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Dell XPS L501X - GPU runs dangerously hot?


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Dell XPS L501X - GPU runs dangerously hot?

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I purchased the I7-740QM version with the 2GB Geforce 435m graphics card.


Using a program HWmonitor to detect my laptops internal temperatures. I've noticed when playing games the graphics card runs at a maximum temperature of 96 degrees. Also note the fan and vents under the laptop has good air flow.


Screen shot below of a benchmark program showing how quickly the GPU heats up;


What is the normal operating temperature of this graphics card?

Will my graphics card get damaged running constantly at this temperature? 


I received the laptop on 09/12/10

All Replies
  • My new L501x is actually locking up due to GPU overheat when playing games like Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XI, and Final Fantasy XIV. 

    CPU is reaching low-to-mid 80C (170-175F range) which is not horrible for a laptop like this.

    I am a bit worried, too, about the GPU constantly overheating and locking the computer.

    edit: I am using a Zalman 2000 series laptop cooler and still have overheating.

  • Thats quite bad if it's locking up at that temperature. What temperatures do you reach without the cooler? 

    I haven't carried on gaming when mine reaches 96C for fear of damage, so I'm not sure if mine locks up too.

    I'm wondering if it's a poor thermal paste job, for example maybe they put too much of which causes it to insulate the GPU rather than disperse heat.

    It would cost me £45 to get a professional to apply a high quality thermal paste, and theres no guarantee that will solve the problem.


    I might have to give Dell a ring and see what they have to say.



  • WITH a laptop cooler my GPU hits 89C (190ish F), when it hits around 95C it locks up (but honestly I've never been able to watch the temp get that high because I'm always in a fullscreen game when it locks).  I would hate to see what it hits without.  Is this an issue that a Dell service center would fix?  Or is this normal?

    If I apply Arctic Silver 5 will it void the warranty?  What if I have the service center do it (I have an authorized Dell service center at my campus)?

  • I contacted Dell, they said 96C is very hot and will replace my laptop.


    I would ring Dell if I were you, if you've had the laptop for less than 21 days they will replace it.

    If longer they will send someone to either apply thermal paste (probably be cheap paste), or replace the parts.


    Officially if you apply thermal paste by yourself, then it should void your warranty, but if you don't break anything taking it apart, they probably wouldn't notice.


    I recommend getting a replacement if possible. If not, if someone from Dell comes to fix it, ask them if they can use your Arctic Silver 5 (assuming you have any) when they repaste it.

  • I just got off the phone with support and they said 100C was normal and the 70C scalding hot air coming out the side is normal, too.  Fried eggs anyone?

  • The 435M discrete graphics card runs significantly hotter than the 420M. And the i7 processors run hotter than i5.
    Plus, consider the huge amount of RAM and Video RAM that your XPS has, and you know that all these will generate heat, even on idle.

    The i7 740QM does not have Intel HD IGP (integrated graphics), so it cannot use nVidia Optimus technology to
    switch between discrete-GPU and IGP-with-CPU (on die). This is a significant hit for us,
    as Intel has only recently introduced IGP support for its Core 2011 i7 quad-core processors.

    This means that the graphics card is being used for all GUI tasks, and gets very hot during hardcore gaming due to inadequate ventilation airflows.
    Generally though, I barely notice any heating issue when I am web-surfing or working on documents.

    It is only after some time of gaming that the heat rises. Angry

    More info on the 435M:

    The i7 740QM does not support Optimus, nor does it support Intel's WiDi (Wireless Display):

    Solutions to your heating woes:

    1. Install the Dell Support Center (Driver Toolkit), and install the latest BIOS patch, which fixes voltage regulation problems.

    2.See if the 130W AC power adapter brick becomes too hot too soon. If so, you may need a replacement. Call the Dell tech support.

    3. Use your XPS 15, in a cool, air-conditioned room that is relatively free of dust. High-end hardware requires supportive environment.

    4. Buy a good laptop cooling pad. It is a simple pad that rests beneath your laptop and provides additional air-circulation
        by means of USB-powered fans. Even a cheap cooling pad makes a significant amount of difference in the operating tempature of a laptop.

    5. If you really want to try some custom cooling solutions, look at this thread:

    6. Do not close the lid of the laptop, as soon you finished gaming and have shut down. The heat might damage the display.

        Use your mousepad as a cover over the left-side of the keyboard (where it gets heated the most), before you close the lid
        and put the laptop in its bag.

    6. Don't play games for more than 2 hours at a stretch on the XPS 15.  Though it is built with gaming hardware,
         it is not projected by Dell as such, and some of its design is not really supportive for hardcore gaming.

         Take a 5-minute break after every half-hour of gaming. It will reduce the laptop temperature by a few degrees
         (you can hear the exhaust fan spinning down)

        This is not only good for the XPS, but also for your fingers and eyes.
         RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) is not a disease to be taken lightly - it may need surgery, so avoid it if you can.


    There is no such thing as a gaming laptop. Laptops do not have the spatial volume, big fans, water-cooling-suitability, etc. that are
    prerequisites for hardcore gaming. Don't blame Dell. They market the Alienware brand for gaming addicts, and the XPS for general home users.

    Dell is giving you a good XPS laptop with high-end specs (USB3.0, HD display, surround speakers, etc)
    at a decent price, which supports occasional gaming and is more suited for multimedia playback and CAD/CAM/DTP.

    Treat it like that, maintain it well (tried the patches?), and it will last you for years.

    So, now you know what you need to do to avoid scalding your wrists. Wink



  • The replacement laptops GPU still hit 96C easily, the idle temperature of the CPU was too high for my taste too.


    Therefore rang dell and they said they'll send an engineer round to replace the heat sink and fan.

    I took this opportunity to buy some higher quality thermal paste from the local computer shop. I got the engineer to apply the higher quality paste instead of the cheap paste he was going to use.


    It only cost me £5 for 2 small tubes of 'Arctic MX-1', not the best thermal paste available, however the temperature drop was quite dramatic.


    I ran Furmark again and the GPU temperature never went above 80C, which is a huge 16C drop.

    Also the CPU never went above 75C under maximum load, before it reached high 80C's. The idle temp is lower too.


    So that determines that the high temperatures is caused by the cheap silicon based thermal paste that Dell use.