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Solution

I solved the problem, thanks to the answer below. It was indeed the VRM heating up over 80 °C and it throttled CPU. CPU was not heating up, but motherboard made it look like it was so that it could throttle it. The solution was to cool down VRM. It could be solved through a couple ways:

  • Apply heatsinks to MOSFET VRM if your board does not have them already.
    Heatsinks: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835708012
    Video demonstrating: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T20YIimV8vY
  • Provide better airflow through your computer case, which can be achieved by:
    • Cleaning your case and your fans
    • Better cable management
    • Smarter case customization
    • More fans if really needed (usually unnecessary, better placement is more important)
    • Some case chassis have places to add fans on the side, if not, you can get creative
  • Buy a new part:
    • New case
    • Better fan(s)
    • BETTER MOTHERBOARD!
  • Additionally, you can make it so that the CPU fan blows over VRM. Cannot guarantee it'll work, because CPU fan will be exhausting hot air from CPU anyways, so it might even worsen. I didn't try, so just to let you know you might try it.

I had a old CPU fan, so I just installed it on the side of the case chassis, and it is blowing directly towards VRM. It is not exhaust but intake. Dropped my VRM temperatures by 10-20 °C. Downside to this is that now there is more noise coming while playing. It is not a big problem though because it is auto-adjusting its speed if there is no pin left out, if there is one, you still can do it via a program called SpeedFan. I plugged the CPU fan to System fan pins on the motherboard because there were no other pins. One is left out which is PWM pin. It doesn't auto adjust but I set it to 0% from SpeedFan while it is not necessary to use.

Problem definition:

CPU dropping its frequency down to 1800 MHz.

What do I know about it?

  • Seems to occur when the CPU reaches 50 °C. I am not certain if the temperature is the cause.
  • When it happens, the temperature jumps to 206 °C and the frequency drops to 1800 MHz.
  • Only happens while playing games.(so far)
  • It is not related to my CPU being overclocked because it happens if it is not, as well.
  • The only solution I've discovered so far is restarting the computer.

Video

Please watch the following 15 seconds video that I captured from CPUID HWMonitor, it might prove to be useful to understand what's happening.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BEjC2OZIjE&feature=youtu.be

enter image description here

Specs

CPU: AMD FX-6100
Motherboard: MSI 760GM-P23
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB

Additional Notes

  • It occurs the most frequently while I'm playing Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Wildlands.
  • I've used CPUID HWMonitor to monitor the temperatures. I am not very certain if the program is accurate.

Important: I know there is something called throttling, CPU or motherboard does it to protect itself from harm, but 50 °C seems to be a safe temperature. I know other people using the same program as I have see temperatures higher than 80 °C.

Question

What are the possible causes for it to happen like this? How can I fix it? Also, any knowledge regarding the matter is appreciated, even if it does not solve the problem directly.

  • 2
    If the CPU is too hot it will certainly throttle itself, but 50°C not not too hot and 206°C is very unlikely. I am not sure why it thinks it suddenly increases from 50 to 206, but the measurement is almost certainly not correct. (Above 100°C most CPU shut down fully with PROCHOT. At that time the HW info panel will not even update anymore). – Hennes Feb 24 '18 at 21:58
  • Non technical: Mechwarrior? – Hennes Feb 24 '18 at 21:58
  • 1
    Badly calibrated temperature sensor or being read badly? Have you reflashed or updated the motherboard firmware? Does it appear to do this in other monitoring software? – Mokubai Feb 24 '18 at 22:01
  • @Hennes No, Ghost Recon Wildlands. What do you say then about what's happening? What should I do? – Haggra Feb 24 '18 at 22:05
  • @Mokubai I haven't tried any other monitoring software. I have never updated BIOS or anything. I tried all the different settings in the BIOS though. – Haggra Feb 24 '18 at 22:06
5

It looks like your motherboard's voltage regulator module (VRM) is overheating. The VRM is responsible for converting 12V power from the power supply into the low voltages used by the processor. Because it needs to convert large amounts of power, it can get very hot under load. On this motherboard, the VRM temperature is listed as TMPIN1 in HWMonitor.

While most quality motherboards have at least 6 VRM phases, this board has only a 3+1-phase VRM, which means it has relatively low power capacity. To make matters worse, there is no heatsink on the VRM as would typically be present on better motherboards. This means that the VRM on your board can overheat under sustained load. To prevent damage, the motherboard will report a fake CPU temperature to force it to throttle down, reducing the load on the VRM. The GIF in your post shows the VRM temperature hitting 90 °C before immediately dropping by several degrees when the processor is throttled with the fake temperature.

You may be able to address this problem by using a CPU cooler with a fan that blows towards the board instead of a tower cooler that blows air horizontally through a heatsink. Although these coolers tend to have lower performance, they provide airflow for the VRM, which can prevent it from overheating. Alternatively, adding case fans that blow towards or across the VRM can help.

The VRM on your motherboard is highlighted in green in this image:

VRM on the MSI 760GM-P23 (FX) motherboard

More information can be found in this MSI forum thread. You might want to read this Gamers Nexus article for technical information on the design and operation of VRMs.


VRM overheating is not limited to cheap motherboards. In fact, at the far high end, with the advent of consumer high-core-count processors like the Intel Core i9 series (Skylake-X, based on server-grade Skylake-SP silicon), some processors can draw so much power that even the most advanced VRMs can overheat when the processor is overclocked. In the linked article, the VRM tested has the equivalent of 12 phases, with 10 for CPU power (5+1 with phase doubling), yet it still overheats under extreme overclocks, highlighting the need to keep the VRM cool under heavy loads.

  • I've tried another software. This one shows another CPU temp under motherboard. Could it be the equivalent of TMPIN1 in HWMonitor? Can you certainly say it is not the CPU that's overheating but the VRM? Is there any solution that can be achieved without buying a new component? Thanks for your very helpful answer. I'll choose your answer accepted as soon as you can answer. Here is the other video: youtube.com/watch?v=J4xM1bJS3KM&feature=youtu.be – Haggra Feb 25 '18 at 18:58
  • Chances are good that's a temperature sensor near or below the processor socket; heat from the VRM can propagate there. The CPU's own temperature measurement comes right from the processor itself. The only thing I can recommend at this point is adding cooling to the VRM. – bwDraco Feb 25 '18 at 18:59
  • Sometime soon I'll upgrade both the motherboard and the CPU. What should I take into account while buying a new motherboard so that I don't encounter a similar problem? – Haggra Feb 25 '18 at 19:05
  • 2
    You should look for a motherboard with a VRM having at least 6 power phases and a heatsink attached where the VRM is. Cheap boards tend to skimp on processor power delivery. Overclocking and gaming motherboards will have better VRMs to ensure stable operation under heavy load, often with 8, 10, 12, or even more phases. Better boards also use higher-quality chokes, MOSFETs, and capacitors, which enhances their reliability and efficiency. – bwDraco Feb 25 '18 at 19:11
  • I can't thank you enough. I believe figuring out the problem is more important than solving it because once you know what it is, it is easy. At least they thought about adding a temp sensor to VRM otherwise boards would literally burn. I guess it was cheaper than adding heatsinks? Thanks again. I solved the problem without spending a penny. If I couldn't figure out the problem, I might spend thousand dollars for a new board and a CPU. – Haggra Mar 6 '18 at 22:02

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