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When fast actually means slow: some Asus VivoBook 17 laptops may be suffering from a huge performance bug

When fast means slow: some Asus VivoBook 17 laptops may have a huge performance bug (Image source: Asus)
When fast means slow: some Asus VivoBook 17 laptops may have a huge performance bug (Image source: Asus)
Set the system to High Performance mode and the processor will slow to a crawl. Our experience with a Comet Lake-U-powered VivoBook 17 retail unit shows it might have some issues related to the standard Windows power profiles.
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Before running any performance benchmarks for our laptop reviews, we always set the systems to High Performance mode whenever possible. After all, we want the laptops to run at their fastest for the best scores possible. One particular model, however, would actually run slower.

In our recent review of the Asus VivoBook 17 S712FA-DS76 with the Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, we discovered that the system would run faster when set to the Balanced power profile instead of the High Performance profile. We're not even talking about marginal differences as clock rates would be worlds apart.

As shown by our screenshots below, moving the Windows power slider to Balanced mode while running CineBench R20 Multi-Thread would result in 100 percent CPU utilization and a high clock rate of 3.24 GHz as one would expect. When running this same test on High Performance mode, however, clock rates would inexplicably drop to just 700 MHz with a CPU utilization of just 30 percent. Moving the Windows power slider back to Balanced mode would immediately fix the issue.

This strange behavior is likely a bug related to the power states of the Comet Lake-U CPU in question when alternating between Balanced and High Performance modes. While we're able to reliably recreate this bug on our specific test unit, we can't speak for other units out in the wild or other SKUs of this same model. For now, we recommend avoiding High Performance mode on this specific Asus VivoBook 17 S712FA SKU as it may not perform how it should be.

Running CineBench R20 Multi-Thread on Balanced mode. Task Manager shows the CPU running at 3.24 GHz at 100% utilization
Running CineBench R20 Multi-Thread on Balanced mode. Task Manager shows the CPU running at 3.24 GHz at 100% utilization
Running CineBench R20 Multi-Thread in High Performance mode. Strangely, Task Manager shows the CPU running at only 0.7 GHz at 30% utilization
Running CineBench R20 Multi-Thread in High Performance mode. Strangely, Task Manager shows the CPU running at only 0.7 GHz at 30% utilization
Prime95 running on Balanced mode. CPU would stabilize at 2.8 GHz and 97 C
Prime95 running on Balanced mode. CPU would stabilize at 2.8 GHz and 97 C
Prime95 running on High performance mode. Strangely, CPU would fluctuate between 400 MHz and 4.3 GHz at a lower core temperature of 60 C
Prime95 running on High performance mode. Strangely, CPU would fluctuate between 400 MHz and 4.3 GHz at a lower core temperature of 60 C

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Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - Lead Editor U.S. - 4530 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2011
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.
contact me via: @AllenNgoNBC
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 06 > When fast actually means slow: some Asus VivoBook 17 laptops may be suffering from a huge performance bug
Allen Ngo, 2020-06-24 (Update: 2020-06-20)