Laptop computers are marvels of computing because of their power and mobility. Even though mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are getting faster, the truth still stands that any miniaturized technology--no matter how fast or efficient--can be made faster if you add more of it. Unfortunately, laptops are a middle ground of power and heat generation that desktop and mobile devices often handle better. Here are a few ways to figure out if your heat is excessive, and advice on solving any excessive heat problems.
What Is Considered Excessive Heat?
Before tackling heat problems, you need to know what kind of temperature is truly a problem. Phrases such as "it burns to the touch" or "feels like summer air in the South" aren't quite good enough when you want precision electronics to work as close to perfect as possible.
Excessive heat is often what will slow down and eventually shut down or burn the equipment. Modern computers have safety features that slow down heat-generating components such as processors and video cards/graphics processing units to avoid getting to critical heat. If that temperature is passed before slowing down can help, the system will shut down to avoid burning.
The temperature is different for every manufacturer, but two major industry players can be your guide. AMD and Intel are two major processor brands, and safe PC temperatures ranges are between 90 degrees Celsius and 105 degrees Celsius. These ranges are not exact (and cannot be exact) because there's a difference between the computer part's temperature and the air temperature, but it's best to be below the manufacturer's safe levels in general.
Stopping Excessive Heat At The Source
There are a few root temperature problems that can be isolated and treated to make troubleshooting easier:
- Blocked ventilation. Ventilation can be blocked by either having a device up against the wall, covering the vents with your extremities (on someone's lap or leg, for example), restricting airflow with a bed, or any way that covers ventilation. Move the device somewhere that cooler air can move freely.
- Excessive dust. The same problem as blocked ventilation, but with more work the fix the problem. Dust needs to be cleaned externally and internally, which may require a laptop repair professional to open the laptop by accessing a few hard to reach screws and easily damaged parts of the framework.
- Poor cooling components. For laptops, you have very little control over what cooling components are put inside. Desktop users can add better heat sinks or water cooling blocks with plenty of room to work. Upgrading cooling will require a technician to dismantle the laptop.
- Poorly-designed components. The least likely, but still quite possible problem is that your laptop's designer/component designer wasn't very good at cooling. This could either be loose assembly that doesn't allow cooling components to work properly, or a processor/other chip that simply runs too hot. Trading in the laptop or upgrading cooling is usually the fix here.
Contact a laptop repair professional to discuss upgrades, repairs, and suggestions for components for your laptops and other computers.