Alienware M14x overheating when playing big games

ecbritz

Member
Sep 8, 2013
7
0
China
The four cores of my Alienware M14x run at about 60 degrees Celsius when the computer is started. After playing a big game like Battlefield 3 for about 20 minutes, the computer starts overheating with the fan speeding up audibly and the game starting to lag. This is so disappointing and depressing that I have started to abandon the expensive machine. My room is cool and the computer rests on a working Cooler Master. I can't find any virus with Malwarebytes or Avast Anti-Virus Pro. Any ideas on what I could try to avoid the overheating? Are there perhaps more than one fan inside, with only the one visible through the bottom panel (on the left) switching on?
 

MattyB

Moderator
Mar 19, 2012
3,090
125
Adelaide, Australia
A good thing to try is to open up your machine and clean out your heatsinks. They can often get built up with fluff which stops the air from escaping properly and causing your internals to overheat. I have opened up a few machines and been shocked at the build up on the heatsinks. Also, if you are comfortable with it, you can get some thermal paste and reapply it to your GPU and CPU. I think there is only one fan on the M14x from memory.
 

ecbritz

Member
Sep 8, 2013
7
0
China
Thanks very much for a suggestion I'm certainly going to follow up. I opened the back panel of the laptop and could get the fan more or less clean with a hand-held vacuum cleaner. There was some dirt - dust that amalgamated into a sticky dirt in time - on the blades of the fan. So the heat sinks are probably also in desperate need of cleaning. This is not so easy on a laptop. I'm scared of unscrewing and opening the tightly packed internal parts myself. So I'm looking for a technician now.
 

MattyB

Moderator
Mar 19, 2012
3,090
125
Adelaide, Australia
It is actually easier than you think. Have a look on youtube first. If you do decide to do it yourself make sure you have the teardown video there while you are doing it and just take your time. try not to do it on carpet and in socks as you will build up static quickly (which is bad). A lot of people use anti-static bands which is a good idea. I just try to be as careful as possible and I've never had any issues.
Good luck!



@Tommy - you may want to move this to the M14x section.
 

AeonSoul

Member
Feb 21, 2012
1,367
0
34
Italy
I think your best option anyway is to look into repasting. Dirt can be a factor, if it overheats so much that it starts throttling then it needs a repaste. Check some videos on youtube and check also some guides on dedicated sites (such as Notebookreview forums) and you should be able to do it. I'ts easier than it seems, and AW latops are sturdy, so don't be afraid.
 

Maelstrom

Member
Feb 25, 2012
698
0
Alabama
Yes, you should definitely clean out the heatsink. Also it might be a good idea to blow out the fan with an air can. That usually does wonders for me when it starts getting a little hot. Also see if you can keep the back end of the machine raised so that the fan can get better airflow.
 

forJAT

Member
Aug 7, 2013
163
0
Austin, TX
If it is within the warranty period contact Dell and if not then like the others say it is easy there are tons of videos on youtube on how to do this yourself. But if your unsure and out of warranty just take it to a repair shop but I am sure they will charge you a pretty penny.

And this goes with saying but make sure you get compressed air. My wife bought me some 3m Dust remover that was a compressed gas and has a bittering agent in it that left residue when I sprayed it too close. I have read that it is safe BUT I don't want any residue left over in my computer.
 
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ecbritz

Member
Sep 8, 2013
7
0
China
Thanks a lot for all the advice given. According to the advice, there seems to be a specific video on YouTube explaining how to get to the heat sinks inside the AW M14x, and clean them. Could someone give me the link to this video? The only way I could clean the fan, which had a deposit of sticky dirt on the blades, was to carefully scratch the blades clean, working through the small holes in the fan casing, and using a tiny scalpel-like tool. I sucked up the debris with a hand-held vacuum cleaner. Something tells me this cannot be the way to go, its much too weird and clumsy. Well, a technician is coming on Wednesday. Perhaps there is a way to remove the fan and hold it under a tap, who knows.
 

MattyB

Moderator
Mar 19, 2012
3,090
125
Adelaide, Australia

ecbritz

Member
Sep 8, 2013
7
0
China
Thanks. I wish I could locate a shorter video just showing how to reach the heatsink on the M14x, because I'd like to show it to the technician coming to my home. In China, a good technician visiting your home is not expensive, if you have good contacts. Computer wizardry is one of the perks over here. I've not been able to locate a youtube movie about my problem that does not go in for an hour. My technician wont have time for that.
 

ecbritz

Member
Sep 8, 2013
7
0
China
The overheating of my M14x has been explained and solved by dismantling the machine and discovering a thick pad of compacted dust between the fan and the heat sink of the CPU and GPU. What shocks me about this, is that the removal of the disabling and dangerous dust build-up was not provided for in the design of this hot-running gaming "mini-monster". It should be easy enough to add a small removable panel where the dust -- which turns into a thick pad of obstructive "filt" in time -- can be easily removed. I had to get a technician to do the tricky job of dismantling the whole machine.