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My laptop seems to have reach its lifespan. Its an Acer laptop so I guess that's normal. But I'd like to hear your opinions about this.

My laptop is only 2 years old. I haven't heard the fan spinning like crazy not until these past 5 months.

What I did:

  • Hoping that its just the applications that I have installed that's consume the life of my laptop from the background. I used PC Decrapifier to uninstall some of the things that I don't need.
  • Reformatted my computer but only the primary partition since my files are on the second partition.
  • Bought a cooling pad.

None of these works.

I noticed the fan spins so hard when:

  • I have a lot of browser tabs open.
  • Full screen mode a flash video that I'm viewing online.
  • Using VLC to watch encoded videos. There's this thing called minicoder http://sourceforge.net/projects/minicoder/ to reduce the size of videos without affecting much of the quality. I'm suspecting that it needs additional software(to make life easier for the hardware) even though the video is working fine in VLC. VLC consumes about 300,000K and above(as seen from task manager) while watching videos (.mkv).

The problem:

  • Laptop suddenly turns off when the fan spins like crazy for about 20 minutes. I'm always checking to see if its already too hot(using my fingers to feel the side of the laptop) but its not so I continued watching and then poof! computer turns off.

  • Laptop won't turn on immediately when I turn it on after it turning off by itself. The light for the power goes on but its turns off immediately. I have to wait for about 10-20 seconds before it boots up without problems.

So how do I go about this? Is this just normal for Acer laptops after about 2 years of heavy usage (8-12 hours a day)? My usage is heavy but I normally only have a text-editor(sublime) and browser open(chrome).

Here's what I got from HW monitor:

enter image description here

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1  
Have you tested how hot your CPU gets with a program like CPU-Z? –  ekaj Dec 10 '12 at 0:11
    
Definitely overheating, see my slightly updated answer, you are very near critical temperatures. I assume the laptop crashed soon after taking that picture? :) –  terdon Dec 10 '12 at 0:36
    
thankfully it didn't. Thanks for your suggestions, I should really have it cleaned. –  Ieyasu Sawada Dec 10 '12 at 0:40

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

DO THIS ONLY IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH OPENING COMPUTERS!!!!!!!!!

If your laptop's fan is spinning this much, then most likely there is some dust stuck in the cooling vents.

Open up your laptop. Then, using a can of compressed air (usually CO2) simply blast all the dust and dirt out of the laptop, including the vents and fans. This should do the trick.

If that doesn't work, then clean the heat sink of the CPU. If that doesn't work, then remove the heatsink from the CPU and apply some heatsink paste. Contact Acer if the above doesn't work.
Update
Three remarks:
1) Prevent the fan from spinning madly while you use compressed air.
2) Before applying new thermal paste, first remove old old paste.
3) Thermal pasted is used in small quantities.

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Three remarks: 1) Prevent the fan from spinning madly while you use compressed air. 2) Before applying new thermal paste, first remove old old paste. 3) Thermal pasted is used in small quantities. –  Hennes Dec 10 '12 at 0:23
    
You may want to start by just spraying inside the fan area with compressed air without taking the machine apart. My Sony Vaio was sounding like a jumbo jet until I did that, and it's been running cooler ever since. It got so bad that it sounded like something was actually hitting the fan causing a tap-tap-tap sound, and after spraying the CPU core's showed 45-55 degrees instead of 75-85 degrees... –  jmort253 Dec 10 '12 at 2:55
    
My comment - If you're going to contact ACER, do that first. If you open up the laptop and service it yourself, then call ACER, you've most likely voided your warranty... so calling them would accomplish nothing. –  ekaj Dec 10 '12 at 4:08
    
or put a vacuum cleaner nozzle (max power) to the air intake to remove (some of) the dust build up in the filter –  ratchet freak Dec 10 '12 at 11:56

This sounds like a classic case of overheating. Before doing anything else, open it up and clean the fan. If your problem persists, change the thermal paste between the heat sink and the CPU.

The computer shutting down after the fans have been spinning very fast for a while is a clear indication of cooling problems. As is the fact that the machine will not turn on again immediately —it needs to cool down first.

I know you have a cooling pad but it might not be enough if the fans are clogged up or if, more likely really, the heat paste is old and dry.


Update:

Having seen the image you just posted, it is definitely a cooling problem. You should never be seeing temperatures around 80C.

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1  
Critical temperature varies from CPU to CPU. For example, a Core i7 Bloomfield series can operate up to 100 C before it will drop down to its lowest power and speed setting, and it will shut off at 120 C. None the less, high temperatures are not good for any component, and cooling them will certainly help performance and lifespan. –  Tyler K. Dec 10 '12 at 2:06

ascom mentioned dust affecting your fan - I think he's spot on; this does seem like a typical dust case; I've seen the problem multiple times. You do not need to open up your laptop for a quick fix!

This is what I normally do -

Find the spot your laptop where air enters into the cooling fan.

Blow into this spot with all your breath! Blow blow blow! A lot of dust will come out; so do this outside or something. Do not inhale!!! You don't want dust getting into your lungs; ew.

Do this with your laptop turned off, while the fan is not turned on.

Make sure you blow hard. You will see dust come out if dust was the problem.

Try to face the exhaust exits away from you; dust is not the nicest thing to inhale :p

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Alternatively, you could try using a partially blocked (like with your hand), vacuum cleaner. But instead of applying it to the air intake, run it lightly over the other side of the laptop, around the keyboard. Extreme care is necessary to prevent keys from getting pulled out by the suction from the vacuum cleaner. But it will dislodge any larger debris, and may facilitate the cleaning process through the air intake on the underside, into the cooling fan. –  Ellie Kesselman Dec 10 '12 at 4:34

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