Laptop running slow? Check temperature with Speedfan!

19 12 2009

Computers typically run just fine when you first get them but then slowly degrade. Even after loading Windows 7 as a clean install I was still experiencing a slower laptop than I remembered when I purchased it 2 years ago. Windows startup/login time was just too slow.

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Using Speedfan (download here) I noticed the laptop was running a little hot, about 140°F and the cooling fan was operating all of the time. Speedfan also measures the actual CPU speed and my dual core cpu’s were running at only 900Mhz. The Intel T2080 Dual-Core CPU installed in the laptop is rated at 1.73 Mhz, so I was losing almost 50% of the rated speed.  This additional CPU information is on the new ‘exotics’ tab of Speedfan (see graphic). I replaced the cooling fan with a brand new one I got off eBay for $20 and the laptop is running at full speed now!! (Speedfan CPU numbers are not dynamic like the temperature and other numbers, the speed reported is at the time Speedfan was started. To get a good sample exit and restart Speedfan several times).

In addition to the laptop running much faster, it is a whole lot quieter; the fan only runs once in a while. (the laptop now runs between 99-117°F). The old fan was much noisier and had clearly worn out, the real culprit however was a buildup of fluff on the fan output which limited the airflow.

Click on image to enlarge

Intel chips made for laptops often have a reduced power modes to save battery life and prevent overheating. If your laptop performance is lack luster, check that it is not overheating and running at a much slower clock rate. Speedfan can also diagnose the health of your hard drive(s), providing one with advanced warning if they are beginning to fail. Click on the S.M.A.R.T. tab in Speedfan and access the online analysis for advice on what the numbers mean. If you do not see any hard drives listed under the S.M.A.R.T. tab then exit Speedfan and run it as administrator.

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