Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a HP Pavillion dv5-1101en with an Athlon X2 QL-64 @ 2GHz (really a Turion under the Athlon name) and it runs at about 60C idle on a 2-fan stand, but under one-core 80% load it can do up to 80C and even more. I had it shut down flat when playing Red Alert 2, which I suspect was somehow using a core fully (not unheard of when running old games under windows vista/7) and something else started working in the background.

Now I can see the fan on the back is a bit dusty, but how would I clean it? The screws are extremely tight so I can't open it and clean the fan manually. However, 60C idle sounds a bit way too much, even with a dusty fan, considering the computer is only one year old and hasn't been used sporadically.

P.S.: On this laptop the air intake is from the bottom, directly over one fan from the cooling stand, so fresh air is coming directly into the laptop, with the other fan cooling the battery and GPU (although Radeon 3450M is hardly able to generate heat).

share|improve this question
To clean the fan, a vacuum cleaner may be a good thing to start with. But without being able to open the case, I don't think there is a way to clean it completely. – MainMa Aug 23 '10 at 10:09
Be wary of using a standard vacuum cleaner on senstive electronics - compressed air is usually the preferred method. – DMA57361 Aug 23 '10 at 10:22
Your edit indicates that enough air is entering the laptop - but is enough leaving? Where's the exhaust vent and is air coming out of it? If there's no working exhaust, blowing air in to the intake won't help much - opening only one window in a hot house isn't very effectively, but opening two so you get a nice breeze is. – DMA57361 Aug 23 '10 at 11:28
@DMA57361 the exhaust vents are on the side, two of them, I doubt they can restrict the airflow, they're directly on the sides where the fan is exhausting the air and they're not even dirty, let alone clogged. – Mircea Chirea Aug 24 '10 at 13:01
up vote 3 down vote accepted

raise it so air can get underneath, clean airways and fans, consider removing battery if running on mains, remove pcmcia blanking plates if present (to leave ports open) and remove cd-drives if possible.

you may find leaving all those things in helps as it courses the air better, but in my experience making as many holes as possible in the unit and taking out heat sources like the battery can help.

taking it a level on, swap to a solid state harddrive, and consider booting / using a usb drive.

edit: to clean the fan you might find usnig a can of compressed air works. - i tend to do this while its running which sounds like a bad idea but causes any dust dislodged to be blown out rather than into the unit. just dont use the can upsidedown, else it'll come out as an icey liquid which quickly evaporates, and thats a bad thing (ive never had that cause a breakage, but it dosent look like a good idea) :)

oh, and check the fan speeds in bios and software. - you may find the fans are turning slower than they should - usually due to wear or dust.

share|improve this answer
The battery is not heat source when it's charged and the mains is plugged in; it only gets hot when charging. – Mircea Chirea Aug 23 '10 at 11:00

I would simply suggest that you take the device to be serviced by HP. The heat you're experiencing doesn't sound normal and I would expect they can improve the situation by cleaning or replacing your fans or some other faulty components.

On the DIY front, I would recommend that you avoid using a vacuum cleaner or compressed air to clean the fans yourself. The fans in laptops are quite fragile and you could easily damage their axes.

share|improve this answer

Do you have Cool'n'Quiet enabled both in BIOS and Windows? I doubt that will help in your exact case, but that is the first thing I would do.

When I say "and Windows", I mean that enabling Cool'n'Quiet in BIOS wasn't enough under Windows XP (I also had to install some AMD CPU drivers and switch to Minimal power management to benefit from lower frequencies and CPU voltage), and I do not know if Vista also requires some actions to enable CPU frequency scaling.

Edit: This link suggests some actions are indeed required, although no driver installation is necessary.

share|improve this answer
Yes, in the BIOS the fan is set to variable speed (including off if not needed) and I use Windows 7, set to increase fan speed on AC and to decrease processor speed on battery (and set to only a single core on battery). – Mircea Chirea Aug 23 '10 at 11:04
Cool'n'quiet isn't (directly) about the fan speed, it is about CPU frequency and voltage. If your CPU and BIOS support that feature, then there should be an entry named exactly Cool'N'Quiet. However, I assume that if you have options to decrease processor speed, then it is already enabled. – chronos Aug 23 '10 at 11:16
The CPU supports decreasing frequency and voltage (AMD calls it PowerNow!); the BIOS doesn't have an option to enable or disable it, but it's always enabled (sounds weird not to have it enabled on a laptop) as Windows reports decreasing frequency quite often. There's however an option for toggling variable fan-speed or permanently on at full in the BIOS. – Mircea Chirea Aug 24 '10 at 13:03

Manual suggestion:

Get a screwdriver in your toolbox, open the case of the PC, unscrew the screws to hold the fan in place, and clean the dust with a can of air. If needed, repeat, but this time, use the electric 2 in 1 screwdriver.

Manual plus chemical suggestion:

Get a screwdriver in your toolbox, open the case of the PC, but this time, put on your lab goggles, in your toolbox. Then, in the lab, buy a chemical that is dust-free(for example chromium to make steel). Then, add the chemical to the iron, but make sure that you wear lab goggles before doing this. If needed, repeat, but this time, use the electric 2 in 1 screwdriver.

share|improve this answer
OP has already said he can't open the case. What's an electric screwdriver got to do with the question? And adding chemicals? Please explain why you need to add Chromium to Iron. What iron exactly. Your answer does not make any sense. – DavidPostill Mar 29 at 16:52
You should know. If you build buildings with iron, they'll accumulate dust over time. If you build buildings out of stainless steel, they'll reflect all the dust away. – Chris Mar 30 at 2:39
Did you miss the words, get a screwdriver in your toolbox, and open the toolbox? Mabye the case is screwed with screws, so a screwdriver may do the job. – Chris Mar 30 at 2:41
Did you miss the word "The screws are extremely tight so I can't open it and clean the fan manually.". Using an electric screwdriver would just strip the heads making the screws impossible to remove. – DavidPostill Mar 30 at 8:03
"If you build buildings out of stainless steel, they'll reflect all the dust away." This statement is completely irrelevant. Laptop cases are not buildings. – DavidPostill Mar 30 at 8:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .