I saw here a question about 100% fan speed, but my wish is for quiet laptop. Currently even Firefox often starts to consume so much processing power fan turns on.

If I set fan speed to 0, will ACPI etc. safeguards reduce CPU frequency and prevent overheating in all cases? If not out-of-the-box, what can I do to ensure it?

Specifically I use Thinkpads with 3th gen i5 and 5th gen i7. Linux now mostly, although for Windows 7 advice would be helpful too, on usual tasks on Linux I see now temperature up to 70 C with fan off. If more details are important, can add.


Honestly, yes. You can permanently damage your laptop by turning off the fan long-term. Yes, the CPU will protect itself by throttling, and even turning off if temperature thresholds are met... but there is much more in your computer than the CPU. Excessive heat in systems reduces the life of nearly all components in your system. Passive components actually are rated for a specific life-span at a specific temperature. Going above that specific temperature reduces the life logarithmically, not linearly. (capacitor rated for 100C for 10 years may last only 1 year at 110C.)

Your laptop may idle at 70C which is not uncommon, but the moment you open a web-browser, more load is placed on the CPU/GPU and other components. In short bursts, your system will be fine... but continued loads (streaming-video/gaming/medium-high CPU applications) you will put quite a lot of thermal stress on your machine... causing a lot of premature failure of components.

If you're looking for a completely-silent system of some sort, perhaps you should consider ARM-based systems that run at much lower temperatures, and are frequently fanless.

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  • I know it maybe other question, but could you advice on best way on modern Linux to automatically reduce CPU speed when temperature rises above some number? Do you advice to do that say above 80 C or what level? – Alexei Martianov Apr 11 '18 at 15:30
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    In a perfect world, CPUs should sit ~50-60C... but that would mean that they're not doing anything... so most engineers say "colder-is-better"... but that is true only to a certain point. There is also a point where you can get "too-cold" and that would cause other issues. By default, (assuming you're running any modern kernel) Linux would already auto-scale your CPU... but you can tune it using many tools that would interact with the many CPU drivers out there. Try looking into cpupower, and setting the governed state to performance. – TheCompWiz Apr 11 '18 at 15:37
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    @AlexeiMartianov The CPU often already throttles itself when the temperature gets too high. This is designed to keep it from reaching the TjMax. – forest Apr 12 '18 at 2:22
  • "In short bursts, your system will be fine..." - fan control app (thinkfan in my case) have temperature thresholds in config to increase fan speed, however, there is no threshold for increased temperature duration - in light of you remark that is a minus IMHO. – Alexei Martianov Apr 12 '18 at 13:22
  • If you were looking for an exact timeline as to what is safe and what is not... you're going to leave unhappy. There is no definitive guide to how long your CPU/computer would survive with what temperature for how long. There are too many variables between different CPUs, different motherboards, stability of voltage sources, how near/far components are, what sorts of quality the components are, ... etc. This is why the general rule is to "keep it cool". – TheCompWiz Apr 12 '18 at 16:04

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