Does the WhatsApp desktop app throttle GPU performance?

[German]The meta-messenger WhatsApp has a client for the Windows desktop. A reader has now pointed out to me his observation that this app throttles the GPU performance of the desktop. I'm posting it man here on the blog with – maybe someone can confirm this.


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It was a short email from blog reader Dirk F. that reached me a few days ago. Dirk wrote in his mail::

Hello Günter,

today I noticed again that the WhatsApp desktop app throttles the performance (frequency) of my Nvidia GTX 1060 (GV-N1060IXOC-6GD) graphics card.

I run scientific calculations from time to time, and both Boinc / World Community Grid and Folding@Home always cause my graphics card to throttle from ~1950 MHz to 1531 MHz after a few seconds after starting the WhatsApp Desktop App.

GPU-Z shows PerfCap Reason = Idle, so there is actually no reason for throttling. 1531 MHz is the default clock that GPU-Z shows me.

Dirk writes that the frequency immediately jumps back from 1531 MHz to ~1950 MHz as soon as he closes the WhatsApp desktop app. This can be repeated/reproduced, according to him – I cannot test anything due to the lack of WhatsApp. So far, the reader has not noticed this behavior with any other app (e.g. Twitter desktop app). Dirk first made the observation about a month ago and put the case up for discussion on German site Dr. Windows.

Hello Community, I noticed something strange earlier.
Namely, WhatsApp Desktop seems to throttle my dGPU (GV-N1060IXOC-6GD).
I am using BOINC / World Community Grid and sometimes get Covid-19 WorkUnits for the GPU.
Without WhatsApp Desktop
GPU Clock ~ 1900-2000 MHz
GPU Temp < 60°C
With WhatsApp Desktop (about 1 minute after starting the app and when a chat history is highlighted).
GPU Clock max. 1531 MHz (=Base Clock [Gaming Mode], no matter if OC, Silent or Gaming Mode is set).
GPU Temp < 45°C

But there was no feedback related to the observation. Here is the data:

WhatsApp Desktop Version 2.2202.12

Windows 11 Build 22000.434 und .493

GeForce Studio driver v511.09 with default settings

GeForce Game Ready driver v511.65 with default settings

A German user commented, that there is a WhatsApp rule in the energy saving settings of the Geforce driver, that could be responsible for this behavior. Has anyone noticed anything similar?


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1 Response to Does the WhatsApp desktop app throttle GPU performance?

  1. guenni says:

    Solved, here is the explanation from Twitter. I've translated it.

    (1/2) Apparently, however, it is due to the "Max. frame rate" setting in the #Nvidia graphics driver. I had set this to 58 FPS globally. I have now set this limitation to "Off" for WhatsApp.exe and then #WhatsApp no longer throttles.

    (2/2) For me, this is still a wrong behavior or programming. This also explains why the patterned background image eats performance when it is rendered with more than 60 FPS. I will write to the @WhatsApp team about this.

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