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I present to you Firebat's Blade 15! (144hz/i7-8750H)

Discussion in 'Systems' started by Firebat246, May 24, 2018.

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  1. Firebat246

    Firebat246 The One

    I would like to hear from some more owners of the new Blade 15! How have they been running etc etc. Positives or negatives I want to hear it all.
  2. atrac7

    atrac7 New Member

    Other than lightbleed on the bottom left corner of my display, i have been very happy with the Blade 15 so far. I was prepared to send it back in, but since everything else works flawlessly, i decided not to risk having them open it up/sending me an alternate unit that may have issues.
  3. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    Is that Blade 15 base model or advanced?
  4. misterg36

    misterg36 Active Member

    Mine is fantastic, and I love it to bits - It still needs undervolting to keep the CPU temps down, but unlike the other 6 laptops I sent back before overheating this keeps it below 90 almost all of the time (Plus I know this is an intel chip issue).

    The only thing I hate with a passion is Optimus and the Thunderbolt 3 eGPU configuration (though I have no idea if anyone else gets it right).

    It feels like black magic is required to get it all working, and even then it stutters and jitters - and I have tried everything.

    What it really needs is the ability to manually force which GPU's you want to use (and even better have some options).

    There are ways to "force" the 1070 to work, but it would be great to have an option to
    • Always use nvidia
    • Use Intel when possible
    • Always use intel
    • Only use Thunderbolt eGPU (or stop trying to switch/share)
    Note: unless you have an absolute fix, I've purposely not gone into details, but have tried everything and get it to work 90% of the time without fiddling or re-installing drivers.

    I've mostly made my peace with the required fiddling, and it is still the best quality, featured laptop I could buy and I don't regret buying it - or waiting for the 4k version to hit the UK

    Amazing machine and definitely the best of the 7 different laptops I've had this year (I sent 6 of them back for overheating too much)

    It gets an A from me, and could hit an A+ if they got the GPU bit right
    (I realise it's kind of Intel/Nvidia issue, but a small official Razer app to force switch the software would be perfect)
    Firebat246 likes this.
  5. atrac7

    atrac7 New Member

    Advanced...GTX 1070/144hz screen with 512 gb
  6. atrac7

    atrac7 New Member

    Do you use the Razer core for E-GPU?

    I have the Razer GPU Switcher App. Works pretty well for me. You can download it from Razer's site. I believe it was originally intended for the old 14" Blade models, but it does the job for me on the new 15 just fine.
    misterg36 likes this.
  7. misterg36

    misterg36 Active Member

    OMG, you are amazing, no idea why Razer support never mentioned it.

    I will give it a try and see if it solves all my issues :)

    Thanks again atrac7 :D
    Firebat246 likes this.
  8. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    Stutter happens always often on egpu setting, though it depends on game, setting and resolution. It’s because TB3 bandwidth and Blade 15 TB3 design that isn’t directly connected to cpu but first through pch may cause also that. You’ve to play with those setting to minimize it. For example with 2080, AC Origins playable on 4K medium, SoTR 4K high. For PUBG if i get 100fps 1080p internal (ultra), 60fps 4K external. Main advantages from egpu on Blade with indirect cpu TB3 is to low cpu temperature which means longer lifespan imo, beside playing on high resolution like 4K with high end gpu that dGPU couldn’t achieve. On 1080p some games like OW performs better on 1070 Blade than 2080egpu in term performance, Far Cry 5 as well.
    misterg36 likes this.
  9. misterg36

    misterg36 Active Member

    Stutter on eGPU's is rarely to do with bandwidth, and almost always a driver issue.

    You are spot on with the temperature reduction and the frame rates etc.

    If you can get the drivers right, and a prevailing wind, it runs around 20% lower than a desktop card with no issues.

    I've tested it with the 15" blade, 6 other laptops, the alienware eGPU (on the 15 and 17" alienware) and using an Intel Skull Canyon nuc with 3 eGPUs, 1080Ti and 2080.

    The NUC has been the best performing (presumably closer to the CPU and designed to be used with one - it even has a TB3 from boot option in the BIOS!), but never one glitch.

    The Blade has micro/major stuttering due to both Optimus and some weird need to keep trying to use the Intel or the Nvidia onboard even when a TB3 eGPU is connected. Once you can convince the system to "just" use the onboard, or "just" use the TB3 it is seemless.

    I've done a ton of testing with all games, and IF you can get it right there is no stutter no matter what game you play.

    I also have to say for the TB3 port, the Razer switch Atrac mentioned is amazing and takes the black magic out of it. Right now, until I need a driver update it is absolutely stutter free and gives 10-20fps more in Overwatch.

    For stutter testing I use the Ghost recon benchmark and Overwatch as they always seem to be the most affected.
  10. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    It’s bandwidth keep the gpu bottleneck the performance on egpu setting. You can check cuda Z and see how huge bandwidth loose between egpu and dGPU.

    That one reason of struggle. And this is Forza Horizon 4 benchmarks with stutter counter.


    On lower resolution it’s worse

    Ghost recon wildlands is very demanding game, it may have something to do with driver but mostly the stutter comes from limited TB3 egpu bandwidth and cpu bottleneck. If you tried egpu setting on Alienware 15/17, AGA performs similar as PCIe3 16 lanes desktop since they have their own connection, but TB3 it’ll be similar (slightly better on graphics since TB3 connected directly to cpu like MacBook TB3 port unlike Blade 15 that connected to cpu through pch).
  11. misterg36

    misterg36 Active Member

    Once the drivers are right, and the Optimus has it's head in the game I get 0% stuttering in games and about 20% performance drop.

    The stuttering isn't eGPU bottleneck. It's drivers, Xbox DVD recorder (on by default), Nvidia Optimus and various other things (optimus and Drivers being the worst culprets as they try to auto-detect).
    It can also be overheating and thermal throttling.

    Since I've got the drivers right, under volted by -140 and set the turbo limits to 38,37,36,36,35,34, set the NVIDIA to be on with throttlestop in the control panel and the Razer switch there is no visible or tactile stutter of any sort.

    Which is why I say it all feels like black magic and it took me weeks of testing, reinstalling windows etc.
  12. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    Do you mean stuttering like on moving cursor and some scenes in game on wildlands right? I tested that on my old Blade 14 last year, it could be reduced by maxing the performance which was unlocking bios on Blade 2017, and turning off ASPM. Now on Blade 15 I believe it’ll be free on 1070 maxq dGPU since it’s over 30% stronger, but last time I’m doing wildlands benchmarks with new cards on core setting it stutter on 4K ultra, should lowering resolution to 1440p, the games is very gpu and cpu intensive, even 2080ti desktop I believe can’t play stable at ultra 4K, it should be lowered to very high to pass 60 FPS. That’s with xx Gb/s bandwidth host to device and device to host, with xxxx mb/s TB3 bandwidth. I can only play on 1440p very high to get 60fps with 2080. In my understanding bottleneck (cpu and TB3 bandwidth) =performance drop (compared to desktop setting) =stuttering;). I tried gpu from 1060 to 2080ti (1070 and 2070 skipped) btw, sweat spot for Blade 15 1070maxq is 2080/1080ti imo.
  13. misterg36

    misterg36 Active Member

    I think we may be talking about different things.

    I totally agree with you if you are talking about pushing the performance until the machine cant cope and you get low frame rates, or frame rate dips etc.

    I found that running a benchmark even at the lowest spec would produce micro and often large stuttering - which totally kills the frame rate, but worse than that is massively distracting.

    Overwatch for some reason was really choppy even when other games ran fine (again even at low resolution).

    Once I fixed the drivers, switch etc the games and benchmarks ran smoothly, no jittering or stuttering at LOW settings (1080p everything minimal).

    Then I pushed the performance/settings/resolution as high as I could while hitting 45-60fps min.

    So you are right, when you are pushing the performance, the TB3 will be a bottleneck (of about 20% lower than in a 16x slot in my testing).

    The stuttering and micro jittering I'm seeing is down to drivers and compatibility etc and nothing to do with TB3 bandwidth.

    The way to tell is watch what should be a smooth benchmark at all low settings, if it gives any stutters or jittering, solve this first then you will have a better gaming experience and probably an extra 10-20fps. If you are already running smoothly, congrats, but watch it if you ever change drivers.
  14. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    Which gpu are you using on the enclosure? Overwatch with 2080egpu on 1080p epic is around high 90ish to max Blade screen 140ish FPS, on dGPU 1070 a bit better with 110ish~140fps. I think this is other things that showed bandwidth keep the egpu performance especially in high FPS. On 4K epic it’s maxed 70fps stable on 2080 egpu which 1070 couldn’t achieve, that’s show the benefit from egpu, on high resolution shows closer gap with desktop or PCIe3x16 lanes egpu setting.
  15. atrac7

    atrac7 New Member

    Glad that the Razer GPU switcher is working for you. I'm not sure why Razer doesn't list this as something for all Blades with a discrete GPU instead of the just the 14. It's made life so much easier when I hook up to the core.
    misterg36 likes this.
  16. misterg36

    misterg36 Active Member

    And it works with the Razer Core V1, but is only in the RazerCore V2 section
  17. crypticc

    crypticc Member


    Not a gamer but what's this driver thing you mentioned? I've already uninstalled intel (running the cleaner) and Nvidia driver and then reinstalled in that order. Is there any other voodoo I need to know about?
  18. Joikansai

    Joikansai Well-Known Member VANGUARD

    Because it’s still on Beta not optimized imo, it may discharge your battery life faster.
  19. misterg36

    misterg36 Active Member

    So the first thing to check is:
    Are you having any stuttering issues at all performance levels?

    If you can run a gaming benchmark (any one really), and it runs smoothly at low and medium everything is fine, and any glitching is probably a performance bottleneck and this is normal.

    I was seeing two different things:
    1. Micro stuttering - a very regular pattern of smooth......stutter stutter...... smooth constantly
    2. Big stuttering - again fairly regular in terms of time, but if I spin a game character around, or even the mouse on the game menu in circles it would pause for a fraction of a second

    If you are seeing one of the above, it's both a driver AND an intel optimus issue.

    So some of the "black magic" I used was:
    • With onboard Nvidia GPU:
      • Go to the Nvidia Control Panel --> Manage 3D settings --> change prefered 3d to Nvidia
        • Doing this can kill your battery, so what I did was set it to NVIDIA when I used ThrottleStop this way when I'm not gaming I don't need throttlestop and I can use the Intel card and get battery life - but when I game I start Throttlestop and kick the NVIDIA into action
      • In "Driver manager" on windows look at the GPU drivers --> update them, choose manual-->from my computer --> choose from a list --> then make sure it's the most recent drive
      • Install the NVIDIA drivers twice (once with DDU, once with Gforce experience)
    • With an eGPU (Razer core etc)
      • In "Driver manager" on windows look at the GPU drivers --> update them, choose manual-->from my computer --> choose from a list --> then make sure it's the most recent driver
        • Repeat for onboard and external GPU - they must be on the same driver
      • Use the Razer Switch - this made a huge difference for Overwatch which was affected the worst

    Good luck :)
  20. Firebat246

    Firebat246 The One

    I am still waiting on the eGPU scene to get a little more saturated. When they have dedicated lanes and can get full performance out of the eGPU, then I'll buy in.

    On a side note, I am glad I see less and less complaints about systems and more and more praise. My machine has worked great after my initial swap (which was overheating). I also had like a day one unit and I know things happen.
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