TechSpot

Laptop overheats and fan doesn't reach full speed

By Amigosdefox
Jun 29, 2009
  1. I have a Dell Vostro 1510 running Vista Home Premium. I started noticing that when playing games sometimes performance would go down considerably which coincided with the laptop being considerably hotter to the touch. I installed speedfan to check if this was true and as it turns out the gpu can reach up to 95°C without the fan going full speed (I can hear it run but not full speed). The fan might reach full speed but not necessarily when the temperature is at is highest which means that the laptop usually overheats when playing videogames. I'm not sure if this has happened since I purchased the laptop or after upgrading BIOS. I currently have the latest BIOS from Dell (A15), and the latest reference drivers from Nvidia for the videocard which is a geforce 8400M. Can it be that the overheating is due to using the reference drivers and not the manufacturers? I used the reference drivers because Dell hasn't updated videocard drivers for almost a year.
     
  2. InsaneVr6

    InsaneVr6 TS Rookie Posts: 260

    What games are you trying to play on that computer? Hopefully they are not that demanding because the Vostro isn't great for newer games. Also make sure that you are not using it on a soft surface (bed, rug, blanket, etc).

    The drivers for your video card should not interfere with your fans since it is all integrated into the same motherboard.
     
  3. Amigosdefox

    Amigosdefox TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 121   +10

    Before I mentioned that I didn't know if the problem was there from the beginning or it appeared just recently. Now I'm pretty sure the problem is new. I used to be able to play more demanding games like TF2 for hours without any issues but now can only play for a few minutes before overheating. It seems that any game I play will eventually cause the computer to overheat. I played Warcraft 3 which is pretty old but after an hour or so the Gpu reached 96°C and the game started locking up. This however doesn't happen if I only do simple tasks like web browsing. I'm making sure that my laptop is properly ventilated at the bottom and sides where air intakes are. What is strange is that the fan doesn't go into full speed when the temperature is high but is seems to do so at random times, even when the temperature is lower around 75°C.
     
  4. InsaneVr6

    InsaneVr6 TS Rookie Posts: 260

    Unfortunately because you have an OEM motherboard from Dell you can't regulate the fan speed at your own will (without a lot of work).

    I suggest you run Memtest on your computer. This will test at what point your computer starts to get hot, and how the fans react to it. You may need to revert to the older Dell drivers to troubleshoot and see if that fixes the problem.
     
  5. lcwolfman

    lcwolfman TS Rookie Posts: 24

    A lot of people seem to be having fan speed problems with that system.. Have you noticed a yellow triangle on the tooltray??
     
  6. Amigosdefox

    Amigosdefox TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 121   +10

    No, I don't get any alert whatsoever.
     
  7. lcwolfman

    lcwolfman TS Rookie Posts: 24

    Check the event viewer.. (click start run type in eventvwr.msc and press enter) Click on Windows Logs then right click on system.. Pick to clear the logs.. This way you dont have to scroll through so many.. Its normal for the system log list to have a lot of items there and most are normal.. Run a game or two to get the system to crash then look at the system log again and see if you notice any errors or any yellow triangle icons.. This might give you a jumping point to finding out whats going on..
     
  8. aqua

    aqua TS Rookie Posts: 64

    from what i know overheat in laptops means dust inside,and you have to clean the cpu heatsink,new thermalpaste.
     
  9. InsaneVr6

    InsaneVr6 TS Rookie Posts: 260

    Thought dust is the culprit in a lot of overheating issues, its not the only way for it to overheat like in Amigosdefox's case with the fan not going as fast as it should be at the hottest temp.

    Have you tried to revert the drivers?
     
  10. Amigosdefox

    Amigosdefox TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 121   +10

    I tried reverting the drivers but still the gpu temp goes above 90°C(194°F). Sometimes the air coming out of the vent is too hot to keep your hand infront of it. I tried looking into the event viewer but everything seems normal there. The laptop usually only crashes with TF2. Other games just slow down a lot and I can alt+tab, wait for the gpu to reach about 75° and then I can alt+tab again and play at normal speed until the gpu heats up again. As I said the fan seems to reach full speed independently of temperature.
     
  11. InsaneVr6

    InsaneVr6 TS Rookie Posts: 260

    Sorry. I can't think of what to do next besides you opening up your laptop and making sure everything is clean and properly connected.

    It seems to me like your fan is not correctly responding when it needs to (higher temp calls for the fan to spin faster or as fast as it can. Every BIOS is different, try and see if there is a section in your BIOS for the fan or maybe even revert the BIOS to an older version if you can find it.

    If that does not solve your problem, I would say to bring it to Dell or the vendor you purchased it from.
     
     
  12. lcwolfman

    lcwolfman TS Rookie Posts: 24

    if you feel *very* comfortable with opening up the system then I would agree with aqua.. A good cleaning is always a good thing with a system.. Dell usually has step by step guides for every system on there site.. Just be careful as it can be a pain.. Also make sure you have some thermal glue handy if you plan on taking the heat sink off.. Before going to such extremes though I would suggest formatting and starting with a clean install of windows to rule out a software problem as I do not think the fan is the main reason (a lot of people have complained about the fan but very few have complained about overheating)..
     
  13. Amigosdefox

    Amigosdefox TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 121   +10

    Problem Solved!

    Turned out that it was dust after all. The whole vent was covered with a thick wall. I removed it with compressed air. Now the Gpu is running at a cooler 65°C under load. By opening the laptop I have voided the warranty but I had only one more month left anyway. Thanks for all the help. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  14. InsaneVr6

    InsaneVr6 TS Rookie Posts: 260

    Nice glad you got it sorted out.
     
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