My Alienware M17xR3 has been facing a peculiar problem for the past few months. The system automatically clocks itself to a low clock speed - around 770 MHz when on Windows 8 and that's the highest it achieves. At times the system would clock in at just above 500 MHz. Earlier it would do that degree of underclocking only in the power saver mode and it would clock up to 3.2 GHz at maximum usage. Now, that doesn't seem to happen at all. In other operating systems, it goes to a maximum of 800 MHz. The lowest it has run was 200 MHz.
The system doesn't seem to hurt normal productivity tasks like word processing, but I also use my system for intensive tasks like virtualisation, kernel compiling, image and video rendering, 3D modelling in addition to the obvious - gaming. I haven't been able to zero in on the problem. I've tried an app called ThrottleStop to unlock any unwanted throttling but it would only work for as long as the system remains on. A restart would revert it back to its low speed. Waking from sleep would not allow it to keep it's full speed. I've reinstalled Windows 8 but that hasn't fixed the problem. I have Windows 7 installed on the side in a dual boot configuration and even there, the various CPU tests don't log in any more than 780 MHz.
Unfortunately, Windows 8 is not officially supported on your platform, therefore issues like the one you mention may arise. Have you tried checking the CPU/GPU temperatures?
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I am seeing a similar issue on my M17R3 but with Windows 7. The CPU is operating at 800 MHz (from both Intel Processor Diagnostic tool and Real Temp) with noticeable slowness when running VMs/compiling/etc.. I noticed on bootup the BIOS says that 'The AC power adapter type cannot be determined'. Should I just get a new one or anything else I might be able to try first?
Thanks for the suggestion, I changed my charging bricks connector from one socket to the main socket on my switch board. That fixed the issue. The issue was that one of the switchboards that I used was underpowered and did not met the requirements of my laptops charging brick. The issue has been completely fixed.