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New Linux install grinds to halt [confirmed over-heating problem]

Discussion in 'Computers' started by davoid, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    Hey guys, I've installed Linux Mint 16 onto my Dell Studio 1558 laptop, and it works fine for a while but then it slows down.

    It slows so much that it becomes unusable (e.g. taking eight seconds to open the menu; browser doesn't scroll etc.) and I have to reboot.

    What could be causing this and how do I fix it? I hear people saying Linux never slows down and doesn't need rebooting, but my system gets so slow that it was quicker to run a live CD!

    I know you'll probably need more information but you'll have to ask for it because I don't know much about Linux tbh - I've tried tinkering a bit with dual boot but this is my first single os install.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated. :)
     

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  2. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog
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    The Infernal Swamp
    ok a few questions

    How much space have you allotted for Linux? Are you dual booting from a single disk? I would recommend instead that you install linux on its own drive You can get a cheap usb drive for like 80 dollars.

    How much memory do you have? What size is your swap file?
     
  3. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    About 98GB

    No. Just Linux. I have a larger 'data' partition also.

    4GB

    5GB

    I'm not sure it's really set up properly because I kind of did it manually by deleting my windows partition, and the dell restore partition in gparted.

    Then created a swap partition, and an ext4 partition with a mount point "/", and installed linux. Does this sound like a reasonable procedure?
     
  4. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    It's slowing down now! It won't even keep up with my typing.

    Here is a screenshot of gparted:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. palmtree5

    palmtree5 Sunny Vacation Supporter!
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    That setup's good IMO. Could it be an issue with your RAM?
     
  6. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    Thanks, it's good to know that the setup is ok. It might be a ram issue. I have a disk of memtest+ I'll have to dig out.

    But I also think it might be that the pc is overheating. Out of the blue it shut off by itself. It didn't shutdown, but just went off, then it did it again a little while later, so I suspect the cpu heatsink is clogged with dust and the chip is shutting off.

    I'm wondering whether to read the service manual and disassemble my laptop.
     
  7. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog
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    if the cpu is heating up then that sounds more like a hardware issue. You may want to see if acts the same with a different distro.
     
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  8. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues - Crazy peacock person -
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    That sounds a lot like what my recently departed laptop was doing. I remember it getting SCORCHING hot. Mine wasn't slowing down, as yours is, but it was definitely overheating.

    With that said...

    I'm a little puzzled by your drive's setup. For one thing, it appears you only have one mount point, /. Also, I'm curious why you used ntfs for your data partition.

    For comparison, here's my gParted for the laptop I'm typing this on:

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. palmtree5

    palmtree5 Sunny Vacation Supporter!
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    Since it's a laptop, I'm more inclined to think that it's a cooling problem. May want to look into a cooling pad (if you don't already have one)

    Like this one
     
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  10. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    Yeah I think you are right. Everything points to it being hardware. I don't think I'll bother with a different distro though at the moment. I've kind of been getting the hang of it a bit and really couldn't face starting afresh if I don't have to, as I want to be productive with my computer as soon as possible and I'm pretty certain it wouldn't make much difference to the hardware problem.

    I would certainly like to try other distros at some point though :)
     
  11. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    Thanks palm that looks really cool :)

    I think I'll check them out.

    EDIT: Sorry for the inadvertent pun :vroam:
     
  12. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    Yeah mine was getting pretty hot! I hope I catch it before it 'departs'.

    LOL. I didn't know you were supposed to have more than one mount point. I don't even know what they are... I just fault-found my way through installing it. When I tried to install linux after creating a partition it told me I didn't have a root mount point (I'm paraphrasing). I discovered I could set mount points and one option was '/' and I thought I remembered that was root (from a linux mint tutorial about Terminal) and so set it for the partition I wanted to use for the boot installation. And it installed so I thought I'd done it right.

    How many should I have lol?


    That will be because it was my data partition for my Windows 7 installation. I (I have to shake my head at this) I accidentally deleted my windows system partition when I was trying to remove the live distro from my 16GB USB flash drive. In a moment it was gone...

    I didn't receive a dvd with the pc but Dell have a restore partition of about 20GB on the harddrive. I could have restored Windows (my only option without the dvd) but I believe it would have erased the drive completely, erasing my data partition in the process. I've seen XP do the very same thing in the past.

    So I deleted the restore partition and put linux in the empty space - I created an installation partition (EXT4) and a swap partition (also EXT4).

    And there you have it lol.

    Thanks for that enlightening demonstration. That looks somehow balanced and elegant compared to mine. :)

    If my system works I'll be pleased. Well pleased, in fact.

    I am quite a beginner with Linux, but I'm happy to try and learn.
     
  13. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    Just a thought. Two years ago I bought three years extended warranty from Dell for this laptop, so it's still covered. It's never overheated in the three years I've been using it (this coincidence with installing Linux is why I thought it might be an issue with the operating system), so it seems like I could call it a hardware fault and it might be eligible for service.

    The thing is, do you think Dell would refuse to look at it if I've wiped off their pc health check software and replaced windows with Linux? They might say it's not supported, even though it's a hardware issue.

    Is it worth contacting Dell about this issue?
     
  14. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    Dell sold/sells linux-based systems so they are familiar with it. We have several dell servers running CentOS and they support the hardware irrelevant of the OS. I'd say it's at least worth a call.

    Mind you, that unless you paid for on-site support, they will want you to send the unit in.
     
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  15. MoodyBlues

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    Definitely. You PAID for a warranty so, yes, contact them.

    One of my HP laptops had a fluke problem with its power supply when it was still under warranty. I found out that HP, as part of their normal routine, would wipe my drive and restore it to its original state before sending the laptop back to me. I raised hell over that! I didn't want them touching my drive, wiping Linux off of it. In the end, I told them I was going to keep the drive and send in the laptop without it, as they could stick in a dummy drive for testing if needed. In other words, they didn't NEED the actual drive to fix/test the machine. If you're sure the hard drive is not part of the problem, you might do the same thing I did.
     
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  16. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    I haven't decided whether to contact Dell yet because I don't really want to be left without my computer for a week or more, so I'd rather avoid that if I can.

    I now know for sure that it is overheating. I downloaded Psensor to monitor cpu temps and see what happens. It has been behaving quite well over the last couple of days but it recently started to grind to a crawl where it was almost unusable and I took a snapshot of the temperatures before I shut it down to cool off:

    [​IMG]


    Core 0 and Core 2 are the two cores of my CPU and Temp 1 is the GPU.
    It certainly looks to me like it is a cooling problem!

    It is interesting that this causes it to slow down. It has been suggested that the CPU is lowering its multiplier in an effort to reduce load. But it is so slow it is unusable, so doesn't seem like just a reduction in speed.

    On the Dell forums it looks like this is a common problem with this model :( and most advice was to open it up to clean out dust, but with the caveat that it would void your warranty.

    I guessed as much and a Dell employee advised blasting the vents with compressed air as an alternative, which I think I will try before contacting Dell for a 'repair'. I've ordered a can of air so I will see what happens.

    If it comes to returning it to Dell I will definitely take Moody's advice and remove my harddrive.

    Thank you for all the advice guys. It helps to know there is someone there on your side when things go wrong.

    EDIT: I've updated the thread title to reflect developments.
     
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  17. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    Well I got fed up with it overheating so I decided to contact Dell. When I looked up my warranty details I discovered that I had purchased next day ON-SITE warranty, so I needn't have worried about contacting them and being without my pc for a week :rolleyes: :)

    I'll have to wait for Tuesday because it's next business day repair and I missed the 4.30pm deadline on Friday.

    So I rang Dell. I explained the symptoms and the helpful lady asked me to run a diagnostics test. I told her (with trepidation) that I no longer had windows, and she got me to restart the laptop and press F12 until a utility menu came up and I ran diagnostics.

    It freaked and beeped an error number which the lady said was a harddrive failure and that they would replace the harddrive. :thinking:

    I kept reiterating that I thought it was a cooling problem and so she said she would get the engineer to bring a new fan and heatsink for replacement as well just in case. I'm glad of this because further reflection has convinced me even more that this is the problem. She said that a faulty harddrive could be a cause of slowing down and overheating, but I forgot to mention to her that it was slowing down and overheating when I ran a live USB of Linux Mint. So it can't be the harddrive.

    I didn't think there was anything wrong with the harddrive and suggested that maybe the error was reported because I had deleted their partitions, but she assured me the test was irrespective of OS, and only hardware dependent.

    I asked her what would happen to the old harddrive when they replaced it, and she said they would take it away. She said I could keep it if I bought it. ...
     
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  18. anoniemouse

    anoniemouse Android Expert
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    If it was me i would dual boot as its a nice large HDD.
    Little tip with any laptop as they seem to collect dust in the cooling system quite easy, (they tend to get perched on ones lap by loads of people i know) it can help to blow through the port where the air comes out when switched off.
    Did that on the grandson's one as laptops are not the easiest to strip to clear out the dust, worked a treat afterwards.
     
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  19. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    Well, Mr Dell came yesterday and swapped out most of my laptop's innards - motherboard, heatsink+fan, and harddrive. On reflection this is pretty cool, as my 3yo computer now has new parts in it - particularly the harddrive, which is mechanical and as we all know is prone to eventual failure.

    When he took off the heatsink he opened it up for me and it was choked with compacted dust. He recommended blasting into the vent with compressed air on a weekly basis and it will never build up like this again. He said once it gets this blocked you can only clean it by disassembling the computer.

    I tried following the order in which he disassembled the machine but he lost me eventually as the heatsink was practically the last thing remaining in an empty plastic shell by the time he got to it LOL.

    Anyway, look at the temperatures now:

    [​IMG]

    CPU in the 20s/30s instead of the high 80s...

    About the Windows... he didn't bring an installation disk, assuming I would have one, so he ordered one for me, and I have been forced to use Linux again. :)

    I just have to work out how to automount a partition now. The adventure begins :D

    ONCE AGAIN, thanks for all of your advice, guys. It really helps to know you're not alone. :)
     
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  20. anoniemouse

    anoniemouse Android Expert
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    Personally i wish laptop manufacturers would rethink the design of their products. I got an older toshiba satellite p10 circa 2001 & that has twin fans under a removable panel along with tha heatsink.
    Makes it all easily accessable for cleaning & more importantly renewing or replacing with a better type of thermal paste.
    Specs have advanced but design appears to be going backwards.:D
     
  21. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert
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    maybe the cut corners on fans because a lot of average users couldn't stand their twin laptop fans roaring like a vacuum cleaner when they did anything intensive? mom had a very fancy HP laptop and it had twin fans. you could hear them in the next room and all she was doing was using Facebook!

    Although I am not so sure really, I play Portal 2 at 60FPS with all the graphics maxed out and the puny little fan in this Acer hardly runs much if at all. now, if I attempt to use Flight Simulator X, despite it being 8 years old, it makes it run full hilt. not sure why that game is requiring so much power when it's quite older than Portal 2.
     
  22. palmtree5

    palmtree5 Sunny Vacation Supporter!
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    May depend on your settings. Are you playing with everything on ultra high?
     
  23. Joelgp83

    Joelgp83 Android Enthusiast
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    FSX is just horribly unoptimised. I've heard it said that the game is actually CPU limited because it offloads almost nothing to the graphics card, is not multicore aware, and probably requires clock speeds in the 4ghz+ range.
     
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  24. mikedt

    mikedt 你好
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    Yeh FSX is coming on 8 years old now, and very likely designed with the Pentium 4 and Athlon XP in mind, and so is not multicore aware. Also it's not able to make best use of the latest GPUs
     
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  25. davoid

    davoid Android Expert
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    I used to think my Athlon XP2000 was awesome. I could run Oblivion and UT2003. They were using my Radeon X1950 AGP 8X card which was about the top end card you could get for AGP.

    I only upgraded to pci-express because the VIA chipset drivers on my motherboard wouldn't play nice with the Radeon and I kept getting blue screens. That and Core2Duo CPUs :D
     

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