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Cooling Issues


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#1 sausage

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 03:09 AM

So, I guess all of my computers hate being cold for some reason. my mom's doesn't go below 50c, and my laptop doesn't go below 70c. anyways, im worried about my laptop mostly at this moment.

so, in the screenshot attached is my computer as it is shown by CPUID HWMonitor. It is currently idle, unplugged and in a room with the windows open, fan on at 2am.

when unplugged, the computer will not overheat. It will not go below 70 degrees, but it will not overheat to the point of crashing. When plugged in, the temperature rises 10 degrees within 5 seconds and continues to rise until it crashes. (under minor load that is) The crash is either a complete system crash, screen turns black everything goes silent, doesn't start up for a few minutes while it cools itself down. If I unplug it, the temperature will drop about 5 degrees and decrease until it hits around 70 where it will hold indefinitely until the battery dies. It can last indefinitely while plugged in if no graphical applications are running. (Games, mostly but I have had it crash on hot days while typing up essays)

So the screenshot I have is after about half an hour of playing runescape, watching temps while unplugging and plugging my computer back in. It will in fact crash while playing runescape, and it crashes quickly, within an hour or so if I do not unplug it. My friend suggests the heat sink is jammed, which makes sense but I have taken this thing apart and it looks fine (it hasn't been run with an open case however, I will try that tomorrow)

If you need me to, I can watch until the computer dies to check max temp, I believe it to be around 120c.

Is there anything I should look for during an open case test tomorrow? Unfortunately I can't remove the video itself as when I tried that last time I stripped a screw on one of the guards and I can't get it off, don't tell me to try again, it will only cause me to be in a pissy mood and something else in this computer will cease to function. (my wireless card was damaged in the last attempt at removing the video card due to me freaking out at the screw.... so yeah)

whoops, forgot screen shot: http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/8193/tempscm.png

Edited by sausage, 20 June 2010 - 03:11 AM.


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#2 keller

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 05:48 PM

If your CPU is getting to 120 C it's probably shutting itself down so it doesn't burn out. Most newer CPU's have built-in circuitry that will throttle down processing as temp. increases, hence the freezing and crashes as the system heats up. Many laptops also throttle down to conserve battery when you unplug them, so that may explain why it's only heating up when the system is plugged into AC power.

70 C idle is definitely high for a CPU, though not necessarily for the GPU.

Next time you're inside it take a close look at the CPU fan and make sure there's no dust jammed in there preventing it from turning freely. Also check the "exhaust" that leads to the outside of the case. On most laptops I've taken apart you can see where the hot air is supposed to exit the case. If you don't feel hot air flowing out of that hole/grating then there's probably dust or a cable in the way. If you find dust then blow it out with some "canned air," available at any electronics store.

If you don't find any dust or obstructions try running with an open case like you said and see if it makes a difference, just be careful about static.

Post back and let us know how all that works out.

#3 sausage

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 08:32 PM

so I took it apart and I couldn't find the cpu easily, but I found where the heat exits so I checked and I can feel hot air coming out of it. There were no cables blocking it and I dusted it with some compressed air and it made no difference. I tried again to remove it completely but the stripped screw still gave me issues so I gave up before I raged.

I tried to do an open run but the power switch on the computer is connected to the keyboard which must be removed to open the computer and im really not into the idea of death by electrocution trying to remove it

#4 keller

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 11:01 PM

What make and model of laptop is it?

#5 sausage

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 11:28 PM

Thinkpad T60 (as stated in the topic description)

I forget the type, I think it's a 2163 but that's just the number that comes to mind I could be horribly off

#6 keller

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 12:06 AM

Were you able to take it apart far enough that you could see the fan and be sure it was clear of obstructions and dust? Chances are the CPU is buried under a heatsink or two.

#7 sausage

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 12:34 AM

I could see the GPU fan I think, I don't really know for sure though. it was a fan surrounded in copper colored stuff and yes it was clear of obstructions, I dusted it out too, it's a little colder now, but not much

#8 keller

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 02:00 AM

That fan you see is probably meant to cool the CPU, and possibly both the CPU and GPU. All the copper stuff is for heat absorption, most laptops have heat sinks (basically solid copper plates that wick heat away from the processor and other devices) and heat pipes (hollow copper "pipes" that perform a similar function). If your CPU is still running hot then you might have a thermal compound problem.

Under all that copper somewhere is the actual CPU chip itself. When they install the heat sink over the chip they apply a paste or sticky substance between the copper and the surface of the chip. This is called thermal compound or thermal paste. This compound is crucial to proper cooling, as it fills microscopic imperfections in the copper surface and the surface of the CPU chip, allowing for much greater and more consistent heat dissipation. Over time this compound can break down, or the heat sink can become loose. Even if the components don't appear to be physically loose, any movement in the heat sink or how it is mounted can cause problems. I would take the laptop to someone qualified to service it and have them try to re-apply new thermal paste on the CPU and GPU.

I build my own systems and work with thermal paste and CPU cooling all the time, but personally I would not attempt to make this kind of repair myself on a laptop, unless I didn't care about the laptop I was working on. Incorrect installation of the thermal paste and/or heat sink can permanently damage or destroy the CPU, and overheating can occur within seconds if the cooling is installed improperly. Laptops are different animals when it comes to maintenance as far as I'm concerned, since each one is different and there are few to no "rules of thumb" to guide you along the way. As you've discovered, trying to piece apart a laptop can be frustrating to say the least. Unlike a desktop computer (especially one you've built yourself), most laptops are really designed such that they're never really meant to be taken apart, and if you break any components while trying to do a repair, the cost of replacing that component can quickly rival the cost of going out and buying a new laptop.

Others here may have more recommendations for do-it-yourself solutions, but personally I'd take it to someone who is familiar with laptop repair and will stand behind their work.




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