On my brand new Lenovo W520 (with Sandy Bridge, 2820QM) and with default settings and on battery power, the "Power Manager" status shows that the GPU usage is constant at 100% or larger. Is this usual? The CPU usage goes down to 34% (798 MHz) when the laptop is idle, as expected.

This is also the case when no additional applications are running. If I understand correctly, the GPU in use is the i7 HD Graphics 3000, which is what I see in CPU-Z. It runs at 650 MHz in idle mode, matching the "Graphics Base Frequency" in Intel's CPU specs. In contrast, the CPU clock speed is 2.3 GHz, i.e., 3 times the idle frequency.

Is it expected that the GPU cannot switch down to a lower frequency for saving power? It would be nice if its power usage would go below 100%...

  • I thought all W-series models had Optimus graphics, which implies dual-GPU? This might make that behave oddly. – Shinrai Apr 14 '11 at 17:12
  • Right, it also has a Nvidia Quadro M 1000; however, for the case mentioned above it seems disabled. (It does not show up in CPU-Z for the case mentioned above -- when I run a 3D program, it becomes active and I see both GPUs in CPU-Z.) Given that it is disabled, my guess would be that the Nvidia GPU is not directly related to my question, no? – hrr Apr 14 '11 at 17:42
  • It's odd that it wouldn't show up in CPU-Z; doesn't it show up in Device Manager? And no, it's probably not directly related, but it was worth throwing out there for at least clarity's sake. – Shinrai Apr 14 '11 at 17:49
  • Both Intel HD Graphics and Nvidia show up in Device Manager > Display Adapters, which I think is expected... – hrr Apr 14 '11 at 18:13
  • It is expected; just odd that CPU-Z doesn't show it. Thanks for sating my curiosity. – Shinrai Apr 14 '11 at 19:41

Although I do not specifically own a Sandy Bridge board, I recommend you try GPU-z for a more accurate GPU reading.

The next step i recommend is making sure you're up to date on the latest drivers, that generally hits the GPU performance the most.

If you are using Windows 7 or Vista, trying putting yourself onto the "Windows Classic" Theme in Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Personalization

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