Monday 9 April 2007

My current laptop is getting kind of creaky. In addition to depleted batteries and a failing wireless card, it has a bad habit of overheating. When it gets too hot, it simply decides to shut off. Why the BIOS kicks in before the power management, I have no idea, but it’s pretty frustrating.

A tool that has definitely helped, though is SpeedFan. In one way, it’s simply a free temperature monitor, discreetly displaying your computer’s internal temperature in the system tray. But it also has a ton of features for tracking a number of different temperatures, and graphing them over time, and firing alarms for different events, and so on.

Usually I can tell that my computer is in the red zone because the fan will go nuts, and it sounds like the poor machine is trying to lift off. But when I work with headphones on, I can’t hear the fan. So I set SpeedFan to pop up a warning alert when the temperature reached 70 Celsius. It’s worked great to keep me aware of impending doom, and let me avoid sudden shutdowns.

If you have similar issues with overheating, or you’re just a CPU geek that wants to know how hot things are getting, I recommend SpeedFan.


Nate 8:08 AM on 10 Apr 2007

Yup, it's great. Been using it for a while to monitor the overclocks I've made in my computers.

Ned, to fix the overheating problem you may want to try underclocking your system - lower the cpu speed and voltage in the bios and it'll produce a lot less heat.

jeff 10:06 AM on 10 Apr 2007

Wow, 70C? I get sweaty when my CPU hits 60. I've got my system so tweaked that it hits 40 when it's being stressed (e.g. playing WoW).

I'm completely ignorant on this - is it normal for laptops to run hotter?

masukomi 10:25 AM on 10 Apr 2007

Tammy had a similar problem with her Dell laptop she ended up getting a usb powered base that's the same dimensions as the laptop except it's only about 1/2 an inch thick and has 2 fans in it. Since getting that she's had not problems. Of course having that decreases it's portability. I think it cost about $30

Zoran Lazarevic 10:43 AM on 10 Apr 2007

Ned, just open the laptop bottom and blow the dust from the CPU heat sink. After 5 minutes of work, the laptop will work almost like new.

Joe W. 3:53 PM on 10 Apr 2007

Get Tabblo to buy you a new one. You deserve good tools!

masukomi 3:59 PM on 10 Apr 2007

somehow i think getting bought by HP would make getting "Tabblo to buy you a new one" about 30x more dificult. "Gimme new hardware" never seems to go over well when you have that many levels of management between you and the boss.

Ned Batchelder 4:08 PM on 10 Apr 2007

Thanks, everyone, for looking out for me! As it happens, there is a new HP laptop on order. But for now, the old guy is having some hard times. I'll try the dust idea...

Bob Congdon 5:02 PM on 10 Apr 2007

Do you still have a Toshiba Tecra? I think I have the same model. Gotta be careful about overheating. There's a known problem where it will kill the GPU if it overheats. I had my motherboard replaced a couple months ago due to this. I still would prefer a Thinkpad but probably not a viable option at HP ;-)

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