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Increased power consumption after updating to 1803


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#1 saluqi

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 11:29 PM

Desktop computer, Dell XPS 8700, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit version 1803, upgrade from 1709 a couple of weeks ago.

 

I have an APC UPS and from time to time look at the PowerChute PE panel to check power consumption and available runtime on battery.  Looked at it just now (first time since the features upgrade) and found available runtime almost halved (from around 54 minutes down to 30), power consumption during normal computer operation, which has for a very long time been unchanged at around 60 watts, now 100 watts, and (thanks to Speccy) the CPU temperature right around the red line at 58-60 Celsius (red line is at 60).

 

Yes the weather is warmer now (I'm in south-central California) but last summer this did not happen in spite of outdoor temperatures up to 120 F. (49 Celsius).  Of course I run A/C in the computer room, that has not changed in years.  Room temperature around 70 degrees F.

 

I am surprised and rather alarmed by the sudden change in power consumption (no change in the way I use the computer) and the CPU temperature (never before at that high level).

 

I'm thinking, first thing to try is open up the case and clean out any dust (this is farming country and VERY dusty, my house is surrounded by hundreds of acres of crop fields, mostly alfalfa hay for cattle feed; I have dogs that go in and out through a doggy door, but never into the computer room, that door is always closed).

 

Any other suggestions?  Is there any way this could be related to the features upgrade?



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 09:15 AM

Cleaning out the computer would be the first thing to try. I try to dust out the my desktops at least once a year. Do you notice the fans spinning faster? Modern CPUs can go well past 60C.

 

http://www.buildcomputers.net/cpu-temperature.html

 

Make sure your power plan has not been set to Ultimate.

 

https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/107613-add-remove-ultimate-performance-power-plan-windows-10-a.html



#3 britechguy

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 09:23 AM

 

Just as a side note, one's power plan really should not (cannot, I'd say) be set to Ultimate unless one made the effort to set it.

 

It is not available for choosing by default and you need to take steps to install (or, more accurately, activate) it then, after doing so, going in and selecting it.

 

It never hurts to check what one's current power plan is, though, as even going from "Balanced" to "High Performance" has the potential to skew things.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1809, Build 17763 

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#4 saluqi

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 04:53 PM

In the meantime I have shut down the computer, opened the case and blown out a modest quantity of fine dust, especially from the CPU heat sink fins and the fan on top of them.  Everything inside is now pretty clean.  When I started up again, power consumption was at 120 watts (even higher than before, though it then dropped to around 100 watts after a few minutes) and the CPU temperature, with nothing running except Speccy and Chrome open to this page, is at 55-58 Celsius - marginally less than before,but still higher than I am used to seeing.  The NVIdia GPU processor temperature is 42 Celsius.  Both hard drives (the built-in Seagate and the external WD MyBook) are at 35 Celsius.  BTW the main CPU on this machine is an i7 Haswell, with a "redline" at 60 Celsius.  Manufacture date of Dell machine itself is 08/19/2014.

 

I am still puzzled by the increased power consumption, because absolutely nothing has changed about the computer, the attached devices, the router, or the other devices attached to the battery-backed side of the APC UPS - all those configurations have remained unchanged for at least a year.

 

So what could be causing the increased power consumption?  It had been at around 54-62 watts for as long as I've had the UPS unit; and now after upgrading to 1803 it is suddenly around 100 watts.

 

FWIW this unit appears to have only 3 fans: one inside the PSU, one ventilating the case and one on top of the CPU heat sink.  Could a burnt out fan motor cause this?  There's a sensor on the CPU that's supposed to give notice if the fan isn't working.  I don't know about the others.  You can't hear fan noise from the unit if your ear is more than a foot away, but it's always been like that, very silent.



#5 JohnC_21

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 05:03 PM

Is it possible to turn off the UPS after shutting down then restart. Perhaps is a issue between the Powerchute software and the new 1803 build. What version of Powerchute are you running? V3.0.2?



#6 saluqi

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 06:41 PM

Yes, it is PowerChute version 3.0.2.  I just now shut down the computer, shut down the UPS, then after a few minutes restarted the UPS and then the computer.  PowerChute is now displaying power usage varying between 91 and 120 watts.  The UPS unit is Model NS 900M.  The power consumption has previously always been in the range of about 54-64 watts, regardless of what I was or wasn't doing with the computer.  That hadn't changed over many months, since first installing the UPS in, I think, July 2017.  The PCPE software was installed a bit later (August 2017) because there were initial difficulties with the installer and in the end I installed the software using a cmd script provided by APC for the purpose.



#7 saluqi

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 04:04 PM

Further to the foregoing:

 

1. It seems to me from what I am seeing in Speccy and in the PCPE display that the increased power consumption (and correspondingly decreased battery runtime in case of power outage) are "real", that is, they are actually occurring and the machine is actually using more power, some at least of which is being used by the CPU and resulting in higher temperatures there than those previously observed.

 

2. It occurred to me that possibly a fan had failed or become stuck and was therefore drawing more power and doing less cooling.  So I have now operated the computer with the side of the case open and established by visual inspection that the fans seem to be operating normally.  The fan configuration is as follows:

   a.  There is a fan inside the PSU, blowing warm air out the back of the computer case at the top.

   b.  There is a four inch diameter fan blowing warm air from the inside of the case out the back, just below the PSU.

   c.  There is a three inch diameter fan on top of the CPU heat-sink fins, pushing air down into the heat-sink fins.

There is lots of empty space inside this case, so lots of room for air to circulate.  There is a large (about 1 1/2 x 6 inches) inlet vent at the bottom front of the case; a set of inlet holes covering about 2 x 8 inches along the bottom of the left side of the case (as seen from the front) toward the rear; and there is a set of air inlet holes across the back of the case at the bottom.  Testing air movement with a narrow strip of tissue paper shows that air is entering in all of those places.

 

3. All this makes me think the increased power consumption and CPU heating is real, and has a cause unrelated to case ventilation or fan operation.  TWO system changes have happened recently that might have affected CPU power consumption.  One was the upgrade from version 1709 to 1803.  The other, a short time earlier, was the BIOS upgrade to version A12, to mitigate the Spectre v2 vulnerability.  So my question is, is it conceivable that either or both of those changes might increase the power consumption to the observed extent of 60% or more?



#8 saluqi

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 09:01 PM

I can now report that, for reasons unknown to me, the subject computer has spontaneously returned to its earlier condition, with a power consumption usually less than 60 watts (typically 54-57 watts) and a projected battery run time longer than 50 minutes (typically 54 minutes).  It is also noticeably "livelier" than in the immediate past - programs open almost instantly, waking up from sleep is very quick, and so on.  The CPU temperature is below 35 Celsius most of the time.

 

The way in which that came about was very peculiar and for a couple of hours also quite alarming.  I came home late yesterday afternoon and tried to wake the computer from sleep in the usual way (hitting the space bar normally does that instantly).  Instead I got a black screen.  The light on the computer's power button showed it was awake.  After a while the monitor displayed a message "Check the data cable" (HDMI in this case).  Cable was firmly plugged in at both ends.  Puppies and other destructive influences do not have access to the computer room.  After perhaps half an hour of assorted fiddling - computer on and off, monitor on and off, unplugging and replugging cable etc. - the computer came to life - sort of.  Blue screen with a notice like "There has been an error, gathering information and then we will restart".  The "gathering" took quite a while (maybe 15 minutes or so).  Then came further messages and "Hard disk error, scanning and repairing hard disk C:".  Enough to strike fear in the heart of the boldest, tinkering with the guts of a richly populated HDD.  Then a progress display, from 0% to 100%, very slow (several minutes per %) in some parts of the drive, very fast in others.  Then a restart.  Then another round of "Scanning and repairing hard disk C:" (with incremental effect on observer's blood pressure <G>).  Another restart.  Another round of "Scanning and repairing . . .".  After I think five such rounds and restarts, it said "unable to repair hard drive C:" and offered the choice of shutting down or I don't remember what.  I chose "shut down".  Up popped another set of choices, of which the default was "exit to Windows 10" or words to that effect.  I chose that and got my familiar Win 10 desktop back - VERY slowly, it must have taken several minutes to fully populate that desktop.  I can't clearly remember if I rebooted at that point (or soon after) but when I did, all of a sudden everything was back to normal but much quicker than it had been say the day before.

 

In the meantime I have been on and off the computer several times, it remains quick and responsive and the power consumption, battery run time and CPU temperature remain as described - of course I now check them every time I go to the computer.  Everything appears quite normal and if I have lost any data or files, it has not yet become obvious.  Mail, Internet, photo file management etc. etc. etc. all appear quite normal.

 

"Einem geschenkten Gaul schaut man nicht ins Maul" ("don't look a gift horse in the mouth" - that's how you judge a horse's age) but if anybody has any idea what was going on there I'd very much like to hear it.  That whole sequence with the multiple "scan and repair" cycles took at least three hours and seeing "unable to repair hard drive C:" was not very reassuring.



#9 JohnC_21

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 10:48 AM

I would run a Dell System Diagnostic by tapping F12 at boot. That would flag any hard drive or memory problems.



#10 saluqi

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 12:17 PM

I'll try that.  BTW both active drives (the internal Seagate and  the external WD MyBook) recently passed the SeaTools Long Generic test.

 

EDIT - Ran the Dell System Diagnostic overnight, the full-length version, everything passed.  The system used a bit more power for a few minutes after rebooting, but then returned to its original behavior of lower power use: power consumption of 60 watts or less, projected battery runtime 50 minutes or so.  So the original "problem" has gone away - and I still have no idea what it all meant.


Edited by saluqi, 01 June 2018 - 09:42 AM.


#11 saluqi

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Posted 16 June 2018 - 10:47 PM

Update 8:20 pm local time on 6/16/18 - for most of yesterday, and today until about noon, the system again showed high power consumption (85-100 watts), correspondingly reduced battery time (around 34 minutes) and elevated CPU temperatures (55-60 C.).  This evening it is back to long-term normal, i.e. power consumption 57 watts, battery time 54 minutes, CPU temperature around 35 C.  There has been no change in installed programs or in activities performed on this computer (Dell XPS 8700 desktop, Windows 10 Professional 64 bit).  Activities include E-mail (a lot), news browsing (always the same sites), Web searches (minor repair parts for my SUV, and relevant information, always much the same sites).  Some image editing (wildlife photos) and sending photos by E-mail (again, the same stuff before, during and after this "spike" in power consumption).

 

The only recent change I can think of has been the installation on 6/13 of the Windows Cumulative Update 2018-06 (KB4284835).  The power consumption "spike" happened after that (but not immediately afterward) and has now ended.  It was interesting (I think that's the right word) to see that it was again associated with elevated CPU temperature.  So something is making the CPU work harder than usual?

 

Hm, I did install a CCleaner Pro update this morning????  I do that fairly regularly, whenever a new one comes out.  To the best of my recollection, power usage was still elevated after that.  I was out of town from noon to nearly 8 pm, so noticed the agaij-reduced power consumption just now when I looked at the computer again.

 

I don't think this could even be called a "problem" but I do wish I understood it.



#12 saluqi

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Posted 27 July 2018 - 02:27 PM

In case anybody might be interested, I think I have found the reason for the elevated power consumption and CPU temperature reported at the beginning of this item, and figured out how to turn it off.

 

I am not a "gamer" but do occasionally play a few hands of Klondike Solitaire as a mental distraction while trying to figure something out (an ethologist, which I actually am, would call this a "displacement activity", like a dog scratching, or a bird preening its feathers, in a conflict situation)..  In recent days I noticed that my system was back in elevated power consumption mode, with a CPU temperature verging on the upper limit of 60 Celsius instead of below 35 C.  ProcessExplorer showed me that something called Windows Push Notifications User Service (WpnUserService_70252) was consistently using nearly 12.5% of CPU time, a plausible cause for the increased CPU load and temperature I was observing (via PowerChute and Speccy).  I also noticed that Cortana was switching on Focus Assist (in spite of its being "off" on the Notifications panel) whenever I played a hand of solitaire, and it then remained on until I rebooted.  So I went into Settings and turned Focus Assist "off" there.  End of the problem - power usage dropped from 85-100 watts back to 54-57 watts and CPU temperature dropped from 58-60 Celsius back to below 35 Celsius.  There they have remained ever since, in spite of repeated "test hands" of solitaire.  The 12.5% CPU usage attributed to WpnUserService_70252 also disappeared, and has not recurred in spite of several reboots and "trial hands" of solitaire to see if I could reproduce the problem.

 

In other words, it looks as if WpnUserService_70252 was continually using 12.5% of CPU time, thereby increasing power consumption by roughly 75% and CPU temperature by more than 20 degrees Celsius.  Turning "Focus Assist" off in the "Settings" menu stopped that from occurring.  I haven't yet observed any disadvantage from leaving Focus Assist set to "off" in Settings.

 

Thanks to the Sysinternals group for providing the tool (ProcessExplorer) that helped me figure this out!






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