By Rupam Krishna

6 Ways To Fix Laptop FPS Drop When Plugged In

Laptop Issues

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Read Time: 7 minutes

A sudden FPS drop usually means a system bottleneck when some event interrupts another hardware-demanding task, for example, a game, which surpasses the system’s capability.

Common bottlenecks can be seen when other demanding tasks suddenly occur on the screen, which is difficult for your CPU to handle.

In this post, I will discuss a few solutions you should try if your laptop FPS suddenly dropped while the power adapter is plugged in.

Considering your laptop can pull out 60 – 120 FPS while running on battery because of hardware capability; however, FPS drops immediately as you connect the power adapter.

Why does my laptop’s FPS drop?

A sudden framerate drop while the external power adapter is plugged in normally occurs during thermal throttling of the CPU at max clocking speed and voltage. Altering the power source makes the laptop switch from power-saving to performance mode.

Poor cooling solutions and dust clogged laptop fans are common reasons for FPS dropping.

Why does laptop fps drop when plugged in?

Usually, FPS drops in laptops when they are running on better power and unplugged. A sudden laptop fps drop when plugged in, is one of the weirdest behaviors your laptop can have. These FPS drops can be identified mostly during gaming on your laptop.

laptop_fps_drop_when_plugged_in

A plugged-in power adapter helps a laptop achieve a good frame rate during gaming by providing sufficient power to each running hardware component.

But as soon as you disconnect the power adapter laptop’s power plan automatically tries to balance its performance with the hardware’s energy consumption.

power_plan_setting

As we are trying to fix laptop FPS drop when plugged in, these are some possible reasons I have noticed after brainstorming for at least six months that can cause laptop fps drop while the external power source is connected.

  • Enabling Nvidia whisper mode, supported by Nvidia graphics card GTX 1060 and higher, can either lower or limit the frame rate according to the customized FPS settings.
  • When the power adapter is plugged in, the laptop battery is charged regardless of the task you are doing. Any problem with charging can drag FPS down.
  • A possible malfunction in the charger itself can cost you FPS while charging. The charger delivers lower power than expected to feed the hardware properly.
  • Internal hardware malfunctioning can cause this issue as soon as it receives a higher voltage when you plug in the charger.
  • You might need an update to your GPU driver and BIOS.
  • Your laptop cooling solution might have difficulty breathing, so investigate if the ventilation is clogged by dust.
  • Sometimes power management settings (usually set to low) can cost you FPS despite the connected adapter, so double-check that. (*rare case)

How whisper mode can reduce the FPS?

The whisper mode works smartly, restricting the frame rate of a particular game while asynchronously configuring the graphics settings for optimal power efficiency. It doesn’t matter whether your laptop is plugged in or not.

For example, suppose you have a GPU that can run a game well above 60 fps. But after enabling Whisper Mode, it will try to lower the fan noise by lowering its RPM. Thus ending up sacrificing a significant framerate for games to 60 fps or below (depending on the hardware’s capability).

The main purpose of Whisper technology is to run your laptop quieter and cooler while gaming. But, to do so, it sacrifices the FPS.

Remember that since the laptop is plugged in, the hardware is getting sufficient energy to deliver ideal performance, though Whisper mode restricts it for noise reduction.

Does a laptop run faster when plugged in?

The answer can be Yes and No. A laptop performs better when it gets a sufficient power supply which is the case when the power adapter is plugged in.

But when your laptop is on the battery, if you alter the power mode from Battery Saver to Balanced or Performance, it would use more battery to provide enough power to the hardware, and thus laptop performance increases. Still, the difference between plugged-in and unplugged can be spotted.

While on AC power, you don’t have to rely on the battery, and the laptop can reach its maximum performance if pushed or so.

So definitely, laptop fps drop when plugged in is not an ideal scenario for a laptop with a sufficient power supply.

Now let’s go through some of the possible solutions we can try and fix the plugged-in laptop’s FPS drop issue.

How to fix laptop FPS drop when plugged in

Before you go try out the solutions;

  • Make sure you have encountered framerate-dropping issues on several different applications.
  • Disable the whisper mode / customize the frame rate for whisper mode
  • Check if the power supply cable is working fine (Test the current power supply rate and compare it with the initial supply rate)
  • Re-check the power settings and reconfigure them (if required).

#1. Disable the whisper more or customize the frame rate

If whisper mode is the cause of FPS dropping, then you can fix it by disabling the whisper mode or adjusting the custom FPS, which will allow fans to increase speed restriction and thus, you will get better FPS.

Disabling whisper mode should bring back the normal FPS to your laptop; the difference can be experienced during the gameplay. This option is only valid if you are using Nvidia GPU above 1060. Although, you might experience heating issues and noise while gaming (typically modern games that demand high system resources).

The whisper mode enable/disable option is available on Nvidia GeForce experience >> Settings >> whisper mode.

enable_whsiper_mode

If you don’t want to deactivate the whisper mode to keep your machine running quietly, then alter the FPS setting inside the NVIDIA control panel, it will also solve your problem of FPS dropping.

For that, open the NVIDIA control panel from the taskbar, or you can search for it and follow the guideline below to solve the laptop FPS drop when plugged in.

  • From the left sidebar of the Nvidia control panel, click on manage 3D settings.
  • Now inside the main dashboard, switch to the program settings tab.
  • Make sure the preferred graphics processor for a particular program is Nvidia GPU.
  • Now on the 3rd small window, scroll down the settings until you find the WhisperMode option.
  • Adjust the frame rate for the program according to your screen support rate and GPU supportability.
  • Apply the configuration and try to check the application if the FPS drop issue is resolved.
  • Note that this setting is effective for each application that demands high GPU power, such as gaming and editing.

Check the steps visually:

Whisper_mode_FPS_settings_1
Go to manage 3d settings
Whisper_mode_FPS_settings_2
choose/add your application
Whisper_mode_FPS_settings_3
Select high end NVIDIA GPU
Whisper_mode_FPS_settings_4
Adjust the required frame rate

👉🏽 Related article: Nvidia graphics driver not compatible with your version of windows.


#2. Remove laptop battery and run on AC 

When you connect the power adapter laptop better will start charging if not fully charged. If your battery has an issue, the power supply might get interrupted and reduce the FPS.

So checking battery condition is worthwhile just to ensure it’s not causing any problems. You can remove the battery before playing a game, connect the AC adapter, and see how it goes (it will rule out the charging problem).


#3. Test your charger (Alter or try it on another laptop of the same model)

We all look to tweak our laptop settings to fix the FPS drop issue, while your charger can be a threat to such an FPS dropping problem. The charger delivers two main things while connected, amps & voltage.

Typically the voltage delivery remains the same for the charger; however, over time, provided amps will decrease depending on age and use of the charger cable, resulting in delivering less than what your laptop needs.

This reduction in power makes your computer run slower while plugged in because the battery is just getting charged and not providing electricity for your PC. But as soon as you disconnect the charger, the power supply is better and will deliver the required electricity based on your power management settings.

The solution for this would be to try another charger and, if that fixes the issue, buy a new one. If your laptop is within warranty range, change it. Make sure to go for the right charger that matches your model’s required power supply, which should bring you back to the normal FPS.


#4. Update GPU driver and BIOS

Using the latest BIOS and drivers (especially video card drivers) is important. Updating the BIOS and graphics driver may resolve the laptop’s fps drop issue when plugged in.

To update the GPU driver, use a relative application (GeForce experience or Radeon™ Software), depending on your video card.

And you can update the BIOS from driver manager >> Firmware >> System firmware >> Update driver.

Update_firmWare

Double-check if you are getting the usual frame rate on multiple applications when the external power adapter is plugged in. If the issue remains, proceed to the next stage.


#5. Try altering the power management setting

This does not work most of the time; however, make sure you check the power mode when plugged in and try altering between high performance and balance mode.

It’s better to run your laptop in balance mode when the power adapter is plugged in.

Keeping it in high-performance mode only makes sense when performing a hardware-demanding task while the power adapter is unplugged.

change_power_plan

#6. Make sure laptop cooling is working fine

It is possible that due to poor cooling solutions, laptop FPS may drop and be easily detectable while performing demanding tasks on the laptop. Indigent cooling is one of the common issues that can lead to a laptop’s fps drop when plugged in.

Your laptop fans or heat sinks might be clogged with dust so try to keep them clean for smoother airflow. Cleaning dust in your laptop 3-4 times a year is definitely helpful.

If you are comfortable accessing the internal hardware, try applying the thermal paste on the laptop CPU and GPU. Overheating the CPU and GPU can cause FPS to drop. When the laptop is plugged in with an external power adapter, it tends to overheat more because of continuous electricity flow.

Thermal pasting is a high-heat conductive paste that will provide better heat conditions by filling all microscopic imperfections on the heatsink and CPU/GPU. This improves the performance of the heatsink.

Check this video to apply thermal paste yourself, or take your laptop to a trusted repair store.

  • Open Control Panel. Search ‘button. Click ‘Change what the power buttons do in the left pane. Click ‘change settings that are currently unavailable. Scroll down and uncheck the box for ‘fast startup’. Shut down the laptop. Turn it on again.
  • Try to do a clean install on your laptop; it might clean possible software conflicts or interrupt.

👉🏽 Check out: Best Ryzen 5 5600H Laptops Under 85k INR (November 2021)

#7. Random tips that also worked for many people

These steps are not explainable why they might work, but according to some people, these tricks resolved their FPS drop issue while plugged in.

You can always try and see whether it helps you or not. However, these tricks have not worked for me, and I can’t assure you either.

// (Please try at your own risk)

  • Open Control Panel. Search ‘button. Click ‘Change what the power buttons do in the left pane. Click ‘change settings that are currently unavailable. Scroll down and uncheck the box for ‘fast startup‘. Shut down the laptop. Turn it on again.
  • Try to do a clean install on your laptop; it might clean possible software conflicts or interrupt.

Wrapping up:

FPS drop is one of the most frustrating things when you have a capable PC, and laptop FPS drop when plugged in is even more annoying.

I hope you find a way to solve the issue on this page. We will keep this page updated as long as we find a new solution for this issue.

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Rupam Krishna

Rupam is an information technology professional with a strong foundation of software-related acquaintance and an extensive understanding of various software. He likes to share solutions in an easy manner to be compatible with every reader.

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