Tuesday, December 05, 2006

This is "cool" (well not as hot as it used to be).

The screen on my LG LW70 laptop is slowly degrading. Every week I get a new vertical line on it as the pixels die.

I've got an extended warranty on it, so I could return it to get a new screen, but I run my life and my business on my laptop, so I'd rather buy a new one than let it out of my sight for more than a few hours.

I noticed that it was pumping out a lot of heat from the heatsink on the left hand side of the unit, and thought that was normal for laptops. But when the next vertical line started flickering on my screen I got desperate and googled "lg lw70 laptop temperature" and discovered a new utility.

Speedfan (http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php) is a clever utility that monitors the temperature of a PC at several different points (HDD, CPU, Video) and lets you configure responses to certain events if the heat gets too high.

To my horror, when I ran it on my laptop, I discovered that it was running at 66 Celsius, which is pretty hot.

I racked my brain trying to figure out a way to reduce the temperature and came up with two ideas:
  • I put the laptop on a U-shaped metal tray. The U-Shape meant that air could get underneath it, and the metal tray conducted the excessive heat away from the laptop.
  • I made the windows power schemes the same whether the laptop is running on batteries or not. So the HDD spins down after 5 minutes, and the Laptop tries to conserve as much power (i.e. produce as little heat) as possible.

The results were drastic. The laptop temperature dropped from 66C down to 44C in about 2 hours.

It won't undo the heat damage that's already been done to my screen, but at least the screen won't sustain any more damage.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to live without my laptop for a week so I can get it repaired :)

I'd recommend speedfan for any machine that has a decent bios and allows monitoring of temperatures.