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

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


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

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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!

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  • Hi Mr_Dimsum,

    all I have to offer are ideas, but since I logged on to the Dell Community today to get help with a similar problem I thought I'd share my experience.


    Some processeors will combat overheating by reducing their speed (as you pointed out). One way to check it is by downloading a program that can read the temperature sensor on your CPU. One alternative is CoreTemp. ( I never tried it though but it should be able to tell you if your core is too hot. 50-70 C is OK, above 80 C is bad. Also, flash can be pretty intense for the computer, even if it might not look that way. (E.g. Flash was able to overheat one of my old computers.)


    If your cumputer is indeed overheating, that can usually be dealt with in the following ways: 1) Blowing out dust with canned air. 2) Checking and possibly replacing fans. 3) Making sure the CPU conducts heat to the heat sink, and possibly replacing the heat conductor inbetween the two.


    Good Luck!


  • You should also check the task Manager to see if any services are grabbing CPU cycles. Some Services and programs can severly slow down desktop performance without showing 100% CPU usage. You need to do somwe snooping to see what is happening. If you stop all work does the response get better or not? Doing the temperature measurement is critical.

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  • I got exactly the same problem here The computer don't work after some time viewing Video and its even worst with DVd playback (cant watch more than 20 minutes)

    The problem seems to be an overheating from the Graphical chipset (ie Intel for me not NVIDIA)

    The processor doesn't overheat (45-50°c with SpeedFan), when video playback it doesn't use more than 40% UC but when the overheat occurs It peak to 100% and the taskmanager doesn't show any anormality

    The heat come from the chipset (the chip in the middle jsut next the DVD player)

    I got the problem with Vista x64, 2008 x64 and even a clean install of Vista x86

    All test with SP1 and the SP2 Beta.

    And with A06, A09 and A11 BIOS


  • I just installed everest to have more info.

    when the chipset is overheating my 2.8 Ghz proc fall to 500 Mhz and the FSB (usally 266 Mhz) fall to 73 Mhz


  • HI, 

    I am having the exact same issues.. intrestingly always after around 20 minutes of watching video footage (or video editing).  Whether its online hd or from the flip (minoHD / in VLC.

    The CPUs are ok, but bounce to 100% when it happens, just with the usual windows apps. However temp is only at 40-50°c (cpu-z / speedfan), which leads me to believe that its the graphics chip. After it slows down, it doesn't pick up again unless I leave it sitting for an hour. Turning off and on the machine temporarily resolves the problem... but who can deal with that every 20 minutes ?? (the time decreases, the shorter time you leave it off) 

    Are people with the NVIDIA graphic cards also affected or only the people with Intel GMA chips who are suffering? 

    I was planning to downgrade to XP, but since it's obviously a hardware problem, there seems to be no point. 

    Is there noone from dell picking this up? Can anything be done? If its just the Intel- GMA chip and not NVIDIA, send me an NVIDIA gfx chip (if it can be replaced) =)

    CPU  2.56 / 4GB RAM / GMA 4500 / Bios: A12, running Vista Business.. and losing my patience quickly...

  • Same here.

    E6400 - latest drivers, BIOS etc.

    Playing 20 minutes a 3d Game (and it runs perfectly fast) will lead to a painful slowdown of the whole system.

    Can't read GPU temp with GPU-Z.

    Cores are cool as to HWMon. Just betw 30-36°. ACPI THM_ is about 45°. HDD 35°C.

    E6400 P8600, Intel GMA 4500M HD internal Grafikschip.

    Running in E-Dock on external 22" 1650

    We're not the only one. But is there a cure?

  • Intermittent Issues on Dell's Latitude's E6400, E6500 And Precision M2400, M4400

    An issue has been identified that can affect the Latitude E6400, E6500 and Precision M2400, M4400. The issue is intermittent and can manifest itself as a random BSOD, USB failure, Windows® freeze and corrupt video.

    Replace the Memory, If the System Has Elpida Memory Part Number NY687

    The solution is related to the 4GB system memory part number NY687 and the vendor Elpida. If the system does not have this memory part number, follow normal troubleshooting. If the system has this memory part number and it is Elpida

  • Thanks for the hint.

    No Blue Screens, hangs or anything here. System runs excellent. However, when looking a Video, or even a screensaver of Vista heats the Intel GMA until the system throttles the GMA, Chipset and/or processors.

    Might be a driver, Bios issue which some more people have, as found using google etc.

    Lates Intel drivers (from Dell support homepage) installed.

  • Dell support mentioned, that some latitudes have problem with the heat pipe, so that the Intel GMA chip is not cooled correctly.

    Any news from anybody else?

  • Heatsink change didn't solve the issue.

    According to other user, there will be a Bios A13 that might solve the wrong fan/throttle issue - but that's not confirmed.

    The notebook doesn't get hot! It must be some kind of strange Bios setting...

  • For the Dell M4400 already a A13 has been made available on Dells driver site. It states "updates to thermal table".

    It's quite likely that A13 for E6400 Latitude will bring same improvements. Cross fingers.

  • I am having this exact same problem with my E6400.  I am using Nvidia.  I have called Dell twice about this and the first time we ran all the tests with success and ended up reinstalling Vista Ultimate 32bit.  This helped with the issue (but did not solve it)  for about a month but it is now happening very frequently again.

    One thing I notice which really makes me think it is the graphics card overheating is the problem happens much more frequently when I am connected to my docking station running a 24" monitor at 1920x1200 resolution.  Viewing any flash video or websites with a javascript picture rotator for any length of time brings my computer to an absolute crawl.

    I have used Coretemp and not had an issue with CPU temperature but when this happens my CPU usage goes through the roof.  I have not been able to test the GPU temp. 

    Something interesting I noticed is when I look at Windows Taskmanager under the Processes tab "taskmgr.exe" is using up around 50% of the CPU.  Whereas when this problem is not occuring "taskmgr.exe" uses around 2% of the CPU.  I was wondering if this is happening for anyone else?

    Another problem I have been having with this computer is all of my video is a little jumpy.  Especially when watching anything in 720p+.  Any MP3 playback is also a little jumpy.  It is very annoying.

    I got off the phone with Dell today running more memory tests.  They are supposed to call me back tomorrow to see how they went.  Once again the tests ran fine.  Hopefully we will be able to figure this out.

  • The problem seems to be the thermal table built into the BIOS. Dell replaced the fan/heatsink however, it didn't solve the issue. The cores are fine and at low temperature. It's the GPU that gets hot. And as soon as the BIOS downclocks the system (processor and most probably front side bus speed) it looks in tast manager that the cores are fully used. It's because the processor is downclocked to 800 Mhz only. And that makes it look like heavily used.

    As the Dell precision M4400 is quite similar to our E6400 we could be optmistic that the new BIOS A13 might update our E6400s to a new thermal table that the fans will start running full speed later and the downclocking will happen only at real heavy usage rather than too early as it seems now.

    Yes, when using the internal monitor the issue is not as frequent as with an external monitor connected to the E-Dock.

    Good luck and cross fingers.


  • Hello, i am experiencing the same issue... you can read my whole story here but to make story long short. The issue has been narrowed down to Intel GMA 4500 MHD chipset.You can watch the stepping down of the computer in the perfmon.exe (Resource monitor from taskmanager). The reason why taskman.exe is suddenly getting a 50% of processor power is that the maximum frequency was capped down by system BIOS. You can't throttle back up even with utilities like SpeedFan, NHC etc.

    This always happen when playing games, watching Flash video, running Aurora screensaver (which is really fun as you let the computer for a hour on table and get back the Fan at 100% - really funny).

    The tech replaced Mobo with no luck, i also put the HDD to exact same (but brand new) system and the issue was there. Checked with BIOS A09, A12. Now checking with fresh installed system, it hasn't appeared yet, but the Aurora screensaver is making the fan go 100%, so it's probably just matter of time. Now will test with A02 intel gma drivers. Thanks for the info on the heatsink/pipe, at least i don't have to call tech to replace that as well.

    This thread about M4400 is also interesting:

  • Fantomex, thanks for joining and sharing your story. I guess you can try all different GMA drivers etc. and won't be lucky. The problem is even worse when using an external high resolution monitor - or even dual monitor on the E-Dock.

    I'm patiently (more or less) waiting for BIOS A13 and hope it'll bring the cure we need. Dell PRO Support here in Germany told me, they've replicated the problem and escalated to the product management of the Latitude laptops.(As the Latitudes are business notebooks and most of the time display Outlook and Excel sheets, there won't be such a high priority like for the Dell M4400...)

    Lets cross fingers.

    If you find something new, please post it here - I'll do so, too.