T61 Overheat shut down

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by eijiyuki, Mar 20, 2009.

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  1. eijiyuki

    eijiyuki Notebook Consultant

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    I was playing Left 4 Dead earlier and after 2hrs or so, the laptop just shutdown on itself.... is this normal? do i just need to get a laptop cooler?
     
  2. Megatron

    Megatron Notebook Consultant

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    You should start by checking the temps on you cpu and gpu. You can do this with programs such as speedfan or nvidia monitor or rmclock etc.

    Here you should be able to see if it's the cpu or the gpu that gets too hot. There are critical temps set for both the cpu and gpu and if the component hits its critical temp the computer turns off for safety reasons (so your parts don't get fried).

    It might be enough to just down clock your gpu or lower the voltage on the cpu.
     
  3. bsodder

    bsodder Notebook Evangelist

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    shouldn't happen from heat = the chips will slow themselves down when the heat gets too high. I suspect some other problem. Is this a T61p with 2 dimms?
     
  4. Amn

    Amn Notebook Geek

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    Incorrect. It will slow down temporarily, then it WILL shutdown.

    What many fail to realize in these discussions that it does not come down to CPUs only, there is a heap of other components inside the laptop that are very sensitive to abnormally high temperatures and depend on the system fan and heatsink to be cooled properly, so even if the Core 2 Duo CPU can tolerate to about something above 100*C, most of the other components fail at about 80*C (or somewhere around it), and the copper heatsink will warm up because of the CPU die at load, which will bump up your GPU temperature (integrated or discrete) even if the latter is idle, because they share the same copper heatsink. The same principle, only over air (even though it is actually very insulating) and circuit board, applies, with temperature propogading through entire chassis. That is why even if the CPU has not shutdown the machine yet, many other components are beyond their critical thresholds and eventually the BIOS will shutdown the machine, if CPU wont, whichever decides first. The Core 2 Duo does signal alarm shutdown however, but like I said before it does so, it throttles down to about 200Mhz or so.
     
  5. Arki

    Arki Super Moderator

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    Not normal. I've play L4D hours on end and mine doesn't shut off. Must be something else. What are your specs?
     
  6. pheng_vue3

    pheng_vue3 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've had the same thing with a laptop before. I fixed it by replacing the Heatsink inside of the laptop. If your computer is in warranty you can replace it for free. If not, you can find another heatsinker on Ebay and other sites to replace the part.

    However, do other diagnostics to make sure it is because of your heat sink before proceeding. I prefer the programs listed above to determine if it is your system overheating. If it is, replace the heat sink. It should take roughly 5 min. - 30 min. to replace depending on the laptop and your skill level.

    FYI, do not block the fans and always put the laptop on a flat hard surface.
     
  7. rob65789

    rob65789 Notebook Consultant

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    I use tpfancontrol to control the fan speed when my t61 is working hard with HD video. The temperature can get into the 90's and then the laptop will shut down. So now, whenever i see my temp reach the 80's, I run tpfancontrol, (actually i run it at start up these days), and manually override the fan speed to high. Unless there is also poor ventilation, (like using in bed), the temperature quickly returns to the 60's. A little inconvenient because I have to notice it getting hot, but not really such a big deal once you get used to it. The fan control really works.
     
  8. SonDa5

    SonDa5 Notebook Deity

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    Most of my L4D time i have have is with the STEAM version of L4D and my T61p has never crashed.

    If I remember correctly there is a trick to get L4D to start up on the T61p because of the FX570m GPU. However it can be done.

    Also IMO the T61p has a poor heat sink and cooling design. The CPU and GPU share the same heat sink. The GPU dissipates heat through the CPU then out the vents via fan blowing air on the fins.

    They should have separated the heat sinks IMO.

    TP fan control should greatly help your machine. I run it on mine when I game or run folding@home.
     
  9. Amn

    Amn Notebook Geek

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    The thing with tpfancontrol is that it does no miracles. It uses the same fan, and those same speeds that the fan is rated to spin at,the difference is the control algorithm that decides when to kick in, when to change speed, and when to turn off the fan.

    The embedded controller is a dedicated chip - with its own memory and processor inside - that takes care of various things in your Thinkpad T61 (and others) - including controlling battery charging thresholds and running the program that monitors temperatures and controls the system fan thereafter.

    What many fail to realize is that Thinkpads DO NOT HAVE A CPU FAN. It is not there to just cool the CPU. It is there to create airflow throughout the entire chassis and is attached to a relatively large heatsink, together they are meant to cool everything that needs to be cooled. An idle Core 2 Duo CPU is cooled VERY effectively in my opinion, at least compared to other notebook manufacturers where temperatures lie usually anything from 1 to 15 degrees above Thinkpads.

    In T61's there is a very annoying (and in my honest opinion overseed and under-designed) area of the laptop - either the southbridge (under the three trackpoint buttons on system board) or an inch to the right from it - that quickly gets to its 'normal' temperature under moderate conditions - 43*C - 48*C - depending on airflow and temperatures inside and around laptop of course. The problem with this is that it is poorly designed, because even at 3300rpm the T61's fan hardly has as much cooling effect on this area as on other components, which it cools pretty effectively. At maximum fan speeds the sensor will show drop of about 4-5 degrees to about 40* under loads.

    The problem with above is the fact that the embedded controller program that by default controls your system fan has naturally an algorithm to do so, but it is a bit misplaced. Nobody knows exactly how it works, because not only has Lenovo/IBM never disclosed the source code and/or logic for it, but also because it runs on the processor of the embedded controller, and reverse-engineering that is quite a task. Now, it is assumed that the program reads some if not all temperature sensors and naturally, decides fan speeds. What however is apparent, is that it is quite sensitive to that very sensor (0xC1 in tpfancontrol GUI, and most other references, also sometimes referred to as sensor #10), more precisely, it kicks in the fan whenever temperature crosses 43 or 44 degrees, regardless of other temperatures (i.e. your CPU and/or GPU may be at 20*C) and stays so or even spins up until the temperature readout of that sensor drops to 42. The obvious issue is: because of somehow poor design of either southbridge position, heatsink shape, airflow design, choice of cooling that southbridge passively (it has no heatsink), or all of the above, it is quite hard for the Thinkpad to cool that sensor. If your Thinkpad is in bed, the area under the laptop where the southbridge is is probably covered by sheets or something other almost just as airtight, and you can forget about the system fan cooling it. The best it will do is keep it at about 45*C, the worst (and this happens often) is it will hover at about 48 or 49, and the fan program will get even more paranoid and decide to ramp up fan speed.

    Now you can see the picture and the apparent bad design flaw - even if your CPU and perhaps other components are cool as Fonzies, because of that single sensor, your fan will stay on, eat your battery life, dust up the insides of your Thinkpad because of the airflow, and do so at higher fan speeds than you thought. If you think of it as a graph of temperatures over different sensors, you have a sharp spike for sensor 10, and a well designed system would not have spikes, all temperatures would rise much less proportionally, because even for components with different heat output, the design would make sure the cooling has good effect on all of them.

    Now to the tpfancontrol. I can only speculate that one of Shimodax' goals was to alleviate the problem where the confused EC (embedded controller) fan program paranoidally starts the fan wherever sensor 10 crosses 43 or 44 *C. Now, 44*C is not the end of the world, even for the Southbridge, so why not sacrifice some degrees, and raise the threshold to something like 50, huh (he may have thought). Now, the fan will not kick in until it reaches that, and the results are MUCH less fan usage. Of course the sensor 10 will eventually trip 50 too, since the fan has been idle, but (because it displays a logarithmic curve) it is easier and faster to cool it from 50*C down than from 44, so it will in about a minute or less cool it down to 47*C and most likely stop spinning.

    Now, of course there are other sensors, each of which has a threshold that will startup the fan in either EC fan program or tpfancontrol, but the thing is tpfancontrol has higher thresholds for at least the sensor 10, and this results in less fan use at the cost of a bit warmer southbridge area.

    Whether Lenovo has decided to leave cooling matter at the state it is now for at least T61 models, or whether it is absolutely critical for the sensor 10 to stay under 44*C, we will most likely not find out, as they are not talking about these things, so people who write fan control programs like tpfancontrol do a lot of dirty work figuring things out on their own. The fact is the system board and the heatsink could have been designed better, which would result in less fan use, but tpfancontrol takes care of that problem. Your system will be slightly warmer though, because there is still the same heat output from the same Thinkpad as under EC fan control program, and the fan is also the same.

    The issue is the same regardless if you have integrated or dedicated graphics, because all Santa Rosa (including, but not limited to) platforms have the same southbridge.

    Hope this has helped somebody. I spent months digging into this, and have also had disassembled Thinkpads and had to spend time with cool air spray to figure stuff out, and there is still room for more knowledge :)

    If your system overheats at 90*C and the fan is idle something is wrong. The fan should have kicked in long ago, and if you need to rely on tpfancontrol (which is a CPU program, not a EC program, i.e. it uses your CPU) to make sure the fan works, something is either wrong with your EC, its firmware or BIOS. The CPU threshold should have tripped the EC program at about 60*C.

    You can also disassemble the Thinkpad, remove the heatsink, remove the thermal grease, dust off, wipe clean and polish the copper with soft cloth, reapply Arctic Silver 5, reattach and make sure it is firmly attached, and that may have some good results.

    If there is something wrong with your hardware, i.e. it is loose, best bet is to use your warranty service, or start buying parts on eBay and replacing them yourself.
     
  10. SonDa5

    SonDa5 Notebook Deity

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    The T61 is done. :D I don't think they will ever change it.

    My T61p has dropped temps tremendously by lowering voltage to the cpu using RIM clock, using after market thermal grease and using TPFanControl.


    I haven't taken apart many ThinkPads but I saw some pics of a dissassembled
    SL300 and was impressed by how it used 2 separate heat sinks for the GPU and CPU. Big win for that design.
     
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