the in-game frame rates go back to normal. The entire computer also lags when the clock speed drops. This started after I connected my laptop to a monitor, and although I'm not sure if that was the case, it hasn't gone away even after I unplugged it. The attached report is with the monitor plugged in. The same clock speed drops used to happen earlier due to thermal throttling (temps 95+ degrees celsius) but they went away after cleaning. During general use, the laptop doesn't have any issues.

I have tried some solutions like changing my power setting to High-performance, disabling Intel SpeedStep in BIOS but none have worked. Throttlestop used to work briefly. Whenever I disabled "BD-PROCHOT" in Throttlestop, the clock speed would immediately go back to 3.4 Ghz but about a month or so ago, the laptop stopped responding to that as well.

I have logged the HWinfo sensor-only reports, I would be extremely grateful if someone could help me out. I noticed 0.7 Ghz at startup once, but it hasn't happened in a while, the reports are from a normal start-up (3 Ghz idle).
The report is basically of my Genshin Impact (game) run, during which it stuttered multiple times (started after I alt-tabbed out once. But for other games, it starts on its own).


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I still can see thermal throttling there, so that's most likely the reason for those drops.
Notebooks are usually not equipped with sufficient cooling, so this happens quite common during high load.
Ah I see. Thank you very much. I will get my vents and fans cleaned.

I did check the rows where Core Thermal Throttle had "Yes" populated, but the corresponding CPU Mhz entries has normal clock speeds ( 3 Ghz ).
And the rows where I do see the CPU Mhz entries to be 0.78 Mhz, Core Thermal Throttle has "No" (in the block of data that I checked).

I'm not very familiar with the reading and their causes and effects but is it still possible that the performance drops are due to thermal throttling?
Those clock speeds are not always reliable as they might not capture the drops. It's better to go by Effective Clocks.
But every time you see the Thermal Throttling triggered, there's an associated clock reduction happening.
Oh! Yes, the drops in Effective Clocks were noticeable where the Thermal throttling column was populated.

Thank you very much for the help. Hopefully, a little bit of cleaning should help with the laptop's performance.
@Martin Hey Martin, I got around to cleaning my laptop and my temperatures are better than before. However, the frame drops in games, and the associated CPU clock speeds are still there. I have some new information and data for you.

I have a log file that covers the entire time I was in the game (Destiny 2). There were multiple instances during which the clock speeds fell and so did my frames. I took two sets of screenshots in HWinfo UI when the throttling started and when the clocks (and frames in the game) went back to normal. From the screenshots, I can see that Core VIDs drop to a lower value of 0.694 V when the throttling is happening and it goes back to normal 1.2 V after the throttling stops. (Screenshots included in the ZIP file).

In the Excel log file, I checked for Thermal Throttling across columns and all of the ones I could see had "No" in the values. However, there's a column called "IA_PROCHOT" which has "Yes" wherever my CPU clock speeds are low.

I did undervolt my Laptop by around 0.1 V using Throttlestop in the past, but the application is not there on my PC anymore. Further, the undervolt value (0.1 V) I set then is far less than what I see here (0.6 V)

I would be very grateful if you could guide me as to how I can remedy this situation. Thank you in advance :)


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Some systems (especially laptops) can start throttling not only due to CPU reaching high temperature, but also if other areas are heated up and exceed a specific skin temperature.
However the exact implementation and behavior is system vendor specific, so I'd suggest to consult this with the manufacturer.