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Dell on Laptops and Throttling

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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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