Thanks for providing me with this link, I will forward it onto the Dell account manager that I spoke to on Friday.
FYI - I explained to the Dell account manager that I have been using a E6530 and an E6330 for the past 12 months with no problem at all. These machines have been running application servers, VMs and databases all at the same time together with processor intensive applications and the fan never spins up - the machine is silent. This is what I expected from the latest model and therefore led me to purchase the E6540.
My laptop is being collected tomorrow to be returned to the Dell workshop for further diagnostics to be run, this will take up to 7 day
Thanks for the update. I'm hopeful that after enough people complain Dell will be forced to perform fixes/swaps without forcing their customers to go 7+ days without their machine. I know I can't! I'm finishing up some really big projects and I can't go without my computer for more than a day let alone 7!
The only reason I can go without the laptop this week is because I am working on a client site and have to use their equipment, but like you I can't afford to be without the laptop for long as it is the primary tool for my business. I explained this to the technician who called me on Friday to arrange collection, but he said that they could not provide substitute machines. He told me that their procedure is, the laptop must be checked at their workshop,then depending on the outcome it would either be returned to me or sent to the product team to advise on the next cause of action.
*I'm currently in contact with @DellCares and I don't believe I'm receiving the proper assistance, especially given that I paid extra for Pro Support. There's a variety of employees that comment from that account, some are better than others.*
@DellCares advised me to clean my vents and update my BIOS. I clean my vents every other day and the BIOS release notes make no mention of updating fan profiles. Next, they had me download the MyDell application and run the diagnostic test to verify that all the hardware was functioning "properly", which it was. The option they gave me was to send my machine to the depot for testing and fixing of the bad components. They don't seem to grasp that there are no faulty components. A new hsf assembly or cpu isnt' going to fix this problem. They would know this if they actually looked at all the evidence that I have provided them. Below you'll find a revised summary of my testing so far on my E6540 (originally posted in the Notebook Review forums linked to earlier in this thread.
This is the 3rd E6540 that I've had due to various warranty issues. They all exhibited the throttling behavior so after my last interaction with a US based Team Lead, I requested an additional bottom cover for me to modify in an attempt to remedy the heat issues. I drilled holes below the fan in the spare cover to try to help cool the machine down:
The tests I performed ran for ~15 minutes each and included Prime95 (In-place Large FTTs, minimized) and Kombustor (also verifies run time) to max the CPU and GPU. I monitored using ThrottleStop and Argus Monitor. The battery was removed for all tests and the laptop was on a flat/hard surface unless noted. My current paste is MX-4.
Sorry for the smallish pics. Here we go!
This run clearly shows that the cpu throttles to a disheartening 800MHz using the stock cover. The CPU reached temps of 97C suring these 15minutes. That's just a few degrees shy of the thermal showdown limit!!
This run with the drilled cover shows much improvement. While there's not throttling yet, the cpu has stepped down to ~1.5Ghz. Max temp has also decreased by ~10C from the stock cover!
@ 25 Minutes:
After another 10 minutes of the same conditions, the cpu steps down to 1.3GHz.
@ 35 Minutes, raised back for last 10:
After an additonal 10 minutes, this time with the back of the laptop raised up 2", the cpu still stepped down further to 1.1GHz.
This run with no cover at all puts the machine at 1.6-1.7GHz with temperatures at 83C or below (compared to the 97C reached with the stock cover).
No Cover With Cooling Pad
This test was performed just for fun, showing that under abnormally cool conditions the machine runs constant ~1.65-1.7Ghz.
These results give an idea of where limits are. I plan to conduct more testing to graph results while playing games and I encourage others to do the same. While there was some improvement from the drilled holes, there wasn't a dramatic effect until I isolated the fan to make it only draw air from the drilled holes so I only provided those runs.
**I'm not responsible for any damage cause to your machine!!**
TLDR; The drilling definitely seemed to help, but it's not close to a solution! The stock cooling system is inherently inadequate though, and my tests prove it. We all are experiencing heat issues which means it's not a fluke. Dell made/tested this machine and still decided that it was good enough for release. They idle high, and any attempt at gaming or professional applications brings the system to it knees. We need to provide Dell with as much proof as possible that these machines were flawed from the beginning so they can do something to fix this. That means documenting your usage (gaming, CAD, etc) here and then filing a complaint about your notebook with Dell.
Also note that a professional review has documented the throttling in these machines. Here's a link and excerpt from the NotebookCheck review:
Our stress test tortures the processor and the graphics card for more than one hour. It determines if the cooling system is sufficient. The graphics performance remained constant for the whole test; the base clock fluctuates between 850 and 900 MHz. The temperature leveled off at 87 °C (188.6 °F).
The performance of the CPU on the other hand fluctuates more; after a short while the maximum clock of all four cores is at 1.7 GHz. The temperature of the CPU is raised to 98 °C (208.4 °F) in this case, which is pretty close to the maximum allowed temperature of 100 °C (212 °F). The result is a reduced clock of 1.1 GHz, even lower than the nominal clock. Unfortunately, this is a case of throttling. As soon as the temperature is below 90 °C (194 °F) the clock is raised again and fluctuates between 1.3 and 2.0 GHz.
A 3DMark 06 benchmark run directly after the stress test results in a lower score, it drops from 13,118 to 11,947 points and the impact on the CPU score is even worse: 3,928 instead of 5,411 points. If you use the notebook under maximum load for a long time you cannot use the full performance of the components.
Programs I Used:
MSI Afterburner 3.0.0 Beta 18 Has Kombustor built in
Argus Monitor 2.5.08 Free 30-Day Trial
Throwing in another with the same issues to the pool. The only time my fan doesn't run is the first few minutes of operation after the machine has been off for a number of hours in a cold room. Throttling happens after under 5 minutes with CPU/GPU load.
This happens with multiple hard drives, windows installs all bios options released to date, etc.
My laptop was collected today and returned to Dell for further tests.
I have spoken to a team leader and explained that if this fault must be common to this specific model of laptop as other customers are also experiencing the same issue. I gave them the link to this forum and they said that they would refer the fault to their product team, because at this time there are no known issues with the latitude e6540 laptop known to technical support.
i have been promised a follow up call within the next 24-48hrs after the issue has been discussed with the product team.
Also, it's interesting that he said they weren't aware of any issues when the guy from their Twitter team told several of us that the engineers were aware of the issue and were working on a solution..
Updates: Several of us have initiated service calls with Dell!
Knock Knock Dell... Seriously, you guys should jump in and comment here. I find it funny that Dell representatives periodically answer questions on these boards but as soon as something major goes down, they go into hiding.
Anyways, I am getting my motherboard and heatsink assembly replaced. My representative confirmed to me that if this doesn't fix things, that we will then consider more extreme options like swapping for a different model. So do give them a call!