Dell on Laptops and Throttling


Recently, there's been a lot of speculation about CPU throttling on sites like Engadget, ZDNet and others. This is not about system lockups, freezes, data loss or a design issue. It is about the degree of throttling, which varies under different usage models and ambient conditions.

Throttling is a power management methodology used throughout the industry to balance system performance, component temperature and user experience. Throttling optimizes performance, regulates component temperatures and skin temperature (the amount of heat you feel at external touch points) while using a laptop.

Under normal conditions and use (i.e. a typical office environment and running a typical set of applications), customers won't see any issue at all. At this point, we've only heard from a small number of customers who have reported issues related to throttling. Those issues arose under more extreme thermal and usage models. These customers report more throttling than expected, plus they tend to experience a prolonged recovery time that sometimes requires a reboot to recover from the throttled state. In those scenarios, users may see slower system performance.

What we learned from the customers we've talked to is that we could improve thermal algorithms that dictate throttling thresholds on our mainstream business-class product line. Previous BIOS revisions for some platforms were not optimized for certain extreme operating conditions. That's why we've recently introduced BIOS revisions for the following systems:

  • Latitude E4200 <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Latitude E4300 <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Latitude E5400 <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Latitude E5500 <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Latitude E6400 <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Latitude E6500 <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Latitude E6400 ATG <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Latitude E6400 XFR <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Dell Precision M2400 <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Dell Precision M4400 <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • Dell Precision M6400 <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>

One other point I wanted to make is that we have not banned any users from our forum for discussing this issue.

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95 thoughts on “Dell on Laptops and Throttling

  1. I've not tested other systems, but the new BIOS for the E6500 (A18) does not resolve the problem. It provides an improvement, but the system will still throttle under heavy usage at room temperature when docked. The throttling behavior is essentially the same – it only occurs at 4 or 5 degrees C higher than before. This is not acceptable, especially for a system that is marketed as "pure business performance designed for the most demanding applications" (p. 27, October 2009 printed catalog key code 65051). What "component temperature" considerations could there be? The CPU and GPU don't even approach their rated maximum temps before the E6500 cripples itself severely by throttling. What "skin temperature" considerations would there be when the system is docked? I spent about $2000 on a top-of-the-line corporate-class docking desktop replacement and the last thing I would expect (or tolerate) is that Dell would deliberately design this system to cripple itself into utter uselessness (down to less than 5% of processing capacity – even crashing with a bluescreen in the worst circumstances) and, to top it all off, to do so with no indication whatsoever. Dell has no business secretly crippling my system (and thus, my productivity) – I paid $2000 to get 2.2GHz ALL the time, not just some of the time and ESPECIALLY not just some of the time with Dell not telling me when. I'm afraid the incalculable hours of frustration and troubleshooting caused by this problem will unfortunately result in an even further erosion of Dell's global PC market share (once #1, now #3 and falling).

    My original 59-page report outlining this issue in excruciating technical detail (which contains test results valid for E6500 BIOS versions through A16) is at:

    Randall Cotton (AKA tinkerdude)

  2. I have Dell 1537 and trying to find out the difference between windows vista and windows 7, which is better? I am also having issues with this thing always wanting to repair almost every time I start it !!!Need help!

  3. I do think that Windows should pop up a notification rather than just post an event log when the machine starts throttling.

    Initial testing with A18 on my E6500 is looking okay, but the weather is quite cool at the moment here in Brisbane, Australia.

  4. tinkerdude: Thanks for taking the time to share more of your thoughts. Lots of us here appreciate the kind of time and effort you've already put into this. Would you be open to discussing this in more detail with members from the Dell team?

  5. dadiomcallister: Regarding the Windows 7 vs. Vista. I'd have to give Windows 7 a clear advantage. Regarding the problems with your 1537, I'll send you an e-mail to get more information from you to get things moving.  

  6. Mr. Menchaca writes:

    "Thanks for taking the time to share more of your
    thoughts. Lots of us here appreciate the kind of time and effort you've
    already put into this. Would you be open to discussing this in more
    detail with members from the Dell team?"

    If you check the record, you'll see I've been in constant contact with Dell on this issue since June 24, 2009. I've talked to roughly 20 different Dell tech support staff, finally getting escalated to a Team Lead at Dell's Resolution Expert Center in Round Rock. I would consider talking directly with Dell Engineering (only because I can only do that now through my current contact). Failing that, I intend to continue following up with my current contact.

  7. I'm a bit curious why you did all the tests with a room temperature of 27.5°C-28.5°C?


    Not your typical office in any way shape or form…

  8. Why has nothing been mentioned about the Studio XPS 1645 and it's related power and throttling problems? All 1645 systems are limited to 931MHz performance while plugged into the wall outlet for power, and can only achieve 1.6GHz performance while running on the battery and unsupported 130-watt adapters. Users have found that exchanging the standard 90-watt power adapter with a 130-watt one fixes the problem, but tech support won't send them out for most. What is Dell's slowness to respond to this? It was mentioned in several of the same articles as the throttlegate issue.

  9. I purchased my E6400 in October 2008. All was well until the weather warmed up last spring. Since then my system has slowed to an unusable crawl multiple times per day every day. I did not report this because I could see that people like tinkerdude were on the case and I didn't expect it to take this long to get resolved.

    I flashed A19 on my system as soon as I saw it this morning (I use RSS to watch for updates). Lots of things that I do trigger throttling, but the most reliable is to play a video so I played an 8 minute video after flashing the BIOS today. At the 3 minute mark, the CPU stepped down and CPU use started to ramp up. At 6 minutes CPU hit 100% and my system essentially locked up. It took 5 minutes to stop the video. CPU remained at 100% after that as the CPU was still throttled. It took another several minutes to start RMClock. As soon as RMClock was running, CPU fell to nearly 0%.

    I have been using RMClock to somewhat manage this problem for several months. It is an improvement, but not a solution. Before I found tinkerdude's analysis on the Dell community forum several months ago, I thought I was going crazy. I plan to report this to Dell tomorrow so that they know there are users with this problem who have been silently and patiently waiting for a fix.

    I run docked with two external monitors most of the time. This problem happens even when undocked. I agree with tinkerdude's assessment 100%. This is a serious problem. This is my 4th Dell laptop and it will be my last unless this problem is corrected.

  10. Mr. Menchaca writes:

    "Thanks for taking the time to share more of your
    thoughts. Lots of us here appreciate the kind of time and effort you've
    already put into this. Would you be open to discussing this in more
    detail with members from the Dell team?"

    If you check the record, you'll see I've been in constant
    contact with Dell on this issue since June 24, 2009. I've talked to
    roughly 20 different Dell tech support staff, finally getting escalated
    to a Team Lead at Dell's Resolution Expert Center in Round Rock. I
    would consider talking directly with Dell Engineering (only because I
    can only do that now through my current contact). Failing that, I
    intend to continue following up with my current contact.

  11. thedead writes:

    "I'm a bit curious why you did all the tests with a room temperature of 27.5°C-28°C?

    Not your typical office in any way shape or form…"

    So is it the case then that E6500 should only be used in a "typical office environment" or otherwise you should have no expectations of normal operation? People who work at home without air conditioning should not expect their E6500 to function normally? How about people who work on their porch in the summer. Or in the park on a sunny day? Or how about people who use it wherever they feel like when they're not working? Are these all unreasonable environments to use the E6500? It certainly wasn't advertised that way. The tech specs say the E6500's specified operating range tops out at 95 degrees F (see p. 31 at ). Is it not reasonable to expect that the system shouldn't secretly cripple itself, no matter what you run, so long as you remain within its specified operating range and the system is not somehow physically damaged?

    27.5-28C happens to be the typical summertime temperature of my home office, by preference.

    If you would like to see test results showing severe throttling (for both E6500 BIOS A16 and A18) at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, check out . I just happened to be in that environment earlier today when testing the new E6500 BIOSA18.

    But I maintain that this is a legitimate beef even it only happened at 90F or even 95F.

  12. Another user with a "troubled" XPS 1645 with the underpowered 90W adapter. 🙁

    Let's get the ball  rolling, eh, Dell?

    You can make up the huge time delay with the Latitudes by showing loyal customers that you can fix problems efficiently. I'm only on day 25 of the system and was one of the first to get it.


  13. tinkerdude: Members of our engineering and performance teams are indeed who I was referring to.

  14. Lionel:

    I am experiencing the same issues with my E6500 (purchased Fall of 2008) as Tinkderdude and have been trying to get answers from Dell as well. First and foremost, while I can appreciate your need to perform damage control on this issue, I have to disagree with your comment about this not being a problem for typical office users. I am not using my laptop in an "exotic" environment; I am using it in an typical ~70 degree office! I will try the BIOS update provided today, but I'm not convinced that this is a BIOS issue alone. As evidence I submit the following:

    Like Tinkderdue, I have spent a great deal of time trying to diagnose this issue on my laptop. This issue appears to be re-appearing every 4-6 months and I first reported it to Tech Support back in May of 2009 after about a month of my own troubleshooting efforts. Tech Support has twice replaced the motherboard + heat sink on my E6500 "attempting" to fix this issue. What I noticed after each replacement was that my heat sink was blocked by a thin layer of dust and lint… While the layer of dust was thin, it was evenly distributed over the heatsink fins and was VERY CLEARLY blocking most of the airflow. My feeling is that the fins on the heatsink are simply spaced too close together, making them susceptible to dust buildup. Since the fan appears to rarely go into its 'high' speed, the end result is that as more and more dust buildup occurs, the processor runs at warmer and warmer average temperatures (even in office environments!), and eventually, BIOS thermal throttling kicks in, rendering the laptop useless.

    To be clear, I am in no dustier an environment than an average user. I work in an typical (non-industrial) office environment, and also use my laptop from home. Here is a link to an image of my heatsink which I took for Dell Tech Support for the May '09 case (Honestly, I don't recall if I ever sent the image to them or not, but I'm pretty sure we talked about it).


    The dust build-up on my most recent replacement was even worse than the image above. Obviously it would take time for dust to build up on the heatsink fins, and so it makes sense that this problem took a few months after original shipment and heat-sink replacement to re-appear.

    I hope Dell continues to investigate this issue. What I have now is a not a high performance laptop, but a $3000 heated paper weight…. And a hot one at that.


  15. If Dell Engineering (that is, the group at Dell directly responsible for providing technical fixes including BIOS fixes) would like to contact me directly, that's fine. My e-mail address is published  [admin note: e-mail removed for privacy].

    But you all should have had my contact info, including my phone number, since June 24. 2009 when I first called Dell regarding this problem. And Engineering has had my 59-page report for months. They've seen my emails on this. They could have contacted me at any time. And they still can.

    And you know what, I really kind of resent that you write as if I hadn't been talking to Dell all along and was just shooting from the hip on this or something. I talked to well over a dozen tech support staff from Tampa to El Salvador to India before this was even given any real attention. That was back in July and August. And now you're asking me if I would kindly be willing to talk to Engineering as if I haven't been trying to do that myself for the last 5 months. I'm drowning in irony.

    So yeah, people at Dell who can actually fix this problem themselves (but apparently won't for whatever reason) are welcome to email or call me. And I will hopefully be in a better mood about this than I am now (sorry).

    Randall Cotton (AKA tinkerdude)

  16. we dont even know what it is yet


    if its entirely the lack of power, some say the bios makes the mobo cap out at 90 and doesnt allow it to draw anymore


    sooo annoying


    we want an official statement about the 1645's!



  17. w0g and Ryan: I've asked the team to review the details on the Studio XPS 16 as well. When I have more details to share, I will.

  18. @JasonScottCarter: I'm sorry to hear that. In my view, getting feedback from customers like you (whether it is positive and negative) is a big part of the purpose behind Dell blogs, and our social media initiatives.

  19. kasatonov: I'm sorry that you've had issues with both your E6500s as you describe. I've asked someone from our support teams to contact you so we can get it straightened out.

  20. kasatonov: We're always looking at BIOS revisions for any number of things across all our systems.

  21. We are a small Dell Reseller with 6 E6400s with customers in the field.  Two have exhibited the extreme slowdown issue.  Based on input from Tech Support, we have reloaded those two systems (thinking there was a hot load issue) and we have replaced the hard drive on one of them.  Neither cleared the problem.  We did find a solid strip of dust about 1/8" thick blocking the fan from the heat sink on one system and believe that location is suseptible to clogging because the of the tape being used to bridge the gap between the fan and heat sink.  The underside of the tape is sticky and perhaps promotes the dust buildup.

    On one system we replaced the tape with metal heat proof tape and covered the open gap area that would have exposed the sticky part of the tap with a reversed piece of tape to eliminate that possible cause.  Unfortunately, the customer refused to accept the system back and we had to replace it with a notebook from another vendor.  It is running in our office, but not getting the same workout it did with the customer.

    The other system showing the same slowdown issue is housed two time zones away and is only in our area infrequently, so we haven't been able to inspect the dust "trap."  We plan to download the new BIOS to the system remotely this afternoon and see if it corrects the issue (though reading the posts above, that may not be enough).  This user typically experiences the issue while traveling and has difficulty connecting to cellullar broadband or wireless connections when it occurs.

    We have been a Dell reseller for several years and have seen ups and downs, but mostly on the consumer side.  This is a first for us on Latitude systems.  This has been going on for about a year and seems to be a long time to have not found a resolution.  It would help to understand whether Dell is able to reproduce the issue in house and has seen them resolved with some of the fixes issued.



  22. timkerdude: I edited out your e-mail address in your above response. Your comment was unpublished because it contained personal contact information. Posts that have personal customer contact information are handled this way due to privacy concerns. Sorry it took me a while to catch it.

    You're right… several of our teams have your contact details. We will be in touch to have engineering discussions with you.

  23. There is NO customer loyalty from DELL unless you pay $$$$.  I have 3 Dells in my house now…two lap tops and one desk top…BUT no more…Why…? customer loyalty…. I purchased a lap top that was a piece of junk…but after 3 service calls DELL replaced it with a refurbished Studio…(still under warranty) and that meant I had to pay for transferring the data…because DELL wouldn't pay for transferring data from a piece of junk to the new computer.  Any way I paid and during the transfer something called WAB DLL. was lost thusly rendering my OUTLOOK e-mail useless.  After several hours on the phone andon line..a person told me that it could be fixed but I would have to pay..since they would have to take control of my computer to fix it…something about the server.   I refuse to be held hostage by DELL since I won't pay for something that would have never happened if the first laptop had not been a piece of junk.  So DELL don't talk to me about customer loyalty…because I know better…there is none…again…unless the customer pays for it.  In parting I will ask for one favor…tell me how I can put the WAB DLL back on my computer…and if anyone wants to call me feel free… phone  number and e-mail is on file…..DELL has just lost a loyal customer because the lack of customer loyalty

  24. We're all waiting for an official statement on the sXPS 1645, I didn't shell out 2,300 for a stylish paperweight.  I bought a gaming machine, for gaming.  Which I cannot do.  It would be nice for something to come from dell other than "we're looking into it".

  25. I ordered a Studio XPS™16 (N00X6003) a few days ago. Now I have read severla times of the heating problems!!!! Is the problem solved meanwhile? … The technical chat support agreed with that but i do not trust them! So is the problem really solved completely? Maybe i should cancel my order…

    Regards, Michael  

  26. I've experienced these exact throttling issues on my XPS M1330 too. The CPU is pegged to 100% but when I look at the Resource Monitor the CPU frequency drops 10%. Unfortunately disabling speedstep in the BIOS doesn't fix the problem. Will you be releasing a BIOS update for that model?

  27. Thats good you didn't BAN anybody for talking about this issue.  However, I was in fact banned from the forums and forced to change usernames after I gave constructive cristisim on another Dell product, the Dell Management Console.

  28. I have a M6400 and the new BIOS did not fix my problem.  Unfortunately, I'm having other issues now…  I'm having to reformat and reinstall Windows, AGAIN.  Dell is sending a tech to replace my motherboard, video card, and heatsinks/fans on Monday (hopefully).


    It's really sad when a 6 year old game (the only process running on my laptop) brings my M6400 to it's knees in a matter of minutes.  This laptop is junk. I had problems with my M90 but not nearly as bad as my M6400!

  29. lionel: are you guys still working on this? or did you guys close the ticket with this latest BIOS release?

  30. Hello, finally some official words on this. Please understand that many people including myself think, that this is just taking too long now. The thermal table update might solve it for some – but the problem lies here:

    The design of the cooling is quite poor. The CPU heats up the chipset/GPU and the heat of the GPU/Chipset must pass the CPU using the heat pipe. The fan is constantly running when docked – even when IDLE or only office work. After a couple of weeks, the fins where the fan blows through are covered with dust and need treatment. 

    Hopefully, the next generation of Latitudes will have a better cooling design.

    Beside this, it's a great laptop!JB

  31. So what is the status on this issue. I see that the blog was started 2 days ago. It has also had a good amount of responses from Dell's customers. I would hate to think the Dell would not respond to this serious of an issue. And why is it that if we call into support the Dell tech still say's that there are no reports of this issue?


    eXterm: I was just wondering out of the 4000 systems you have, May I ask how many are experiencing this issue?

  32. they're gonna still gonna send out all the bad models – make those who notice an issue send it back and let those who dont notice be

  33. Yeah that does seem to be dell's plan.  When I spoke to "premium" XPS support they told me they have been aware of this issue for some time yet failed to mention that to me when I came to them about another issue.

  34. Unfortunately I am having problems still also. I went with the upgraded video card and 8 gb of ram. My wifes computer far out performs my own and she has the cheapest dell I could buy. I am not upset at the moment. I just want my computer to work.

  35. so where are we currently with this issue lionel? who do you want me to get in touch with about my laptop? i was told i would be contacted by dell but how can someone contact me when i didnt give anyone information on how to contact me… so no noone has contacted me yet … im not calling regular tech support because its a waste of time if there isnt a ticket number to reference.. can you privately get in touch with me or something and help me out.. atleast make me feel like the issue is in the process of being resolved, because everything you guys have been doing so far, and that way your doing it apparently doesnt work and isnt meant for the long run, its meant to hold us from going crazy while you guys make a fix.. but a year later SHOWS THERE IS NO FIX… please man im begging dell… i cant do my job with this machine! i am missing deadlines for shipping list data formatting and importing because my system either freezes or takes longer to process data than the oldest computer in the building!!!


  36. I have over 4000 e6400's  series Laptops. (about 1500 at this location alone) Any easy way to push the bioses (safely)? I would really hate to do them 1 at a time. My org has purchased many more thousands of these and are deploying them.

    Oh and my XPS 1730 CPU throtteled often when my power supply became "unrecognized" (meaning the circuit that said it was a 230 watt power supply quit working even if it was pushing the right about of power) If I used software i could override the bios underclock and get my performance back while. Bad thing is I had Complete Care and on Site service warranty and it still took almost a month to get my replacement powersupply. (great laptop otherwise however)

    During my Re-imaging of these laptops often they would be extremely slow but we lived with it. We a;ready had to push a SATA driver update to them all to get the CD/DVD burners to work but a BIOS update can be risky and scary.


    Oh and we experienced "throtte" it a 17 degree Celcius Image Station room. Brand new out of the boxes. 


  37. I never understood why the mb decides not to allow the battery to charge even when the power is off if the powersupply can't be identified. Or why the system doesn't notify you that it is throttling the CPU down because of heat or inadequate power. Many MB manufacturers have tools for showing this but I can't find any Dell supported utilities to show this. (I have found some 3rd party ones and even tools i can override the throttle in cases of power adapter problems). I don't want to chance overriding the throttle if the heat gets up of course.

  38. I forgot to mention one condition that i have seen throttle happen often. We are doing FULL AES encryption on the entire harddrive (Data Armor/ Mobile Armor) this really gets the CPU and HD going. So we see throttle quite often I just lived with it in most cases. However the Laptop is almost unusable during this process and not just because it is CPU/ HD intensive.

  39. I'm not sure if the Inspiron 1720 has the same issue or not. I do know that while watching CPU-z with the power connected the CPU drops down to about 45% of normal and then if I remove the plug it immediatly increases to about 75%-80% of the CPU speed.

  40. I guess I am going to have to give you the benefit of the doubt that your first 3 paragraphs you wrote were intended for people without the throttling issue who just happen to be following the issue? Although I don't see how throttling optimizes performance. I think joeB7 has it right… I need to take steps to remove dust every few months or else I encounter throttling issues. I recommend it for everyone. Under extreme use I was watching the GPU and chipset temps rise to over 200. The fan vents were not obstructed in anyway on the exterior, and this was on a desktop surface with ambient temperatures no higher than 70 and there seemed to be airflow. I took a look, and there was a little bit of dust/lint blocking approximately 30% of the fins, I removed it, and temps now peak at around 170, below throttling threshold. Note, I am talking about the video card and chipset temps not the CPU, which I have not seen go above 160. I have an E6400 with the Quadro card, even with these issues the case as never been hot.


    Raising the thresholds do something, but I would rather see quicker recoveries. At a minimum the throttling is just way too extreme, my clock speed shows as 1/3 regular during throttling, and it feels even slower than that. A bit disappointing in a business notebook considering my E1405 never exhibited any of these problems even with 2 years of lint/dust build up.

  41. yep and i cancelled my 1645 until i know this has been fixed


    i paid for the core i7 for a reason



  42. lionel / dell: so its been a week since the 1st… whats going on? it obviously didnt work… and opening my laptop every month and taking the heatsink off isnt exactly blowing air at the vents.. it is a big job that could  damage the laptop even if a PROFESSIONAL does it.. there is always some degree of possibility that the laptop will have a capacitor damaged or something else happens.. so cleanign the cpu heatsink and vents / graphics vents heatsink is definately NOT an option… except if you have to do it one time every few years. And waiting another month before you guys again admit the issue is still there IS NOT ACCEPTABLE..


    issue the recall and get it over with. its simple. just send everyone a identical model of a different lineup… THAT TINKERDUDE OKS.. i think you guys need to do everything possible to have tinkerdude write another 59 page report on how you FIXED the issue.. because if he can do a report like that on why the throttleing is DAMAGED beyond A FIX.. then he can do the same about THE FIX that you guys say you released or will release… because the A18 does not FIX anything.




    pls. tx



    a few more screenshots of my TASKMANAGER in windows7… brand new install on Dec 1 after installing the A18 bios. NO CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS BIOS!!!




  44. you33see: I responded to one of your other comments where you asked for help last week. I sent you an e-mail.

  45. Randall,

    Thank you very much for putting in the huge amount of time and effort to so thoroughly document this problem it appears many folks are apparently having.  We have seen the same issues, but never found any documentation about it until I ran across this thread.

    Since the E6400 XFR is listed as an affected model, I do not see how it can be rated to support an environmental temperature of 63C (145F) with this sort of design issue.

    In any case, thanks again and I hope we are all able to have a resolution to this problem very soon.


  46. kasatonov: Sorry to see you continue to see issues with your Latitude E6500 systems. I've sent you a direct e-mail seeking some clarifcation on some of your details. From there, I'll get you in touch with someone who can help.



  47. can we have some sort of update on what is going on and when we should expect to have the rest of our laptops' performance back? is it gone for the holidays? or should we expect it before the new year? or the next new year? or should i just go out and buy a hp and forget about this whole problem because you incist on being able to fix the problem.. so should i keep waiting or should i just go out and buy a diff laptop? what do you suggest lionel? what will be the quickest way to owning a laptop with no performance loss in my situation?

  48. eXterm: Sorry for not responding to you until now. I'll send you an e-mail to get more details so I can have someone get in touch with you.

  49. I would say that over 200 I have seen it on. However I didn't personally see every single one of the boxes. We re-imaged about 1290 in a 3 week period. Doing batches up to 40 at a time. I am really concerned about the bios update because our boxes are being fully encrypted using DataArmor and as far as I know most Dell Bios updates from windows create a small virtual partition (perhaps uses flash? or some other temp storage), so I am concerned as the entire HD is encrypted. In order to fix the issue I will have to send out teams of people to manually flash each of them 🙁 . I am also concerned that the BIOS update doesn't break the Encryption and bricking all of our Data. So be sure i will test this carefully


    I was just selecting a whole
    bunch of stuff on my desktop and my mouse froze up.. I hit CTRL + SHIFT + ESC
    and it popped up after 4 seconds… and I saw SYSTEM at 60 + … and it was spiking
    like that for 10 – 15 mins and I just had to shut down the laptop, take out
    battery, and reboot. It seems back to normal now… this kind of stuff keeps


    The fan never sped up, I never
    heard anything get louder… and laptop was on ALL night and was not doing this
    since I came in at 9am till about 30 mins ago. And I was running winamp and
    outlook and some video’s on before closing internet explorer and
    randomly selecting the whole screens icons on desktop and deselecting, and
    selecting, and deselecting.. just like a thing I do to waste time while talking
    on phone or thinking about what to do next.. and all of a sudden when I
    selected 1/3 of the icons on the bottom half of desktop… the hourglass showed
    instead of menu popping up and I noticed the mouse started to freeze up and I
    quickly pulled up TASK MANAGER and SYSTEM was going insane.. for like 10 – 15
    mins straight it was next to what it is in attached image..


    I really want to feel
    comfortable with dell, but I am very pessimistic and is there any tests that
    show the laptop is running at 100% performance (when I install win7 I set
    minimum processor state to 100 when plugged in so there is no software limiting
    as well? I mean I know there is 3dmark2009 and cpu benchmark software… which do
    you guys use? How do you guys test such performance? If my laptop sacrifices
    30% performance so that I don’t have hang ups anymore I don’t think that’s a
    sufficient fix.. would proof be adding 1gb worth of files to a zip archive on
    the E6500 and a identical spec system and seeing if they finish at the same
    time? And if the E6500 takes longer then there is still performance loss? Is
    there some report on the speed of each laptop that you guys release? Like a car
    when you buy it has all the specs…and you can compare those results to tests to
    other cars and see which performs better.. do you guys have a standard software
    that you use? How can you know if a system is performing the way it should? Is
    there a report you give to the person who places the service ticket? Whats the


    Anyone have any ideas aswell how i can have actual proof?


    there is almost NOTHING RUNNING, and it might be something like notepad that sets the laptop off.. or it could be extracting a zip file that is 2gb + 12 outlook windows + 5 excel sheets open + 2 word documents + 8 explorer windows + 3 firefox tabs + EFI PSI 13.0 + HAGEN OA 10 + Filemaker Pro 8.5 + notepad… and its all fine UNTIL NOTEPAD RUNS, THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN SYSTEM goes insane… with lag.


    Another day i might have winamp open and the music will start skipping and i see SYSTEM spiking like crazy.. for what reason? who knows! my outlook might have tried to contact the exchange server.. and that is what set it off…


    but other laptops with LOWER specs than mine.. can do all the stuff above.. and never lag out.. yet my laptop is newer/cost more/everyone envied (when it first came in and until i started to constantly have issues)

    so frustrating… i hope dell really fixes this before the holiday season as alot of people ask me to recommend laptops that we get discounts on.. and it looks like this year might have alot of fruit as gifts instead of dells.

  51. After installing A18 bios I'm experiencing freezing problem while docked.

    10 minutes after bootup the freezes start. Those are not complete
    though. If you wait it out for a minute everything gets back to normal

    some a minute or so and then happens again. Almost all applications are
    affected, except media player who still keeps playing the video

    while the rest of the system is locked.

    Way to make this even worse dell!

    Never again.

  52. their replacing a few things for me in the laptop. Lets see if it fixes anything. I hope its just a matter of replacing parts.. and not parts comming in already with the broken thermal tables.. but then if their broken they should be able to just change them to what they should be… i didnt think the A18 really did anything other than make my E6500 system constantly feel a bit slower than before BUT not have the SUPER freezes/laggy times that go away after 15-20 mins… though when i first boot i do have the slowdown for a bit… but then it goes away… i hope the replacements make a diff.. ill post more mon/tues or when it arrives.

  53. I have been experiencing these problems for a very long time unfortuanately.  the E6500 I currently have is not the first laptop I have had issues of slow downs though.  I originally had this problem with a Precision M65.  I have called tech support a few times on both laptops and got no response the rectified the problem. 

    On the M65 I did severeal reloads trying to resolve the problem, but nothing I did worked.  I will say that when I first got the M65 I never had a problem with the laptop at all.  It worke great in work related or gamming related usage.  One day though I decided I needed to upgrade to a larger Hard Drive as my current one was running low on space.  So I bought a new hard drive from Dell and proceeded to reload my laptop.  After I reloaded the lapop no matter what I did I could not get rid of the random extreme sluggishness on it.  I called Dell a few times, but I got no answer to resolve the problem.  One thing that woudl allways make my older laptop work like it did when i got it, was to install the original Hard Drive with the original load on it.  It worked like a charm every time, but I could not continue to use that old Hard Drive as it was too small for my data needs. it seems that even the M65 may of had this odd issue.

    On my e6500, I got it originally with Vista 64bit OS, and to be truthful I did not have that OS on it for very long as I had some problems with some applications and the 64bit OS.  In the month or so of having the original OS I do not think I had the extreme slow downs that I have now with my laptop.  that could of been coincidental though.  I recently reloaded my laptop with Win 7 32bit and it does seeem faster, but I still get these random slow downs that are evidently linked to this problem that has been described.  I am considering installing the new BIOS, but it concerns me that some think it has made things worse, which I cannot afford. 

    With my previous experience with my M65 I allways thought it had to do with reloading the laptop and some secret recipe Dell used in their images ont he laptops that I was just missing on my load.  Every time I reloaded this e6500 I have called Dell asking for the exact reload order I needed to do on my laptop, but even though I folloed their instructions nothing would resolve this problem.  I hope that Dell is really working to resolve this problem once and for all, but it seems that it has been going on for a long time now with no real solution. 

     I just wanted to add in my two cents to this, as the more people reporting the same problem will hopefully encourage Dell to realize it is a global problem with their lapotps and not just isolated insidents.  I am sure there are many out there that have no idea this is a global problem and have not even saerched for a resolution. 

    when my outside clients asked me what computers I would recomend, I allways suggested Dell as they have been solid for so long.  I really am starting to question who I can send my clients too when they need new computers/laptops now.  It is rediculous that a problem like this can go so long unchecked.


  54. I'm pretty happy with A18 in my E6500. Its been about 33 degC in my home office lately and the machine is working like a champ in the dock.

    Thanks Dell for *eventually* listening and fixing it, for me, at least.Big Smile

  55. I started making use of the RealTemp tool to monitor my CPU temp and throttling problem.  I did not realize how often i was throttled down to almost nothing.  if my CPU temp got to around 65C it would start throttling down, and even when the temp went down it would continue to throttle more.  Usually i would end up at 12.5%, which makes my laptop useless.

    Yesterday though, I decided to take the plunge and try the A18 BIOS update.  I must say it has been a huge improvement.  My E6500 does not throttle down till about 80C and when it does it does not stay throttled long and at most it has been around 75%.  I think that the issue could probably still be improved some, but it deffinitly is working much better for me on my laptop.  I can once again have Media player playing music and also play my games or do my work with no massive slow downs. 



  56. I have been trying out the E6500 now for the last three weeks while mine is being built and have had no such issue with underclocking etc. I use the note book for business purposes and the applications are microsoft office which includes some presentation with powerpoint. The laptop performs very well and as usual is up to Dell high standard. It must be pointed out I understood that these business laptops are what they are for business and not for gaming or any heavy graphical usage, if the customer wants this, then he/she should look to laptops that support it and not moan, as any heavy usage will make the pc run on the hot side. To all please remember a pc is just like a mechanical machine under load will always run on the hot side.

  57. Nuttifeatfirst: I am very happy that your Latitude meets your needs, but you are missing the point entirely.  The Latitudes are not running hot; in fact, far from it.  They are being throttled to a crawl waaaay before they get a sniff at running hot (well within the stated operating temp range).  I do nothing graphics heavy and have experienced the unfortunate slow-down numerous times myself.  But again, I'm happy it works for you.

  58. By the way, just so no one gets the wrong idea based on my previous post, I am a Dell fan and still like my Latitude in spite of the slowdowns I’ve experienced.  But I am confident that Dell is addressing the issue and will have remediation for us in the near future. Their global ranking has dropped rather precipitously as of late and I am certain they feel the pressure to come up with a compromise even if the units are actually operating as they wish them to operate for technical reasons of which I am not privy (not that I would understand them if I was).  Heck, maybe the CPU’s are more sensitive to overheating than their technical specs suggest and Dell is trying to prevent an even bigger issue.  Regardless, the Latitude’s target audience will simply leave them like rats on a sinking ship if they don’t come up with something – and I’m sure they will.


  59. Interesting

    I never had any of this problems with my M6400,

    There is also no hint in the release Notes of th A09 Bios that directs to an update of the thermal table?

  60. I too am having the throttling problem, but on an Alienware M17X.  Core2Extreme processor, SLI GTX 280M, Raid 0, 4GB RAM.  At first I thought it was something pre-installed on the system (The Alienware FX items can eat up a lot of memory and resources) so after 4 re-installs, I tried a fresh install of windows 7 Ultimate with all drivers installed, antivirus (Avast) and World of Warcraft.  WoW becomes unplayable after about 10 minutes at lowest graphics settings.  The laptop is always on a cooling pad.

    WoW can be played on an $800 laptop, yet I can't play it on my brand new +$4000 Dell laptop?  Why did I waste all my money?  Do I have to resort to third-party software to make it run like it should?

    Dell, please fix the problem before I become disillusioned.  Right now my Alienware Gaming System is nothing more than an extremely heavy Netbook.

  61. What is the latest update on this issue?  We have stopped buying any E series until this can be resolved. 

    Between this performance issue and the horrible Control Point issues over the last year, this has been the least stable Dell Platform for us since before the C-Series.

  62. Lionel, Lionel. You should be aware your posting to mostly educated comsumers and tech heads here. You cannot honestly say that is is not as a result of design issues. I currently have an XPS1645 with the rgbled, ssd, 6gb 1333 ect. it requires upwards of 136W of power to run at maximum performance. Dell shipped a 90w power supply and modified the bios to throttle the machine if it requires more than 90w. Unfortunatly i paid porsche money for a ford tempo because this is not a 200mph machine as it is marketed .. under full load my i7 720qm runs at 933mhz … please tell me this was not INTENTIONAL again and ill email you the HEX of your own bios and show you where Your company INTENTIONALLY Throttled the processer to make up for its DESIGN FLAW.

  63. Lionel, so what's happening now? It doesn't appear that the BIOS updates resolved the problem(s) and I'm not hearing much from Dell on this. Can you tell me why Hard Drive Acoustics was removed from the E6500 BIOS in A18?

  64. "theres a new thread about this issue here:"


    The issue you link to is not the same. Throttling implementation and characteristics between the Studio/Studio XPS systems discussed in that post and in E-Series Latitudes and Precisions are completely different. I am sorry for your confusion, but it's a simple matter of different platforms, different throttling implementations and different customer groups. We try to tailor how and where we engage customers by issue type, system type (when appropriate) and customer type.

  65. theres a new thread about this issue here:

    Its getting confusing with so many different threads on direct2dell about throttling.. some havent been updated by a dell rep for weeks.. others have.. ive been checking this thread since decemeber and there hasnt been much activity here… but there has been activity on other threads that are about this same issue but the title of the thread doesnt have some of the models that other threads do… but the issue is the same… im confusing myself. Basically check out the thread i just posted.. maybe there will be more info for us there because lionel has not posted anything here for quite some time now… and it isnt because the issue is resolved..


    are there other threads you guys are checking for solutions/whats going on

  66. Guys, I am writing this review having 5 calls with Dell technical hardware support. After spending 12 hours with these guys on phone, I am realizing I have been sold piece of junk.
    I am having CPU throttling issues (Whole system freezes, CPU clock speed becomes 266 MHz if AC adapter is plugged in and CPU is utilized more than 80% for 2-3 minutes)
    After spending $1500, I am realizing $500 laptop from Walmart will perform better. Whats the use of this so called 'premium laptop' if it performs at 266 MHz every now and then.

    Dell is not accepting the return of this juck laptop. They say, they know about this issue, but do not know, when its going to be fixed.

    Many users are already discussing their helplessness and anger on this issue on many forums. (google "dell xps 1640 cpu throttling" and you will see links to many forums)

    I wonder, why XPS1640 and XPS 1645 were released in market, without dell doing some basic load testing ???

    Dell should recall XPS 1640 and 1645 ASAP.

  67. Has anyone tried the A20  Bios update yet? I don't stress my E6400 often enough to have a good opinion of whether it has fixed anything.

  68. Facing this issue on a M6400 after upgrading to Windows 7. A09 was installed more than a month earlier, but didn't cause any problem (or resolve any for that matter, because there was none…). Apparently something triggered this after the upgrade. A weird thing I've observed is that while the processor is officially labeled as 2.8GHz, before being throttled, pretty often it works at 2.9GHz…

  69. Dealing with the exact same issue over the past 6 months. I must admit that it's comforting to know that a problem has been identified. The fix unfortunately has not happened for this User. A18, nor A19 did not resolve the issue on my E6500. If anyone else has come up with a viable solution please pass it on.

  70. Hello

    Has there been a REAL resolution to this issue?

    I have an E6400 and been waiting for months for this to be resolved.

    Tried BIOS A19 and then A20 – Still the issue persists. Anybody? Last update to this thread was back in December. Did I miss something?

  71. Has anyone tested A19 on the E6500? Also, There still is the problem of the E-port and crashing with the E6500. Has there been a solution for that?



  72. We have been experiencing this issue on 4 laptops with no resolution.  All have been updated to BIOS version A20.  We've made a little progress spending time troubleshooting the issue ourselves.  All of the laptops that have been reported with issues have been our IT standard configuration.  All experience the issue while docked and seem to recover performance wise after being undocked for a minute and then redocked.  I am able to reproduce the issue by pegging the processor at over 90% for 3-6 minutes and the system becomes unusable and unresponsive till it is undocked.  However when running only on battery power while docked I was not able to reproduce the issue even after 20 minutes of pushing the processor as much as I could using benchmarking software and video capture software.  However when docked and plugged into power I was able to get the issue to persist through undocking the laptop when my mouse and keyboard were connected directly to the laptop.  I have seen a laptop do it once when undocked while using a USB aircard.  The people affected seem to use more USB devices on their docking stations than our average user.  From my days and days of troubleshooting the best I can determine there is an issue with the 130w adapters and/or a northbridge chipset issue as it relates to USB. 

    We have noticed that the issues seem to be the worst when using the 130w PA-4E adapters.  One person who had been experiencing the issues almost daily has improved by switching to the PA-3E 90w adapter on his docking station.  3 of the affected laptops were purchased at the same time.  We have been working with someone in Dell's executive escalations team.  However even after over three weeks of providing details and information he keeps telling us that the processors are designed to throttle.  We have been fighting with a the escalation rep trying to get a resolution.  I am very pleased to see that Dell is aware of the issue and working on it.  I wish our Dell escalation rep was aware of the issue as I've spent hours and days dealing with this and researching this issue without acknowledgement that this is in fact an issue.  We are a Dell shop.  I have always loved and recommend Dell computers and despite our difficulties I still do.  I know that the issue will be found and resolved it's just pretty painful until it is. 

  73. My E6400 (nVidia GPU and A20 BIOS) had the problem described here, massive thermal slowdown when in the dock and not pushing the computer very hard at all. Out of the dock you really had to stress it insanely hard to get the same behavior. When in the dock the cooling fan would run at 100% all the time – out of the dock 0%-100% as it should. Dell replaced the motherboard and cooling fan and all the issues went away.

  74. I took delivery of an E6400 in April 2009 and have lost 100's of hours trying to solve this problem…I have lost data during crashes, crashed the entire network database and have rebooted 1000's of time trying to get it running properly including countless hours with Gold tech support trying to understand what was happening….they were unable to help and recommended I re-install my operating system which luckily I did not…they insisted it was a software problem and thought it was conflicts with Apple, antivirus or online back up…eventually I realised that the throttling only happened when docked and I received a new docking station and motherboard and these did not solve the issue…I have been using workarounds for months to the point of almost going insane as I could not do my job…eventually I figured out  it was a heat issue and this explained everything…I have now elevated the dock so air circulates underneath and have placed 2 small fans on either side of the docking station which blow air on the back of laptop and this has FINALLY solved my problem and the E6400 works perfectly…

  75. Lionel,

    I'm a business user – I have an M6400 with the Nvidia card used in a business environment.  I spent many days trying to figure this problem out – after going through multiple OS installs and having the same thing happen over and over, I started digging on the internet.

    Note, I was running an A01 version of the bios.

    Upgrading to A10 did not solve the issue for me.   Upgrading to A10 AND blowing the machine out completely does seem to work…

    I'll note that "in a business environment" – perhaps your testing doesn't take into account the decrease in cooling efficiency that occurs over time.

    I'd be happy to call this a user/maintenance problem, but my fans were not throttled to full (when plugged in)…

    My particular problem seems to be related to the combined heat of CPU load and GPU load, as it would only happen at high resolutions across two monitors.  

    As a user, I literally lost about 3 days of work time chasing the issue.  We have an IT support department, but they were at a loss also.  I've informed them of what I've found, asked them to preemptively update all of our M6400 bios and make sure that the laptop cases are clean…

    I'd like two things: 1) An indication that the machine is throttling without installing tools.

    2) Notification.. Notification.. Notification… This is the 2nd Dell I've had with problems directly or indirectly related to what was (at the time) a high end Nvidia card.  In this case, I think the card contributes to the heat problem, but isn't likely the cause.

  76. Has this problem been solved?

    I've been offered an E6500 with Quadro 160 and do not want to lose hours of work dealing with any issues.

    Are there different motherboard revision numbers? If so please give details.


  77. So, I realize this is an old post, but I wanted to update here in case anyone else is going through what I just did.  Basically, I have two laptops, a Latitude E6400 and a Precision M2400.  Both suffer from this throttling problem, such that they throttle way, way back (think 1.5 or 2 multiplier) at fairly low temps (70 Celsius), and would not throttle back up without a cold boot.  This is using every BIOS version from A19 to A29.  I had spent hours on the phone with Dell, as well as reinstalling on my own, testing, retesting, etc.  Wasted dozens of hours of my time, both at work and personally.  I even sent the E6400 back in for servicing (took a month to get back), and they replaced all the major components, same issues.

    Yesterday, a former field service tech left the company and sent his old laptop back.  It was an E6400, same as mine, but running the A15 BIOS from mid 2009.  I decided to run the same tests I'd been running on my laptops (monitor CPU state with CPU-Z, temps with HWMonitor, and run Prime95 to stress the CPU).  I quickly discovered that his laptop did not have the issue.  When the CPU got particularly hot (field laptop, so there's some dust buildup in there), it would throttle back slightly (by 1 or 2 multipliers), but as soon as the temp dropped below 80 degrees, it would ramp back up.  On mine, as soon as the CPU hits about 70 degrees, it throttled back to a 1.5 or 2 mult, and stayed there until I did a cold boot, regardless of how low the temps dropped.  So, I tracked down the A15 BIOS installer, and reverted my E6400 from A29 to the A15 BIOS.  Guess what?  Not only has it been running Prime95 stably for 15 minutes now, it hasn't throttled back once, and it's running at cooler temps than before!  So, clearly Dell's engineers broke the throttling features in the BIOS sometime between A15 and the "fix" they provided in A19.

    I'm still looking in to a BIOS version which resolves the issue for the M2400, but I would hazard a guess that whatever BIOS issues Dell introduced which caused the problem on the E6400 were probably introduced to the other models around the same time, so I'm looking for an M2400 BIOS which was released around the same time as A15 for the E6400.  Once I've located a BIOS that resolves the problem for the M2400, I will post back here.  Cheers!

  78. Well, I was running Freemake to rip a DVD a couple of days ago overnight and found my M6400 shut off in the morning.

    I attributed it to a protection scheme gone schitzo on the DVD and fired the system up.  I've been ripping my DVD's for use on my XOOM tablet.

    Trying again sometime later the same thing occurs.  Again I attributed it to a copy protection scheme.

    So I used my Inspiron 6000 which I'm running Ubuntu on to rip the DVD using Handbrake.  Everything is good, except I want to reformat the file.  I'm a novice at this and Handbrake has a LOT of options I don't understand and am not really interested in investigating.

    This time I was running Freemake while helping my wife with something so I was sitting next to the machine when it decided to shut down.  I put my hand near the case and it was extremely hot. H'mmm.

    Some internet spelunking found me at the ZCNet site which ultimately led me here.

    Okay, I was running A10 Bios so I flashed to the latest which as A12.  Running Freemake again, the fans seemed to running more, but the machine overheated again and shut off.

    So what do I do?  The machine is still under warranty.  Do I call tech support?



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