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Old 08-31-2004, 08:29 PM   #1
perry
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Linux Laptop Cooling Issues....


Assuming I can post this thread here, I apologize if it offends anybody.

I have a Dell Inspiron running under Linux and the first thing I noticed when I first installed Linux was how much quieter my system tended to be due to the fact that the fan wasn't always on. In time I'd learn how to use gkrellm and one of it's plugins gives me a read out on the current cpu temperature. Which at 75 degrees causes the fan to kick in.... when it does, it keeps it up until the system is under 69 degrees. Well, this is great however, it is the summer and my machine seems to be kicking in more often than usual. Now thats a good thing in that i know my fan works however, i have to put up with a noise level that is common when I'm using Windoze.

Now mind you, perhaps running my laptop at maximum resolution 1400x1050 is not the best thing to be doing but the machine is five years old now and seems to be going strong. I've noticed that the few times that i've had it a lower resolutions that the whole system seems to operate at a much lower level.

Aluminum Foil as a Heat Sink?
Now does anybody know, other than setting up an external fan next to the machine, any techniques that can be used to keep the system cool. Right now i'm experimenting with putting some aluminum foil between the laptop and the desk as it seems to get quit hot down there. I'm told the dull side of the aluminum foil is the heat absorbtoin side and the shiny side reflects it. It seems to be helping. But has anybody tried this or other techniques....

Natural Heat Sinks?
What material would make a natural heat sink? (and would they work between the laptop and the desk) As you can see I'm trying Aluminum foil but I just powered my system down to see if my vents were in any ways clogged and they seemed to be as clean as a whistle. However I noticed that the two vents themselves were actually quite small in comparison to the whole system.

But... what i also noticed is that I had the system powered down for only a minute or two (long enough to turn over) and I had it removed from the desk surface for that time and when I booted back into Linux, the temperature reading was an astounding 61 degrees !!!! Could it be that the desk itself is preventing my laptop from cooling off effectively... it's a standard disk that you would expect in an office setting. If this is the case then I'll try separating the the two with something to prop it up on. Right now I'm giving 3 quarters and a nickel a try, all on the the little knobs of the bottom of the laptop, standing yet again on top of the aluminum foil....

as of this writing, the temperature has only increased to 65 degrees.... (this is like 11 minutes of use (according the gkrellm uptime meter)...

who knows, maybe i justed nailed it! (i hope so)

update: at the 14 minute mark, it seems to be hovering at 65 to 66 degrees
whereas before it just seemed to have this slow but steady climb to 75 degrees with nothing more than what i'm doing now, that is using a browser and running xmms and gkrellm, again another gkrellm is telling me whats getting the most processor attention!

another update: at the 35 minute mark
running the gimp, making a screenshot and uploading to lynucs.org drove up the temperature but only the 67-68 degree range... this is a hell of alot better than counting on the thing to hit 75 degrees with in minutes of doing anything... maybe i got it figure out... tempting to see what happens if i run a cpu intensive game, especially one utilizing 3d hw acceleration (a trip to win98 unfortunately)

yet another update
i tried it without the foil, just the quaters and the temperature went right back up... so it's having an effect. also, i've got an additional penny between the quarters now, making it twice as high and it seems to be making a difference, it's hovering about 63 degrees now... definatly gotta buy that heat sink...

Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated!

- perry

Last edited by perry; 09-05-2004 at 01:45 AM.
 
Old 08-31-2004, 09:03 PM   #2
bruno buys
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Your temp readings look waay to over everything I ever saw. I hope it is due to laptops being different from desktops, otherwise your machine is really strong.

Since you didn't post here what cpu you use, I won't point you to some athlon cooling howto's. Athlons are quite good cpus, but they go hot badly.

There are a few cooling software around, for linux. Thake a look and try to run some. Its worthy. My machine lowers about 7-10 C when I run my cooling software.


Obs - Before you ask how can a software cool a cpu: They can do it by several different means, like putting the cpu to a state of low energy consumption. Athlons are cooled by disconnecting it to the fsb bus. These resources are supplied by the cpu/mobo but few OSes use it by default. You have to set it.
 
Old 08-31-2004, 09:32 PM   #3
perry
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Quote:
Originally posted by bruno buys
Your temp readings look waay to over everything I ever saw. I hope it is due to laptops being different from desktops, otherwise your machine is really strong.

Since you didn't post here what cpu you use, I won't point you to some athlon cooling howto's. Athlons are quite good cpus, but they go hot badly.

There are a few cooling software around, for linux. Thake a look and try to run some. Its worthy. My machine lowers about 7-10 C when I run my cooling software.


Obs - Before you ask how can a software cool a cpu: They can do it by several different means, like putting the cpu to a state of low energy consumption. Athlons are cooled by disconnecting it to the fsb bus. These resources are supplied by the cpu/mobo but few OSes use it by default. You have to set it.
Good point!

I'm running a Pentium III 500 MHz on a Dell Inspiron 7500.

You got me curious to look up the technical specs on my system now, perhaps there is a normal operating temperature for it...

- perry

Last edited by perry; 08-31-2004 at 09:36 PM.
 
Old 08-31-2004, 10:00 PM   #4
perry
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Burn out!

Wow, if i'm reading this right, my system should have burnt out ages ago, make no wonder i've had to replace the batteries every year (even though they were never really used)

If this data is correct then my system has been operating at 2x the normal temperature range since i got it... or it has managed to deteriorate to that level...

Quote:
Dell Inspiron 7500 / Pentium III 500 MHz
Environmental
Temperature:

Operating

5 to 35C (41 to 95F)

Storage

-20 to 50C (-4 to 122F)
And as i've written, I've been ranging around 75 degrees for ages now...

- perry

Last edited by perry; 08-31-2004 at 10:02 PM.
 
Old 08-31-2004, 10:03 PM   #5
bruno buys
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Pentiums release heat less than Athlons, but this is too vague. Won't fit your needs. You'd better check specs.

Another good clue is: Laptops take energy saving seriously. Temp cooling goes well into this, 'cause if you save energy, you also produce less heat. Unless you laptop is really old (i dont think its the case) you should already have power management enabled.

Another veeery good point is: Are we talking about degrees Celsius, right? LQ is international...

and my last obs: Fans are supposed to run fulltime.

If you really think your cpu is overheating, it can be a good idea to open the laptop (don't do this unless you know what are you doing. Take it to a tech, instead) and clean all inside it, as dirt can prevent fans from running well. If there's more than two years you don't do this, your laptop will benefit big.


I have a desktop Athlon with a mamoth Volcano fan (Rio's summer and a bad fan baked my previous Duron800). Its cool temp is 35 C and hot is 45 C. Most Athlon specs I saw so far tell that 60 C is to start worrying.

Last edited by bruno buys; 08-31-2004 at 10:05 PM.
 
Old 08-31-2004, 10:14 PM   #6
perry
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Quote:
Originally posted by bruno buys
Pentiums release heat less than Athlons, but this is too vague. Won't fit your needs. You'd better check specs.

Another good clue is: Laptops take energy saving seriously. Temp cooling goes well into this, 'cause if you save energy, you also produce less heat. Unless you laptop is really old (i dont think its the case) you should already have power management enabled.

Another veeery good point is: Are we talking about degrees Celsius, right? LQ is international...

and my last obs: Fans are supposed to run fulltime.

If you really think your cpu is overheating, it can be a good idea to open the laptop (don't do this unless you know what are you doing. Take it to a tech, instead) and clean all inside it, as dirt can prevent fans from running well. If there's more than two years you don't do this, your laptop will benefit big.


I have a desktop Athlon with a mamoth Volcano fan (Rio's summer and a bad fan baked my previous Duron800). Its cool temp is 35 C and hot is 45 C. Most Athlon specs I saw so far tell that 60 C is to start worrying.
Another good question, but I am comparing Celcius with Celcius, the meter on gkrellm has a C and I tested in it's config (the F goes way higher)

Sounds tempting to get it cleaned out as the system is over 5 years old... but i live in the boon docks (PEI, Canada) and i don't know if anyone around here would know the first thing about it.

i tried taking the whole laptop apart one time.... that was my last time as after i reassembled the many, many parts, it rewarded me with a minor heart attack... in that it couldn't find the hard disk.... taking it out and blowing on the connectors was my saving grace.... would hate to think it's that dirty... but who knows...

a little distressing that it's almost twice as high as it should be but with what i've got done at least it's not got the fan on constantly, at least not for general use... then again, how do i know if thats a good thing?

incidentally, do you know of any software i can use to cool this machine down more ?

you know, with all that being said... perhaps.... the fan is meant to kick in at a lower temperature... might explain how it's almost always on with windows... (but you would think that that would be a BIOS setting)...

thanx

- perry

Last edited by perry; 08-31-2004 at 10:18 PM.
 
Old 08-31-2004, 10:43 PM   #7
bruno buys
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Another good question, but I am comparing Celcius with Celcius, the meter on gkrellm has a C and I tested in it's config (the F goes way higher)

Ok, he he... just to make sure.
****


a little distressing that it's almost twice as high as it should be but with what i've got done at least it's not got the fan on constantly, at least not for general use... then again, how do i know if thats a good thing?


Hmm... not sure... Its weird, cause if the machine isn't broken, there nothing to fix, actually, right?
Better keep an eye on the temp, you got gkrellm to help at that. But if it works, better don't touch.
****

Incidentally, do you know of any software i can use to cool this machine down more ?

Google for these names, shall give you a clue:

athcool (the prog is just for athlons, but the dev's page might have some other resources). vcool (the original was for windows, but the guy wrote one for linux, I guess its lvcool).

Also, there a good howto on cooling athlons by Daniel Nofftz at the linux documentation project. I translated this doc to portuguese, Daniel is quite a nice guy, he may help you.

Good luck.
 
Old 09-01-2004, 12:50 AM   #8
J.W.
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Forget the tinfoil and get the right tool for the job. I don't have one of these myself but I've heard they work very well. -- J.W.

http://www.xpcgear.com/notebookcooler.html
 
Old 09-01-2004, 01:34 AM   #9
perry
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Thumbs up Thanks Tim!

Quote:
Originally posted by J.W.
Forget the tinfoil and get the right tool for the job. I don't have one of these myself but I've heard they work very well. -- J.W.

http://www.xpcgear.com/notebookcooler.html
Kick Ass!

I knew somebody, somewhere would have had to of figured something like that out!

Surprising Dell isn't offering these with it's systems....

one question: is your choice a better one that this one:

http://www.xpcgear.com/vanteclapcol.html

i just noticed it, it has another fan and i'm leary of that as i'm sure it's gonna make some noise, but it comes with four extra usb ports.... which i kinda cool...

but thanx, thats just what the doctor ordered

- perry

Last edited by perry; 09-01-2004 at 01:40 AM.
 
Old 09-01-2004, 01:43 AM   #10
J.W.
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Cool, BTW perry if you do decide to get one of these, please post back with a thumbs up or down. As I indicated, I've heard these things work pretty darn well, but feedback from people who have actually used these things first-hand, especially LQ'ers, would be very welcome -- J.W.
 
  


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