I am the owner of an XPS 15, bought in December 2011, and I am at something of an impasse. For the last year I have been close to the end of my tether with this device. It started and continued with a weird audio/video freeze. At the beginning it was 10 minutes into any game, later that dropped to the start menu of even games from 1997. Performance was horrible and the machine was slow at even the most menial of tasks, like using the internet.
In response, I removed the Nvidia Geforce Experience and re-installed the original proprietary drivers for my GT 540m, I also cleaned the fan with a healthy blast of canned air and bought a notebook cooling stand which the machine now lives on. I also under-clocked the CPU to allow use of Turbo mode. With these measures, I can play games from around 2005 on middling settings. Compared to before, when I could run Skyrim on high, this is rather uninspiring.
The problem still occurs, but requires a little more time. What is intriguing however, is that when it does, the machine itself doesn't really feel all that hot, so I'm at a loss as to what the real issue could be. I'm aware that the relative age of the machine, along with the notoriously poor cooling efficiency of my particular model are definitely partly to blame, however I can't help but feel that there is something more that is holding the machine back.
I would appreciate any help that is offered, I'm rather desperate.
I think I have similar problems, so posting the questions on this thread---hoping someone will respond :-)
My laptop was heating up a bit too much (temperature above 90’s in normal load, and sometimes shutting down after hitting 100C), so I finally decided to open up my Dell XPS 15 (L502X) and replace the thermal paste. I have few questions:
When I opened it up, apart from the thermal paste on the cpu (i7-2630QM) and gpu (Nvidia GT-540 2gb), there were several white pads, and one grey pad. The grey pad was above the motherboard HM67 chip. This is the first time I ever saw a heat sink with thermal pad needed to cool down the motherboard. Or am I missing something? And what are all these small white pads? They seem to be covering different chips on the motherboard. Does anyone know the width of these white pads, and grey pads? Are all of these thermal pads to conduct heat? Or some are meant to block heat? I think the white ones are meant to block heat, but I may be wrong.
Anyhow, after replacing the thermal paste (didn’t do anything with the pads, since I wasn’t expecting to see them anyway), the temperature of CPU and motherboard remains in 80’s C, and GPU in 70’s C under normal load (20 browser tabs, and some MS Office work alongside). So, although it is not in the dangerous zone (90s and above), it is still quite warm for not so intensive tasks. I have cleaned the heat sink, and fan etsc also. I also used good quality thermal paste (CoolerMaster Gel Maker Nano). And the the fan still works in an annoying manner with bursts of sounds, instead of constant sound. It is very annoying, and I rather have the fan working the whole time than these annoying bursts (fan on, fan off, fan on, fan off, and goes on like this constantly). Any solution to fix this?
I am also considering downgrading to I5-2540M (lower TDP, and dual core), but its not worth it if the fan is going to behave in similar manner. Please share your experience if you use any other CPU on this laptop. I don’t think the GPU is replaceable on this one?
I have narrowed down the annoying fan noise problem. It is something to do with hard disk. My XP215 (L502X) came with a 750 GB WD 7200rpm hard disk. I created an image of my system on a portable drive, and restored the image on a 500 GB Hitachi 7200rpm, and well, the fan noises were gone. I don’t know how and why, but the fan behaves much better. To make sure that it is something to do with hard disk, I used the same system image to restore Windows on another 500GB hard disk (5400rpm), and the fan noises were back on that one. So, the only hard disk (among the three that I have) without fan noises is the Hitachi 500gb 7200rpm. I can’t explain why is it so. It is not a Windows issue, since I used the same system image, and did not re-installed a fresh Windows 7. Maybe some sort of software incompatibility with some hard disks, or something else.