How to Overclock the Alienware 18 and Haswell CPU (or actually have it run full stock Turbo Speed)

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by Mr. Fox, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    Edit: thread title has been updated because the BIOS and EC issues apply to all Alienware 18 systems, not just those with a 4930MX CPU. This subject has been discussed in numerous threads for the Alienware 18. Here are some links to other threads as a cross-reference:


    This issue keeps resurfacing because Alienware has not released a BIOS update to fix issues with Haswell CPU performance. None of them will operate at the stock default advertised clock speeds because the power settings are not correct. Those advertised with a factory overclock are likewise incapable of functioning at the advertised overclock speed without some custom tweaking to make up for the incorrect stock BIOS settings.

    I flashed A03 and stayed up late playing with a lot of settings and I think I have something that everyone with a 4930MX can use for a stable 4.3GHz overclock while we are waiting for Alienware to fix the problems with the BIOS and fan tables. These settings should allow the CPU to dynamically draw power and I hope it will account for variances between processors. The dynamic settings seem to use less voltage and it seems to help keep the temps in check better than manually setting the voltage. If you have a 4700MQ, 4800MQ or 4900MQ these settings probably will not work because those processors have locked TDP and other functional limitations. You can adapt the settings as necessary for the best result possible. It will not be 4.3GHz because they are not capable of running at that speed.

    Prerequisites:

    .
    • Alienware 18 BIOS A03 (so core current limit can be adjusted with XTU)
    • Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) version 4.2.0.8
    • Cool work environment (because the fan tables are messed up)
    If you are used to a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Extreme CPU, this will still be a disappointment, but I think it is the best we can do under the circumstances. My results are in a very cool room (approximately 68°F) so you may have to drop the multipliers if you are not in a cool work environment. I believe the power settings will work the same for lower multipliers. Set your Processor Cache Ratio to match your multipliers. If you look at the multiplier high/low range with CPU-Z, the maximum value should match your Processor Cache Ratio. (You need to close and relaunch CPU-Z to see it change.) Doing this helps prevent power throttling.

    Set your BIOS to match this screen and then set XTU to match the settings shown in the screen shot below.





    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    click images to enlarge full screen in a new browser window

    If you can keep the beast cool, it is capable of achieving far more performance with more aggressive voltage settings... you'll need AC cooling for 4.6GHz since the fans rarely ever kick in. Here is what a 4.6GHz wPrime 32M run looks like with A03.






    Edit: Adding this information for easy reference.

    A friendly reminder that we need to let Alienware know much we would appreciate having a fix for the BIOS and EC fan table issues. Please take action using the following links. Your voice is more likely to be heard in a Dell Community Forum or Dell IdeaStorm thread. Thanks in advance for taking action, especially if you have not already done so. If you promote something at IdeaStorm, please also include comments about why you feel the idea needs to be implemented.

    Alienware 18 CPU Throttling | Dell Community Alienware Club
    ^^^please share your story here and ask when a fix will be released for the BIOS and fan tables

    Alienware 18, 4930MX Overclocked up to 4.3GHz only reaching to 3.9 GHz | Dell Community Alienware Club
    ^^^please share your story here and ask when a fix will be released for the BIOS and fan tables in this thread as well

    Dell IdeaStorm | Alienware: Enhanced / Customizable Fan Control
    ^^^this has 67 votes, no action has been taken to fix the problem, but it got archived for some reason, so please vote and comment this up again

    Dell IdeaStorm | bigger power supply or dual psu for high end 18s please (18x-18
    ^^^without this, there is no point in buying one with top specs unless you are merely a gamer that is happy with stock performance

    Dell IdeaStorm | Unlock the Bios on the new Alienware 18s ~and~ IdeaStorm Petition: Unlocked BIOS for the 4930MX
    ^^^this is "Enthusiast 101" - they need to either remove the restrictions so we can unlock and flash it for ourselves, or provide it to us already unlocked

    Dell IdeaStorm | Desktop CPU's in AW 18
    ^^^the "Throttle King" (4930MX) ain't good enough for a true enthusiast - they need to think about moving in this direction because this is what many of us want in an Alienware 18

    Edit 1/24/2014 - See this post for useful information.

    Edit 12/30/2014 - For a truly amazing CPU cooling solution, see this post.
     
    Vasudev, unclewebb, dimobr and 17 others like this.
  2. Piddau

    Piddau Notebook Guru

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    Oh this is nice, will definietly try when I get the new laptop :)

    We usually have around 72°F at home more or less, so should be able to handle it.
     
  3. Riddhy916

    Riddhy916 Notebook Deity

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    you put AW18 mobo in your m18x chassis?
     
  4. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    No, I still have my fantastic M18xR2. This is an Alienware 18. They are made completely different and the parts are not interchangeable.
     
  5. wheth4400

    wheth4400 Notebook Evangelist

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    I will try this tonight when I get home, thanks so much Brother Fox
     
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  6. Alienware-L_Porras

    Alienware-L_Porras Company Representative

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    Awesome tutorial, this will help meanwhile we get everything set on our side. Sorry about the huge wait. :cool:
     
    Mr. Fox and Rafix like this.
  7. Omadon

    Omadon Notebook Enthusiast

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    Fox, thanks for the thread.

    I did everything you suggested and the results are even worse. I don't even have to run the benchmark for the system to shut down now. Just any application will do and the system just shuts down, not even BSOD.

    This is really frustrating now. It reminds me a bit of the search for the needle in the haystack...

    I would be curious to know if I am the only one with this problem, or do you guys out there have similar problems while toying around with XTU....
     
  8. kh90123

    kh90123 Notebook Deity

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    Trying lower it to a lower multiplier, say 42x or even 41x. Setting a higher multiplier could potentially make it perform worse, because of how hot the Haswell runs. Key is to make it run as close to full speed as much as possible. I have gotten 937 in XTU benchmark running at 4.1GHz before.

    Unfortunately with the rising thermal density on Haswell, it gets a bit tricky. And you have to remember each CPU has a slightly different thermal ceiling due to slightly different performance and efficiency, and that's due to statistical variation of transistors.
     
  9. sy5tem

    sy5tem Notebook Evangelist

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    nice tut,

    while we wait for Mr. Porras to kick so butt and get us proper bios :)
     
  10. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    And this is with the 4930MX? If so, how odd that it just shuts down like that. I wonder if something else is wrong. It should not do that. I haven't done anything out of the ordinary with this one. If you have an MQ CPU, these settings will not work. The settings are well beyond the power limits of of the 4700/4800/4900 MQ processors.
     
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