The final solution: A guide to fixing the M17x R3 580m thermal throttling

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by YodaGoneMad, Feb 28, 2012.

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  1. YodaGoneMad

    YodaGoneMad Notebook Deity

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    Hey everyone, I have been using a method that I believe avoids and disables the 77c thermal throttle on the Nvidia 580m GPU. This is a method suggested by another forum member a long time ago, but it is buried in another thread, and he doesn't go into very much detail. I actually could not find his post at this time, if/when I do I will update to credit him for the general idea.

    Basically, he suggested that HWINFO64 was able to override the Compal EC. The EC controls the fans and power of the M17x R3, it is the source of the throttling problem. The fans are not aggressive enough, and after 77c the EC throttles the card. If we override it then we can enable a more aggressive fan profile, my testing also suggests that overriding the EC actually removes the 77c throttle completely.

    ------------
    *Standard Warning - Note from NBR Moderation Team*

    Third party BIOS Modifications, VBIOS Modifications and other system level tweaks (including fan control) can potentially cause damage to your system. Be aware of this before blindly flashing/installing.

    If you brick your system or cause damage, chances are very high that your warranty will be useless. Know what you are doing, you are responsible for your actions.
    ------------


    Step 1: If you haven't already, go use Widezu's guide and flash to the modified 580m vBios to remove the 63c power throttle. You want the normal one, NOT the .92 volt bios. You can find that guide here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/ali...throtting-fix-no-need-modify-system-bios.html

    Step 2: Go download HWINFO64, I recommend the Self-installing EXE since you will need to use this program whenever you want to play extremely demanding games. You can download the newest version here: HWiNFO64 Download

    Step 3: Install HWINFO64

    Step 4: Now open HWINFO64, when it pops up make sure to check sensor only as shown, then go ahead and hit run.
    [​IMG]

    Step 5: You should now be at the main screen for HWINFO64, the first thing you should do is go down the list and for each category of sensors, right click and disable monitoring. This is kind of optional, but I found that it make the program more reliable over long term use to disable everything I didn't care about. The only thing we want enabled is the Compal EC.


    Step 6: Click the little fan icon at the bottom.


    Step 7: The fan control window will pop up, system auto is what you click to reset to EC control. To setup our custom profile hit the Custom Auto button. The fan control look-up table will pop up. Go ahead and select the Compal EC in the dropdown box. Then go down the list and set it as shown in the image below. You are free to experiment here, but I have done about 20 hours of gameplay testing to get to these settings. Basically, anything over 4000 RPM will be max fan, thus 3900 is the highest medium fan setting, other than that I just do a nice slow increase. This is a good aggressive profile, but in my experience is not much louder or more annoying than the default EC.
    [​IMG]

    Step 8: After you are done with the look-up table you can click OK, you should see the green active, hit the minimize all button and you are done.
    [​IMG]

    General use: When you are done gaming and want to go back to the default fan control (which I recommend for normal use, since it is able to run each fan independently, where-as our profile runs both fans as a linked set) just open up HWINFO64 from your taskbar, click the System Auto button and quit.

    When you want to game again all your settings should be saved, simply open HWINFO64, click the fan icon, and you should have the green Active under custom auto, hit minimize all and go to it. It literally takes 10 seconds to start-up.

    Now, why do this? The more aggressive fan profile will keep your system cool under even the most demanding circumstances (at least in my experience). The few times my system ever gets up to 73c with this more aggressive profile the "jet engine" fan mode cools it down, I have never seen my machine gain temps with the fans at max. Even better, this seems to override the EC, so even if you go over 77c you shouldn't throttle. During my testing I tried setting the max fan to 3900 RPM rather than 5000. 3900 is the fastest fan setting before it kicks into "jet engine" mode, and generally it seemed to keep my system cool enough. I went about playing The Witcher 2 for a few hours, all worked well, no throttle. When I got done playing the max temperature shown for my GPU was 82c, the GPU had gone well over the 77c throttle, but nothing had happened, the throttle seemed to be gone. I added the 73c 5000 RPM entry after that, because I didn't want my system getting that hot, but it might technically be optional if the occasional jet engine bothers you.

    Basically, this "safe" software fix has resolved the 580m throttling issue for me. It would be nice if Dell would step up and fix this with a bios update, but if they choose not to there is an easy solution. Plus, you really don't need to use this for every game, so far the only game I have needed to use this for was The Witcher 2, every other game (and I have played quite a few on my M17x) has stayed in the mid 60's using the standard EC even with my 20% overclock.
     
  2. Jody

    Jody Notebook Deity

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    Mod applied. Much thanks for your work. If I spot the other post in my travels I will give you a heads up on the other guy's name. I tried to Rep you but I have already done so and it won't let me do it again.
     
  3. maxheap

    maxheap caparison horus :)

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    +rep awesome little guide :)
     
  4. bigtonyman

    bigtonyman Desktop Powa!!!

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    +rep for a Great guide dude, hope this really fixes it for the time being. :)
     
  5. Jody

    Jody Notebook Deity

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    I sent a message to Dell Support regarding this respectfully requesting that they increase the aggressiveness of the thermal profile for the fans and raise the throttle ceiling.
     
  6. blink_c

    blink_c Notebook Consultant

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    This is an awesome temp-fix until Dell decides to fix the throttle. The funny things about all of this is, we've done all the research for them. Just implement the change already, lol.
     
  7. SlickDude80

    SlickDude80 Notebook Prophet

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    yoda, that's a great effort! +
     
  8. SkylineLvr

    SkylineLvr Notebook Deity

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    Great guide. Definitely going to do this once my rig gets here.

    *Finally able to give you rep. Hard to do it on a phone.
     
  9. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    Nice guide... good work. For M17x R3 owners with GTX 580M this will be very helpful to avoid throttling issues while waiting for Dell/Alienware to deliver a solution that requires no user tweaks. +1 rep

    Also useful for anyone else that wants to know how to use HWiNFO effectively with their Alienware laptop.
     
  10. SlickDude80

    SlickDude80 Notebook Prophet

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    Just a side note, if you do this method via HWinfo, both fans on the m17x will be boosted which is a shame
     
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