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I am running Fedora Core 1 on a Compaq 2100 laptop. I have noticed lately that if I let me machine go idle for several hours (such as overnight), it randomly gets SUPER hot and the fan kicks into high gear.
Even under heavy, heavy load, the CPU temp usually never crosses 64/67 degrees Celsiius. (That's compiling something, running X, listening to MP3s, etc.) Last night, for the second night in a row, with nothing running but Xine, I awoke to hear the fan spinning like crazy and a CPU temp of *82* degrees Celsius. Needless to say, this freaked me out.
Screensavers eat up a lot of CPU and GPU cycles. After the novelty wore off (about two years - "Ooh, hey kids, come look at this one!"), I disabled them and go to a blank screen after 10 minutes of idle. Not sure if that's the issue on yours, but it was on mine.
Well I had the exact same problem, but with Mandrake 10.0. I woke up this morning to hear a sound similar to a lawnmower. Then I noticed that it was my precious notebook. The fan was spinning like crazy, and it was hot enough to burn through my desk. I powered off. Also, my fan seems to always be running, just like you said. I'd like an answer on this too.
Well, I've also got this problem except that the fan doesn't come on and the system gets to a sluggish state where you can't even use it. This is happening without a screen saver being on, nor am I using the laptop to run any task except X server with KDE.
I'm running Fedora Core 2 on a Toshiba TE2300 with kernel 2.6.3-2.1.253 and ACPI should be enabled, but I'm not so sure it's correctly configured yet. Btw, this only happens when I'm running it on battery mode, plugged-in mode is fine.