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Raising PL1 and PL2 limits to improve performance?

jamieboo
Level 9
Hello folks

So, my quest to find out what is slightly undermining my MB/CPU performance continues!...

I have a 12700K on a Asus Z690 TUF Gaming Plus Wifi D4 board and I'm using the latest Windows 10.
Since updating my bios from 1304 to 1504 no cores are now boosting to 5Ghz, and in trying to get to the bottom of this I've noticed in HWiNFO that there are a number of flags in Performance Limit Reasons:

IA: Electrical Design Point/Other (ICCmax, PL4, SVID, DDR RAPL)
IA: Max Turbo Limit
RING: Max VR Voltage, ICCmax, PL4

All these are apparently limiting my processor to some extent.

I was chatting to a friend who has a Z690 by Gigabyte and he says on their boards PL1 and PL2 default to 4095W, whereas on my Asus board the default setting seems to be 190W. My friend said he gets NO performance limitation flags at all and everything performs as it should.
Since the above flagged Performance Limits that I get seem to perhaps be connected with Power Limits, I was wondering if it might be a good idea to raise the levels for PL1 and PL2?

Or is this a terrible idea?

I wonder why Gigabyte and Asus have such different settings on this point.

What do you think?
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9 REPLIES 9

JohnAb
Level 17
Hi jamieboo,

I don't have your board and I'm not familiar with your particular settings, but I would suggest that the best thing to do would be to try 3 or 4 of the latest BIOSs and keep a note of what's possible. Unless you need a more recent BIOS to address a particular issue, then it will do no harm to use an older one. Obviously think about changing the BIOS if there is a security update, but otherwise just go with what works. Sorry that I can't be specific in your case, those are just my simple thoughts...
Z690 Hero, BIOS 3401, MEI 2345.5.3.0, ME Firmware 16.1.30.2361, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 23H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.

To clarify, what I really meant was to try those other BIOSs and take note of the default values. Also check out your BIOS manual and look for some guidance there...

In my 690 Hero BIOS manual, power limit 1 relates to the the TDP of the processor and PL2 is normally set to 1.25x PL1 to create a safe max limit. If we are talking about the same things, then I would be careful. You don't want to let your CPU have power above it's TDP but having said that, I think the CPU itself should be intelligent enough not to draw too much.

Anyway, just my opinion, so don't take my word for it. If the latest BIOS has 190W set as the default (and that matches your processor power), then in theory there should be nothing to gain by increasing it and perhaps ASUS have set the default there for good reason. Hopefully somebody else here with your board can take a look at their settings and compare with yours.
Z690 Hero, BIOS 3401, MEI 2345.5.3.0, ME Firmware 16.1.30.2361, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 23H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.

JohnAb wrote:
To clarify, what I really meant was to try those other BIOSs and take note of the default values. Also check out your BIOS manual and look for some guidance there...

In my 690 Hero BIOS manual, power limit 1 relates to the the TDP of the processor and PL2 is normally set to 1.25x PL1 to create a safe max limit. If we are talking about the same things, then I would be careful. You don't want to let your CPU have power above it's TDP but having said that, I think the CPU itself should be intelligent enough not to draw too much.

Anyway, just my opinion, so don't take my word for it. If the latest BIOS has 190W set as the default (and that matches your processor power), then in theory there should be nothing to gain by increasing it and perhaps ASUS have set the default there for good reason. Hopefully somebody else here with your board can take a look at their settings and compare with yours.


Thanks so much JohnAb!
Interesting... On mine PL1 and PL2 are both set to 190.
PL2 is not, as in your case, set to 1.25 times PL1.
I also don't know how to change these figures in the bios even if I really wanted to. Although I have since found out that enabling MCE turns up both PL1 and PL2 to 4095 (the default on my friend's MSI board).
Interestingly, even turning on MCE would not allow my CPU to boost a couple of cores to 5Ghz... UNLESS I also DISabled XMP! I didn't know XMP could have this kind of impact on CPU speeds?!

But yes, I should try some different bios. I eventually rolled back to 1304 - but it did not solve the issue!
A lot of people seem to have had good experience with much earlier bios's - like 0807 - so maybe I should give 'em a try!

But what do you think about the Performance Limit Reasons given by HWiNFO?
What would cause those flags?

Thanks

Hmmm, sorry, I just don't know. I also use HWInfo to monitor power and temps. Can you grab a screenshot of the flags that you mention. I haven't seen any flags on HWInfo, but perhaps I'm not looking in the same place... thanks

By the way, one image here shows what my BIOS manual says about those power limits. The other is a screenshot from HWInfo. I've had a good look around, but not sure where you are looking in HWInfo.

I also don't see how XMP would make a difference, seems odd. I have everything in BIOS 1601 set to defaults apart from XMP1 is enabled and I've reduced PCH voltages to their midpoints. This lowers chipset temps slightly. In fact, I didn't seem to be able to change those values at first and thought the values were locked, but I had to press the + and - keys to adjust. Might be the same trick to change power limits?
Z690 Hero, BIOS 3401, MEI 2345.5.3.0, ME Firmware 16.1.30.2361, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 23H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.

PS - have you tried setting power limits to AUTO? That should be safe.
Z690 Hero, BIOS 3401, MEI 2345.5.3.0, ME Firmware 16.1.30.2361, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 23H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.

Being worried about giving bad advice, just thought I would take a look at my BIOS power limit settings for you before I go to bed - they are both set to Auto with 4095 displayed underneath.

I think 'Auto' should always be a safe setting, so if I was you, I think I would give that a try with the old +/- keys trick... but please don't blame me if anything explodes. I'm not an ASUS person, just another user lol. If it solves your issue, perhaps you can come back to a more recent BIOS.

Let us know if it works...
Z690 Hero, BIOS 3401, MEI 2345.5.3.0, ME Firmware 16.1.30.2361, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 23H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.

and finally, I have MCE set to enabled (also the BIOS default setting) and possibly why my power limits are also set to Auto based on what you discovered. When I look through my BIOS settings, pretty much everything is simply listed as Auto and everything works just great. Good luck.
Z690 Hero, BIOS 3401, MEI 2345.5.3.0, ME Firmware 16.1.30.2361, 7000X Case, RM1000x PSU, i9 12900K, ASUS TUF OC 3090TI, 2 x 16GB Corsair RAM @ 5200MHz, Windows 11 Pro 23H2, Corsair H150i Elite AIO, 4x Corsair RGB fans, 3x M.2 NVME drives, 2x SATA SSDs, 2x SATA HDs.

Hey I'd ignore those flags in hwinfo because you will see them (depending on settings) on every single bios. For example you can clear the IA core turbo limits by running them all in sync. The ring limits I have never been able to figure out as its always there no matter what settings in the bios.

Edit. Forgot to add that you can clear the ring limit also by locking ring speeds

Thanks everyone

Yeah, I should probably let the flags go.
But because my 12700K is no longer hitting the advertised boost speed of 5Ghz on a couple of cores, it's lead me to hunt out any indication of limitation or throttling.