How to explain Thermal Throttling to senior representatives of Dell(India)?

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by sagarbhathwar, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. sagarbhathwar

    sagarbhathwar Notebook Consultant

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    First up, I will give the configuration of my Alienware 17 R3:
    i7 6700HQ
    GTX 970M
    16GB RAM
    256GB SSD

    The whole issue started around January when core temps were going over 90C and I went to Service center for repasting(back then, I had no idea aboubt good quality paste, way of fixing heatsink, core temperature difference: Core 1 was hitting 90C while core 3 and 4 were barely touch 75C, even when running Prime95)

    When I got my laptop back after repasting, to my horror, core 1 and 2 were spiking to 100C almos INSTANTLY when I started Prime95. Let's forget Prime95, it was the same with SupportAssist Stress test too. Even Dell's low stress ePSA reported 97C, but saying all tests passed!
    At this stage, maximum core speed were around 2.6GHz, while previously I was getting nearly 3GHz even when running Prime95. I felt I dug my own grave

    Then, I imported thermal grizzly kryonaut and asked the service center guy(not the same as above, a different one) to paste using this.
    Initially, max temps using Prime95 was 85. I was overjoyed. Things are back to normal again.

    BUT!! It was short lived. Very soon, the entire laptop started heating like an oven. Mind you, it was still february and pretty cool weather in India. Unberably hot to touch on the surface. Checked my CPU temps and to my horror, All cores were again going over 85C with Core 1 and 2 spiking to 97C.
    I called up the Serivce center guy and asked him how he repasted it and if he had cleaned it properly before applying the new paste to which he said "No sir. I applied it over whatever was there. The paste is original from dell. It has to be there, I've applied Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut over the original paste". At this stage, my faith in Dell took a nosedive, like how can anyone be so foolish to do such a thing

    This was followed by a series of replacements:

    1) Heatsink + Fan replacement - Not fixed. Same heating, same thermal throttling

    2) Second time heatsink and fan replacement - Not fixed.

    3) Motherboard replacement - This time, I had no choice but to use Arctic MX-4, after clean wiping whatever Junk Dell had provided me with. Temps show 76C after this? WOW! Finally, it's fixed!

    BUT, again, like my fate suggests, it was short lived. The problems returned back within 2 days. Massive Surface heating. Massive CPU heating to 95C with thermal throttling.
    I called up customer care and asked them to elevate the issue to L3 level. The L3 guy, don't want to give his name here, said "It is working according to design specification" and closed the issue entirely. I am pretty sure this is a very famous term in Dell. Any problem that consumer reports is always within their "design specification". Horrifying, this was absolutely horrifying

    Then, I was approached by Advanced Resolution Expert who said he wants to pick up the laptop and give it to R&D team for further testing. Well, I did as necessary. Later I realised that the R&D team consisted of the same L3 guy who closed my issue in the first place! What horror. My laptop was returned back to me after another repasting, again with exact same words "It is working according to design specification. Temperatures can go upto 100C. It is OKAY". Still, with temperature spiking to 99C and thermal throttling to 2.2GHz on Prime95. Which rubbish junk has thermal throttling as their "design", rather a "design flaw": Throttling to as low as 2.2GHz whence I should have got 3.1GHz on 6700HQ which is still "working fine" for them!

    This wasn't the end of horror. Not just throttling to less than 2.7GHz all the time, there were occasional drop to 798MHz, while gaming, stress testing, ffmpeg, Visual Studio Compilation. You name it. Anything that is CPU intensive, there are ocassional clock speed taking a nosedive to 798MHz. Here are few Videos demonstrating it:







    All Videos have timelapse in the description showing the instance where FPS drops very low due to Clock speed dropping to 798MHz. Insane! It happens at crucial times in CS:GO

    Yesterday, still fighting after 3 months, I got a call to bring over my laptop and "Supervisor" of Advanced Resolution Team wanted to speak with me. Well, I went to Dell Internation Services at Domlur, bangalore. The conversation with him was one of the most non sensical discussio I've ever come across in my lifetime. Here are a few arguments and counter arguments:

    1)
    My argument - I am running Aida64 FPU test. Clock speed is 2.4GHz. I expect, at max load, the frequency to be 3.1GHz. This is case of thermal throttling.
    His argument - OH! IT IS WORKING FINE! Your background processes is consuming 0.7GHz. So, 2.4GHz + 0.7GHz is 3.1GHz, isn't it?
    ***ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? How insane is anyone to "add" clock speed. Nevertheless say that some "clockspeed is consumed" by background processes!

    2)
    My argument - I run ffmpeg. CPU usage is about 90%. I am getting 2.5GHz. Don't tell me again that there are background processes "silently eating up clock speed"!
    His argument - Oh! Again, 90% of 3.1 GHz is 2.79 GHz. You are getting 2.5GHz. You are good
    ***WHAT IN THE UNIVERSE ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? I show him Prime95 consuming 100% CPU and clock speed at 2.1GHz. Sir, 100% of 3.1GHz is 3.1GHz. Then why is, your beautiful Aliencrap, giving me 2.1GHz, oh good sire?. He cannot answer my question

    3)
    My argument - 100C is too hot. I believe 85C should be the absolute maximum a CPU should reach before the PC shuts down and this, should then be considered as a thermal issue
    His argument - * Starts talking about 1000CC Ferrari car running at high temperature without problems *
    My argument - You are comparing Combustion engine with Integrated circuit. I don't see any fuel burning inside my laptop and powering it to produce that much heat. It is due to such high temperatures the clock speed is throttling down to below 2.5GHz
    His argument - Isn't that a good thing? Your CPU is being prevented from burning out
    My argument - But sir, where is the 3.1GHz as advertized? Isn't that what I am supposed to be getting
    His argument - You will have to overclock to get that speed. You are running stock speed. 3.1GHz is only the max speed. You will not always get 3.1GHz.
    ***At this point, I loose my cool at him and stop arguing anymore and nod my head at absolutely horrifying stupidity

    4)
    My argument - While playing CS:GO, there is massive FPS drop. * shows video where CPU clockspeed takes a nosedive to 798MHz. But, that happens to be during the time I am almost standing idle*
    His argument - You are idle. Nothing is changing on the screen. You CPU went into idle state! That is why clock speeds came down!
    My argumet - What? No. Even if I am perfectly idle, the frames are rendered irrespectively. There is a problem with the CPU
    He - NO! IT IS WORKING ACCORDING TO DESIGN
    My argument -
    *shows a part of video where I am trying to shoot someone but aggravatingly missing due to FPS drop to 40FPS, clock speed is 799MHz* What do you say for this sir?
    His argument - Fans would have stopped working. When you suddenly start aiming, CPU usage spikes up and clock speed goes down to protect burn out!!! And your clock speed is back to normal after few seconds(Still throttled down at 2.8GHz, Meh, who cares anymore)
    *** I am stunned at his dumbness.

    Is this the kind of Engineers Dell is housing?? I am stunned at how dumb the above arguments sound! "Adding clock speed", "Consuming clock speed", "Percentage CPU usage * 3.1GHz"!!!! Dell, what is wrong with you? Why are you hiring such uneducated idiots? How in the 21st century of rapid technological growth is such a person at such a top position?

    Well, atleast, he finally agreed to take in the system and 'have it tested at chip level'. Sounds Bogus to me. Still doesn't stop saying "Your system is absolutely fine. You cannot buy a 1000CC vehicle and always expect it to perform at 1000CC ability". Cannot believe he is comparing an Internal Combustion Engine to a microprocessor! he still holds stron to his argument that "it is working according to design". He doesn't take into consideration that thermal throttling is a flaw!!

    It is impossible for me to explain that there is some insane issue with their laptop and I am not getting 3.1GHz, as advertised, under 100% load and below 45W TDP. He is either trying to fool me or doesn't know squat about Laptop design

    I have Warranty till February 2018
    Ambient temps are well below 35C(that is their specification in the user manual) at the time of running all these tests.

    How can I make Dell understand that, at 100% load, below 45W TDP, I must get 3.1GHz?
    How can I make them understand that Games render frames continuously, even if I am completely idle?
    How can I make them understand their Design is extremely flawed and it needs to be addressed?


    I just want a working laptop which gives me 3.1GHz under 100% load(Lets forget Prim95, it is too much for any laptop. Let me get that using ffmpeg). Dell just doesn't seem to understand such a simple statement and brings internal combustion engine into comparison with a microprocessor.

    If any Dell representative could go through this post and address the concern here, I will be happy!
     
  2. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    I believe you're out of luck. Dell redefined overheating to 3 cores hitting 110C or higher on the cpu. @D2 Ultima can chip in, though I think that's right (Do you have the source on that, I read it once in a ss but can't find it again). If not, 100% they say 100C is fine which is ridiculous. I've seen and you can find many cases of Dell techs saying that it's all good to have cpu temps like that.

    This was because their Skylake generation alienwares had really poor heatsink contact so a ton of them were getting rma'd. So instead of fixing the issue they redefined what overheating means.
     
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  3. D2 Ultima

    D2 Ultima Livestreaming Master

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    Yeah you're out of luck, though not holding base clocks is cause for warranty repair... But you're basically out of luck

    Sent from my OnePlus 1 using a coconut
     
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  4. sagarbhathwar

    sagarbhathwar Notebook Consultant

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    Not just overheating. Above 90C, it is thermal throttling, way down to 2GHz when pressed with Prime95 for more than a minute, and occasional drop to 798MHz. Is this also in their "design specification"?

    Is my statement "I should get 3.1GHz at 100% load, else there is a fault in the product", valid cause for RMA?
     
  5. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    I mean that should be cause for a warranty repair because it's not performing correctly.
     
  6. D2 Ultima

    D2 Ultima Livestreaming Master

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    Dell has an 800MHz throttle drop bug that's been plaguing their skylake models. Since Dell and Alienware rebrand Compal, makes sense that your AW has that bug.

    Thermal throttling at 90c shouldn't happen, though.

    2GHz shouldn't happen either, ever.

    But no, your statement "you should get 3.1GHz at 100% load" is not valid. You need to throttle under base clocks (which you do), because that's why mobile CPUs have such high turbo multipliers and such low base clock multipliers, so manufacturers can make crap cooling systems and say "well boost isn't guaranteed", despite the fact that your CPU will throw throttle flags which can be read by software if it's EVER under max turbo while under sufficient load.

    But you're dealing with Dell, and clearly some idiots. I didn't even need to read your whole post... if they won't replace it, you're simply screwed.
     
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  7. sagarbhathwar

    sagarbhathwar Notebook Consultant

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    It doesn't throttle at 90C. But it easily hits 99C, almost instantly, when I start ffmpeg and throttle flags are set in HwINFO and clock speeds are 2.6GHz to begin with and gradually drop to 2.5-2.4GHz.

    2GHz happens when running Prime95 for over a minute. I've never run it more than 1min fearing an explosion of the laptop. Wouldn't be surprised if it goes below 1.5GHz due to extreme heat

    Oh, then let me get the question clarified:
    Speaking by the terms of warranty, if the CPU usage is 100%, what clock speed should I see for my i7 6700HQ(base clock speed of 2.6GHz and 4 core turbo boost of 3.1GHz), below which the product is considered defective under warranty and should be RMA'd?

    If they won't replace it, under warranty, when it is thermal throttling and having a clock speed drop bug, they are welcoming a law suit. Simple :p
     
  8. D2 Ultima

    D2 Ultima Livestreaming Master

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    Under base clocks, so 2.4GHz or less.

    Sent from my OnePlus 1 using a coconut
     
  9. sagarbhathwar

    sagarbhathwar Notebook Consultant

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    So AW doesn't even guarantee Turbo boost? This is antagonizing

    So if my clocks are above 2.6GHz though thermal thorttling is indicated by the processor, it's all well and good?! I'm baffled!

    Yet p95 goes to 2GHz. That at least I believe are under warranty terms to be fixed.
     
  10. D2 Ultima

    D2 Ultima Livestreaming Master

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    no company (except probably HID and Obsidian) guarantees turbo boost. It's a farce, that turbo isn't guaranteed performance. Why do you think nVidia made turbo boost so bloody high on their newest gen of hot cards too? You know how much my card boosts? The base clock is 1557MHz, it boosts all the way up till 1898MHz at stock. That's a solid 350MHz, or nearly 25% of the performance of the card.

    Yes, if your clocks are AT OR above 2.6GHz and thermal throttling without 3 or more cores being 100c+, then you're "within acceptable regulations set by intel" and you're fine.

    Welcome to laptops, where the consumer gets shafted so hard it's a wonder we can walk comfortably, but everybody and their mother who runs a website or talks about it is furiously trying to prove that it's fine. You know, just like windows 10 being "fine".
     
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