M17X R2 GPU Overheating


New Member
Feb 12, 2016
I apologize if this has been covered but I did some searches both online and in this forum and did not find it.

I was gifted a 5 year old Alienware M17X R2 with a bad video card recently because according to the original owner "it died". On initial review it seemed that the issue was a bad video card. When asked what, if anything, had occurred prior to it dieing the original owner only stated that one day it worked, next it didn't. I figured what the heck, my wife needs a newer machine and I can do a video card replacement so I took on this challenge. Heck, free Alienware.

When given to me I could read the bios flash screen with minimal distortion but when booting up the screen went to a fully pixelated screen that was un-readable. The two stages of qualty lead me to confirm my hunch that the issue was video adapter or cable problem and not a display/screen or bigger error so win, easy fix.

So I replaced the card, and ran the on board diagnostics at first boot and found no other errors. The machine booted up nice, screen was crystal clear and gorgeous. However I believe now, after the first attempt to play a game, (World of Warcraft) that the original failure and error that caused the early "death" was that there was improper ventilation to the video card and that it overheated. So here I am asking other Alienware owners who might have experience with this for their input.

My first question involves how the air flow on this machine works. The fan for the GPU seems to push as much air out of the bottom of the machine as it does the back of it. When I had the machine opened to replace the card I did not find any blockage and did a fairly complete cleaning out the fan and case. I find it hard to believe that this is the normal air flow from the fan and not a sign that the fan is actually failing and not pushing the air up and out the back.

My current machine is an Asus ROG laptop and when the fans kick on it is a steady stream of heat pouring strong and steady out the back vents of the machine. I feel no return air flow from the inlet vents. This is the only point of comparison I have concerning air flow, and I find nothing online when I look, so I would have expected the same from an Alienware gaming machine. Am I wrong? Is this diffuse push of air out the back and sides normal?

Second question, I tried some fan monitoring software like the suite of apps that are associated to cpuid and speedfan and neither saw the gpu fan to allow me to control it or increase the speed. I will be attempting to try HWINFO tonight. Is this what seems to be the case or is this another sign of a bad fan?

Third, if I replace the fan has anyone found a better more powerful fan than stock that they would recommend that wont require changes to power supply or voltage? If anything, any third party brand they find more reliable than standard Dell parts?

I appreciate any constructive help anyone can provide