Warranty Irony

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yogi
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Warranty Irony

Post by yogi » 09 Jun 2019, 19:27

This is a continuation of the thread wherein I ask if Linux is worth all the trouble. I'm not so pro-Windows that I refuse to evaluate and explore the potentials of Linux. Yet, as of this writing, I would have say, no, Linux is not worth all the trouble. That is a qualified "no" which only applies to my circumstances. I realize how valuable it can be for others with more serious needs, but my great adventure to ultimately find a replacement for Microsoft Windows isn't pointing a compelling finger toward Linux.

My exploits in the land of UEFI are documented in another thread and I have not given up on that idea in spite of the fact I've not been able to get Linux working as it can and should. I'm on hiatus from that project and have been concentrating on a long time effort to Make Windows 10 Great Again. To that end I've acquired a SSD and 16GB of RAM. These two hardware items did wonders for my Windows 7 machine and I am hoping to see the same improvements on the infamous MSI laptop I own. The glitch has been the warranty on the laptop stating I can't go into the bowels of the machine lest I void any guarantees provided by MSI. They put a paper tag over one of the screw holes so that they could tell if I ever opened their box and give me a hard time about it. Well, I have now officially passed through the novelty stage of owning a new computer. MSI is a whole two months old now, maybe three. I forget. So this is the day I decided to violate MSI's less than generous warranty. I do appreciate the encouraging words about the Magnuson Act which was part of today's motivation. I also have some software that needs to be installed on the laptop and I didn't want to do that until the hardware upgrade was in place. So today I did the upgrade.

A dozen or so screws hold the bottom panel in place. Then there are those snap in tabs and slots around the perimeter which require a credit card to pry open. Or, in my case, a putty knife. The credit card, or something soft as plastic, is much better when there is a possibility of damaging internal silicon and copper etchings, but the card trick didn't seem to be working. So I went right to the heavy guns. The insides were pretty much what I've seen on YouTube. The battery was held in place by one screw which I thought was odd, but then this is the battery totally enclosed inside the case. It's not accessible from the outside like normal laptops. I also noted the CMOS battery had a push button switch next to it. This is what you press when you want to reset BIOS, or UEFI in this case. I was elated to see that given the problems I had with no such button on the last laptop.

The replacement of the hard drive and the memory board went very well. One of the three screws holding the HDD, which is now SSD, in place vanished into some other hidden dimension of the universe. The bracket gets screwed into a threaded post which is molded into the body of the unit. The screw slipped and fell into the case but was perfectly visible. The screwdriver I had was magnetic, but for one reason or another it did not latch onto the misplaced screw. So, I did the natural thing and tipped the entire unit so that the screw would fall out on it's own. It didn't. I didn't hear it fall onto the table top, nor upon close inspection did I find it on the table top. I then got on all fours and patted down the carpeting hoping to feel something metallic in the process. No deal. I then assumed the screw slipped under the circuit board. It could not have gone far. No matter how much I shook it, I could not hear any screws jostling around under the electronics, not even after I pounded it a few times with the putty knife. So, I came to the conclusion that the screw went through some kind of time warp and is now inside some unsuspecting soul's laptop in a parallel universe. Where else can it be?

Typical of such projects from the past, I am now short one screw to hold the bottom warranty protection mechanism in place. As I gazed at all the possible holes of which I could select one to not be filled with a screw, a brilliant thought crossed my mind. Since that warranty protection tag that used to cover a screw hole is now missing, that seemed like the ideal place in which to not put a screw as well.

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Kellemora
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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by Kellemora » 10 Jun 2019, 11:29

Oh Yogi, better find that screw. All it has to do is touch a trace inside and POOF it can short out something.
I do hope you find it did fall out and land in your pants cuff or somewhere.
Many of the screws used in these little laptops are not actually steel, well they are, but usually 360 stainless which means they are not attracted to a magnet.
Shame you didn't think of using a soda straw to suck it out, or a dab of goo on the end of your screwdriver.

If there was only one sticker, you might have been able to heat it up with a hair dryer to get it to release.
That is how I got the Microsoft Stickers off of computer cases intact to put in my note book.

Hopefully, if that screw is still in there, it is lodged somewhere away from the electronics.

Let me know how the update and upgrade went.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by yogi » 10 Jun 2019, 14:57

Let me tell you, Gary, nobody has more concern about the location of that prodigal screw than me myself. I spent my entire working life tinkering with electronic assemblies and know very well what the potential for irreversible damage could be. I did everything but remove the motherboard from its mount. It's not like I've never removed motherboards from laptops before, but I never have been able to put them back together again. This motherboard didn't look any easier to remove than the others I've disemboweled so that I had grave reservations about looking for a something that might not be there and destroying the computer in the process. I did bang on the case and shake it to the point I was convinced that if the screw was inside the computer, it wasn't any threat. It's hard to believe it's not inside the computer because I was watching it to be certain I knew where it was at all times. I took my eyes off for only a moment and poof. As far as my senses are concerned, it vanished into the ether. The good news is that after nearly 24 hours, there has been no sparks nor smoke coming from under the keyboard. :mrgreen:

The screws are some kind of steel with a copper color to them. They are magnetic, but the screwdriver is tiny and not so strong with magnetism. There is also blue glyptol on the threads of all the screws except those which are screwed directly into the hard drive case. Those look like stainless, but it didn't matter. I could lift those out with my fingers.

After I replaced the RAM and the drive I partially reassembled the case. I put the optical reader back in so that I'd not confuse BIOS and that required one screw into the housing. Then I put three more screws into widely spaced holes just to hold the cover in place should I have to flip it again. I turned the power on and immediately went into BIOS to see if everything looks fine. It all was exactly as before with two exceptions. The RAM now registered 16GB instead of the original 8GB. The boot order remained the same, but the slot for the hard drive didn't have any UEFI bootloader listed. I thought this to be odd given that I used a program from Acronis to copy the system over from the HDD to the SSD. Crucial, the SSD maker, suggested to do it this way, so what could have gone wrong? I tried booting and recovering from an image, but nada. Thus, I had to open it up again and take a look-see. I examined the SSD in particular because that is the general area in which the screw disappeared. It was installed, but something looked funny. Apparently in my haste I didn't plug the SSD into the SATA connector correctly so that the contacts did not mesh. I removed the drive, gave one final look for an AWOL screw, and assembled it all together again. This time BIOS showed a bootloader in the HDD/SDD slot and did in fact bring up Windows 10. :mrgreen:

Because Microsoft does something funky in the boot process, I didn't notice any great improvement in the boot speed. This is because they never really shut down the system. They put the kernel to sleep so that it never looses its state of being when the power is off. That allows things to boot very quickly. However clever Microsoft might be for doing that, it has caused problems for me in the past. The lock screen and the desktop show up amazingly quick but a look at the system resource monitor will show an inordinate number of processes running in the background for nearly five minutes before it settles down. The intent is to make it look like it's booting fast, and it works pretty well. BUT, not everything is usable from the desktop as soon as it appears. All the Linux OS's I've looked at are usable immediately, but they don't always boot as quickly as Windows 10. Hard to believe, I know, but it's the truth in at least a few cases.

As I expected there are some noticeable improvements in download and install speed. The web browsers don't show a lot of improvement even if they are loading from cache. The programs I've checked do start up quicker but the big test is going to be come Wednsday when the weekly OS update comes down the tubes. The old Toshiba laptop would take three hours to backup the existing system, download the new, and then install and configure the new. The MSI laptop cut that down to a little over an hour: 70-75 minutes. So now with a boatload of RAM and a super quick SSD, I'm hoping to cut down the update time even more. I'll let you know how that goes when it happens.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by Kellemora » 11 Jun 2019, 09:42

About all I know of SSD drives is from my brother who is NOT a computer whiz.
He used to call me every time he had a problem.

He no longer has desktop computers, runs his entire business on two laptops, one never leaves the building and is on 24/7, the other he uses for his personal stuff and carries it around with him.
Since it gets a lot of rough handling, he made sure it had a large SSD drive in it.
He said although both of his laptops are almost identical, same make and model, but built for him by his computer guy.
One has a regular 250 gig HD, and one has a 500 gig SSD, except it is not a drive but a Chip instead. I think he said M2SSChip or something like that. Both machines have 8 gig RAM. But the machine with the SSD loads programs he uses almost instantly, while the base laptop takes almost two or three seconds longer.
Where he really notices the difference is when he loads his Inventory Program.
Basically, he copies the running Inventory List from the fixed laptop over to his portable laptop so he can check to see what he needs to order. If he loads the list on the base laptop it takes a good 10 to 15 seconds. Takes about half an hour to send it from the base to his portable via WiFi. But it loads on the portable in less than a second.
He's certain the SSD card is why!

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by yogi » 11 Jun 2019, 12:32

There are several options for solid state memory. One is what you probably have seen and are most familiar with, a clone of the traditional HDD's you'll find in any laptop. This is the kind of SSD I used to turbocharge my Windows 7 installation. I was stunned at what it did for booting. I never realized how slow HDD's are until I made this upgrade. Typically this type of SSD will swap out seamlessly with any SATA drive you already have in place.

The ASUS tower I built has an M2 card slot for an SSD. This looks like an oversized RAM chip card and has a few more things on it besides memory. The beauty of this M2 card is that it can run off your PCIe bus or off SATA. The typical application is to install the OS on this card and store your data on some other drive. The boost in performance is even more phenomenal than what those hard drive SSD's can do.

By far the best performing SSD is what is known as RAM disc. I'm pretty sure Linux has the capability of configuring a portion of your RAM memory so that it looks like another hard drive. You would want to do this because it's neither SATA nor PCIe. It's a direct line to the processor (they probably have a fancy name for that bus, but I know it as the data bus). You just can't communicate with the processor any faster than this. The downside is that in many cases the RAM disc is temporary memory. You don't want to put anything permanent in there. I use it mostly for downloads and heavy file transfers within my system. However, I also never lost any data when the power has been turned off. That includes losing the main power to the house. The ASUS RAM disc isn't like the regular RAM that loses it all when the power shuts off.

And, as in interesting side note, I purchased that now defunct Toshiba laptop as a result of a sales call by somebody who came to the house to give us an estimate for some work we wanted done. He had a Toshiba laptop with a 17" screen and I was impressed at what he was doing with it. So, I went to E-Bay and got one of my own. The rest is history. But, I would say also that I'd never rely on laptops alone to run a business. They are way too vulnerable in my opinion.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by Kellemora » 12 Jun 2019, 11:24

I honestly don't know how anyone gets anything done trying to use a laptop, unless they are on the move like a sales representative.
I guess the kids learn how to use them since they have them for school.
I bought one to take to writing meetings, and cringed when I looked around the room, as no one was seated properly to be doing any typing at all. And I probably looked like a DORK, because although I had a laptop I was using, I also had a separate keyboard and mouse, plus a little metal wire thing I bought that slips over the edge of some tables and holds the keyboard down just above your lap. Most restaurant and cafeteria type tables I can use it on, but not if they have the edge under the table that extends downward, like the old Chromecraft kitchen tables. When I hit places like that, I could take my wire stand and turn it upside down and set in on the seat of the chair, if the chair was wide enough.
For doing only writing, the laptop is OK, but for almost anything else, I consider them too slow and useless.

The main reason I bought my first laptop was I was going around to my older family members collecting data for my Genealogy. I normally used it to fill in Family Group Sheets, then would check the data with my known previous work.
But as always happened, when I went to check data already in the genealogy program, we ended up spending the entire time showing them the relatives and double checking the data on them with things they may have had on hand.
To prevent this, I started showing up with only my binder of their families Family Group Sheets, and entering the data on blank paper forms. The poor laptop got relegated to the bottom of the closet until the batteries leaked and destroyed the laptop, nice carrying case, and twice, the floor under where I had it stored for years.

Would you believe, I still have a 286 laptop stuck in the garage closet. So much stuff piled in front of and over it, I won't be able to get to it again until I move or die and someone else has to clean up the bottom of that closet, hi hi.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by yogi » 12 Jun 2019, 12:04

Of course I believe you have a 286 stashed away in your closet. I do as well with Windows 3.1 on it. It's the first computer I bought for my youngest daughter. Now that you mention it, I probably should check to see if the batteries are ok.

My greatest problem with laptops is the flat keyboard and membrane key switches. I have the laptop for road trips and only attach a mouse to it because I disable the touchpad in BIOS. Typing is a pain on laptops, but I don't use mine for anything productive. It's mostly for entertainment and communications while I travel. I used to think it was a joke to expect people to do serious work with tablet devices. It turns out they are very useful for specific business applications. You'd not want to write a book or seriously edit any pictures on one, but they are great for presentations and generating delivery receipts.

The upgrades I made to the MSI hardware are challenging the notion that laptops are useless. LOL Everything seems to work quicker and smoother. I'm expecting a Windows update later on today so that the ultimate test is yet to be applied. I'm optimistic about that going well. But it's not a perfect machine by any means. I go into that in more detail in another thread.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by Kellemora » 13 Jun 2019, 11:04

Our insurance broker has a Lenovo Yoga laptop with dual boot Windows10 and Ubuntu 17. It is UEFI only!
This is a touch-screen laptop, and he zips through all the forms and stuff lickety split.
When he was here last week he booted into Ubuntu to show me it worked just as fast, and visit several websites with heavy graphics, and one with a movie.
He too carries a small keyboard with him for entering the data into the forms, says it is faster than using the display keyboard or the one on the laptop itself. It is not a standard size keyboard, looks about like the kind on the laptop itself, the numbers are in with the letter keys, etc.
Said he paid over a thousand dollars for it with both Windows and Ubuntu already installed on it by the place he buys his computers from. Then he took it to his agency to have them install their business software on it for him.
He does not mess with the computer at all, just uses it is all. But he prefers Ubuntu over Windows for his personal stuff.
Just so happened he did play a game on Farcebook too, not FarmTown but something more akin to Sims. So I could not tell if it worked better or worse than my computers. I asked him to go to my farm, but to see it he would have to agree to join FarmTown and he didn't want to do that. He does play a shoot-em-up game which appears to be one of those complex streaming games, and it ran smooth and fast.
So, I guess laptops have come a long way.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by yogi » 13 Jun 2019, 16:19

I've written about my trials and tribulations with laptops and multi booting in another thread so that I don't need to go into that here. I can say that I'm very pleased with the performance of the MSI, albeit not as perfect as I would like it to be. I now have three OS's installed and they are faster and better than my desktop in some respects. I struggled dearly to get the Nvidia graphics card to work with Linux, but I can now report that it was well worth the effort. The clarity and definition of the images and .gif's I've viewed is outstanding. Also, I mentioned that the real test of improvement in performance would be when the latest Windows 10 update comes in. That happened this morning and I have mixed feelings about it. The cycle time for a total reinstall came in about ten or fifteen minutes less than before the RAM and SSD upgrade. I was hoping for something better, but I am convinced now that this is as good as it gets. It simply takes a long time (45+ minutes) to upgrade Windows no matter what kind of computer hardware you have.

I don't think I'll get into gaming on the laptop, although I may at some point install something temporary just to give the fan on the graphics card some exercise. It has yet to turn on, or if it does, I can't hear it.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by Kellemora » 14 Jun 2019, 12:13

There may be a program you can display in the panel showing which fans are running and the temps of the devices they are cooling, if those options are available on the MoBo or with the devices.
I don't keep any of those things showing on my computer because they use resources, but every once in awhile I will take a look see out of curiosity. Even my HDs tell me what they are running at on some of my computers, and this one.

Glad you finally got the NVidia card working with the laptop. I didn't know there was room in a laptop to install the more powerful separate video cards, they must be super tiny, hi hi. Plus there would have had to have been a slot where you could install it too. I've not seen the insides of too many laptops and never saw places to connect more cards.
Heck, even the frau's computer has no extra slots, not even for a second HD.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by yogi » 14 Jun 2019, 15:01

The graphics card in the laptop is exactly the same one I have in the ASUS tower with one exception. The footprint and volume of space taken up by the laptop card is about 25% of that which is in the tower. There are no slots for cards or drives in this laptop. The connection to the card is via those flexible flatwire cables I'm certain you have seen many times. My only regret is that I did not take a photo of it when I had the case open. The model is GTX960M, the appended "M" means it's designed for portable devices. The thing about it is that the patent is on the circuity and not on the form factor. Thus, if you Google the model number for the card you will see many different shapes and sizes. The circuitry, nonetheless, is identical no matter what the packaging.

The SMART technology for sensing temperature, fan speed, and various other environmental factors must be built into the equipment. It's not all software, although you do need software in addition to the sensors. I have such devices in the tower and in the laptop. The fan speed is generally that which is controlled by the motherboard. In the case of my laptop I have two fans; one is the traditional one tied to the µP via a copper bus while the other is a similar or identical one tied to the GPU via it's own copper bus. The µP fan was all dusty and needed cleaning when I got close enough to see it, but the GPU fan was clean as if it never ran at all. I have software to see what is going on with the SDD but nothing equivalent for the µP. You want to keep that software running all the time so that it can shut down the system, or at least give you some kind of warning, when things start to get too hot. The display does take up clock cycles, but you have billions of those that go unused most of the time. I don't think you will be slowing down anything by monitoring the temp and fan speed. :mrgreen:

And, just to be clear, the Nvidia card never failed to work with the MSI laptop. It automatically switches in as required, or if I tell it to wake up. The graphics are more than I expected them to be because the laptop monitor has better resolution than the one I'm using on the desktop. What did not work was LINUX operating systems. There has been a problem in Linux-land ever since Nvidia decided to make drivers that can be installed into Linux systems. The Linux kernel, however, will not recognize Nvidia and supplies its own drivers that are not proprietary. While that's nice and consistent with the FOSS philosophy, it cause big problems in the practical world. Nvidia is fine and Linux is fine. But the two have opposite points of view regarding licensing. Thus Linux breaks Nvidia and not the other way around.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by Kellemora » Yesterday, 10:03

I've never had much luck with 3rd party drivers for proprietary equipment.
So for the past several years, I make sure the hardware I buy is Linux compatible with full-function drivers.
Now although HP does not write the Linux drivers themselves, they do provide all the info necessary so full-function drivers can be written for their equipment, and they test and approve the drivers themselves.
This is the only reason I went back to buying something made by HP.
But as you already know, the first printer I bought from them was a lemon and I waited to long to get them to fix it under warranty. I didn't start using it right away, I waited until my Konica/Minolta ran out of toner, then switched to the HP. It installed and ran great, I thought, at least all the functions work. But it wasn't until I went to print color labels and final documents that I discovered it was a bad printer.
I did go out and buy another one same make and model but without the duplexer. Now it works great, and the other one is still sitting here as a brick.
Quality is not something I can associate with HP, nor do they stand behind their products.
Only 500 pages were ever printed from the first HP, and most of those were test pages trying to figure out why it wasn't printing right. The fact it sat here unused for several months, and then I kept messing around trying to get it to work by trying all kinds of things, as they suggested on their help forums.

Onto your laptop. If it has as much power as you say, how the heck do you keep it cool enough to keep using it?
Even my little netbook, I have a stand to set it on with a fan that blows through the air intake to help keep it cool when I'm using it.

I have one computer here, that I think it is the power supply going bad by overheating.
It can sit here on for days, but the minute I start using it, about five minutes later it will shut itself off.
I've opened it up and blew out the fans and heatsinks, including blowing through the power supply, but it doesn't seem to help.
It's the same case as the frau's older computer that the video section burned out in. VGA plugs are not hot-swappable, hi hi. I was thinking of buying a cheap graphics card for it, but when I told the dealer what happened, he said a video card in the slot may not help, as I probably fried other parts of the motherboard.
So I was thinking about swapping out the power supplies. Just never got around to it yet. Way too many irons in the fire, hi hi.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by yogi » Yesterday, 14:29

I have not had as many problems as you with HP equipment, but they are far from perfect. In fact their imperfection has driven me to buy Panasonic, Canon, and Epson. After using those three for several years I came back to the less than perfect HP brand. They are the best of the lot that I have sampled. I can say that because I don't stress my equipment to the point that you do. I realize you are just going to the limits of the design and no further (right?), but in the end your applications are not what mine are. I think that accounts for the differences in experiences.

You bring up an interesting point about heat. When I first noted that they were putting Nvidia cards INSIDE laptops, notebooks, I had the same question. How in all hell does it stay cool enough not to melt down the keyboard sitting right on top of the graphics card? LOL I have a hint about how MSI does it, but it may not be the complete answer.

While there is a separate Nvidia graphics card inside my laptop, there is also a set of graphics chips on the motherboard from Intel. The Nvidia card can be removed (in theory) and I'll still have graphics capability. Knowing this, at one time I decided to simply disable the Nvidia card from functioning and thereby solve all the Linux boot problems I've been having. In fact that approach was suggested in a forum or two that I researched. I could not disable the card in BIOS. It recognizes both but neither one of them can be disabled. I can disable either one or both using Windows Device Manager, but that does me no good with Linux. So, I'm guessing the Nvidia card is not active all the time. There is an option in the context menus for me to turn on the card for any given program. I assume Nvidia is idle until I tell it to fire up. That is one way to cut down the heat being generated internally. The mobo Intel graphics generator simply does not do what the extra card does and runs cooler.

The second hint has to do with µP utilization. Look at the resource monitor in any computer that is running hot. More often than not the CPU usage is near or at max. That means the processor is running at full speed, 2.8GHz in my case, and generating a lot of heat. The clock speed varies depending on what software you are running but some processors are just insufficient for the job. They run near max all the time. That's why you need to be careful selecting which µP is built into your machine. One that is over powered will run a lot cooler than one that is running @ 90% cycle time.

And, you may or may not know, there are power setting in the Windows Control Panel. You can set the maximum and minimum processor power usage to suit your needs. My desktop is set to run 100% all the time because it has so much horsepower that it will generally sit at 10-15% duty cycle. But that max setting can be adjusted to something lower, say 60%. If you do that in the laptop it will run cooler because the processor is being limited. Yes, performance will be affected so that it could be a choice between performance vs heat. Nvidia has similar constraints for it's GPU cards. Many over-clockers laugh at all that and just run 100%+ all the time. They monitor the temperature closely and know when things will melt down. At those high duty cycle rates the fans are running as fast as they are designed to do and hopefully that design will keep the temperatures within a safe range.

As for my MSI, I barely have touched on its potential. As I noted elsewhere it looks like the fan on the graphics card never turned on. That makes sense given I have no games beyond Solitaire and Mahjong on there. :lol:
Last edited by yogi on 16 Jun 2019, 13:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by Kellemora » Today, 10:44

Although I had to remove the graphics card that came in the Silver Yogi due to a broken trace for the card slot.
It still runs great on the internal graphics on the MoBo.
About the only time I hear the CPU fans kick up to higher speeds is when I'm running 8 to 10 instances of Farm Town at the same time, because I'm running the neighbors facilities.
I have a normal wired thermometer sensor outside the power supply on the Silver Yogi, and it is accurate.
Right now, since I am just doing text work on a website, the air blowing out of the power supply fan is 79.9 degrees.
When I'm playing Farm Town, the temp is usually up around 90, and when I have 8 tabs open, the temp is cracking 100 for a bit. Normally, when I see it approaching 100 degrees, I will not open as many tabs until it is back down to 95 again.
However, the fan I hear kicking into high gear is the CPU fan, which gets it's air from outside the machine, and blows out a different area, not necessarily through the power supply exhaust fan.
I've always used this thermometer on the computer I use daily, and almost all of them read in the 90s when I'm doing things with heavy graphics, like paying Farm Town or editing photographs one after the other.
Even so, unless I have several tabs open with graphics running on each of them, all the machines hang around the mid 80 degree mark.

I've never messed with changing any of the factory settings as far as CPU cycles and the like.
With my luck, I would make a mistake and burn the thing out, hi hi.

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Re: Warranty Irony

Post by yogi » 27 minutes ago

There is a difference between air temperature and surface temperature of computer components. It's often a big difference too. That's why the SMART technology folks put sensors inside the components or attach them directly to the chip's case. I've read where in some instances even the temperature on the case surface is misleading because all the heat is generated on the silicon traces inside the chip. You can start melting silicon before the plastic case gives any warning. Most processors will shut down before a meltdown, but not all of them will. Plus, when you start tinkering with clock cycles all bets are off.

I think what you are doing is good enough. At least I haven't read lately any stories from you regarding melted computer chips.

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