Why does my FPS drop while gaming after the first ~10 seconds?


I'm a new Manjaro Architect user, I used to use other flavour before. I play Dota2 on my laptop regularly. When I start a game my FPS is about 50-60, but soon it drops to 27-30 and doesn't go back until the beggining of the next game.

I have Intel processor. I tried to set CPU governor to performance, but that doesn't do much (nothing at all).

I use non free drivers for my Nvidia video card.

I suspect that, even though I've tried to change CPU governor to performance, it remained on powersave. (Does that affect anything that I don't have a battery attached?)

Is it even safe to be trying to change that?

Thanks in advance!

What are you system temperatures doing during that time?

It sounds very much like thermal throttling to me.

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Thanks for the suggestion! I have not yet observed it, but I'll try to make a log about it next game (this in an hour), and I'll update my post.

if you installed manjaro with nonfree then by default it installed bumblebee/nvidia drivers. if you dont launch the game with something like this

optirun %command%
primusrun %command%

then the game will be running on your intel card and not the nvidia.

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I never knew that. I feel so dumb.
Thank you!
Edit: is it enough to run steam with optirun command or should I somehow run the game itself with it?

no, you dont want to run steam with optirun or primusrun, it's a waste of resources and gains you no advantage.

if you go to the properties of the game there's a "set launch options" and in there you would put

one of these, exactly as i wrote them.

you might want to test each one before trying a game with it to make sure bumblebee is actually working properly.

optirun glxgears

performance should be ok for that game, if you want better performance go with something like PRIME or optimus-switch. theres info and links to each of them here

I'll be honest, glxgears did not work,
nor did glxspheres64 or glxspheres32, but my dota fps almost tripled, now it kind of feels like another game.

Thank you for your detailed answer!

That is a bit odd.. what is the output if you do:
primusrun glxgears

[note - when sharing output remember to highlight and use the </> code button :wink:]

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Is this only the case for laptops, or also for desktop pc's with intel graphics on processor + external GPU?

it's only the case for fumblebee, which is used for optimus laptops. using it on a desktop wouldn't make much sense and you have much more control on a desktop with an igpu and a dgpu that you dont get in a laptop.

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Install either optimus-switch (easier, less problematic, but requires reboot to change GPUs) or optimus-manager (has graphical switch, requires session reload and manual configuration after install).

Bumblebee doesn't handle Vulkan (although some suggested that changed recently) and has bigger overhead so it's not so efficient, plus it rarely works correctly.

Here is the guide for optimus-manager:

Using a different GPU doesn't necessarily answer the question in the OP.

If the iGPU was being used, and performance was dropping after 10 seconds, this may still indicate thermal throttling.

If the dGPU is being used and it's not throttling it doesn't mean the iGPU wasn't being throttled.

However, if the OP's real issue was "I have generally low FPS in games" then using the dGPU is a solution.

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The issue evolved since then so it's no longer about the initial FPS drop. If this was Intel anyway without functioning bumblebee and was used for gaming it needs to be changed anyway. After the change the original issue probably will be gone as well.

There are some cases where intel can be good for gaming:

  • old games work perfectly fine with it, sometimes better then on nvidia
  • some games have issues on nvidia but work perfectly fine on intel so if FPS count is OK for fluid gameplay then intel is a nice solution then (for example: Heroes of Might and Magick V is playable only on Intel or with some patches on nvidia, but we must add/compile those patches ourselves)

So there are some perks of having two GPUs.

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