03-28-2011 12:46 PM
I am extremely pleased with the performance of my W510. However, after some kind of electrical problem fried my system board, it was replaced (under Thinkpad Protection) by an on-site repair technician. Now I'm getting frequent shutdowns when the CPU reaches 97C. I either need to fix this or get a new computer (likely a desktop, as I'm sure this heating issue is worse on other i7-QM machines).
What are the normal operating temperatures when running the CPU at a full 80-100% load? Secondly, is my W510 designed to be able to run at full speed when the fan is running on maximum (~4100RPM) and is not blockeed? Am I simply asking too much of this machine??
Before replacement, I did not have a single instance of overheating, despite using graphics and computation-intensive software. Infrequent temperature checks suggested that 70C was a normal CPU temperature while crunching numbers. I don't believe I ever purposefully ran the CPU at a full load, other than the Windows experience index, and some infrequent chemistry visualization in my primary operating system, Open SuSE.
After the system board was replaced, I have been able to easily always reproduce the 97C CPU temperature with the computer lying flat on a hard surface, in a cold room (62 Fahrenheit) while running different Mathematica calculations which utilize 6 or 8 of the 8 threads (not every time, but many times a day when I'm crunching numbers). This has also happened once while the search-indexing program in SuSE was running in the background while also running a chemistry program.
I have the i7-720QM processor, 4GB RAM, and a regular (non solid-state) HDD. The GPU temperatures are always normal, around 60. I run Open SuSE 11.4, and sometimes switch to Windows 7.
Please advise. It will be a huge hassle to send this in for repair, since it's my primary research tool and I don't have a backup desktop with the same power. Should I investigate the thermal paste situation? Should I set the critical temperature to some value higher than 97?Thank you in advance for your suggestions. Also, please let me know if it is unreasonable to run the laptop for a couple hours at 100%. If this is outside the intended purpose of my computer, then I'll start looking at desktops.
03-29-2011 05:05 PM
I started poking around the inside of the machine, since I was nearly certain the overheating began after the on-site technician replaced my system board. I remove the keyboard, and noticed that the two visible screws which hold the copper heat conductor in place above the CPU weren't really tightened at all ... they were just sitting there. I tightened them up, reassembled the computer, and starting running the CPU at 90-100% (mathematica calculations).
I can't get the temperature higher than 83C. Problem solved.
Can anybody recommend an easy benchmarking package for linux? I wan't to be sure I've solved this problem.
Thank you much.
03-30-2011 05:43 AM
The cooler in your W510 has been incorrectly mounted, or the cooler has a poor fit.
The problem is discribed here in great detail:
04-03-2011 09:16 PM
Thank you for the link.
Despite my protection plan, I took things into my own hands. The service tech didn't tighten the screws that connect the heatsink to the processor. I added a generous amount of thermal grease, and tightened the screws. Of course, some leaked out the sides, but I'm sure that I got (1) a think film and (2) no air pockets.
The system is running very cool now. It idles at < 60C (in the 40s if I turn the fan on full-speed) and maxes out in the 80s instead of hitting the critical 97C trip point.
Thanks again for the link. I'm happy I opened it up; adding the thermal paste was easy.
05-04-2011 09:21 AM
As a further follow-up, I experienced several small problems with the rig that I (obviously) couldn't fix myself. So, I sent it to the depot. As a lesson for other thinkpad owners, if you have the protection plan, AVOID using their on-site service. The local technician did a rushed job, poorly installed the thermal paste, and moreover, did not identify issues with the memory which caused problems later on.
I sent it to the depot. They fixed it and ran a series of tests (including both CPU and video stress tests). My machine is now in perfect working order. I'm confirming their result by running the maximum heat test from Prime95. It's showing temperatures south of 80 at full load.
The bottom line is this: if you've got the time, send the thinkpad to the (EasyServ, I think it's called) depot for repair. They're more thorough. As an aside, despite this hardware failure, I found the service and support to be top-notch. Everything was shipped via overnight air mail, and my computer was repaired in less than two business days. The W510 is a great machine, also. No machine is immune from hardware failures, and a thorough repair is the best way to hedge your bets.