Considerations when purchasing a new Notebook PC.   Look beyond features and specifications.

sidebar - interpreting a customer complaint

Don't believe everything you read.  A consumer, John, from Dallas, posted a complaint on his new Winbook Laptop.  Sidenote:  PCNS does NOT recommend Winbook Laptops.   In his complaint on, he stated Software does not cause a laptop to overheat.  This is not entirely correct.

Software Causes laptops to heat up

Task Manager - idle Press Control-Shift-Escape, simultaneously, to bring up Task Manager in Windows XP or Vista. Click the performance tab.  Make a note of Processor Utilization.

Task Manager - idle Now, play a DVD, perform a Virus Scan, or enable a 3d Screen Saver. The histogram spikes, and average CPU utilization jumps into the 40% range.  Verdict:  The CPU works harder, and heats up.  On your notebook, the PC cooling fan will kick in to keep the CPU cooled off.   So John's complaint that software doesn't overheat the computer isn't entirely correct.   Components like the cooling fan do not allow the notebook PC to overheat, but software definitely heats laptops.

Software should not "overheat" a laptop, but the design of the laptop and manufacturing/assembly come into play.  For example, some new Apple Macbooks were having problems "overheating."   The problem was traced to the manufacturing process, where too much heat sink compound was being applied to the Intel Processor.   In this event, the customer has to return the laptop for service and an internal inspection.  

Getting back to our Winbook, the retailer provided some quick cursory maintenance (back flushing the CPU Cooling Fan) which helps, but if the problem persists, it's the retailer (or manufacturer's responsibility) to investigate further.

The design of the notebook comes into play.  John contends his old laptop and two old desktops have never experienced overheating or fan problems.  He further states the old computers are several years old.  What John fails to disclose is (A) desktop PC's have larger heat sinks and cooling fans to keep CPU's cool.  A desktop PC has much more internal room for cooling systems, and it's not reasonable to compare a desktop to a laptop.  (B) Laptops from several years ago have slower CPU's, running at slower clock speeds, which require less cooling. My 1.13 Gigahertz Pentium 3 Dell Latitude Laptop CPU fan seldom runs, whereas my HP/Compaq NC6000 with 1.7 Ghz Pentium M Mobile Processor runs like a desktop vacuum cleaner.

Both the Pentium 3 Mobile and Pentium M are about the same physical size.  Given the same physical size, the Pentium 3 has 9.5 Million transistors, a 0.5 megabyte L2 Cache, a with a 133 Mhz front side bus, while the Pentium M has 140 million transistors, a 2 megabyte L2 Cache, and 533 Mhz front side bus.

Translation - the faster, more modern processor has more components stuffed into the same size, which will cause the processor to run hotter.  The newer processor runs at a faster clock speed, meaning it will run hotter.

So concluding that a laptop several years old does not have the fan and overheating problems compared to a new laptop is not a logical comparison.  

As to the John's screen issue, he has a legitimate beef, but, as John indicates, he has not approached Microcenter regarding this issue.  John needs to repost his results after his experience with Microcenter on the bad screen.

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