Dell Still Looking into Throttling on the Studio XPS 1645 and Studio 17 laptops


I’ve been involved in discussions with customers on sites on threads like this one and this one on and also here on the Dell Forum regarding power adapter limitations that may result in excessive CPU throttling. The Dell engineering team has been investigating this issue the past several weeks based on the detailed feedback from Dell customers.

In working with the engineering team, here’s what they told me: the Studio XPS 1645 and Studio 17 laptops are designed with performance in mind, and we are investigating improvements in the CPU throttling algorithms so that the systems will be performing at or close to maximum wattage more consistently than they do today. Such changes to the current state machine implementation can be made through the BIOS, and we are currently working on a test version. We will publish a release date for the test BIOS shortly – please bear with us a little longer while we qualify the mods to get the best possible performance for you.

We appreciate the feedback you’ve shared with us and your continued patience in this process.

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50 thoughts on “Dell Still Looking into Throttling on the Studio XPS 1645 and Studio 17 laptops

  1. Hi Brad

    I'm pretty disappointed with my 1645. I've had it nearly two months, and I haven't loaded anything on to it beyond Bioshock and Office 2010 beta.

    I expected that, by now, I'd have been able to retire my aging Toshiba Equium 100, but unless and until you resolve this throttling issue to my satisfaction, I just can't make this 1645 into my main machine.

    I'm just off to Montreal for two weeks, and the Equium is going with me, as the 1645 just isn't fit for purpose. Anybody asks me why I'm using this slow old Vista laptop will get the full story. Am I pleased? I am not.

    Your posting makes me afeared that Dell are going to get nearer to the capacity of the 90w adaptor, but not bite the bullet and give us all the 130-150w adaptor that elementary physics dictates it needs. The same elementary physics, by the way, that says that if a throttled 90w adaptor gets uncomfortably hot (as mine currently does under not-even-gaming loads), then a less throttled one is going to get even hotter, perhaps even dangerously so.

    Please do the math; 1 laptop returned (as mine will be if this issue is not resolved satisfactorily) = 10 130w adaptors issued. Plus the dangers of an industry reputation ruined.

    Is the 1645 a nice machine? Certainly. Does its value-for-money beat anything else on the market? Certainly. *Providing it performs to the promise that its specifications hold out, and not to those of a machine anything from 87% right down to only 7% as powerful, nominally*.

    Your choice. I want, and I will have, £1500 value from my £1500 laptop, and if Dell will not/cannot give it, then my 1645 is coming back to you, and my £1500 will go elsewhere.

    Please, for Dell's sake as well as for ours, get this right. Pretty please, with sugar on top.


  2. Kasatonov,
    Thank you for the concern. The method of throttling implementation for the systems you have mentioned is different than what is being discussed here. This is the reason we saw the need to have two different blog posts. I am sorry for any confusion on this.



  3. We're not really going to be happy with the 90W supply, FYI.

    And personally I'd like to see news updates about this issue directly on the front page of, where all those new customers pour in everyday.

  4. Hi Brad¡¡

    I´m totally agree with that guys up there. I´ve just get 2 XPS 16 (3600€) on december and I wouldn´t like can´t enjoy all the power my i7 can give. If 90 w aren´t enough…. there´s no more to talk about.

  5. Brad,

    I posted on page12 of this thread: that I have an XPS 1640 P8600 that is suffering from the same throttling problem as the XPS 1645. Other XPS 1640 owners on the NBR forum seem to be experiencing this throttling problem as well. Are the engineers at Dell also investigating the throttling issues on the XPS 1640 or is this investigation limited to the XPS 1645 and the Studio 17?

    Also, I would like to offer my ThrottleStop logs to the engineers if it would be of any help in resolving this issue.

  6. From experience i can say the E6500 has the issue, after talking to dell support about my E6500 constantly crawling or freezing but then unfreezing they sent me a replacement unit with a faster processor and after setting it up the same way as a older HP with lower specs.. the HP beats the brand new dell… so the issue is present in all E6500 (from my experience)

    the following models have the same issues and have not been resolved.. why create so many diff threads about throttling.. put them all in 1.. otherwise people with the below machines wont know to go to a thread that only has 16 and 17 models in the title…

  7. Thank you for the post, Brad.  It is greatly reassuring that Dell experts are looking into this.  Yes

    The community is pretty confident that Dell needs to supply power adapters larger than 90 watts (in addition to a BIOS update) to existing and new 1645 users (as noted in all the threads you referenced).  If you just add up the peak wattage requirements for all the components in a high-end 1645 (i7 proc, 1GB Ati Card, RGBLED, and the many other subsystems) you can easily surpass 90 watts.  Please see the second post on this page (referencing user Siphen's power requirement breakdown):

    If there is any reason Dell would not give us 130+ watt adapters (with a BIOS update that can utilize more than 90 watts) could you please explain why in this space?  Of course, I understand that any explanation would need to come after the engineering teams have come up with their final strategy and proposed solution.  We will be curious to see what else get throttled in a solution that doesn't include a larger wattage power adapter.

    Fixing this problem completely (with no throttling at all) would make the Studio 1645 one of the best laptops on the planet (Apple eat your heart out).  Stick out tongue

    Thank you!!!

  8. performance test im talking about just the CPU score becuase there is NO reason why a 2.8 ghz processor would not beat a 2.4 ghz processor from over a year or two ago.

  9. Hi Brad,

    Thank you for a least giving us an update on how Dell is investigating the issues with the 1645.  It is a shame that although we all know there is an issue you seem unable to admit it.  The use of the word “may” in your sentence “I’ve been involved in discussions with customers on sites on threads like this one and this one on and also here on the Dell Forum regarding power adapter limitations that may result in excessive CPU throttling” just hints at your reluctance to admit that the 1645 is not operating as advertised and in its current state is far from the high performance machine it was labeled as. I eagerly await the next BIOS update and have already told the manager that is dealing with my complaint that if the BIOS update does not resolve the issue I will be returning my 1645 to Dell as unfit for purpose as advertised. I work in an office with several other engineers and have already advised one of my colleagues to Google the power issue problems after he voiced and interest in the 1645; he has just purchased a Sony!!!! Please either issue an honest statement saying that the 1645 will never realise its full potential with a 90W adaptor and offer a replacement or refund or send customers an upgraded adaptor and BIOS upgraded with full warranty.


    At this stage just an honest post admitting there is a fault would be reassuring to your loyal customer base.


  10. Hi all. I am Argentine, but i writing from Spain, and i want to say that here, all buyers of Studio 17 i7 are suffering this same problem. I cant understand the reason why Dell can´t accept the problem and deliver more powered adapter. These errors can cost that present and future buyers buy others brands.
    Like say Midnight_Voide, the problem can´t be solved only with new bios patch, because "elementary physics dictates" the 90w adapter is not sufficient.

    This behavior is not worthy of a brand like Dell, and damages its reputation. Dell seems to forget that its future profitability, needs the acceptance of its products by the customer. Tey are acting myopically. They are seeing only the short present.

  11. Hi there thanks for the response ! there is also another issue that most/all 1645 have in common which is random freezing that has been posted in the dell community forum along with NBR, was wondering if this will be could be addressed as well ??

    Thank you

    Frustrated xps 1645 owner

    AUD 2.3k.

  12. There ia a problem with the 1737, WIndows 7 and the A08 BIOS. This comination caises about 1,200 Event 13 ID per week. ALso:

    Windows Live Messenger Crashes on automatic startup at boot time (ok after that).

    Other programs will go Not Responding for a brief period and then resume

    Some programs will report other mysterious errors.

    Dell sent new Motherboard, and thst did not fix problems.

    I discovers the problem ONLY occurs  With BIOS A08. Regress to A07 and ALL is Well


    – Bill

  13. Hi Brad,
    Thanks for your posting.

    If I ordered a Studio XPS 16 last week (it's currently being assembled), would it come with the new BIOS update as well as a 130W Aadapter?  Thanks!


  14. oh, and btw. I have an i7 Processor, with RGBLED, and 1GB ATI graphics Card.  So I would fall in the "most likely to have a throttling machine" machine.  Thanks!


  15. I'm the owner of a Studio XPS 13… I've been having the problem of the cpu spiking to 100% and becoming totally unusable then to save my day I just sleep/hibernate then return to continue what I was doing. I haven't been able to identify the reason but going through the Windows Event Viewer, I found a lot of events "The speed of processor 0 in group 0 is being limited by system firmware. The processor has been in this reduced performance state for 71 seconds since the last report.". I believe this is the issue you're talking about so this means that Studio XPS 13 is also affected.

    Really guys, we need a solution for this issue.


    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.Indifferent


  17. Hi Brad,

    I'm still waiting for my Studio 1747 and are reading the posts on this and other forums in the meantime. I apprechiate the progress Dell has made with the new A05 bios especially regarding the throttlling issue and hope for further improvements in the future.

    Nevertheless I don't think it will be possible to solve this problem purely by tweaking the SW. At the end of the day you can draw only so much power from a 90W power supply and the i7 CPU and the grafics card alone can demand nearly the whole output of the current power supply alone if running with full power. Add the rest of the components like RAM, HDDs, USB, fan, display,… and you will see that the 90W power supply can not meet the requirement and the notebook falls short of it's capabilities.


    I appeal to you to come up with a solution with allows all users of a Studio 15, 17 and XPS with i7 CPUs to see their notebooks delivering the performance we all have paid for!


    Best regards


  18. True what you say, the arithmetic sum of the watts of all components, is much more than the power supplied by the adapter of 90W.
    With less power, the processor reduces its multiplier and comes down its performance.
    Tweaking the BIOS, only allows redistribute differently energy between components. It´s necessary both things: an adapter 90w, besides a new bios to handle the wattage of the new adapter.

  19. True what you say, the arithmetic sum of the watts of all components, is much more than the power supplied by the adapter of 90W. With less power, the processor reduces its multiplier and comes down its performance. Tweaking the BIOS, only allows redistribute differently energy between components. It´s necessary both things: an adapter 90w, besides a new bios to handle the wattage of the new adapter.


  20. very true…. I explained for hours to Dell representatives in their Hardware Dept, how CPU speed goes down to 266 Mhz for my dell xps 1640, for any CPU intensive activity I do.. and the representative was just asking layman questions as

    "Does it happen when I use MS Word? Does it happen when you use Skype? Does it happen when I start and shut down windows?"

    they asked multiple time to clear my temp folder to resolve the issue…. its ridiculous, how dell technical team is ill trained ( or may be well trained to play dumb intentionally)

    They even tried to route my call to their Software tech. department, saying they would charge about 100 bucks to solve this CPU choking issue…Only when I resisted, they continued and hours later acknowledged thats its a known issue..

    I wasted my whole weekend with phone with these guys and still no resolution in hand…. I am forcing them to fox the issue or return my money back.


  21. Obviously they already know that. But, why are they just readjusting the Bios software??
    1. The first option I think is only economic things. Dell don´t want pay all the supply power adapters.
    2. The second is more complicated. Could our laptops support more than 90W?
    I heard that with the batteries the laptops are working with more than 90w, that means that they could but…is that the right behaviour?
    Is our motherboard able to work phisically with 130w? Some people say that they´re working so but I don´t know if Dell is sure about that.
    Waiting for your  answers, thanks guys
  22. I find this excessively frustrating.  I bought a 1747 on Nov 18/09 and received it Dec 14th.  It died the same day with the 7 beep error.  Called Dell and was told they'd send me a new laptop and to return the old one.  If I had only known that it was as simple as resetting the BIOS I would have.  Unfortunately, my replacement was sent into the system on Dec 15th and, as of today, Jan 25/10 it is still "In Production". 

    Basically, Dell has taken my money and left me without a laptop for almost a 1/4 of a year.  What kind of service is that?  I've been on hold waiting for someone from customer service for the last 20 minutes now and I fully suspect that when I call they'll try to convince me to just cancel the order, due to all these problems.

    Now I'm reading about throttling issues and over-extended power adapters.  Great…I really don't see how Dell can solve this without providing a higher capacity adapter.  Unless they are going through a verification process right now to ensure the motherboard components can handle the additional power draw, any other fix they provide will just be a bandaid solution. 

    I'm seriously considering taking my business elsewhere from now on.  It's unfortunate because I've bought all my laptops (four) from Dell.

  23. Well Dell I'm laughing in your face:

    "….CPU throttling algorithms so that the systems will be performing at or close to maximum wattage more consistently than they do today."

    You'll never reach that goal with a 90 watt adapter. What a waste of time trying to tweak the bios with a 90 watt adapter. As you've seen systems from competitors with kind of same configuration you'll see adapters ranging from 120 watt to 180 watt. Since on fora already more than one more time was reported a dell 1747 used more than 120 watts, you can imagine even competitors with 120 watt adapters do their customers short.  More power than the config needs is anyway needed for USB peripherals. 150 to 180 watt seems more likely to be needed for a config with i7 with fast GPU and large screen.

    So the goal should be tweaking the bios to handle a more powerfull adapter and switching savely from adapter to battery when the adapter get's somehow disconnected. Throttling from the bios should only be allowed when running on battery. 

    Oh by the way, current customers should get new adapters for free or even new mainboards if necersarry. It's not their mistake, it's dell's.


  24. Hi, I hope that the studio 15's are being looked into as well.

    what are the chances that any monetary incentives will be offered to stop people sending these quite frankly shoddy unusable items back.

    Most of the annoyance is due to the rudeness and ignorance that we have been treated to. I suspect that if dell had been better at customer service they would now find themselves in possession of a whole bunch of useless hard ware that they could not give away.

    Not holding out much hope for any resolution as i no longer trust this lying company.



  25. Hello Brad,

    I just wanted to ask if the Studio 1747 Bios A05 which was released two days ago, was the forecited test version? Is this the reason why it was removed now from the 1747 driver site again? Many users in German HW Luxx forum had upgraded to A05 and now they are irritated and ask permanently why the A05 was removed again! So thank you for a short statement!

    The A05 is the best version since A01. Majority of the users can run their 1747 (loaded) now between 1196 and 1462 MHz, the average are 1396 MHz. Nevertheless there are a few users where the Core i7 still runs at 932 MHz with A05.

  26. thanks for posting the utube video, nothing beats a visual demo of the throttling experience ! love how the video showed explicitly when it was unplugged and plugged in and the lag that is experienced !

    Thanks ! again for posting this here

  27. What about the obvious and proven fact i might add that these systems require more then the 90w available with the power supply shipped with the system. I have seen systems drawing more than 130w from the wall. I have spent some time looking into this mysterious algorithm and have solved it.. dell trying to save money. funny that in the end this will cost dell much more than the few bucks it would have cost to do the right thing.

    If dell wanted to save money they should have spent more time properly load testing these computers and maybe i wouldnt have burnt out 3 SSD's and one BD-RW so far. You'd think after the 107 day wait for my system to be shipped it would have at least been tested properly. So far were into day 42 of waiting for my system exchange.. lets see what happens.

  28. At the end of the day the fix is quite simple.. 130 or 150w power adapter and a bios revision.. there is no bios tweak to make a system create power out of thin air.

  29. Dear Brad L,

    All we want to know are just two things so far.

    1. if dell provide new power supply (of higher capacity) along with coming bios update.

    2. if not, why not?

    Only two thing. – nothing more or less. Please answer.

  30. Brad,

    I hate to be impatient, but this issue has been dragging on for almost 2 months, not to mention the long order delay for those that waited over a month for the laptop to delivered.

    I do appreciate you guys posting on this that throttling is being worked, but this is taking way too long for something that appears to be just underpowered.  Can you please do more on letting people know what is going on and when we can expect answers.  Once every 3 weeks is just too frustrating.  I have been a dell customer for years, but any time I buy a leading edge product from Dell, I seem to get burnt.. 



  31. To mr.Brad L.

    I am Argentine but I'm living in Spain. Dell no longer has the credibility to many consumers.
    This is due Dell does not maintain a clear communication policy with whom spend our money in this company.
    For almost 100 years, the "New theory of public relations" (Dell seems not know this theory, which was born in the united state) said that when a company has a problem, the problem must be recognized quickly and keeping customers must be constantly informed. It is the only way to cope de problems.
    Mr Brad, i can assure that the company you work for, is not doing it. Is not being clear. And many questions arise in the mind of the consumer.
    In my particular case, I´m one persons more (in Spain, many people is doing it) than has already canceled the order with Dell.
    Dell not only has put on the market a product with a very poor quality control, but that do not face its responsibility as it should be.
    I was Buyer of Dell products since 1990, and now I do not want more products from Dell.

  32. This is my first time to buy a High End product in my whole life BUT unfortunately I wasn't able to research more about this product. This is really so DISAPPOINTING! I really regret getting a DELL product and I should have have bought the HP Envy instead. Please fix this ASAP. You (Mr. BRAD) posted this announcement last JAN 20 and said DELL team is working on a FIX. Common… 7 days already past but still no follow up yet? What's going on? Can you please be honest in promoting your products!

  33. Brad,

    From your posts in this and other forums, I have the feeling you accept that these throttling issues, and Dell's response to them, are causing some understandable frustrations amongst your customers.

    These forums are by their nature, a meeting place for people who are not happy with Dell, or particular aspectsof their machine's performance. However, to balance that, I see that there are many positive reviews of these machines in the 'Sales' part of the Dell website.

    To allow some perspective on the issue, would you be prepared to reveal how many Studio XPS 16 and 17 systems have been shipped to date, and what percentage of those customers have complained of these throttling issues (or the potentially related freezing issues)?

    That information could be particularly helpful, to both Dell and ourselves, if we realised that the machines we are discussing are generally well regarded, and our complaints relate to a significantly small number of machines.

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on these posts.

  34. @Brad

    With the release of the Dell Bios A06 (02/02/2010)  that is obtained via Dells support site.

    The release log contains the following

    1.Enhance system stability.
    2.Support new graphic card

    Could i please get confirmation on the following


    1. Is this the bios update that the people have been waiting regarding throttling ?

  35. @Brad – Could you just pls tell your engineers to launch a bios that will be compatible with 130watts power adapter to handle the power shortage of this machine?i think everyone will be happy case will be solved. thanks.

  36. Brad,

    First I must say that I'm happy that the issue is investigated right now. but still I have some doubt.

    In your blog you said the following:

    "In working with the engineering team, here’s what they told me: the
    Studio XPS 1645 and Studio 17 laptops are designed with performance in
    mind, and we are investigating improvements in the CPU throttling
    algorithms so that the systems will be performing at or close to
    maximum wattage more consistently than they do today."

    Does this mean that swapping the 90 Watt power supply for a more powerful one is not going to be investigated?

    Do you know what the status is for that option (bios update and a powersupply swap)?


    I hope that you (dell) guys come up with a solution that solves the the whole throttling issue.

  37. UKGraham: Yes. Bill Bivin is Dell's Listening Czar. We have a bit more work to do, but he's right… new BIOS coming in the next few weeks. More details coming when we get closer.

  38. Hello Dell!

    Where are you???????????

    Bios A07 was released and all the promisses are hollow words!

    Nothing has changed with the new Bios. Same limited performance than before.

    What are you going to do now?

    It´s time to exert pressure…

  39. People can call dell tech support to receive a new (130W) adapter which works great with the A07 BIOS. Some guys don't know about this solution but at the time of speaking, the most do know it.

  40. Brad,


    Today I called Tech support for requesting the 130 watt adapter. They will send me one right away.

    Will the next step be an be an bios update to utilize the extra power available from the power supply and relief us from the throttling problem?






  41. I don't have the technical background of a lot of commenters here but I will tell you that my 1645 is slow, hot, and crashes repeatedly. It is easily the worst computer I have ever owned and I have owned close to two dozen personally.

  42. hi there.

    I also got a DELL xps1640 and i got the same problem should be organised and fix this one by just add some updates in bios and re-design the adapters to 130-150 W.

    This is something that must be done ASAP…

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