Old laptop assistance

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Old laptop assistance

Postby DeadPoolX » Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:53 pm

After exhaustively checking online for information, I haven't found anything that's useful. I'm hoping someone here knows something that can help.

I use my desktop for gaming and most things, but I also have an older laptop that I use for occasional web browsing and games when on a trip.

My laptop is the issue here.

The problem with my laptop is that its CPU and GPU temperatures run really high. The CPU temp at idle is usually around 61-65 C, and under load it can easily go into the 90 C range. The GPU, on the other hand, generally runs a little cooler than the CPU, but recently it went up to 100 C (yes, it hit boiling!) during a short session of Minecraft.

In addition, this laptop is running really slowly. I know there's no viruses on it, and I realize the equipment is old, but it's struggling to run stuff it ran six years ago just fine. I can understand problems running new programs, but not software it ran well years ago.

I've tried all the standard solutions:
1. Removed unnecessary startup programs (msconfig).
2. Trimmed services (services.msc)
3. Set virus scanner to be less intrusive and require less out of the machine.
4. Used Defraggler and CCleaner, and ran CHKDSK.
5. Turned off all visual effects for the OS and started using the old Win2K theme.
6. Opened up machine and checked for dust and clogged fans or heatsinks (everything was clear).

For reference, here's all the relevant information I have on my laptop:

MODEL: Dell Studio 1558
OS: Windows 7 w/SP1
CPU: i7-720QM @ 1.6 GHz
RAM: 6 GB
MB: Dell 0874P6 (U2E1)
GPU: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470

NOTE: The GPU is apparently the "Dell version," which means it requires Dell-specific drivers, even though it's still an ATI card. I've tried ATI/AMD drivers before and they won't work. Unfortunately, the most recent set of drivers Dell's released are several years old and as such, I'm stuck with severely outdated video drivers.
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby Collector » Sat Mar 26, 2016 3:17 am

The CPU is still running normally?
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby DeadPoolX » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:04 pm

Collector wrote:The CPU is still running normally?

Yes, or at least, as far as I can tell.

I forgot to mention this before, but I also have a laptop cooler that the laptop itself sits on. This helps reduce the temperature somewhat, so without it, I'd probably see even higher temperatures.
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby Collector » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:10 am

Several of your solutions would probably not make any differences to the GPU. It sounds like it is probably not software or config related. You have done all of the obvious things that I can think of that could apply, especially the dust. I would be a bit concerned that there may be some physical damage to the GPU.
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby DeadPoolX » Sun Mar 27, 2016 4:05 am

Collector wrote:I would be a bit concerned that there may be some physical damage to the GPU.

I'd check, but in order for me to do that on this particular model, I'd need to literally take apart the entire thing.

I've seen videos on YouTube on how to do it, but it seems extremely finicky and prone to all sorts of mishaps. Overall, I just don't feel comfortable in my ability to reassemble the laptop properly.

That said, I've never seen the GPU's temp get that high before, and usually it's the CPU's temp that's skyrocketing.
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby Collector » Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:02 pm

I know what you mean about opening laptops. Some are not too bad, but others are nearly impossible without risking breaking something.

One thing that MS did was to take advantage of the unused GPU power to offload some of the burden from the CPU. I am not sure how turning off Aero affects this. There are certain GUI features that are dependent on Aero, so it is more than just for looks. Not really any solutions there, just trying to mull over any possible causes. When you checked the fans did you turn it on to see if the fans were running?
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby DeadPoolX » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:09 am

Collector wrote:When you checked the fans did you turn it on to see if the fans were running?

No, because I read that I needed the power turned off, the battery removed, and the charger disconnected from the wall.

I do hear the fans working, though. In fact, the fans are sometimes so noisy (for a laptop anyway) there's no way to miss the sound.

I wonder if formatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows would speed things up. I can't imagine it'd do anything for the overheating issues.

I've also considered removing Windows entirely and using Ubuntu. The last I heard, it's a more lightweight OS and since this machine is mostly used to go online and do minimal gaming, it'd make sense.

The main reason I haven't done that already is the GPU. Since it needs Dell drivers (despite being an ATI/AMD video card), I don't know if those would function properly in anything except Windows.
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby Tawmis » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:33 pm

DeadPoolX wrote:I do hear the fans working, though. In fact, the fans are sometimes so noisy (for a laptop anyway) there's no way to miss the sound.


This right here may be your issue. You may have dust (and especially if you have pets, fur) clogged into the fan(s). Buy one of those cans of compressed air and blow the heck out of the fan (and possibly the top of the keyboard).
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby Collector » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:47 pm

He said that the fans looked clear.
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby DeadPoolX » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:08 pm

Tawmis wrote:
DeadPoolX wrote:I do hear the fans working, though. In fact, the fans are sometimes so noisy (for a laptop anyway) there's no way to miss the sound.


This right here may be your issue. You may have dust (and especially if you have pets, fur) clogged into the fan(s). Buy one of those cans of compressed air and blow the heck out of the fan (and possibly the top of the keyboard).

Already covered that earlier in the thread. The fans weren't dusty or clogged at all. I wish they were because that would've been an easy fix.
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby BBP » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:28 pm

... Do computer fans ever need lubrication?
Is anything else obstructing the fans? Housing getting in the way?
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby Tawmis » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:47 am

BBP wrote:... Do computer fans ever need lubrication?

Image5.png
Did you need lube?


Er... that said... Even though the fans look clear, if they're making noticeable noise, something's going on there. They may not be properly spinning, or something's preventing them from rotating... a fan should not be noticeable...
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby Collector » Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:45 am

True. Even a fan with sealed or magnetic bearings can accumulate crud and create a drag on the rotor. Be sure that the blades rotate freely. Also. if the windings are burnt or shorted the fan will not spin as it should. You should be able to get new fans that do not cost too much.
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby DeadPoolX » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:59 am

I should probably clarify that when I said I can "hear the fans working," I meant I can tell when they speed up and start making noticeable noise. Most of the time they're pretty quiet.

Regardless, I can try checking the bearings and rotors.

Something else I just thought of is maybe the thermal paste needs to be replaced on the CPU and/or the CPU's heatsink is clogged.

I can't really tell because in order to get that much detail, I'd have to take apart the entire laptop. I'd rather not do that as with this particular model you run a HUGE risk of damaging or breaking something in the process of disassembling or reassembling it.
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Re: Old laptop assistance

Postby Collector » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:54 pm

I had thought of the thermal paste, but hesitated to mention it because of the risk of checking/replacing it for something of such a low probability. Usually not much will happen to the compound if the fans have not been unseated. I would have assumed that you had checked the heat sinks when you had it open to check the fans. They are a key target for the accumulation of dust since they are the focus of the air movement and the fins create so many crevices to collect dust.
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