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Why did the Nvidia GTX 460m in my Alienware m18x overheat?

I play my games on their recommended settings so why is my frame rate <30fps? I'm guessing I neglected to keep the vents clear at all times. I was told I should try clearing the vents and fans of dust but I have no idea how to do that. I was also recommended a"repasting job" and replacing the GPU heatsink but I don't know anything about either of those tasks. Can anyone enlighten me on my situation and what I can do to solve my problem or at least increase my frame rate? I've been told I might need a new laptop altogether and that Alienware computers have a general problem with overheating. Thank you in advance for any help.
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  1. Best answer
    Steven Mal said:
    I play my games on their recommended settings so why is my frame rate <30fps? I'm guessing I neglected to keep the vents clear at all times. I was told I should try clearing the vents and fans of dust but I have no idea how to do that. I was also recommended a"repasting job" and replacing the GPU heatsink but I don't know anything about either of those tasks. Can anyone enlighten me on my situation and what I can do to solve my problem or at least increase my frame rate? I've been told I might need a new laptop altogether and that Alienware computers have a general problem with overheating. Thank you in advance for any help.


    Compressed Air will solve your dust problem, Laptops do tend to get hot anyway to be fair, not that hot though :-P

    What sort of games are we talking about?
  2. First Off, Gaming laptops run very hot to start with because of limited air flow through the small case.

    Second, If you have not opened the case and cleaned the dust out of the heat sinks and fans it will over heat because the air can no longer flow through them like they should causing the heat to raise and not be dissipated.

    Third, Most of the time laptop heat sinks DO NOT need the thermal paste replaced just a real good inside cleaning. To do this you will need to open the laptop case. For instructions you will need to search the web and YouTube.

    Compressed air blown through the vents wont clear all of the dust! Compressed air blown through the heat sink while the case is open will.

    +1 for the use of compressed air. It just needs to used properly.
  3. bgunner said:
    First Off, Gaming laptops run very hot to start with because of limited air flow through the small case.

    Second, If you have not opened the case and cleaned the dust out of the heat sinks and fans it will over heat because the air can no longer flow through them like they should causing the heat to raise and not be dissipated.

    Third, Most of the time laptop heat sinks DO NOT need the thermal paste replaced just a real good inside cleaning. To do this you will need to open the laptop case. For instructions you will need to search the web and YouTube.

    Compressed air blown through the vents wont clear all of the dust! Compressed air blown through the heat sink while the case is open will.

    +1 for the use of compressed air. It just needs to used properly.


    +1 for everything ^^
  4. Some of the games I play are Team Fortress 2; The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; Left 4 Dead 2; and Orcs Must Die! 2. They are all afflicted by the low frame rate. What's the heat sink and how do I identify it? I'll definitely try opening the case and blowing compressed air through the heatsink.
  5. clean the machine out from the dust and let us know if the issue is still happening.
  6. bgunner said:
    clean the machine out from the dust and let us know if the issue is still happening.


    I cleaned out the dust on Tuesday and my fans are much quieter and the laptop is cool. The temperature decreased by approximately 40 degrees Celsius. Today however I've been getting a "choppy" frame rate in Team Fortress 2. It affected all of the servers I joined so I know it's not my internet connection. The choppy frame rate also affected Left 4 Dead 2. I noticed a slight drop in fps in Orcs Must Die! 2 also. Oddly enough, my frame rate in League of Legends is 60 fps so my friends suspect I have a problem with my Steam library.
  7. If you suspect it is your steam library follow these steps to make sure everything is fine.
    open steam library/ right click on the game you question/ select properties/ select local files tab/ select "verify integrity of game cache". This will make steam check the game files on the PC and correct them if there is a corruption of data.

    Have you installed new GPU drivers? if not you could try.
    What programs do you have running in the background?
    While the choppiness happens have you looked to see how much usage of the CPU and GPU.
  8. The compressed air solved my problem. I opened the case up and blew air through the fans, vents and heat sink. I'm not sure what happened to my games two days ago (after I cleaned out the dust) but they run perfectly fine now. I usually run only Skype along with my games.
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