Alienware 15 R1 Throttles to 0.78 GHz (XTU says thermal but...)

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by NeR0FiD0, Feb 7, 2017.

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  1. NeR0FiD0

    NeR0FiD0 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Rig Configuration: Intel 4720 HQ, nVidia 980 M GT, 240 W Power brick, A00 ( for a good fan profile and to prevent machine from drawing power from the battery since I have a 240 W brick), Kingston HyperX 1600 MHz CL-9, 250 GB Samsung EVO 850 SSD + 1TB HDD, and finally a CoolerMaster MasterGel Maker thermal paste, with CM Storm SF 17 cooling pad (arriving soon)

    State: Laptop is 1.5 years old without any damage (physical), Laptop has never been over/ under clocked unless it has been done so by the turbo boost feature, which is by design and has never been over/ under volted

    Mode: High Performance, power plugged in

    Problem: Under load the laptop throttles down to 0.78 GHz and then sticks there (instead of boosting up), within minutes of starting the load - Witcher 3, Gears of War 4 and now even Dota 2. This didn't happen till last year, as I never experienced extreme frame rate reduction while playing Dota 2, as I do now (pretty sure Dota 2 updates haven't increased its requirement of resources this much); didn't play heavy games like Witcher 3 last year. This issue has destroyed my gaming experience. Intel XTU shows that throttling is thermal, so I switched to a better thermal paste (one of the best rather), and it can be seen from the attached snapshot that the throttle starts somewhere between 79 - 82 C (is it even possible? PROCHOT is 97 C right?); please look to the left as it indicates the stats as per the position of the bar, the stats on the right side show that the CPU of the rig is still throttling at 78 C.

    http://i.imgur.com/9p8uad3.png

    Has the BIOS been programmed to initiate throttling at such temps? If yes then what is the workaround? If not please tell me what to do? I really look forward to hear some actionable suggestions from this community and trusted blue blooded Alienware experts.

    I once tested the veracity of the type of throttle indicated by XTU (BIOS) using a system logger (logging feature of throttlestop); seemed it was ensuing from power (despite 240 W brick) rather than temps. Have never seen CPU package draw power above 42 W consistently, eventually throttling starts (XTU indicates thermal; can be so - thermal throttle causes power consumption to drop, but then why always around 40+ W?).

    PS: I have been an owner of high-end Dell and Alienware laptops since 2008 - First XPS then Alienware m17x R4 and finally Alienware 15 R1; never had such a problem with the first two. My experience with Dell Technicians and Support Staff in India has been very poor (both my Alienware purchases were made in the US, and then I shifted to India). Dell Premium Support staff and technicians have shown generous amount of apathy, do not see the problem at hand (have to explain multiple times, and then also their understanding seems a bit off the mark) and are unable to make logical deductions, and make personal comments (using statements such as "you know more than us what can we do", referring to me and my suggestions, as I currently work for the development department of a company that makes an essential component of any computer, "sorry we can't solve your problem", "this is as per design" and aren't ready to listen to good reason), whilst providing little to no solution to my problem. I am not sure how loyal a customer and an Alienware advocate can I be now, given that price of Alienware and its waranty extensions are exhorbitant in India and such is the level of expertise, service and support. One can easlily find similar horrible experiences of Alienware product owners in India, you are just a search away. I apologize, if it sounds like a rant but trust me it isn't one! Please help!!
     
  2. Papusan

    Papusan JOKEBOOKs Sucks! Dont waste your $$$ on FILTHY

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    @NeR0FiD0 Almost all those first gen BGA models from AW have massive processor throttling problems. Look inside the AW 15/17 sub forum threads. @VICKYGAMEBOY can as well tell you more about this problem. He have the record with 6 Motherboard replacement without manage to fix the massive throttling problems.

    Btw Welcome to the forum:)
     
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  3. NeR0FiD0

    NeR0FiD0 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hey @Papusan, I have read his rants. Though I am not sure how much will that be of help, or how much @VICKYGAMEBOY will be willing to help. I have read the blogs. Dell India guys are incorrigible. But the question remains, how do you workaround that problem, now that it is there.
     
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  4. rinneh

    rinneh Notebook Prophet

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    ALso the 6 motherboards being spoken of here are refurbs. Probably traded in because of that exact reason.

    Its still not known what exactly causes it. But some seem to have better luck when they cool the PCH. I didnt had throttle issues with my R1 so I was lucky. You could opt for a system replacement.
     
  5. NeR0FiD0

    NeR0FiD0 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Let me tell you my story. They replaced my board once and the only thing that changed was the ASIC percentage of my GPU from 82 to 71% (I am worse off now). Obviously that did not solve my problem. Then the ticket was forwarded to a level 2 manager Rohit Jain, who claimed that I am playing such shennanigans to get an upgrade and asked for Service Tags of notebooks in which the same issue was there and they were replaced, as I gave the reference of @VICKYGAMEBOY story and a couple of other stories that are available online (especially oustide India). He basically judged my intentions and asked for proof of my claims and asked me to produce precedents as in a court of law. Then the call was escalated to one Mr. Anuj Mishra (Senior Support Resolver by designation) who initially discounted the issue and took a lot of explanation to even understand that the issue happens when power is plugged in and laptop isn't in power saver mode. He claimed that he escalated the call to the Design team, and returned back saying that this is as expected, and no further replacements of motherboards (refurbished ones!) will be done as well. I got emotional and angered, he suggested I was getting personal. I suggested that they didn't even do a proper investigation of this issue, and are relying on the data I am giving them. He said our guy who came to replace your board ran the BIOS test and did not find any issue! At this time I lost it. I think Dell India should mention it from now on in the warranty clause that refurbished parts will be provided iff the BIOS test indicates a H/W issue. Now, I work at a respectable firm in high technology, and have an Ok understanding of such issues, so I suggested him certain course of action; and persisted that there is an issue and it exists. Then Mr Anuj got personal and said "sir what can we do, you know more than us". First off they are relying on my explanation of the problem and not doing their own technical investigation (relying on a freakin BIOS test, who in the right mind would do that), second they don't have customer empathy, third off their employees are inadequately trained to understand the issue and finally they don't know how to talk. If this is as per the design, then the design itself was flawed and hence a motherboard replacement (might correct the issue, relying on silicon lottery) or a new revision board should be provided. "It is as per design" (that means design is flawed), solves their problem but not mine. I don't know what to do, my future steps are to escalate on social media, put this question on quora, and mail their grievances team. In India customer protection laws aren't that strong, so I am not sure approaching consumer court will be useful or not (but if all else fails I will do that as well). No design would be intended towards downclocking (throttling) when temps are low and load is increasing, instead of increasing the clock to match the load when temps are fine. Come to think of it, even my work laptop - lenovo t460 doesn't decrease its clock under load when it is plugged in with High performance and temps are as high as 88.

    I see alienware reps in both alienware arena and notebook review have started to ignore the pleas of Alienware 15 r1 users along these lines as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
  6. Papusan

    Papusan JOKEBOOKs Sucks! Dont waste your $$$ on FILTHY

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    I think this below is still valid. Dell threw in the towel and gave up fixing all the throttle mess.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
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  7. GodlikeRU

    GodlikeRU Notebook Deity

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    This BIOS is a total mess
     
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  8. unclewebb

    unclewebb ThrottleStop Author

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    Did you try disabling BD PROCHOT in ThrottleStop yet? Try that and do not run XTU. It is best to only use one program at a time to adjust your CPU performance.
     
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  9. NeR0FiD0

    NeR0FiD0 Notebook Enthusiast

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    @unclewebb, I did the same (removed the check from BD PROCHOT), and I had the most amazing (really amazing) discovery, all thanks to you. The trottle didn't come up as Thermal in XTU anymore, it showed up as power limit throttle (100%), this fits well with my previous hypothesis as well, as I rarely saw power consumption to be even in late 30s. 100% PLT, despite a 240 W power brick, showed up even when temps reached momentary highest - 84, typical range was 74-80 cause of thermal paste and cooling systems; this is contrary to what was observed earlier (when throttling showed up as Thermal at low temps). Please refer to the snapshot below:

    http://i.imgur.com/WLEbBR0.png

    A thing to notice is the trapezoidal oscillation (orange colored), indicating how unstable the CPU clock is and CPU spends more time at lower frequency.

    At this point, I am unable to make any inference, and I am counting on inputs from experts like you. BTW this time around the lowest I hit was around 1 GHz, but the highest that I got under load was actually equal to the base frequency around 2.6 GHz. It seemed turbo boost never kicked in under load.
    Also, I do not use XTU to perform any type of tuning but to record performance graphs so that i know what was happening. So it is like a background GUI based perf logger, with easy time stamp navigation. I was actually waiting for your reply on Alienware Arena.

    PS: This is my second motherboard (refurbished), they replaced the first one, which had the same throttling related issue (to 0.78 GHz) and showed up as thermal; and now the tech support Dell India guys are saying that it is as per design basically (thermal throttling under normal temps when system is loaded), and so they won't even try with a new refurbished board, let alone provide a replacement. All this while I was doing my investigation and providing snapshots they didn't ask for my laptopn and perform their tests even once. They are claiming that H/W is fines as the BIOS tests are passing. I feel they should write it in their warranty agreement that part replacements (even refurbished ones) will be provided only iff BIOS test fail on H/W, this is ridiculous.

    PPS: I am also surpised to see that alienware reps in both alienware arena and notebook review have started to ignore the pleas of Alienware 15 r1 users along these lines as well, and aren't providing their valuable inputs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
  10. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Use throttlestop and disable CPU power reporting by using powercut, now your CPU can consume virtually unlimited power without throttling
     
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