Dell Latitude E6400 - Overheating issues with minute tasks such as playing flash videos for extended periods?


Laptop computer Hardware and Software discussion

Dell Latitude E6400 - Overheating issues with minute tasks such as playing flash videos for extended periods?

This question has suggested answer(s)

I'm not sure if this is happening to anyone else, but I've recently been experiencing some serious issues with my Dell Latitude E6400 (with latest BIOS, and all other relevant updates) while surfing, playing flash videos full screen, etc. After extended periods, Windows Vista slows to a halt to the point I can barely minimize a window without severely delayed lag. I've also noticed that the typical games I play have also had its frame rates severely slowed down as well.

I have been trying out Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 and also the latest ESET Smart Security 4 Beta, but I've doubt these are the culprit. Just for good measure, I've uninstalled these but the issue still seems to persist.

As I use this mainly for graphic design (using latest Adobe CS4), it's quite critical to be able to handle most of these tasks. For that matter, as a $2,000+ laptop, I'd at least assume to be able to surf and play flash videos without issues. I've been told my Dell tech support to run Diagnostics, but everything seems to complete successfully. They haven't gotten back to me again yet - but I've purchased a 3 year Complete Cover warranty - what am I to do?

I'm a Canadian consumer and have heard nothing but the best from them - but as I am currently lodged in Hong Kong, I purchased this through Dell Hong Kong and am worried that my warranty (even though purchased), will not be rewarded as well as the Canadian counterpart without a severe delay - which means my work will be compromised.

Any ideas would be great!

All Replies
  • GDay,

    A beta BIOS was tested by a few people and they report great results:

    A17 was just released, and some report good results, others report no change. But A17 apparently does not include any changes to the thermal tables.:


    BIOS A17 released @14.10.2009

    1. Updated Intel(R) Active Management Technology firmware.
    2. Updated Computrace OPROM.
    3. Improved support for Ambient Light Sensor on Windows 7.
    4. Fixed issue that unable to set Asset Tag when Admin password set.
    5. Fixed issue where Local KB control is not released properly during or after IDER session.
    6. Added password support for remote console.


    There is a very in depth conversation about this issue here:



    EDIT: A17 was no good for me, sitting here with nothing running, everything closed, sitting on the dock, room temp is 23oC, I left it like that, with MSN closed, everything I could close I did, and went and made a coffee, came back 5-10mins later and checked the temps, the fan is blowing on high speed, cpu core temps are 44/42oC, memory temp is 52oC, chipset is 64oC, HDD temp is 44oC. This is sitting on an E-Dock.

  • My DELL contact that supplied me with the pre release T11 BIOS confirmed, that the thermal table is NOT updated in that release A17. It is scheduled for somewhere in November, but he'll put some pressure on it for an earlier release.

  • Hi JoeB,


    tried the T11, too. I can confirm that fan has at least one more step between minimum and full speed.

    I think it also helped concerning the flash videos.

    But there are some problems left.

    I sometimes use a game called "Urban Terror". Its Quake based. Though I uses my Dell 99% for work, I have to admit I sometimes play this game. It's the only one installed on my Latitude... :)

    As it is a very old game, it even works with the Intel GPU. But, I have the problem, when playing for 5 Minutes, the system throttles and game only goes on with maximum 5 fps (frames per second). Using RMClock, this Error doesn't appear. To make this clear, I don't use RMClock to overclock. Everything is within the regular CPU specifications, RMClock just prevents the CPU from downclocking and throttling.

    T11 didn't solve this problem. So I think it's better than all the BIOS before but it doesn't fix everything...

    Haven't tried to convert some videos in Adobe Premiere, yet. Think the Problem there will still be existent....




  • @ankaro: Strange, in my case it really solved the throttling using T11 BIOS. Sorry to hear in your's not. Maybe your temps really raise that high that the cores must throttle itself and a new heatsink is necessary? I've heard that some heatsinks for our E6400 were of poor quality. Anyhow, sorry again and good luck with other options.

  • Joe,


    is this T11 BIOS the same, as A17 recently released? if yes, then it didn't resolved the problem for me - anyhow it wasn't expected, as no changes to thermal tables are in this version of BIOS.



  • I've received A18 today and have just finished testing it. Maxed out core and GPU usage. Max temp cores was 51/60°C, GPU 56 and RAM/CHIPSET 58. No downclocking.

    Unfortunately still the fan starts too early and never goes off when E6400 is docked. GPU (which always triggered the fan on/1/2/3/highest) is in IDLE 43°C/46°C where 45 is the trigger for 3000 rpms and 42°C would be zero rpms again.

    I'd say A18 is pretty much T11 in terms of thermal table and fan behaviour. A18 is scheduled for early November, I was told.


  • Hi,

    could it be possible to upload this A18?

    what drives me crazy, when in docking the E6400 slows down all the time to 800MHz what i´m seeing

    do nothing yet and have this temps, NVIDIA-Graphics, is that normal temps, when i work, GPU and Chipset over 70degrees Celsius

  • Hey ever body I just spoke with Antony from dell tech support and he told me that there's going to be a new BIOS update within a week that will directly address the temp tables in the e6500's


    Add me to the "me too" list - I'm on my second mother board.  DELL technical support doesn't seem to have any way of tracking what is obviously a wide spread problem.  My computer is more or less useless, I can make the CPU throttle with just a few flash videos.  Rebooted 4 times today!  Calling Dell again tomorrow to complain. *sigh*

  • My story is sad but true...had a D620 which ran so hot that it WARPED the laptop!  They sent me a refurb'd E6400 (after 5 months of run-around).  The video was bad.  They replaced with a new E6400 (after 8 months back and forth) and it worked GREAT until about a month ago.  System will be flying then come to a screeching halt, started getting memory errors, blue screens, ran diagnostics (supposedly no issues).  Monday morning at 7:30 a.m., I got to the office tried to power it up...DEAD AS A DOORNAIL.  Popped the components out, reseated them, ran diagnostics, will not recognize the hard drive (tried replacing), and the diagnostics say all is well, won't recognize the memory (intermittent).  Pretty sure the entire motherboard, hard drive, everything is fried.  Guess what?  Still getting the run-around and have a full warranty on this "brand new system"!  Donya

  • @JoeB7

    I created my Dell community account just so I could say, "thanks" to you and others in this thread. I have two E6400's (new Dec 2008) running Vista 64 bit (now Windows 7) with 4 GB and Intel Duo Core 2's at 2.53 ghz. Earlier in May/June 2009 I too noticed both systems getting very "viscous" (slow like molasses). For a long time I blamed Vista then Norton then myself for buying the darn things. Finally found this thread, read every entry and thanks to the many contributors realized it was the temps all along. I now keep the lids open, keep the room overhead fan blowing down and routinely vacuum out the internal fan to get the dust out. Cleaning out the dust gave me two "new" machines that run as expected and I'm happy and much relieved. Except that this next summer I may have overheating issues to deal with again.

    But, a big THANKS to you and the other contributors for leading me to the necessary steps to keep my machines running sharp.

    BTW Windows 7 works!

  • I had this EXACT problem a few months back.


    Nvidia 160M

    2.9GHz cpu


    I called Dell and was able to get a tech out. They replaced the motherboard and the heatsink and the problem completely went away.

  • Is everybody with this problem running the latest BIOS versions?

    What I'm curious about is since when (BIOS revision) did this start?

    I'm actually running BIOS version A12 on my E6500 running XP with a C2D T9550 @2.66GHz and I have no throttling issues at all.

    I kept it at 100% system load for awhile, pushing the temperature to 65C and my clock remained at 2.66GHz for the entire time.

    I'm not sure about my graphic card though, i was just using RMClock to monitor my CPU.

    It did seem that at 100% load, my graphics were choppy but I just assumed that it was because the system was under heavy load and not a clocking problem.

    I'll look further into that.

  • I had an E6400 laptop that had a NIC problem... and NEVER had a heating issue! (Used A14 at the time)

    Dell sent out a tech to replace the MotherBoard (BIOS=A17)... After the tech replace the Mobo, we still couldn't get the NIC to work... I looked at the Mobo he replaced, and explained to him that the Mobo doesn't even have a NIC on it... so we're replacing the wrong part. Dell tech took my original Mobo.
    Next day, different Dell tech arrived with NIC part and replaced it...  NIC works great now.

    After re-installing Windows, and drivers...   Suddenly, after approx 20 mins...  System comes to screeching halt as well.
    Techs never replaced the nVidia card... only the Mobo and NIC card... It cannot be nVidia card.

    DELL is sending another tech out to replace the Motherboard again.

    If I can get my hands on A18, I could test that before he comes out!

  • Hi,

    here's the link to the A18 I've received quite a while ago from DELL. I've seen A18 it still not released officially. What a shame...

    Since A18, never faced throttling again. It works!