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MaSx1
1 Nickel

Area 51 Overheating Liquid Cooling Problem

Hi,

I am currently experiencing some issue with Alienware Area 51 system running Windows 7.

The problem is that every time I run or install a program, the system fan speeds up really high but eventually comes down and sometimes it doesn't. This happens for simple program such as when launching iTunes, running 3-4 Microsoft Office Word document, 5-10 browser or simply watching a video at 1080p. The fan basically speeds up due to sudden spike in CPU that is more than 5-10% or during idle. I am not sure what's causing this since all the master io board diagnostics test passed. I have no problem with lights or active venting system all works and worked fine even on Windows 8.1.

I am seeing this random spike in sys_fan in Windows 7 and 8.1 (like right now, installing Microsoft Office under Windows 7 after doing a complete reboot and the fan just suddenly speed up due to sudden spike in CPU). I did pretty much everything...the usual resetting, power drain, cmos reset, io board reset, etc.

I even replaced the master io board and still the same issue. Could it be that the CPU Fan IO Control Board is corrupted? if M\IO board was corrupted it would not shown the version of the board nor would the pre-boot mio board test pass, no?

I am running this at the moment, Alienware_Command-Center-Des_A05_R308775

Please help with any solution to this problem and  the best command center for Windows 7.

| Alienware Area-51 (BIOS A11) | Desktop Command Center v2.5.52 A08 |
Intel Core i7 980x | Windows 8.1 Pro, 64bit | 1.5TB - SATA, 3Gb/s, HDD | 12GB Triple-Channel 1600MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 | Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium | Alienware AW2310 3D Monitor | 1.2KW Power Supply

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16 Replies
Tesla1856
6 Gallium

RE: Area 51 problem with sys_fan

Really should have a Dual-Boot so you can get back to original supported environment for testing. It only takes a small partition for Window7-64bit and Command Center v2.8.9.0. You could also just force-boot a Win7 partition with F12 on boot.

I am seeing this random spike in sys_fan in Windows 7 and 8.1 (like right now, installing Microsoft Office under Windows 7 after doing a complete reboot and the fan just suddenly speed up due to sudden spike in CPU).

This is pretty much how it works normally. Cores are suppose to engage.

Try All CPU Meter Gadget and HW-Monitor for monitoring. Then Prime95 and see if Asetek Cooler and keep CPU under 80. If it can do that, it should be able to handle the daily stuff as well.

If everything is acting right (kicking in) but Asetek can't "keep up" then it might be failing.

 


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
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MaSx1
1 Nickel

RE: Area 51 problem with sys_fan

Thank you Tesla for replying.

The reason I do not find it to be normal is because it did not happen before at all unless I was gaming. Only that time the sys_fan was running in high speed mode and the active venting system would flare up. This lead me to believe that something must have gone wrong all of sudden. Under Windows 7 it was working very good for few months and then suddenly during idle I would see the system fan going on rampage, along with other problem when installing/launching program fan shoots up along with active venting system. Mind you that even when CPU usage was very low, as in below 10% it would still behave that way.


Ran Prime95, it was around 70% and the system just crashed. >_<

| Alienware Area-51 (BIOS A11) | Desktop Command Center v2.5.52 A08 |
Intel Core i7 980x | Windows 8.1 Pro, 64bit | 1.5TB - SATA, 3Gb/s, HDD | 12GB Triple-Channel 1600MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 | Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium | Alienware AW2310 3D Monitor | 1.2KW Power Supply

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Tesla1856
6 Gallium

RE: Area 51 problem with sys_fan

1. Under Windows 7 it was working very good for few months

 

2. and then suddenly during idle I would see the system fan going on rampage, along with other problem when installing/launching program fan shoots up along with active venting system.

 

3. Mind you that even when CPU usage was very low, as in below 10% it would still behave that way.

 

4. Ran Prime95, it was around 70% and the system just crashed. >_<

1. Again, for this machine, I would only test hardware under Win7-64. Some users with Aurora R4 under Win8/8.1 and CC 3.5x are still seeing flakey problems.

2. Without monitoring CPU % and core temps it's hard to say why. The system might just be doing what's it's designed to do to control temps. (or to do it's best).

3. Right, but if core temps are above idle-temp, this is normal. If everything is engaging but still can't control temps, this points to a Asetek Cooler failure. You will often see a Sys-Fan speed near max of 4000rpm. Be sure radiator and fan are clean.

4. Fine. Now you can re-create problem on demand to ease troubleshooting.

http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/p/19563823/20572368.aspx#20572368

http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/p/19545222/20518401.aspx#20518401

OCCT (PowerSupply Test) is another good StressTester.

http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/t/19530277.aspx

 


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Like many of you, I can appreciate a good game-engine.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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Cass-Ole
4 Germanium

RE: Area 51 problem with sys_fan

When was the last time you cleaned/blew-out the radiator fins & sys fan? I use a plug-in air mattress pump for the job, since dust-buildup decreases cooling performance / heat exchange.

*** see photo of how to hold the top cage assembly for dusting out radiator:

article: how to install 120mm tops fans Area 51 system:

http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/p/19331658/19734814.aspx#19734814

Area-51 Service Manual: page 66, remove liquid cooling assembly:

ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_alienware_dsk/alienware-area51_Service...

How I remove top cage to service/clean sysfan/rad :

  • Remove three connectors from top left "mini-powerboard" (black liquid pump connector / other two connectors) 
  • lay a t-shirt on top of graphics card
  • pull white cage release-lever, carefully pull cage down
  • hold cage in one hand - as in article photo - use high-pressure air to blow all dust out

Is it time to try new "Arctic Silver" type thermal paste?

pump removal option one:

  • remove memory, lay t-shirt over video card/small heatsink/fan
  • unbolt cooler pump, clean off old paste, apply new paste, rebolt cooler pump

pump removal option two:

  • lay t-shirt down, unbolt cooler pump, use steps above to carefully remove entire cage assembly & pump
  • remove old paste/apply new etc - blow out dust/reinstall cage & pump assemblies

A few of us feel that A-ware mounted the system fan "upside down"; they come mounted so it sucks "warm" inside case air through the rad & blow it out the top: we "turned the system fan around" - to instead grab cooler outside air & blow it down through the radiator (& into the case) then mount a rear 92mm case fan to blow that warm air out ... if you dust your radiator/pull cage out, you might want to mount your system fan the "right way" to improve cpu cooling & liquid temps ...

application CmndCntr 2.08.09:

http://www.dell.com/support/drivers/us/en/19/DriverDetails/Product/alienware-area51?driverId=TD4C0&o...

read this carefully to extract/install CC 2.08.11 (from tactx download):

http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/t/19472294.aspx

*** I use Intel XTU (extreme tuning utility) to report temps on each of 4 cores:

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/SearchResult.aspx?keyword=%22%22extreme+tuning+utility%22%22

I like using an Intel program to report on my Intel chip:

  • start application; in bottom right corner there is a blue wrench icon
  • click icon, select core temps for cores #1 #2 #3 #4 (#5)(#6)
  • investigate abnormal temps in one two or all cores
  • my i7960 idles @ 40c (105f), sysfan never goes over 900 rpm

do not agree problem with corrupt master i/o ---> suspect radiator needs dusted ---> top sys fan remounted to optimal position ---> 92mm rear case fan ---> time for new thermal paste ... troubleshoot after Spring Cleaning

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MaSx1
1 Nickel

RE: Area 51 problem with sys_fan

Thank you guys for the respond. I will check into it later this week and get back with the results and my findings.

So far, the CC is showing 23, 23, 21 C temp reading. CPUID HW Monitor shows CPU Fan 1, 2, 3 at 100%, cores are around 49-55C. Everything seems to be alright except that the "fan" is not being controlled or handle properly. I ordered a CPU fan IO board hoping that it may solve the problem. Once I receive it and check it out let you know what's up. It may not help at all but worth a shot. I will also try out another M\IO board to see what's up as well. Before I do that, is there any version of CC you would recommend installing ONLY so that I don't end up bricking it if that is what's happening..

Cass-Olé, I did clean it nicely few times but I will definitely look more thoroughly about what you said and get back to you as well. Thank you!

| Alienware Area-51 (BIOS A11) | Desktop Command Center v2.5.52 A08 |
Intel Core i7 980x | Windows 8.1 Pro, 64bit | 1.5TB - SATA, 3Gb/s, HDD | 12GB Triple-Channel 1600MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 | Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium | Alienware AW2310 3D Monitor | 1.2KW Power Supply

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Cass-Ole
4 Germanium

RE: Area 51 problem with sys_fan

my friend up there spoke of your liquid pump on its' possible way "out" - you can touch the tubes carefully - try to feel if one tube feels way hotter than the other ... a faulty pump will be way hot on one tube - noticeably cooler on the other side - indicative of the araora r4 "blocked pump" syndrome, or a faulty impeller I would surmise. If pump is going bad, no doubt master i/o reads cpu temp & ramps up fan rpm which it thinks will combat heat as normal, but pump does not co-operate. touch the pump housing & rad also ... mine feel cool at the moment.

Buying a new top powerboard & mi/o is never a bad idea, so you have known-good spares for future trouble-shooting ...

Uninstall your current CmndCntr 1st the right way:

http://www.dell.com/support/troubleshooting/us/en/19/KCS/KcsArticles/ArticleView?c=us&docid=414842&d...

then install new version of CC ... CC 2.08.09 is a winner on 7, 2.08.11 winner on 7 & may be best for Win8, but both work & neither should brick your mio. There are no versions with 100% non-brick certainty, lol. 

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Tesla1856
6 Gallium

RE: Area 51 problem with sys_fan

1. cores are around 49-55C.

 

2. Everything seems to be alright except that the "fan" is not being controlled or handle properly.

1. What about after all cores are run around 75-100% for a while ? Does Asetek Cooler keep core temps under 80c?

2. I see you did the Power Dissipation but did you try testing MIO-Board and Sys_Fan in Dell Diags outside of Windows? That might reset the Sys-Fan control profile. AFAIK, there is no normal user accessible programming for it.

The pump runs at a constant speed and radiator-fan responds to core temps on a curve. Like Cass-Ole says, it can't be failing or blocked. Never seen a bad fan speed-up ... they usually just slow down.


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Like many of you, I can appreciate a good game-engine.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
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MaSx1
1 Nickel

RE: Area 51 problem with sys_fan

my friend up there spoke of your liquid pump on its' possible way "out" - you can touch the tubes carefully - try to feel if one tube feels way hotter than the other ... a faulty pump will be way hot on one tube - noticeably cooler on the other side - indicative of the araora r4 "blocked pump" syndrome, or a faulty impeller I would surmise. If pump is going bad, no doubt master i/o reads cpu temp & ramps up fan rpm which it thinks will combat heat as normal, but pump does not co-operate. touch the pump housing & rad also ... mine feel cool at the moment.

 

Buying a new top powerboard & mi/o is never a bad idea, so you have known-good spares for future trouble-shooting ...

 

Uninstall your current CmndCntr 1st the right way:

 

http://www.dell.com/support/troubleshooting/us/en/19/KCS/KcsArticles/ArticleView?c=us&docid=414842&d...

 

then install new version of CC ... CC 2.08.09 is a winner on 7, 2.08.11 winner on 7 & may be best for Win8, but both work & neither should brick your mio. There are no versions with 100% non-brick certainty, lol. 

I was thinking about bringing this up but you nailed it already. The tubes going from fan to cpu, one of the tube is way hotter while the other one is cool. So, can I replace the tube or do I need to buy a brand new one?

1. cores are around 49-55C.

 

2. Everything seems to be alright except that the "fan" is not being controlled or handle properly.

 

1. What about after all cores are run around 75-100% for a while ? Does Asetek Cooler keep core temps under 80c?

 

2. I see you did the Power Dissipation but did you try testing MIO-Board and Sys_Fan in Dell Diags outside of Windows? That might reset the Sys-Fan control profile. AFAIK, there is no normal user accessible programming for it.

 

The pump runs at a constant speed and radiator-fan responds to core temps on a curve. Like Cass-Ole says, it can't be failing or blocked. Never seen a bad fan speed-up ... they usually just slow down.



Yes, I have tried MIO Board test outside of the Windows. That's what I meant earlier. Yeah, it seems to be the problem with the tube at the moment. The system runs cool and everything but as he mentioned when I touched the tube, one of them feels very hot while the other one is cool. So, do I need to replace the entire pump or just the tube? Please advise.

To be honest, I am at the point of selling this computer even for $700~$800 buck and build a brand new one myself so I never have to worry, not able to upgrade and loss of support, etc.

Thanks again.

| Alienware Area-51 (BIOS A11) | Desktop Command Center v2.5.52 A08 |
Intel Core i7 980x | Windows 8.1 Pro, 64bit | 1.5TB - SATA, 3Gb/s, HDD | 12GB Triple-Channel 1600MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 | Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium | Alienware AW2310 3D Monitor | 1.2KW Power Supply

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Cass-Ole
4 Germanium

RE: Area 51 problem with sys_fan

The cooling pump assembly is not serviceable, unless you remove the bottom copper cold plate, which is a new trick we just learned. I advised to re-dust the radiator & apply new thermal paste to cpu & retest. If a no go, consider buying a new pump+radiator (new/used on eBay) & click this link for plate removal/inspection details:

Aurora overheating problem solved:

http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/p/19516339/20440773.aspx#20440773

Area 51 pumps have had no reports of "blockage". On install day, I would install new pump & check my temps/system performance. If ok, I would then disassemble the "bad" one, looking for signs of failure. Even though they can be reused after cold plate/o-ring removed, I doubt I would re-use mine, but I would check it for "blockage" before tossing it just the same. I base my advise on what I would do, others might have a better idea, so do wait for a 2nd opinion before shelling out $.

If you like your case, as we all do, you can put a new Ivy/Sandy Haswell cpu & mthrbrd in it, as well as a new power supply & keep AlienFx. A Corsair h100i fits in the roof also. Plenty of upgrade potential my friend. I've swapped in a 4770k into my "Asus-51" & done the psu swap. Search "Area 51 swap" on forum, & if you want more details? Ask & ye shall receive.

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