overheating Thinkpad X60s with 7.0-RC1

Jeremy Chadwick koitsu at FreeBSD.org
Sun Jan 6 14:55:32 PST 2008

On Sun, Jan 06, 2008 at 11:20:40PM +0100, Henrik Brix Andersen wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 06, 2008 at 10:26:48PM +0100, Johannes Dieterich wrote:
> > X and T series of the thinkpads are rather different, even the cores are
> > completely different (I have a dualcore low-voltage version, I assume
> > yours is running on a dual Pentium m, or?).
> FWIW, I haven't seen any temperature related issues on my ThinkPad
> X60s, which has been tracking -CURRENT for the last year or so.

My below comment isn't FreeBSD-specific, but I thought I might chime in
with some semi-relevant information anyway.

My workplace recently gave us all T60p (widescreen) units which run
Windows (originally XP, now Vista (isn't my choice...)).  While we were
on XP, some of us had a chance to compare thermals using the
tp4xfancontrol program.  For those not familiar with it, it gives
thermal stats of 7 or 8 different regions on the board, ranging from CPU
(not on-die cores; those you can get elsewhere) to GPU to battery
temperatures to whatever else.  It also lets you control fan speed, in
case you disagree with one of the two methods being used for automated

All temperatures were compared when the systems were idling.

The variance in temperatures was astounding.  In some cases, there was a
almost a 20C difference between two machines, especially around the GPU
area.  In other cases, batteries were reporting insane temperatures on
one laptop (over 90C), while on another well within scope (~25-26C).

My particular laptop is a problem child when it comes to noise -- that
is to say, within literally seconds of the machine finishing POST, the
fan kicks on, then 15-20 seconds later, increases speed.  My co-workers'
laptops do not have this problem.  Cleaning out the heatsink area using
a can of air made no difference.

I won't even bother mentioning what happens when I run something that's
CPU or GPU intensive.  I haven't had any crashes, but in some cases,
I've seen the GPU temperatures reach over 80C -- completely
unacceptable, and bordering on insane.  It's gotten to the point where
to use my T60p *quietly*, I'm forced to prop the rear corners up on
little blocks or whatever, and then place a desk fan nearby, blowing
cold air more or less underneathe the laptop.  This keeps the fan in low
speed mode, which is semi-tolerable.

I *haven't* had any crashes or random system lockups, but many other
co-workers of mine have, and it's safe to say heat is the cause.

In my opinion, most of these laptops (the T60p series, and very likely
related models!) are being assembled with improper amounts of thermal
paste or TIM pads, without proper surface area contact.  Apple recently
had a case of this happening as well with their Macbook Pros, where
their assembly documentation stated they should use an *entire tube* of
thermal paste between the CPU and the heatsink.

Lenovo should be ashamed at the lack of quality control used when these
things are built.  Again, this is a laptop given to me by my workplace
for work, so it's really not my choice (nor can I disassemble it to
examine or fix what the problem might be) -- but if I ever am to buy a
laptop for personal use, Lenovo would not be on my list of vendors.

I would urge those here to consider booting XP somehow (if possible) and
running tp4xfancontrol to check actual temperatures, since FreeBSD's
h/w monitoring capability is spotty at best (I think Linux wins out
here, but at least there's room for growth...)


| Jeremy Chadwick                                    jdc at parodius.com |
| Parodius Networking                           http://www.parodius.com/ |
| UNIX Systems Administrator                      Mountain View, CA, USA |
| Making life hard for others since 1977.                  PGP: 4BD6C0CB |

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