Dell’s Alienware m15x is a top-notch gaming laptop, make no mistake, but when it comes to cooling, it is sub-par. It’s true that laptops have a much harder time removing heat than desktop computers, but the m15x has a very specific issue that gives it trouble running smoothly in the long run.
The left fan (when facing the keyboard) is prone to losing functionality after being used daily over the course of six to eight months. I’ve owned this laptop for over two years now, and am facing my fifth fan replacement. That’s with excellent maintenance and care, too. I’m under warranty, but twice a year I have to avoid running too hot lest hardware on the left side of my computer begins melting due to lack of air circulation.
It’s easy to tell when your m15x’s non-integrated left fan has stopped doing its job. Digital hardware monitors will read hotter on the left side, the same side will feel hotter whilst typing, and if you reach to the back left vent, it will be very hot indeed. If your bearing has gone out, which it may once the fan starts to fail, you’ll hear it.
I’ve done plenty of personal research, and discovered that variable speed fans lose performance faster than static-speed fans. If you consider yourself an advanced user, you may find online software that allows you to control your fan speeds at specific temperatures.
In all cases, avoid introducing harsh vibration or trauma to your laptop to keep the left fan and its bearing running smoothly.