Alienware M15X GPU fan not coming on at high temperatures

HawkbitAlpha

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Every so often, the GPU fan on this laptop turns on for about twenty seconds, then goes off. It comes on and off at random like this, regardless of what temperature the GPU is actually at - if I'm doing something like playing GTA V, it'll stay off and let the temperature rise until the whole laptop cuts off due to overheating. On the other hand, it'll turn on when the GPU is sitting at a manageable temperature, then back off again.

As you can probably guess, this is seriously getting in the way of doing stuff on this laptop, as, for whatever reason, I can't do anything GPU-intensive and count on the fan to blow the building heat out. Logically, it seems like this would be a problem with the fan controller, but I can't work out any way of controlling it manually - not with Speedfan, Argus Monitor, or HWInfo. Apparently, this is because Alienware has its own proprietary method for fan control, but I sure can't access it, whatever it is.

The overheating has only been happening over the last couple of days, after about 7 months of using this laptop with minimal issues. I've tried flashing the A09 BIOS update (it was on A08 until last night) and reseating/cleaning the fan and its vent, to no avail. Clearly, the fan itself still works just fine, as it does its job just fine... but only when it bothers to turn on. Something's interfering with its ability to detect when to come on, and if anyone here can explain why, that would be *very* useful, because I'm not able to do much on here before it gets out of hand.

The specs, if they're of any use to this:

OS Version: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, 64 bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU X 920 8-Core @ 2.00GHz
RAM: 8 GB
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M, 1536 Mb
Hard Drive: 930GB
Motherboard: Alienware (click here for the CPU-Z readout of it)
Antivirus: Kaspersky Security Cloud
 

flavallee

Frank
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What's the exact 7-character "service tag" number on your Dell Alienware M15x laptop?

I'm guessing it's about 10 years old and originally came with Windows Vista 64-bit or Windows 7 64-bit.

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flavallee

Frank
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Yes, it's safe to submit that number.
It's something we frequently request for a Dell so its identity can be confirmed and its support site can be located.
Note: Alienware is made by and supported by Dell.

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HawkbitAlpha

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Yes, it's safe to submit that number.
It's something we frequently request for a Dell so its identity can be confirmed and its support site can be located.
Note: Alienware is made by and supported by Dell.

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55KV2P1. It's off of eBay, so the warranty is long since expired.
 

flavallee

Frank
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You should get rid of Kaspersky Security Cloud and use Windows 10's built-in antivirus app (Windows Security aka Windows Defender).
Windows 10 can have various issues when using a third-party antivirus app, so it's recommended not to use one.

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HawkbitAlpha

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Joined
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You should get rid of Kaspersky Security Cloud and use Windows 10's built-in antivirus app (Windows Security aka Windows Defender).
Windows 10 can have various issues when using a third-party antivirus app, so it's recommended not to use one.

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I've had Kaspersky for about 4 months, and the overheating started on Saturday, so I'm not sure how related it could be to this issue. Still, I'll try uninstalling it and see what happens.
 

flavallee

Frank
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OS Version: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, 64 bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU X 920 8-Core @ 2.00GHz
RAM: 8 GB
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M, 1536 Mb
Hard Drive: 930GB
55KV2P1. It's off of eBay, so the warranty is long since expired.
According to that service tag number, you have THIS Dell Alienware M15x 15.6" laptop.

It was originally purchased in October 2010 in the United States and came with Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit.

It originally came with this hardware:
Intel Core i7-740QM 1.73 GHz quad core processor
6 GB (4 GB + 2 GB) DDR3-1333 MHz RAM
250 GB SATA2 7200 RPM hard disk drive
NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M GDDR3 512 MB graphics

It appears that most of its original hardware and its Windows operating system has been replaced and/or upgraded.

How long ago did you purchase it from eBay, and have you replaced and/or upgraded any hardware or its operating system?

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HawkbitAlpha

Thread Starter
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
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How long ago did you purchase it from eBay, and have you replaced and/or upgraded any hardware or its operating system?
Had it since late July. I haven't changed anything in it.

Also, oddly, uninstalling Kaspersky and restarting solved the problem... for a few hours, and the fan is now back to staying off as the temperature climbs into the 80+ C range. In any case though, given how the entire laptop (including the CPU, where the fan *is* coming on) is idling at higher-than-normal temps now, I'm rush-ordering some thermal paste and not leaving this to chance.
 
Last edited:

flavallee

Frank
Trusted Advisor
Joined
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Type winver in the search box, then press the Enter key.
A small window will appear.
What is the exact "Version" and "OS Build" listed there?

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HawkbitAlpha

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Alright, I'm back with some thermal paste on hand! Still can't use it yet thanks to the GPU and CPU both being held down by a few stripped screws, but that's one step closer to fixing this, I think.

Also, another observation: the CPU is also running at 50 C+ most of the time, but unlike the GPU, its fan is coming on and staying on consistently, keeping it in the sub-70 range. Why the GPU doesn't do the same, and just rises into blazing hot (90+, sometimes all the way to where it cuts off at 100) temps with no fan action, is completely beyond me. This has me concerned that new paste won't solve it either.

Oh, and this screenshot is with a cooling pad in use underneath. I'm propping the whole thing up just to rule out the remote chance of there ever being any kind of air intake blockage.



Type winver in the search box, then press the Enter key.
A small window will appear.
What is the exact "Version" and "OS Build" listed there?
 

flavallee

Frank
Trusted Advisor
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
82,771
Capture.JPG

Version 20H2 (OS Build 19042.685) is the most current Windows 10.

Once you resolve your overheating issue, you should consider doing a "clean" install of the current Windows 10 and getting a fresh start.

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HawkbitAlpha

Thread Starter
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
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Update: For some reason, the fan actually came on now for about 15 minutes, regulating the temperature to under 60 C just like the CPU fan. Now it's slowed down, but still on, and making a low buzzing sound.

...I'm so confused. Evidently, this problem is happening at pure random.
 

HawkbitAlpha

Thread Starter
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
16
Can now confirm that the thermal paste isn't causing the problem. The fan came on again for another few minutes, and I checked Speedfan to see that it drove the GPU's temperature all the way down to below 45 C for those few minutes. (Though I'll still try to get through the busted screws and re-paste the CPU some time soon, because it's running pretty hot with its fan on regularly, even when nearly on idle.)

 

HawkbitAlpha

Thread Starter
Joined
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Messages
16
Okay, folks, guess what? Out of nowhere, the GPU has gone back to normal and stayed in a good temperature range for the last few days. I don't know what caused the GPU problem to inexplicably fix itself, but whatever it is still doesn't affect the CPU, because it still won't go back below an average 55 C.
 

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