Alienware 13 R3, 15 R3/R4, 17 R4/R5, m15, m15 R2, m17 and m17 R2: Resolving a high temperature/overheat issue

Alienware 13 R3, 15 R3/R4, 17 R4/R5, m15, m15 R2, m17 and m17 R2: Resolving a high temperature/overheat issue



Alienware Arena Description

The following article provides information about an issue with high CPU temperatures when under heavy load or running the Alienware Command Center that measures the thermal temperature on these Alienware notebook systems.


Affected Systems:

Alienware 13 R3 Alienware 15 R3/R4 Alienware 17 R4/R5 Alienware m15
Alienware m15 R2 Alienware m17 Alienware m17 R2

Table of Contents:

  1. High CPU temps reported on Alienware 13 R3, 15 R3/R4, 17 R4/R5, m15, m17, m15R2 and m17R2 notebooks
  2. High CPU temperature troubleshooting steps
  3. Resolution Steps

High CPU temps reported on Alienware 13 R3, 15 R3/R4, 17 R4/R5, m15, m17, m15R2 and m17R2 notebooks

There are reports that the CPU temperature on Alienware Alienware 13 R3, 15 R3/R4, 17 R4/R5, m15, m17, m15R2 and m17R2 notebooks are easily getting to a high temperature, especially when under a heavy loading environment. The alert/warning (text in red) of the high CPU temperature may be seen when the Alienware Command Center or a 3rd party tool (e.g. HWInfo64) is used to measure the thermal temperature.


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High CPU temperature troubleshooting steps

  1. Update the BIOS / driver / firmware to the most recent revision from the Dell Support site

Alienware 13 R3, 15 R3, and 17 R4

  1. Configure G-SYNC

    1. Disable the NVidia G-SYNC (only applicable on G-SYNC supported models.)

      1. Right click on the desktop

      2. Select the Nvidia Control Panel

      3. Click on Set up G-SYNC in the left hand side menu

      4. Uncheck the box next to Enable G-SYNC

      5. Click on Apply

    2. Restart the PC and enter the BIOS by tapping rapidly on the F2 key during POST

    3. Navigate to the Advanced tab and select Performance Options and press the Enter key

    4. Change the CPU Performance Mode to Enabled

    5. Set the Core OverClocking Level to OC LV 3 and press the Enter key

    6. Press the F10 key to save the changes and exit the BIOS

  2. When the system boots up, using the pre-installed software Dell SupportAssist run the stress test.

    Dell SupportAssist > Hardware Checkup > CPU > CPU stress test

    Stress Test

  3. Launch the Alienware Command Center and go to Fusion and monitor the CPU frequency. Ensure that the CPU frequency is within the range during the first 5 minutes

Performance Mode + Highest Level OC (If Applicable) CPU Frequency
Intel Processor i9-8950HK in Overclocked level 3 mode 2900MHz~5000MHz
Intel Processor i7-8750H in performance mode 2200MHz~4100MHz
Intel Processor i5-8300H in performance mode 2300MHz~4000MHz
  1. Monitor the CPU temperature on the Fusion page

    • The CPU peak temperature should be less than or equal to (≤) 100 ℃

    • When under high stress, the system average temperature can be expected to be up to (≤) 95 ℃

    Fusion Page

Alienware 15 R4, and 17 R5

  1. Configure the Alienware Command Center

    1. Open Alienware Command Center

    2. Set the Active System Theme - Thermal as Performance Mode

    3. Change the Active System Theme - Overclock to Overclock O2 (if applicable)

    Active System Theme

  2. When the system boots up, using the pre-installed software Dell SupportAssist run the stress test.

    Dell SupportAssist > Hardware Checkup > CPU > CPU stress test

    Stress Test

  3. Launch the Alienware Command Center and go to Fusion and monitor the CPU frequency. Ensure that the CPU frequency is within the range during the first 5 minutes

Performance Mode + Highest Level OC (If Applicable) CPU Frequency
Intel Processor i9-8950HK in Overclocked level 3 mode 2900MHz~5000MHz
Intel Processor i7-8750H in performance mode 2200MHz~4100MHz
Intel Processor i5-8300H in performance mode 2300MHz~4000MHz
  1. Monitor the CPU temperature on the Fusion page

    • The CPU peak temperature should be less than or equal to (≤) 100 ℃

    • When under high stress, the system average temperature can be expected to be up to (≤) 95 ℃

    Fusion Page

Alienware m15, m15R2, m17 and m17R2

  1. Configure Alienware Command Center

    1. Open Alienware Command Center

    2. Set the Active System Theme - Thermal as Performance Mode

    Active System Theme

  2. When the system boots up, using the pre-installed software Dell SupportAssist run the stress test.

    Dell SupportAssist > Hardware Checkup > CPU > CPU stress test

    Stress Test

  3. Launch the Alienware Command Center and go to Fusion and monitor the CPU frequency. Ensure that the CPU frequency is within the range during the first 5 minutes under performance mode

Alienware m15, and m17

CPU Type Base Frequency Cool Mode Performance Mode
Intel Processor i9-8950HK 2900MHz 2900MHz ~ 4800MHz 3100MHz ~ 4800MHz
Intel Processor i7-8750H 2200MHz 2200MHz ~ 4100MHz 2600MHz ~ 4100MHz
Intel Processor i5-8300H 2300MHz 2300MHz ~ 4000MHz 2700MHz ~ 4100MHz

Alienware m15 R2, and m17 R2

CPU Model Name Base Frequency Performance mode Cool mode
Intel Processor i9-9980HK 2400MHz 3300MHz~4800MHz 2600MHz~4400MHz
Intel Processor i9-9880H 2300MHz 3300MHz~4400MHz 2600MHz~4400MHz
Intel Processor i7-9750H 2600MHz 3000MHz~4000MHz 2600MHz~4000MHz
Intel Processor i5-9300H 2400MHz 3000MHz~4000MHz 2600MHz~4000MHz
  1. Monitor the CPU temperature on the Fusion page

    • The CPU peak temperature should be less than or equal to (≤) 100 ℃

    • When under high stress, the system average temperature can be expected to be less than (≤) 100 ℃

    • Note: The CPU average temperature can be expected to reach 95 ℃ under cool mode for the Alienware m15, m15R2, m17 and m17R2 systems

    Performance Mode

    Cool Mode


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Resolution Steps

The coffeelake processor supports a higher clock rate than kabylake or older processors. That means these systems noticeably generate more heat compared to any previous generation of systems. Because of this Dell engineering has designed the system to tolerate higher temperatures, and the new specifications and dispatch guidance are:

  • Where failure is when the Alienware Command Center reports a CPU peak temperature that is greater than 100 ℃ or CPU frequency is out of spec.
  • As thermal design capabilities have a larger impact on system performance, under all the following scenarios, please dispatch the heatsink on the first call and if it is not resolved, replace the motherboard. Replace fan only when ePSA fails.

    • CPU T > 100 ℃, CPU frequency OK
    • CPU T > 100 ℃, CPU frequency not OK
    • CPU T < 100 ℃, CPU frequency not OK

If the Alienware Command Center still reports a CPU peak temperature above (>) 100 ℃, you should contact technical support for further help. you can get contact details on the link below:

Note: These systems are designed to maintain system stability when the CPU temperature reaches a set temperature (termed the Thermal Control Circuit (TCC) activation point,). The TCC is activated and adjusts the CPU frequency down by a couple of hundred MHz to reduce the temperature rise and allow the system’s thermal control mechanism to catch up (The frequency will never be below the Base Frequency Mode, e.g. Intel i9 8950 HK). This slight drop in frequency can sometimes be mistaken for a performance drop, but it is a design feature common to all Gaming Notebooks and it helps to optimize the system performance and prevent systems from exceeding 100 ℃. The TCC point for the following systems are:
  • Alienware 13 R3, 15 R3/R4 and 17 R4/R5 - TCC = 97 ℃
  • Alienware M15, and M17 - TCC = 100 ℃

Please be aware that if you find that none of the information above has affected or been responsible for your issue, that the mode set in your Thermal User Profile can also affect the fan noise and the system thermal temperature. Please check the mode types below and make sure you have the mode set that works for you enabled.

  • Performance Mode: The fan runs aggressively to support the CPU operating at Turbo frequency for longer periods. The fan is noticeably heard to run.
  • Balance Mode: The fan runs at a more moderate rate, which allows the CPU to operate at Turbo frequency for shorter periods. The fan is still heard but is quieter.
  • Cool Mode: The fan runs slower and the fan is quieter, but the GPU and its performance are also limited to increase battery life.
  • Quiet Mode: The fan runs slower than in balance mode and the fan noise is less noticeable than in cool mode, but the GPU performance is limited and the time the CPU can operate at Turbo frequency would be lower and shorter.


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Article ID: SLN309951

Last Date Modified: 10/27/2019 08:35 PM


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