Bouts of Extreme System Slug
ignored_mailbox at yahoo.com.au
Wed Apr 1 16:00:47 UTC 2009
>> Is the CPU cooling still working fine? Overheating can cause slowdowns.
> Interesting! How can I test this?
Does the fan move air well, is it clogged, can you visually inspect it,
does the temperature change if you *VERY* *BRIEFLY* block airflow.
> Do you know what mechanism causes the slowdown?
Most modern CPUs have a temperature sensor. As a self preservation
exercise, many will slow down operations if they start to get too hot,
as that will reduce the amount of heat the CPU produces.
> Is it consistent with showing high CPU usage?
If the CPU is doing a lot of work, or running fast (for those that have
speed control), it will generate heat. The more work and speed, the
more heat. Also, in one of life's peculiarities, if slowing down the
CPU means it takes significantly longer to get the job done, slowing it
down mightn't be the life saver that it's supposed to be, as it may
still get hot enough, for long enough, to be a problem.
With really inadequate cooling, you can fry things in mere seconds. I
got quite worried when my laptop suddenly went nuts the other day, for
no good reason. Typically, it's running around the 50 degree mark for
both CPU and graphics processors, but it surges depending on the work
load, often to around 60 (it used to be about 5-10 degrees less, and I
can reproduce that by swapping the hard drive for the old one that still
has Fedora 7 on it). I loaded up some webpage, and it rapidly
skyrocketed to 80, the fan turned on hard, and some rather nasty smells
emerged. I'm guessing plastic nearby the hotspot, or heatsink material.
I killed the Firefox web browser smartish, and it settled down to a
reasonable temperature within a few seconds. No the vents were not
blocked, and I have checked for things that might clog airflow.
It strikes me that many laptops are very poorly designed, with air
intake vents on the bottom, that will be blocked if you actually do use
it on your lap.
> Actually, I also felt sometimes that my laptop was quite hot, long
> before I had slowdown issues. And sometimes the fan would seem to gear
> up, even with no one using the laptop.
Mine used to run quite cool and quiet, but not since Fedora 9. Just
sitting at the logon screen its churning away. So I have yet another
thing I don't like about the new GDM (it's not just spinning the fans
more than needed, they're expelling quite a bit of heat).
If I logon and do nothing, it cools down a bit, sometimes enough that it
runs nearly silently; but that's rare, these days. But, if I leave it
alone, and it's idling just showing the empty desktop (no applications
running), sometimes it'll suddenly warm up. And it's not like a cron
job has kicked in, there's no indication of that if I leave top running.
[tim at localhost ~]$ uname -r
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