10-16-2011 08:11 PM
I have a ThinkPad T61 going on five years old. Over the last several months it seemed like it might be overheating. Several times it shut down during heavy activity and/or when the afternoon sun hit the unit in its docking station. I figured this was due to the move to the more graphics-intensive Windows 7 OS from the original Windows XP. I did make sure to vacuum out the passages for cooling air.
I recently downloaded a free (!) utility called Real Temp from www.techpowerup.com/realtemp. This showed both cores running at a temperature in the high 80's/low 90's (degrees Centigrade).
The cooling fan then intermittently began making sounds that indicated a failing bearing. I have onsite service so I had Lenovo/IBM come out and replace the fan. (The fan stopped making noise as soon as I placed the service call, of course.)
I then re-ran Real Temp. The temperatures in both cores were now in the high 40's/low 50's (degrees Centigrade)!!!
The fan had apparently been gradually failing for quite some time, with a reduced flow of cooling air, but the problem only became readily apparent when the bearings started making noise. The air passages were clear, so the fan had to have been running more slowly that it should have been.
In the time-honored IT tradition of reading the directions only after solving the problem, I looked at some of the (excellent) documentation on the TechPowerUp site for Real Temp. I learned that as Intel processors approach their upper temperature limit that they slow down, trying to reduce the amount of heat being generated. Now that my CPU is running at a more normal temperature I can definitely say that my system is running faster. The fan problem apparently developed gradually over time so I hadn't noticed the slow-down.
If you have a ThinkPad (or any other system with an Intel CPU and an engineered cooling system) that is several years old I would recommend downloading Real Temp and checking your CPU temperature(s). If they are higher than expected then check the air passages for blockage and, if necessary, replace the cooling fan. Even if the fan isn't making any noises indicating failure, my experience would indicate that a fan can gradually fail without symptoms and, as a result, slow down system processing speed.
(If you want to replace the fan in your T61 yourself, there is an illustrated step-by-step guide at http://www.insidemylaptop.com/replace-cooling-fan-lenovo-thinkpad-t61-laptop).
10-16-2011 11:11 PM - edited 10-16-2011 11:14 PM
Additional you can do the steps described below before you buy a new fan.:
In most cases dust is blocking the ribs inside the heat sink.
Very often it will help do do the following steps:
After cleaning the heat sink the temperature will be very lower than before.
You will do this on your own risk! I do not incur liability for damages.
10-16-2011 11:18 PM