Does your laptop run way too hot? I mean, hot enough to make you hands uncomfortable? Hot enough to burn your lap on the couch? Hot enough that the CPU seems to “throttle down” or the system “locks up” after a period of intense & extended computation? (Video editing or Windows Media playback for example)
I own a Compaq Evo n610c and this sucker leaves my leg red and my left palm scalded. The thing runs hotter than any laptop I’ve ever used and while it’s a reasonably power machine, even by today’s newer standards, it’s downright hard to use because of the heat coming off of it. So I started pursuing resolutions to the problem. Here’s a few tips I’ve researched and found useful.
1) FAN CLEANING
You probably are going to ignore this tip, and frankly I don’t blame you: I almost did myself. After all, how much dust and lint can really get into a laptop fan right? The thing’s running – I can hear it – so what’s the big deal?
Well…. plenty. It turns out that simply purchasing a can of Endust for Electronics Compressed-Air Duster (which is moisture free & contains antistatic elements so it’s laptop-safe) and clearing out the fan with 30 seconds of strategic dusting can more than double your laptop’s cooling capacity. And how do I know? Well, did you know you can monitor the temperature of your laptop? Read on for more.
2) SPEED FAN
Speed Fan is a tool written by Alfredo Milani Comparetti. It’s a freeware program that monitors voltages, fan speeds and temperatures in computers with hardware monitor chips. SpeedFan can even access S.M.A.R.T. info for those hard disks that support this feature and show hard disk temperatures too, if supported. It works on Windows 2000, XP, and Vista – both 32 & 64-bit.
Folks – this is a pretty wicked program. When minimized, it sits in your System Tray and shows you the temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celcius. But how does it help you keep your machine cool?
The key feature of Speed Fan is the ability to modulate the fan speed manually or on the basis of temperatures on the sensors in your machine. You can crank up the fan to its maximum speed all day, everyday. For example, I have laptops that are always on and always connected to AC power… and I use Speed Fan to keep the fan on all the time. So what do I care if the fan is always on keeping the machine cool?
(BTW: You may need to reboot after setting all fan speeds to 100%)
There’s another tool called Mobile Meter that provides a monitor for temperature.
3) ERGO FAN RISER
The Ergonomic Fan Riser is a desktop stand with a built-in fan with 10 elevated positions for the laptop itself. This separates the bottom of the notebook from the fan and allows an increased cooling area under the notebook. This is important because many laptops get its cooling air from under the laptop. The fan is powered by a USB connection fomr the notebook or it can be connected to external power using a AC adapter. ($29) There’s a more advanced version of the stand available that also comes with a 4-port USB 2.0 hub, along with a stronger cooling fan. ($39)