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Defective Heat Sinks Causing Garbage Gaming

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When Valve’s customers have performance problems in our games we sometimes ask them to send in xperf traces for us to examine. In some cases this lets me find performance bugs that didn’t show up during our testing, and fixing these issues makes our games run faster for everyone.In some situations, however, what I find is significantly stranger. In at least four cases this year these traces showed performance problems caused by thermal throttling – CPUs overheating enough that they throttle back their performance in order to stop themselves from melting, and the computers’ owners had no idea.I want to share this because I think it’s kind of nerdy cool, because developers should know about this possibility, and because there may be a lot of people out there whose games are running poorly because of overheating.Thermal throttling is extremely difficult to detect in xperf traces. It is done automatically by the CPU or the motherboard, and the operating system (OS) doesn’t realize that it is happening. I use the xperf toolset for these investigations but its CPU frequency graphs show the CPU running at full throttle and its power management events say that all is well, and yet…

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07 Aug
Hacker News 20 @newsyc20
Defective Heat Sinks Causing Garbage Gaming http://t.co/QClOc4QECc (http://t.co/GNTJvRds0j)