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  1. #1

    Overheating: help before it fries my laptop!

    Hi all,
    I am on Ubuntu Hardy, on an Acer Travelmate 5510, and i am concerned with overheating... if i don't do much it works fine around 50-55 degrees C, but if try to watch a movie or play music, the temperature quickly rises up to 80 degrees C, and then passive mode kicks in and everything turns extremely slow for a couple minutes, until the temperature lowers a few degrees. I hear the fans blowing (but again, someone told me it could be just the fan for the video card), but still is not enough to keep the temperature from rising so fast, unless i stop the video. At first i thought it was an issue with Compiz, but even after disabling it completely, the same problem remains. And even if there are, say, 4 tabs open in Firefox, or 3 applications open at a time, i'll be constantly running on an average of 65-70 degrees, which is not very good.

    Please, if anyone could help me, or has encountered similar problems, i am concerned with long term damage to my laptop, from constantly running at this temperature, not to mention not being able to watch any movies or play any music, which is really annoying...

    Thank you all!

  2. #2
    Luckily laptops are generally able to withstand larger temperature gradients simply because they are designed to do so. However, if your processer throttling kicks in because it is getting as hot as you say then there has to be something wrong (I would initially say that this is a hardware problem and therefore in need of some sort of repair, but it is difficult to say this with 100% certainty). I would say you should definitely check the advice of your friend and see if your processor fan is actually the one running. (the air flow from the video card should be quite a bit less than that coming from the processor fan... partly due to the smaller fan but also since it is further away from the heat sink output)

    Long story short, I would get the fan/motherboard checked out before you play any more movies. I've had heat damage occur which didn't necessarily kill the processor right away, but lead instead to a longer downward slide in performance leading to a wrecked processor and motherboard. It is much less expensive to replace a fan than to replace a processor. Good luck!

    Added later:

    One last question: Can you feel the increase in temperature in your laptop especially below/above the processor? The reason that I ask is that if your laptop actual temperature isn't increasing it is possible however unlikely that your temperature sensing is out of whack. I would not assume this is the case, but just wanted to present it as a possibility.
    Last edited by sdimhoff; 05-27-2008 at 02:53 PM. Reason: additional question
    Linux since: 2001
    Gentoo since: 2004
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  3. #3
    Ok, let's see...

    Initially, I would not say it is a hardware problem, since it is a fairly new laptop (6 months old), but you never know (specially since some Acer components are known to be crap). And regarding the video fan, i can actually feel the difference between two fan speeds, and as the temperature starts to climb to 80, it goes at full speed and fairly loud, so it must be the processor fan running, and when it gets to that temperature, when i turn off my video player the temperature goes down 10 degrees or so in a matter of seconds, so i'll say it is doing its job. It's just that it seems like there is something which is making it get really hot really fast when playing music or video...

    And to be honest, I am not exactly sure where the processor is located on my laptop... it feels hot around the middle/front, near the touchpad area, above and underneath... could this be it?

    Is there any way I could check my sensors? On my temperature monitor I have the options of "acpi" or "kernel i2c sensors (hwmon)", and the latter is always a little bit higher... but i can't say i really know the difference between both...

    Well, as the post gives away, i am a newbie in Linux, hehehe, but one of the main reasons why i choose to install it was precisely to learn what is going on, instead of merely having something that does it automatically... so i hope there is some way of figuring this out.

    Thank you for your help!

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    I had a quick search and I came across this - it seems that it may be a process pushing it out (I'm wondering if it's something common to Acer, perhaps the type of cardreader?)

    The information regarding chkconfig doesn't apply to Ubuntu as it is Debian based, but check if you have pcscd loaded, and alternatively check if anything is hogging CPU using gnome-system-monitor or top.

  6. #5
    Someone suggested I should also try undervolting... what do you think? Is it safe? Could this be the problem?

  7. #6
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by ferdinando_villa View Post
    Someone suggested I should also try undervolting... what do you think? Is it safe? Could this be the problem?
    I wouldn't go doing that until you rule everything else out. If for no other reason than undervolting can destabilize the CPU, as opposed to proper under/overclocking which requires modifying the CPU multiplier too.

    I'd be looking at processes for the moment and ensuring I had the correct video driver too.

  8. #7
    I've installed and configured the latest ATI drivers according to this wiki Ubuntu Hardy Installation Guide - , so it should be fine, i guess...

    Next time i play a video I will keep an eye on "top", and I will get back to you.

    Thanks again!

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