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Birdalicious

Alienware 18 BIOS A06

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Hello All,

March 27th, A06 is released. Just fired loaded 'er in, and have a wee bit of a problem now. Hit any type of benchmark/stress, within 5 seconds system shuts down due to over temp, Fans don't even attempt to spin up. Restarted, loaded XTU, hit stress test start, stopped it 2 seconds in as core temps hit 95, stopped for 2 seconds, back down to 55, not a peep out of the fans. Reverted back to A04 and fans ramp up. I didn't have a copy of A05.

Cant do too much benching in 2 seconds!

Anyone else getting these results?

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My probleme Tempé

No shuts down

What horrendous temps for such a large laptop. I see that the fan profile has not been fixed.

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What horrendous temps for such a large laptop. I see that the fan profile has not been fixed.

Totally agree with that. My M18x R2 with a 3940XM @4.4Ghz(4cores) hardly breaks a sweat at 80-85oC. Intel really messed up this CPU or Alienware just doesn't know how to handle its heat.

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Go back to A05. The fan tables work MUCH better than A06 and any of the versions before A05. Indeed, this is a huge Achilles' heel. 4930MX must have Liquid Ultra thermal paste and have fans that are aggressive to manage any kind of overclocking. Having them not kick in and run full blast at the first sign of heat really sucks. On top of rarely working, these fans have a max speed of 4100 RPM and they are capped to max out at 3700 RPM by the fan tables. To add insult to injury, manual fan control is not possible using HWiNFO64 or SpeedFan, so enthusiasts are not afforded the privilege of choosing whether to have a machine that runs louder and cooler versus extremely hot and very quiet. This kind of interference with people handling their machines as they deem best is nonsense.

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I am wondering if results are mixed, I recently upgraded from the 17 to the 18 with 4930mx/780m and saw massive CPU temps as described everywhere, the first thing I did was checked the bios and it was version A03. Because of this I upgraded to A06 and the fan profile did seem to be better but slow reacting as already pointed but all of my benchmark tests did give me better results but still I felt temps were high getting into the mid 90's and even some spikes above that on stock clocks. Next I went back to A05 and my results seemed to be exactly the same so I still wasn't seeing the improvement I wanted. Because of this I broke down and cleaned, repasted the CPU and ran the same tests with a 10 to 15 c improvement with stock clock results max being 82c and overclocked seeing 85c max then trending down as the fans ramp up with no more throttling and temp spikes! I did this on the GPU's also and there was some noticeable improvement seen so I just wanted to share and say THANKS to all the great information that was provided here by the members.

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I broke down and cleaned, repasted the CPU and ran the same tests with a 10 to 15 c improvement with stock clock results max being 82c and overclocked seeing 85c max then trending down as the fans ramp up with no more throttling and temp spikes! I did this on the GPU's also and there was some noticeable improvement seen so I just wanted to share and say THANKS to all the great information that was provided here by the members.

what paste did you use for this?

thanks

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Antec Formula 7, both tests was done sitting on a static plank that elevates the rear. One thing that is still in the back of my mind was the heatsink didn't seem to fit very tight, might be some more room for improvement. Anyone using a shim or anything?

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The problem seems to be mechnaical, not an issues that can be fixed by a BIOS update...

I tried a shim and it made things worse! (copper plate, about 0.3 mm). I found most of the AW 18s thermal issues seem to stem from a machanical issue. The end of the heatsink (where the radiator is) touches the plastic top cover, the day to day use of the system causes the thermal interface between the CPU and heatsink to be disturbed. This crates a reseating of the heatsink and CPU without optimum thermal past coverage.

I first saw this when I first re-applied thermal paste to the CPU. The first day it was great (generally under 85c @ 65W), by day 2 the CPU overheated within seconds and the PC shuts down!

To fix it, I took the system apart (again) and bent the heatpipe very, very gently, enough to make the radiator sit 2-3mm lower (with reference to the keyboard being the top). I did this in October and have not reseated the CPU again, it is still fine. I use this sytem every day.

Although this shouldnt affect you if the board is out of the chassis...

I just applied A06, there seems to be a difference with all BIOS version I have tried between Intel GFX and NVIDIA GFX mode. The CPU seems to be correctly programmed if using its own GFX and then seems to be starved of current if in NVIDIA mode.

All these results were obtained using A06 and the graphics in Intel Mode (Function + F5)

Here are my results after applying A06, running Prime 95 (In Place Large FFT) for 30 seconds, using my XTU settings (80W, 120A peak)

post-11138-14494997505892_thumb.jpg

Here are my XTU settings:

post-11138-14494997505197_thumb.jpg

For most "high Stress" applications the CPU runs at 4GHZ, even with all the cores loaded, its just Prime 95 which settles back to 3.6GHz (when the short turbo is active, it runs about 4GHz for 30 seconds!)

This is after 10 mins, the CPU is still under 85c. (85C is a magic temp for Intel processors, keep it under that and it will use less power (less leakage current) and therefore perform better per watt)

post-11138-14494997504879_thumb.jpg

This is runing XTUs built in stress test... straight after stopping Prime 95, notice the CPU has not cooled down yet, but the CPU still runs at 4GHz.

post-11138-14494997504551_thumb.jpg

When I get time, I will repeat the exercise in NVIDIA mode to see if there is a difference.

Another interesting thing of A04, 5 and 6 is the battery life is longer (in Intel GFX mode), I wonder if Dell enabled C7s in the BIOS? I can get upto 5 hours now!

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great post man!, so basically just check for that contact and slightly bend heat sink pipe just before the radiator a couple mm's?

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Yes thanks for the post and great information! Really appreciate the tip, I will try to check some clearances as I have noticed that my temps have raised a small amount after my short term success. I don't get thermal shut down but I do see spikes up to 90 for a short time until the fan ramps up on the stock clocks. Also on a good note I was told through a Dell tech that they are working on another bios update to help the fan delay and ramp up which was mentioned when I was looking at the price of the R2 CPU fan directly from Dell so it does sound like a few people are aware.

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great post man!, so basically just check for that contact and slightly bend heat sink pipe just before the radiator a couple mm's?

Yes, bend the heatpipe a couple of centimetres from the socket, it ony needs the slightest of tweaking there as the fulcrum action will do the rest...

I kept checking the contact points and visually they look OK, but the thermal interface didnt work when running the CPU under stress.

I tried all sorts of exotic TIM, Coolaboratry Liquid Metal Pro for one, this is a PITA to fit and was no better than AS5. I eventually just used Arctic Silver 5 and this works just fine. As I said this was last done in October and it still is as good now as then...

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I tried my PC in NVIDIA mode last night and it runs the same as in Intel mode. The default max current for the CPU is now even correct in A06 (95A for the i7-4930MX).

Of course I up this in XTU, the XTU settings are the same as my previous post.

Here are the screenshots:

post-11138-14494997508977_thumb.jpg

Above: Running XTUs built in stress test (first 30s)

post-11138-14494997508977_thumb.jpg

Above: Prime 95 Large in place FFT. Within initial 30s (80W Short Term Turbo TDP)

post-11138-144949975093_thumb.jpg

Above, ran Prime 95 for 40mins and took this screenshot.

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Yes, that 95.000A default value for both discrete and Intel IGFX was fixed with A05 as well. That was well documented with the release of A05 and it made a lot of folks very happy, along with fans that were less lethargic.

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