What can I do about an overheating laptop?
Disclaimer: This is for information only. We suggest that you try a reputable local repair shop first (you’re responsible for your own hardware, we accept no liability for the content here / the impact they have).
As your laptop gets older, it will gradually run hotter. This is mainly because that: the fan's path will be less clear & also the thermal paste which conducts the heat away degrades in the effectiveness. Here are a few popular tips, if it gets uncomfortably hot.
Why it matters:
It's better for the laptop to run cooler where possible.
- A laptop that runs warmer will produce more noise / become less comfortable to use on your lap.
- It's normal for it to run a slightly warm / most laptop manufacturer's tech support suggests sending it in for maintenance, if there is a thermal shut down event. It may reach the built-in temperature protection & trigger an automatic shutdown - which may mean that you might risk losing unsaved work.
How to know if it’s overheating:
- You can tell the processor’s temperature by using a free 3rd party app, such as HWMonitor.
- The processor is considered to be running hot if it exceeds 90-95°C during heavy workload, it’s considered running hot. It usually will have a shutdown temperature of around 100 degrees.
- The laptop feels less responsive, it will run at a slower speed (throttling)if it reaches the shutdown temperature.
Part A: Simple steps (which does not affect the warranty):
1. Disable the Intel Processor's TurboBoost feature (easy).
A new laptop's higher temperature should be between 65-85°C. As it gets older, you’ll find it gradually reaching the high 90°Cs. Disabling the TurboBoost feature often reduces the peak temp by about 5-15°C. As a bonus, this normally does not noticeably affect the real-world performance (your mileage will vary). To note, this does not materially change the dust situation within the machine, merely reduces the heat emitted (as result, doing this alone is sometimes not enough).
Take this example, a laptop with Core i7-6700HQ with the 2.60Ghz base speed & TurboBoost speed of 3.5Ghz. As modern transistors work less efficiently at higher temperatures, you could be saving power & generating much less heat by disabling the TurboBoost feature. Some I.T departments proactively disable it on their laptops for better longevity & reliability. This video might help.
Just to note: powerful laptops, especially workstation laptops will run hot - be aware when you start to have thermal shut down events.
2. Buy a laptop cooler/laptop stand
A laptop stand can start from around £20-£30 online - this can sometimes reduce the temperature by around 3-5°C or more. You’ll be able to find one with an active fan. This will often increase the ventilation available for the laptop to cool itself. An additional bonus of this setup is that it could be more ergonomic for your seating position.
The thermal paste is the heat transferring material between the processor and the heat sink. Overtime this paste dries & the ability to transfer heat reduces. Luckily, once this paste is refreshed/serviced, you should be good to go. This is one of the main reason why laptops overheat. Replacing this yourself is likely to void the warranty - so it will be better to use the manufacturer/sellers' warranty service.
If you’re clearly experiencing overheating & your laptop is within the manufacturer/sellers’ warranty period. Then you may be able to contact them & explain that your machine is running hot. They’ll normally require for you to send the laptop to them (pack well) & replace the thermal paste.
If the laptop is out of warranty, your next option is to visit a local I.T repair shop, a good shop should help you out (usually £35-£55 depending on your region, the complexity of the disassembly, and any warranty they add).
Part B: More advanced steps:Please note: these steps will affect the warranty - we accept no liability for any damage that may be caused. These are a few possible services for you to request, at a local I.T repair shop. Ideally, find one that covers the machine if any issue occurs during the servicing.
Your processor sometimes is sometimes given power (voltage), than what it needs to run stably. This YouTube Channel has a helpful walkthrough.
2. Sometimes updating the BIOS of the laptop (visit the manufacturer's support site)
Sometimes updating the drivers enables an improved cooling profile. This is especially helpful if you're using a newer laptop.
Part C: Myth / what not to do (stuff we do not recommend)
1. Randomly spraying compressed air to clean the fan.
If the local repair shop/warranty service isn't an option - sometimes you'll see Tips/YouTube videos, which suggests releasing some compressed air to clean the fan is an option.
Whilst less dusts in a system is better - we generally do not recommend this option, as it's hard to know that the loose dust will completely exit the system (or potentially furthering the dust build-up on motherboards). For instance, unless you're able to open the back cover to ensure that the compressed air is exiting in the right direction (out of the laptop), perhaps it's better to leave this method out. If in doubt - visit a local I.T repair shop.