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Alienware M17x R3 - NVIDIA 580m GTX low performance, low frame per second, throttle on games or 3D applications

Alienware M17x R3 – NVIDIA 580m GTX, low performance, low frame per second, throttle on games or 3D applications

Article Summary: This article will help you to understand under which circumstances the NVIDIA 580m GTX on the Alienware M17x R3 will show low performance, low frames per second (fps) or will throttle on the GPU and memory clocks.

Note: Please bookmark this article as restarts of the computer are recommended during the process to help resolve issues.

Table of Contents:
1. Problem
2. Discussion
3. Solution


Alienware M17x R3 configured with NVIDIA 580GTX will show low performance, low frames per second (fps) or throttle when the video card reaches 78C of temperature when playing games, 3D applications, making the GPU and memory clocks to get down for random peaks to cool down the video card.


The throttling is a normal behavior on video cards, designed by the manufacturers to avoid overheating issues and damage on the video cards.When video cards start reaching the throttling temperatures, it means the computer is experiencing some internal and external conditions which make temperatures going up. Software and Hardware can make changes on the system temperature.


Note: Please do not run FURMARK and OCCT as a stress test for your Video Card. These applications can be harmful for the Video Card and can cause damage to it. Alienware will not provide any support for failures caused by these applications.

Here are some situations and possible fixes if your Alienware M17x R3 throttles only when running games or 3D apps.

1. Fans not working, Vents Obstruction

Alienware recommends to keep checking the Vents and exhaust of your system, any obstructions can cause the system to overheats and at the end to start throttling. It is important to keep clean this area from dust, dirtiness or any other material that avoids the correct airflow from the computer.

a. Check the vents on the computer to see if they are covered with dust and not allowing heat and air to pass through.
See example shown in Figure-1

Figure-1 Vent on the bottom of the Laptop with dust.

b. Turn off the System.
c. Remove all power sources: Unplug the AC Adapter and Remove the Battery, or Unplug the Power Cord.
d. Use a compressed air can to blow the dust out of the vents. Be sure to hold the can at an upright (near 90 degree angle) and hold it 15-20 centimeters (6-8 inches) away from the target.

Do not use your Mouth to blow the dust out of a Laptop. The saliva from your mouth can cause permanent damage.
When using a can of compressed air use the can according to the directions on the side of the can as you can cause damage to the computer if used incorrectly.

2. Your System might require some updates.

a. Drain the Motherboard power (Turn off computer, remove AC Adapter and Battery, press and hold the power button down for about 20 seconds - the computer is not expected to turn on, reconnect the AC Adapter and Battery).

b. Update the system BIOS to latest version available at You can also use this link to download it directly.

c. Update Video Card Bios (Vbios) to latest version available at You can also use this link to download it directly.

Note: You will require a blank CD/DVD for the vbios update. After burning the disc restart the computer and open the boot menu by hitting the F12 key at the Alienware Logo then choose to boot from the CD/DVD, when done the system will ask you to reboot.

4. Update Video driver to latest version available at You can also use this link to download

If after completing these steps you still experience issues please contact us at (for US and Canada customers) to get a replacement heatsink, including the following information so the process can be expedited:

a) Service Tag

b) Account Name

c) Primary and alternate phone number

d) Best time to reach.

e) Confirmed shipping address

FURMARK is an application designed to stress the video card by maximizing power draw well beyond any real world application or game. In some cases this could lead to slowdown the graphics card due to hitting over-temperature or over-current protection mechanism (like throttling speeds). These protection mechanisms are designed to ensure the safe operation of the graphics card. Using Furmark or other application to disable these protection mechanisms can result in permanent damage to the graphics card and void the video card warranty.

The Alienware Support Team

Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN85627

Last Date Modified: 08/14/2015 03:16 PM

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