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Laptop becomes very slow when hot

I have a Samsung R480 laptop with 4 gigs DDR2 memory, Intel i3-350m CPU, and an nVidia 330m GPU. My issue is that whenever I play "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood", my system powers down after a bit. CanYouRunIt reports that my system is capable of running it on recommended settings, and although the site is not 100% trustworthy, I'd still like to think it is capable of running the game on low.

I ran SpeedFan with logging on, and the last few lines report the GPU hitting 100 Centigrade, and the two cores hitting 80 & 83 degrees. Am I wrong to assume this is cause of overheating, and if so, is there anything that can be done about the issue, if not by me, then by Samsung (My system is still under warranty)? Or is this happening because my system is underpowered? If you need any additional information, please leave a comment. Thanks for any help at all.

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marked as duplicate by harrymc, slhck, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, studiohack May 9 '11 at 20:35

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Apparently the r480s are prone to overheating. Other than what @Matt Jenkins suggested you might want to open up the laptop and clean the heatsinks and fans or getting it done professionally if you don't want to void the warranty. –  JaredMcAteer May 9 '11 at 13:45
    
@OriginalSyn haven't found many complaints about them overheating through Google. Maybe you've just been reading my earlier questions hehehe. Anyway, I'll have it cleaned cause I'm counting on it just being dusty. –  cesar May 9 '11 at 15:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Clean the vents first. It's the cheaper thing to do.

However, you must be careful when doing this using the normal compress (or canned) air. Compressed air cans will spin your fans more quickly than they were designed to spin. This can damage the bearings and motor on the fans.

Besides a quick blast (1 second or less at a time) to dislodge any dust, you'll need to actually open the laptop and hold the fan blades still while blowing the compressed air on them. This gets into "let the pros do it" pretty quickly.

Also, make sure you're running the laptop on a hard flat surface. Legs and cloth can block the vents. Make sure the room you're in is not too warm. Open a window, run a fan. These are further cheap things to try.

If after cleaning the entire air path inside the laptop and making sure the environment is conducive to effective cooling you still get the issues, try the laptop fan tray. The goal is to get as much airflow around the laptop as possible.

Laptops generally do not cool as well as desktops. That is why laptops generally run special components designed specially for low-heat and high-efficiency operation.

Some laptops, however, do worse than others. I bought my wife a laptop, the first tablet pc laptop from HP, powered by an AMD proc with discrete graphics. It developed numerous heat-caused problems and after finding out just how the HP warranty department worked and discovering I could cause the issues at will in a newly repaired laptop in less than a week, I was able to get them to replace it with a newer model which was much better cooled.

That is to say: There may come a point where you realize this laptop is simply not up to the task of running any intensive games. This is a sad realization, but it usually means you can also create the problems at will and if the system is still in warranty, you can cause the failures and get the system replaced, preferably with a different but comparable model which has better cooling.

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I'll have it cleaned by an authorized Samsung service centre and make use of the 1-year warranty. I live in a dusty urban environment, so it's possible that the fans are just messed up. I mean, I managed to play Starcraft 2 on high without problems before, so it might be the fans (and I hope it's just dust in the fan). –  cesar May 9 '11 at 15:11
    
Different games and different software stress the computer in different ways. Download and run Prime95. If you have a multi-core processor, copy the program and run a copy for each core (use Taskmgr to slave each process to a specific core) and see if this brings up the same error you got playing the game. That will show whether it is a CPU or GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) issue as well as shed some light on just how effective the cooling system is. –  music2myear May 9 '11 at 20:07

I would suggest investing in a laptop fan tray to reduce the temperature in and around the laptop. These are pretty inexpensive and can often be quite effective.

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I would just add make sure the vents are clean and clear on the laptop. –  N4TKD May 9 '11 at 13:41
    
Cleaning vents from the outside on a laptop is seldom 100% effective. Dust builds up between the fan and the heatsink fins and blocks the airflow. Cleaning it out requires dismantling the laptop and will invalidate the warranty. the laptop sounds quite new so this is likely not the case. –  Majenko May 9 '11 at 13:45
    
have one, but it doesn't remedy the problem. might be cause it's a cheap unbranded kind, but I guess it's cause my vents are clogged up with dust. –  cesar May 9 '11 at 14:44
    
I'll have the service centre do it. Don't wanna void the warranty prematurely. –  cesar May 9 '11 at 15:12

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