My main computer is an Asus M50sa, which is about five years old now. The computer is still great but it continually overheats and shuts itself down whenever there is a heavy load on the CPU. I can use it for hours without problems and the core temp stays around 50 C, but if I try to run Eclipse or watch a movie, within a few minutes, the system powers down.

The fan speeds up and blows a lot of air out, so that seems to be behaving normally. I have cleaned the whole thing out, but there wasn't much dust in the case at all, everything seems clean. The laptop is not hot on the outside, either on the top or bottom. I have updated the BIOS to the latest version. I run Ubuntu 12.10 most of the time, and I can see this line in my syslog whenever it forces shutdown:

Critical temperature reached (105 C), shutting down

I should mention that this has happened before about 8 months ago, and I stripped the stock thermal compound on my CPU and applied a new coating. After that treatment, the whole laptop no longer got hot to the touch and I didn't have any shutdown problems for several months, until about a month ago. Now it happens all the time. This also happens no matter what OS I'm running, I get a shutdown in Windows 7 and Windows 8 as well.

Any ideas of what I can do to improve it? Even when I use a laptop cooling stand, it doesn't really help. I'm willing to buy hardware and work on it. I need my computer for work and I can't afford a new one right now.

Here's a picture of the inside, including the cooling system:

Inside of my Asus M50Sa

  • You mention using a cooling stand. Does it have a fan or just elevate the laptop? – Brad Patton Mar 19 '13 at 14:59
  • It does both, it plugs into usb and runs a fan below the computer while elevating it. It helps a little. What is interesting is that it used to help a lot several months ago when I first had the problem, but now it doesn't really do anything for it. – mattgmg1990 Mar 19 '13 at 15:02
  • Running in a cooler room in the house? – mdpc Mar 19 '13 at 20:03
  • @mdpc I keep this room a cool 65 - 70 degrees. I don't think it will get much cooler than that around here inside. At least not that I'm willing to do, haha. – mattgmg1990 Mar 19 '13 at 23:49
  • Does anyone think it is possible that the sensor is broken? The reason I ask is that it seems to fluctuate VERY quickly. One second, the temp is 45 degrees C and everything is fine. Then, I do something taxing on the CPU and right away the temp jumps to 86 degrees C. After the work is done, it goes right back to 45C just as fast. Does that seem normal? – mattgmg1990 Mar 20 '13 at 3:26

You could try removing the heatsink off the top of the CPU and using canned air to dust around it. Sounds like it's accumulated dust over the years. I had the same issue w/ my pc a few months ago. IF there's no dust, you might want to try to reapply some additional thermal paste.

  • Make SURE you reapply thermal paste if your remove the heatsink, this is very important. – terdon Mar 19 '13 at 14:56
  • When I replaced the thermal compound about 8 months ago I dusted everything out, and when I took that picture just now I couldn't really see any dust. It's worth a try though, I will clean it again to be sure. @terdon, if I remove it at all, I should reapply thermal paste? Even if I have done that recently? How long should a fresh application of thermal paste be good for? And one more thing, do I need to buy the cleaning solution to remove the old as well? I borrowed that from a friend before, but I wasn't sure if it was necessary. – mattgmg1990 Mar 19 '13 at 15:00
  • @mattgmg1990 yes you should change it. Every time you remove the heatsink, the thermal paste needs to be reapplied, even if you put some on yesterday, it is useless as soon as the heatsink is removed. As for the cleaning solution, it helps but is not essential. Just make sure you clean it well so there is a maximum of contact between the heatsink and the CPU. Still, if you changed it 8 months ago, it should still be good. Never know though. – terdon Mar 19 '13 at 15:05
  • Okay, thanks a lot. I will probably be removing the heatsink so I can check once more for dust, so I will reapply the thermal paste in that case. I'll probably just buy the solution since it's not expensive. – mattgmg1990 Mar 19 '13 at 15:10
  • This ended up solving my problem. I wasn't convinced that I needed to clean it again and reapply thermal paste because I had recently done that, as described above. However, it seems that I did a better job applying the thermal paste this time around, and the computer doesn't shut off anymore! It seems to be fixed! Thanks! – mattgmg1990 Apr 2 '13 at 18:51

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