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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    New Notebook Question

    When I get a new notebook I want one with a fan that doesn't come on all the time but I need to understand what causes the fan to cycle on. My current notebook (see stats below) is 4-years old and it seems to run hot unless I use a chill pad. I want to be able to use a simple Solitaire or Mahjong game without the fan cycling on. Does the processor speed or hard drive rpm affect the fan? This will be a desktop replacement and it needs to act like a desktop - quietly. I am not hooked on a particular brand. Should I be looking at PCs billed as "gaming" PCs? If its built for gaming the fan shouldn't be coming on every other minute.

    The current notebook is a Gateway with 1.7 GHz Pentium M Processor [Intel® Pentium® M Processor 715 - 1.5GHz; 2MB integrated SRAM Level 2 Cache; 400MHz front side bus; Features Intel® Centrino™ Mobile Technology;512 MB Memory [User Accessible Memory - Two 200 pin SO-DIMM sockets on motherboard - 0MB on board memory; 40 GB Hard Drive [40GB 5400rpm Ultra ATA hard drive].

    I'd appreciate any input. I would be so disappointed if I got the notebook home only to find out it is just as noisy as my old one.

    Thanks.
    <font face="Comic Sans MS"><big><font color=4682b4>Sherry</font color=4682b4></big></font face=comic>

  2. #2
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    Hi Sherry

    I have an old Higrade laptop which gets pulled out of the cupboard by my girls once in a while (emergency MSN comms laptop <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>). The poor old machine does run "hot" and the fan continually cycles through a low, medium, high, low, medium... cycle which is very distracting gggrrrrr

    However, the laptop I use for work (Dell Latitude) is wonderfully quiet and I cannot even hear the fan as there is a steady flow. This is the same for all Dells and we have quite a selection of them around work.

    I think you need to go for recommendation or even go into a shop and try one out instore.
    Jerry

  3. #3
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    I suspect you may have to accept an intermittent fan as inevitable. To balance power consumption with cooling, the fan is switched on as soon as critical components reach a set temperature, then off when it drops. My understanding is that electronics perform better at lower temperatures, so on a desktop, the fan is left to run continuously as power consumption is not so much of an issue.

    Because of its relative size, the fan on a desktop runs a lot quieter - a large fan turning slowly with large vents will make less mechanical and air-flow noise than a miniature one in a laptop forcing air through minimal vents. (Ensuring adequate air-flow on all sides of a laptop will help.)
    I suggest you try and find a laptop that is suitably quiet when the fan is running - if such a thing exists! - I can't see a laptop keeping cool without one.

  4. #4
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    You got some very good comments above. I am not aware of any laptop that is ether designed for, or marketed as, a low noise computer. While a given computer will consume more power and therefore generate more heat at higher processor speeds you cannot use speed alone to compare different laptops for fan ON time. If you try and look at specs to come up with a choice for low noise operation you could easily be disappointed. Two circumstances, nominally under one's control, that influence how often the fan runs are the ambient temperature and processor use. The heat leaving the machine is larger the lower the room temp. If air conditioning is not an option then your current solution of a chill plate is a good alternative. Doing e-mail puts a relatively low burden on the processor, but running say repeated filter operations on a large digital photograph keeps the processor busy thereby generating a lot of heat and a call for fan cooling. Simple games are somewhere in between.

    So if possible go to some stores and try out different notebooks and pick one with acceptable fan noise. There are two issues, one being how frequently the fan comes on and that relates to the thermal design of the whole system and the second is how loud the fan is when it does come on - and it will come on . It is hard to evaluate the first so choose on the basis of fan noise. You might augment that with an up-to-date, well designed chill plate to minimize how often that low-noise fan turns on.

    Paul

  5. #5
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    I have an eMachinse M5312 notebook that was fairly quite when purchased ~3 years ago.

    However, I have noticed the fan getting louder and notebook getting warmer. I used a twin fan cooler to help with the heat, but cooler fans were loud. Ended up ditching the cooler.

    Keeping an eye on the notebook heat and fan, will replace the fan if either start to deteriate further. Post back if you find a good candidate <img src=/S/thumbup.gif border=0 alt=thumbup width=15 height=15>
    Scott

  6. #6
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    On our Sony VAIO's we hardly ever hear the fans. My laptop is running 7/24 and is sitting on a swivel tray that rotates a little and tilts so the back is raised a little more than the front.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    If the laptop used to run quietly and is now noisy then there are two things that often cause this.
    <UL><LI>The bearings on the fan are wearing out
    <LI>There is fluff caught in the air intake / output which reduces the airflow[/list]Some laptops can be disassembled fairly easily to check the bearings and blow out the fluff, others are much more difficult. You may want to search the internet for information about how to open up your laptop - or take it to an expert to check for you.

    StuartR

  8. #8
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    And my sad story is that my 2 1/2 year old laptop (with a three year warranty) is also getting louder and hotter. When I rang the warrntly folk, they said that the fans are only covered for 12 months!! and that I should have read the fine print.

    I have been looking at Sony Vaios as replacement options, so the recommendation has come at a good time for me (although I would have preferred to get more than 3 years out of the machine)

    Johanna

  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    My goodness! Is the cost of parts and labor to replace a fan high enough to make you buy a new machine instead? I know they bleed us but I didn't think it would be that bad.

  10. #10
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    Gee whiz Al, you know some of us old-timers - we'll spend $20 on just the right tool to remove the screw, then blood, sweat, and tears the screw out, but hesitate to pay the $25 to fix it outright <g>
    Just reminiscing.

  11. #11
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    Hi Al,

    I wouldn't want you to think that I would waste money and resources that easily!! There are a couple of other issues with the said laptop and the combination of things are making me start to look around at what might replace it.

    While at work, I may be a little more carefree in recommending an upgrade cycle, but when it comes to home machines, I am far more cautious and have higher expectations of longevity.

    Johanna

  12. #12
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    I know you have been considering PC notebooks, but you may want to check out the Macbooks. I have a MacBook Pro and it is very nice, quiet and easy to use. I didn't have any problems connecting it wirelessly to the Internet and so far I am pleased with it. I guess it will depend on what software you want on your notebook however. One thing I have found is that there isn't a lot of "freebie" software for a Mac. My needs are not too complicated however so I'm happy with it. Just my <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> Good luck in sorting your choices out! <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>

    BTW, yes, I also have a PC desktop so I am happy with both O/S worlds! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  13. #13
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    I'm glad you brought up the MacBook Pro. I have always had the idea of getting a Mac someday and I was looking at Best Buy at their Pro. The salesman made it sound really good, saying things like the memory is only 2GB but that is sufficient in the Mac environment. I think I also saw that it can be upgraded to 4GB if necessary. As far as "freebie" software goes, I use AVG but the salesman said I won't need it on the Mac. Likewise, Zone Alarm and Spysweeper. I use the free version of the first two. What about games? I do like a bit of solitaire and Mahjong now and then and the versions I have on my PC are freebies. I'll have to look around and see what is available for a Mac. As far as regular software goes, I would need to get Office for Mac and eventually I want Photoshop Elements. That's about it. My needs aren't that complicated either. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    Thanks for your timely <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15>
    <font face="Comic Sans MS"><big><font color=4682b4>Sherry</font color=4682b4></big></font face=comic>

  14. #14
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    Absolutley do NOT believe any salesperson who tells you that you don't need security software in the MAC environment. That may have been true a few years ago but no more. The bad guys are targeting every platform. I'm not familiar with what is available. So, others will have to chime in.

    Joe
    Joe

  15. #15
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    Re: New Notebook Question

    I get emails from Us-Cert by the way of a mailing list, and Windows is NOT alone any more. As Apple devices including the MAC's and Linux machines are listed quite often.

    Have a look at http://www.us-cert.gov/index.html for more information.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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