Re: laptop failure rates
- From: Ben Myers <ben_myers@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 08 Dec 2009 21:47:57 -0500
On Dec 7, 11:30 pm, Ben Myers <ben_my...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:lgreenw...@xxxxxxx wrote:On Dec 7, 7:22 pm, "RnR" <rnrte...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:Here is the problem with your hot-running graphics: 128MB NVIDIA GeForcehttp://austin.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/11/16/daily22...I am not surprised at this...in my experience laptops simply run way
Just thought this might be interesting to some. I can't really
comment on it since I haven't had a laptop fail on me yet (all dells
too hot, especially when playing games that requires intense graphics.
I had an inspiron m600 in which the screen gave up about a week after
the 3 year warranty expired. I bought XPS m1530 that I am using right
now and the graphics card is currently showing a hot 124 degrees. And
all I am currently running is firefox. When I start gaming the temp
goes up to 162 degrees for the graphics card. And I even have it
sitting on top of a three fan cooler.
I think the problem is that laptops simply cannot handle the heat
buildup, too much heat in too small a space..., because the desktop I
have has no heat problem.
Am I the only person experiencing this problem?
8400M GS. nVidia chips have run hot, hot, hot since the early days of
the Pentium 4. HP and Dell have had recalls for failure of nVidia
graphics chips on recent model laptops. Maybe yours is one with a
recall on it. Best to check.
Laptop graphics suffer from two problems. The first is that laptop
manufacturers want graphics performance comparable to a desktop. Or
maybe they think that buyers want fast laptop graphics. Or maybe they
don't think. Me? I'd give up some performance for better reliability.
Second, AMD (now the owner of ATI) and nVidia have long been engaged in
a competition to see who can produce the fastest running grpahics chips,
mostly for gamers. Putting essentially the same chip in a laptop is
plain stoooopid, but if that's all nVidia and ATI produce, then there is
little choice except between nVidia and ATI. The higher the clock
speed, the more wattage consumed by the entire graphics subsystem. More
wattage yields more heat. So the answer is to do one of two things in
the design of the graphics subsystem. The simple solution is to
underclock the graphics chip (and memory), running them at a slower than
maximum click speed. This solution costs pennies to put a different and
slower oscillator on the graphics subsystem. The other solution is to
design a variable clock oscillator into the graphics subsystem and run
it a little bit like Intel's CPU SpeedStep, clocking down the graphics
when running on battery. Better still, design software to monitor the
temperature of the graphics subsystem and BOTH crank up the fan when the
subsystem gets hot AND crank down the graphics system clock speed. None
of this is rocket science.
If you do not already have I8KFANGUI, download it and install it on your
system. It monitors system temperatures and allows you to set fan
speeds based on the temperatures sensed. I've kept a number of older
Inspiron 5100/5150/5160 systems in our town running even with their HOT
normal (not mobile) Socket 478 Pentium 4 CPUs and nVidia graphics,
simply by installing and setting up I8KFANGUI. It runs the fans a lot
more, but fans are much cheaper replacements than entire laptop
motherboards or custom designed laptop graphics cards.
No matter what, people who use their laptop daily need to check
regularly to make sure that the air vents do not get clogged with debris
like dirt, dust, cat hair, etc. Then, either simple maintenance with a
can of compressed air does the trick, or taking apart the laptop to
remove the fan and heat sink/pipes to clean them... Ben Myers
Hi Ben, Just did a google search for "Dell recall nVidia". It
appears that the recall you mention never materialized. nVidia is
being stubborn and not recalling any of faulty chips. Apparently the
defective graphics chip is widespread and nVidia is not totally coming
clean about it to the vendors. All Dell can offer is an extended 12
month warranty and a BIOS update that permits the fan to run more
often. According to some bloggers all that does is help the laptop
get beyond the warranty before it fails. The latest BIOS update was
already install on my laptop when I received it.
BTW I have a NVIDIA 8600 with 250mb. I purchased it in the summer of
08, when, it appears, the news of the faulty graphics, just broke. I
thought I was out of the woods, but apparently not. And even worst, I
could not find any info that the problem has been addressed in the
future by nVidia. So I wondered if the issue continues to this day.
Some reports indicate that the issue even extends to desktop nVidia
graphics cards as well, but at least there you are just out a card and
not the entire computer.
So in summary there is a major overheating problem with the nVidia
graphics card that will eventually lead to laptop failure, while the
problem is acknowledged by the vendor nVidia refuses a recall, and the
only fix for it by Dell is a BIOS update that increases the use of the
internal fan that will likely extend the life of the laptop beyond the
BTW it does not appear that the I8KFANGUI will work with a XPS m1530
as it is not listed on their site. Instead I have been using speedfan
and it seems to work well. But I dont any direct control over
settings on the fan speed on this XPS like I did with previous
And I do keep the internal areas clean as well as have the laptop sit
on top of a 3 fan cooler. Maybe what I really need is an
i8kfangui may still work on your laptop even if it is not listed on the web site. I cannot think of a Dell laptop that it won't work with, starting with the various very dark gray Latitude and Inspiron systems, but never on any of the Dell AMD laptops. Try it. It will not hurt your system, and it uninstalls easily. The fact that i8kfangui works in so many Dell laptops indicates that Dell has at least enough in-house engineering expertise to influence a consistency in hardware design.
By contrast, Toshiba is wildly inconsistent with the physical hardware design of many similar appearing laptops.
One possibly good idea. There are software utilities out there that allow the hard core gamer to overclock a graphics card, mostly nVidia. Overclocking is generally a pretty stupid idea, but I wonder if the same software can be used to UNDERclock your nVidia card, enabling it to run cooler.
Finally, just to throw brickbats at nVidia for a change, instead of Microsoft: nVidia graphics cards have ALWAYS run hot. That's how they get the speed. I replaced a burned out nVidia card in a Compaq desktop maybe 5 years ago. Card didn't even have a fan to clog up with dust and dirt to cause the failure. Just a heat sink. Obviously not enough.
.... Ben Myers
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