I'm having troubles with my HP ENVY 14 overheating (specifically, the GPU is overheating.) The specs of my machine are:

  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650
  • i7-940
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • Windows 7 Professional

When playing video games (even Half-Life 2, a 7 year old game!) / video encoding / sometimes at random sometimes the computer would randomly shut down. This ONLY happens when charging. Upon investigation, I found this event in the Windows Event Log:

The system was hibernated due to a critical thermal event. Hibernate Time = ‎2011‎-‎06‎-‎06T02:07:34.003776500Z
ACPI Thermal Zone = ACPI\ThermalZone\TZ00
_HOT = 371K

I then ran stress testing on the CPU (Prime95) and there was no overheating. When I ran stress testing on the GPU (Furmark) the computer shut down after a few minutes of testing with the same log entry. This leads me to believe that the GPU is the part of the computer that's overheating.

I have tried:

  • Making sure all vents are unobstructed (they are)
  • The laptop is on a flat surface (my desk)
  • Calling HP (they were helpful, but told me my best bet was buying a cooling mat for the computer, something I would like to avoid if possible)

I think my brand-new computer should be able to play at least Half-Life 2 for more then a few minutes! It never overheats when not charging but obviously games are not playable when this is the case because game performance vastly decreases when not charging.

  • You say it happens when charging, but does it still happen when fully charged and still on external power? Does the same happen if the battery is removed and the laptop is started on external power? – Mokubai Jun 6 '11 at 14:56
  • @Mokubai it still happens when on full battery. I haven't tried without a battery; I will – Isaac Waller Jun 6 '11 at 15:05
  • @Mokubai I tried it without a battery and it still overheated. – Isaac Waller Jun 6 '11 at 16:19

Honestly, Laptops are not gaming rigs. Ever. There are some laptops that can perform better than others, but ultimately, nothing beats a full-tower system. With the best of GPUs, there's always heat dissipation issues that must be addressed. In gaming rigs (full-tower systems) there's plenty of ways to dissipate the heat using bigger/more powerful fans... or even going to water-cooling. With laptops... your only option is to work with very space-limited air-cooling. If the air-cooling system can't keep up... the only solutions are to invest in one of those lap-cooling stations and/or turn down the graphics to compensate. Additionally, it wouldn't hurt to make sure you're using HP's provided drivers if you're not already, as it will probably have some limits built-into the driver that will turn down the GPUs performance in an effort to let the cooling system keep-up.

  • I will look into the cooling mats - thanks. I have turned down graphics though, Half-Life 2 at it's lowest settings still overheats the computer after a few minutes, which seems wrong, considering my other 3-year old Macbook could run Half-Life 2 on high settings for hours at a time with no heat problems. – Isaac Waller Jun 6 '11 at 16:50
  • If its' overheating at minimum settings... there might be something physically wrong with your machine. (i.e. the GPU's heatsink might be making poor contact with the GPU, or the vents for the GPU are obstructed or perhaps the fan isn't blowing air over the heatsink) Or it's even possible that there is physical damage to the GPU itself. If you're overheating with minimum settings... I'd throw it at HP & make them warranty it. – TheCompWiz Jun 6 '11 at 16:57
  • I tried a fan cooling mat, but it didn't make any difference, even though the laptop itself is very cool - I am also worried it might be a physical problem. I will probably send it off to HP. Thanks. – Isaac Waller Jun 7 '11 at 3:21
  • Why put a discrete GPU then? It's one thing to call a laptop "not a gaming system" (which I agree with), and another to say "see the GPU they come with? You can't use them for games, it's just a marketing gimmick". Plus, you know, Half Life 2 is a pretty old game, almost any low to mid-level computer should be able to play it. Also, the question wasn't laptop vs desktop computers. – Andres F. Jul 24 '13 at 18:41
  • A discrete GPU can be very useful in several situations... but that definitely does not make it comparable to a proper gaming rig. I never said it was a marketing gimmick... nor did I suggest that you couldn't play games. My point was that laptops will never perform as well as a comparable desktop rig. It sounds like his laptop's GPU had already been damaged... and part of my answer served to explain symptoms he was seeing. – TheCompWiz Jul 24 '13 at 20:56

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