DELL XPS M1330: Lowering GPU and CPU temperature with RMclock and I8kfanGUI

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by XPS36, Jan 23, 2010.

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  1. XPS36

    XPS36 Notebook Guru

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    Last update: 30th of June, 2010
    Please, read also 'Additional Notes' at the end of this report

    This is a description of how to cool down the XPS machine, e.g., the CPU
    and all the other chips. Under specific circumstances, the GPU and CPU
    temperature can be lowered by 5°C and 20°C, respectively.

    First, here is some literature:

    GPU related issues are described in the following threads:

    Here is a description of the copper heat sink method

    A promising technique to retrieve the main board if defective seems to
    be the 'heat method':
    (I haven't yet tried this method :))

    Although they are closed, similar topics to my one can be found here:

    I give no guarantee that the following
    way of cooling is doing any harm to your
    DELL XPS M1330! You are self-responsible
    for what you do! The following ideas are
    only guidelines.

    Dear XPS M1330 user!

    I have read and learned so much in this forum about how to deal with the
    overheating GPU issue of the DELL XPS M1330 so that I thought to give
    back my experiences I have collected the last 4-5 months. I think that I
    have found a relative easy way to cool down the GPU and CPU. The
    solutions are addressed to all XPS users. However, they restrict somewhat
    the use of the XPS M1330 for gaming (see below). So far, first here are
    some specifications of my XPS machine:

    Specifications and material

    DELL XPS M1330

    - Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T5550 @ 1.83GHz
    - NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
    - Windows Vista
    - No copper heat sink (not yet)

    Usage of XPS M1330 (I use the laptop for … )

    - Text processing
    - Email and Web browsing
    - Watching movies and pictures and online news, youtube, etc.
    - Conversion of movies into different formats
    - Creation of graphics with, e.g., CorelDraw
    - Image analysis, preparation, etc.
    - Almost no games
    - Low-level mathematical calculations
    - etc.

    Programs, which are needed and which were used

    - Right Mark CPU utility ( - CPU control
    - I8kfanGUI 3.1 ( - fan control
    - HWMonitor ( - temperature reading
    - Orthos - for tests
    - A large mpeg movie - for testing

    Further equipment

    - Laptop cooler Zalman ZM-NC 1000

    Computer setup

    In principle, I use two programs which help to cool down the system.
    What concerns the GPU in combination with RiverTuner
    ( see 'Additional Notes' below.

    Right Mark CPU - The first program to mention is the RightMark CPU
    clock utility ( I use this program for
    two things. First, I choose smaller voltages (undervolting). A very good
    description of how to find the smallest voltages can be found here:

    Undervolting already reduces the temperature of the CPU quite effectively
    (see results and discussion). Note that you have to determine your own min.
    voltages with help of the manual from above!

    The second thing I do with Rmclock is to restrict the speed of the CPU,
    that is, to limit the Intel SpeedStep mechanism. The following images show
    the parameters I have chosen (more details can be found in the last link):

    Click on this link:

    I introduced two profiles: One is named 'full power' where the max. speed of
    1.88GHz is allowed (all FID's active), the second one ('middle') allows
    a CPU speed of 1.33GHz (FID 0-2 active) and the last profile
    allows only a speed of 0.99GHz (FID 0 active only). As one can see,
    the voltage is always higher, when a higher clock frequency is used.
    This means that more electric energy is used which, in turn, increases
    the temperatures. By not allowing these high speeds, the temperature
    cannot raise (see results and discussion ).

    I8kfanGUI - The second program I use is I8kfanGUI 3.1
    (, which controls the fan of the
    XPS M1330. Read the manual of I8kfanGUI for more details. Here are
    the parameters I have chosen (sorry, that it is in German, niedrig = low,
    hoch = high, keine Aenderung = no change):

    Click on this link:

    Note, that in my case the GPU temperature has an offset of -10°C when
    the temperature is read in I8kfanGUI! This means that they are falsely
    represented – they are 10°C too low. So, before you put in any temperature
    values, read first the correct temperature of the GPU and CPU with
    HWMonitor and compare them with the actual ones on the first page of
    I8kfanGUI option window. Determine the offset values and enter them in
    the options.

    As you can see, I have chosen the parameters in I8kfanGUI such that the
    fans are kicked as soon as the temperatures reach 60°C and more. The fan
    are on half speed as soon as a temperature of 50-52°C are reached.


    I conducted a couple of test measurements. For stressing the GPU I played a
    movie in 'endless play' mode in Windows Media Player. It is somewhat a
    simulation of a 'realistic' movie watching situation. For stressing the CPU
    alone, I used Orthus, which can be easily found in the Internet. It is a free
    program. For stressing the GPU alone, I used GPU Caps Viewer (v1.8.2, see
    comments in discussion section).

    Here are some details about the experimental conditions:

    - Room temperature: 25 °C
    - The laptop was switched off for 20 minutes before all tests
    - No external screen was attached to the M1330
    - The number of the tests is in fact the order of measurements which were accomplished
    - The error in temperature is about +- 1.5°C

    Cool : Laptop cooler Zalman ZM-NC 1000, middle speed
    Movie : MPEG, Windows Media Player. Endless play on full screen
    Orthus : StressCPU with Gromacs core
    RM CPU : full = 1.88MHz, middle speed: 1.33MHz, low: 0.99MHz

    Click on this link:

    Discussion and outlook

    A couple of observation can be done:

    1. - Undervolting is indeed a quite effective method! Compare test 3 and 5
    (without RMclock) with test 8, or test 11 with test 12. The GPU decreases
    its temperature by 2°C and the CPU by 5-6°C. Note, that in all experiments
    the max. clock speed of 1.8GHz was allowed in RMclock.

    2. - Undervolting + reducing the clock speed of the CPU is amazingly
    productive: Compare test 11 with test 13 and 14. The GPU temperature is
    reduced by 6-9°C, whereas the CPU temperature decreases by ~20°C.

    3. - If full CPU speed is allowed in RMclock (here 1.8GHz) and if the CPU is hard
    working, the temperatures raise quite high. However, I8kfanGUI can reduce
    the temperatures by 5°C (compare test 12 with test 15).

    4. - When it gets hot in summer, a laptop cooler like the Zalman ZM-NC 1000 is additionally cooling the XPS M1330 (see comments from June 30th below)

    So, from all this, one could summarize as follows:

    For those who use the laptop just for 'normal use', like me, the solution by
    using Rmclock and I8kfanGUI is quite sufficient. Use lower voltages and
    reduce the CPU clock speed to lowest values. I recommend to buy actually
    Rmclock because you can create your own profiles and chose them quite
    easily via the task bar with the mouse. Further, use I8kfanGUI for kicking the
    fans when the temperatures get to high. The Laptop cooler is doing its additional
    job and decreases the temperature by some degrees (see notes from June 30th).

    When I use the laptop for, e.g., writing, the GPU and CPU temperatures never overpass 62°C and 50°C. In 'normal use', they are around, say, 58°C and 43°C. Watching movies
    increases temperatures but the GPU will never overpass 70°C. I use both
    programs for 1 month, traveled a lot and used the laptop for, e.g., talks,
    demonstrations, etc. There was not a single crash due to the low voltages for instance.
    By the way: Don't forget that RMclock is not only 'decreasing' temperatures! It
    automatically increases the life of your battery, too. At the airport for instance, I lower
    the screen intensity and use only 0.99GHz speed of the CPU clock (FID 0 active only,
    profile 'low' in RMclock).

    Future: I expect a further decrease of the temperatures, when the copper heat
    sink is installed. Temperatures will go down drastically and the usage of
    Rmclock helps to reduce the temperature of the CPU in this sense.

    I hope that my analysis contributes in finding ways to reduce the GPU and
    CPU temperature of the XPS M1330. I advise you to search your own
    voltages and fan speeds for best conditions because I expect slightly
    different values for different XPS M1330 models.

    Good luck and cheers,


    PS: If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks in advance.

    Additional notes

    January 30th, 2010

    Since recently, I use also RivaTurner, which you can find here:

    With RivaTurner, the speed of the GPU can be limited. I limit the speed by almost a factor of 2. The following two images show the parameters I have chosen:

    A drop in temperature can not be seen during a normal use of the M1330 during, e.g., text processing. However, as soon as lots of resources are demanded from the GPU by some programs (huge 3D calculation etc.) the temperatures are kept a little bit cooler in comparison to the case when speed is at its maximum (without RivaTurner). With the demos from Nvidia, the difference in temperature can be analyzed:


    In the following tests, the M1330 was placed on the Zalman ZM-NC 1000 laptop cooler (lowest speed), and an external screen was used (1680 x 1050 pixel, HDMI, nvidia driver For each test, I played the 'Dusk Movie' from Nvidia for 6 minutes. For the RightMark utility, I used my profile 'low' where only FID 0 is active. Room temperature was at 20°C. Before all tests were conducted, the CPU and GPU had a temperature of 44°C and 59°C, respectively.

    Note that temperatures increase, when the laptop cooler is switched off.

    April 5th, 2010

    I was told by user unclewebb that 'ThrottleStop',,

    can also be used instead of 'RM CPU' for controlling the CPU voltages and speed. However, I haven't yet tested it but I will do it in future ... .

    Thx for the comments, unclewebb!!

    June 30th, 2010

    We have summer now in Europe, with temperatures as high as 35°C ... time to make some comments about the laptop cooler Zalman ZM-NC 1000:

    I can recommend this laptop cooler, because when it gets hot, the laptop remains overall relatively cool. I haven't done a systematic analysis but I think that the temperature gain can be up to dT = -10°C when it is really warm outside. So, buy this cooler and your XPS M1330 will be glad for it;
  2. LordRasta

    LordRasta Notebook Consultant

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    Great post. Rep for you my friend.
  3. XPS36

    XPS36 Notebook Guru

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    Thanks LordRasta.

    I think it is the first time that somebody publishes useful parameters for the DELL XPS M1330 in combination with RMclock and I8kfanGUI in the Internet. I'm curious if other people have same experiences.
  4. XPS36

    XPS36 Notebook Guru

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    Hi all.

    I have done an update of my RightMark-I8kfanGUI-RivaTurner cooling solution.

    1. The laptop cooler works now and limits also the temperature. I changed the text.
    2. I inserted a comment about RivaTurner at the end of the report.

    I hope that I can somewhat help ...


  5. Rnewman612

    Rnewman612 Notebook Consultant

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    nice post very informative
  6. XPS36

    XPS36 Notebook Guru

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    Thanks Rnewman612, I do what I can do ... cheers.
  7. XPS36

    XPS36 Notebook Guru

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    There is not much feedback, why?
  8. Mezzi

    Mezzi Notebook Consultant

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    Hey XPS36 very useful post it seems, thanks for posting.

    I do not know why there is so little feedback maybe its because most people are looking to sell or get rid of their M1330s or the post is a bit on the technical/cumbersome side.

    I have a M1330 (using it to post this now) which I have had since November 2008 without any major issues. My only issue is that I need a new battery. Rather than jump to try what has been posted here I just make sure im in a cool room most of the time and will seek to sell this laptop before 2011.

    Thanks again for the post and I may indeed try what has been posted over the weekend.

    I have also repped you :)
  9. XPS36

    XPS36 Notebook Guru

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    Dear Mezzi,

    thanks a lot!

    After a month of daily use of RMclock I can confirm again that it is a quite useful tool for decreasing CPU and therefore (indirectly) GPU temperature. Even if you allow only FID 0 you still have enough power for normal use. Further, I8kfanGUI kicks the fans when the temperature gets higher than, say, T_GPU = 65°C. Well, T_GPU = 65°C is a rather rear case. I get this temperature only when watching movies on my external screen (full screen mode).

    I hope that you will experience the same,


    PS: If there would be a similar tool for lowering the GPU voltages it would be perfect! I've read that you have to flash the BIOS of the GPU, which is rather a difficult task to do.
  10. beatnikk

    beatnikk Notebook Enthusiast

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    I´ve followed your guide w/o copper mod and results were good, but not good enough, now i use your guide with my lap coppermodded and results are brilliant, top performance and very well cooled laptop even at full load. Thx a lot.
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