Compaq Presario 700 laptop overheating (Problem Solved?)

Discussion in 'Compaq' started by John Edward Scott, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Hi all,

    Like many others I bought a compaq presario laptop 700 series (729EA) and
    after a while I discovered it was prone to overheating (an understatement if
    ever I heard one!). I trawled through the newsgroups and google applying
    various patches etc, looking on the compaq website and applied the Softpaqs
    it mentioned and the keyboard and mousepad updates that were suggested.

    In short nothing really fixed the problem, the lockups seemed to happen
    *slightly* less but then that could have just been my imagination. However
    being the persistent (i.e. bone headed) person I am I dug around a bit
    deeper, hopefully this might help some other people in the same
    situation.....

    I was "advised" by Compaq to twiddle with power settings (Control Panel ->
    Power Options) and set them to Laptop, this made no different whatsoever,
    however it got me thinking. Apparently the point of doing that is so the
    Athlon chip inside these machines will run cooler, but it doesn't. The
    machine heated up just as much, the fan was *constantly* on.

    Anyway to cut a long story short, I found out that AMD chips use something
    called PowerNow! to control the speed the chip is running at, and guess
    what....if you install Windows 2000 or Windows XP, the PowerNow! software IS
    NOT installed. That's right, you have a nice new OS but your chip also runs
    flat out all the time, probably thinking its in a nice big Desktop case with
    huge fan when really its in a dinky little laptop with a small pixie gently
    blowing on it. The PowerNow! software/drivers should be installed at the
    factory, but if you're anything like me you rarely stick with a factory
    setup (in my case they'd managed to "lose" about 10Gig of disk space because
    of the way they'd partitioned it), so you reinstall the OS in the way that
    you like it.

    I installed the PowerNow! software and using the PowerNow dashboard software
    (also from AMD) I can see that my chip drops down from running at 1.3Ghz to
    about 500Mhz (obviously it zooms back up to full speed when it needs it),
    the end result is that the chip runs a LOT cooler. My fan noise is barely
    noticeable now and I no longer have the equivalent of an F16 Afterburner
    exhaust shooting out of the side of my laptop.....oh and not a single lockup
    *yet* (not conclusive I know, but I could consistently get one or two
    lockups a day before).

    Hope this helps others in the same (infuriating) situation,

    John.
     
    John Edward Scott, Jul 11, 2003
    #1
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  2. John Edward Scott

    Rob King Guest

    Dude! That's a pretty big find. Well done! :)

    Maybe that's the fault with all these 700s..... the hardware is fine, it's
    just the software image that's screwed on these machines?

    Now, I just have to get my 700 back from the service centre so I can fix it
    myself.

    BTW, got a URL for the software?
     
    Rob King, Jul 11, 2003
    #2
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  3. Hi Rob,

    Yeah hopefully it's going to be a big help, I'm on day 3 now without any
    major lockups and the machine is DEFINITELY running a lot cooler. Ok, the
    "official channels" say that to get the AMD PowerNow! stuff you're supposed
    to go to AMD or the retailer (Compaq) to get it. Despite searching for AGES
    on both of those sites I couldn't find it.

    I have however managed to get it, so unless someone tells me otherwise I can
    point you in the right direction. Remember of course that this is AMD's
    software not mine, as far as I can tell it's not under any restrictions (I
    looked and looked on AMD's site). Oh and I didn't have any problems
    installing it, but remember BACKUP if you're in any doubts.

    Feel free to get in touch if you need a hand, I'm very curious to see if
    other people get the same results as me.

    John.
     
    John Edward Scott, Jul 11, 2003
    #3
  4. Rob,

    I've just checked and the software I have has installs for XP and for
    Win2K/98/ME. The Win2K/98/ME is quite a large install (about 1.5 Mb), the XP
    install looks like it just installs the AMDK7.SYS driver, which *should* be
    installed by Windows Update, however it would be interesting to know how
    many AMD/XP owners out there don't have this already installed.

    John.
     
    John Edward Scott, Jul 11, 2003
    #4
  5. John Edward Scott

    Rob King Guest

    Rob King, Jul 12, 2003
    #5
  6. <<SNIP>>

    Just as a follow-up to myself ....it's currently a hot summers day here (for
    England anyway!) and my fan is running far less and quieter than it did in
    mid-winter. The PowerNow software has DEFINITELY made a difference.

    5 days without a crash now...and counting..

    John.
     
    John Edward Scott, Jul 15, 2003
    #6
  7. John Edward Scott

    Rob King Guest

    Well I wish the service people would hurry up and return mine so I can try
    this....... apparently work has been authorised to fix it.

    And I bet the dude never once looked at this newsgroup :)
     
    Rob King, Jul 15, 2003
    #7
  8. Following my own experiences with Compaq...I don't even think they look at
    their Intranet...let alone the Internet.

    John.
     
    John Edward Scott, Jul 15, 2003
    #8
  9. Can the PowerNow software be installed on a machine with XP? I thought an
    earlier post mentioned XP had it built in. I can't see it in control panel
    or power settings.

    My 710US is freeze-free for the moment (even with 384 MB of ram) and seems
    to be cooler after running a Softpaq that had to do with updating the
    controller (or something). But would like to know about the PowerNow thing.
    Thanks and good luck.
     
    Dillon Family, Jul 15, 2003
    #9
  10. I did a search on that amdk7.sys file, and I seem to have it in several
    locations on my XP laptop, including in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS and
    C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386 as well as C:\I386 and some file folders
    with long numerical strings. So, I guess I have the software (all the files
    in question have the Date Modified as 8/29/2002. It just doesn't show up as
    a separate function in the power section of Control Panel.

    Thanks.
     
    Dillon Family, Jul 17, 2003
    #10
  11. <<SNIP>>

    Hi Dillon,

    Hmmm, well from what I understand (and its been a *long slow* learning
    process!) the Windows Update for XP should install that file for you,
    although by the sounds of what you've described (i.e. nothing showing up in
    Control Panel) it sounds like its downloaded it but not installed
    it....although I may be wrong.

    One think you could try....you could download the PowerNow Dashboard
    application from the AMD website and see if it complains that PowerNow isn't
    installed (I think when I first ran it something like "PowerNow is
    available, but not installed" came up)....it's worth a try.

    John.
     
    John Edward Scott, Jul 17, 2003
    #11
  12. John Edward Scott

    Rob King Guest

    Actually I have finally got the notebook back and they did in fact do
    something to it. They seem to have looked up the same support sites as me
    (or got the info direct from Compaq) and done the old
    new-heat-compound-paste on the cpu trick.

    We got it home and fired it up. Things seemed to run quite happily until I
    tried to do something really menial. Bam! Total lock up again.

    So, I thought, bugger this, before I take it back AGAIN, I will nuke the
    whole HDD and completely reinstall the OS from scratch. So, on wnet WinXP
    Pro + SP1. I downloaded the PowerNow software and it showed the everything
    running at maximum. I scrounged the MS site for that PowerNow CPU driver
    and installed that (5.1.2600.1106 is the latest verion apparently).
    PowerNow now shows everything at minimum with occasional spikes up to the
    max when under load. I'm assuming this is how PowerNow works?

    Anyway, haven't had a lockup since the reinstall. I've also avoided
    installing any of the Compaq software as WinXP drives it all anyway and I
    don't much care for the easy access stuff.
     
    Rob King, Jul 21, 2003
    #12
  13. John Edward Scott

    Martian Guest

    What annoys me is that for almost 5 months, I had no problems, even
    with additional RAM and running a CD with other applications
    simultaneously. After the new main board was installed (because of a
    power problem), it was running like molasses and seemed to worsen
    after I burned some CDs using the Roxio that came with it.

    The phone rep had me re-run the Softpaq that reflashes the BIOS and
    handles heat, so I did that, but it kept crashing. I pulled out the
    RAM upgrade, set all the performance settings to the defaults (it
    never worked right before the RAM upgrade with the default settings,
    but I decided to try it anyway).

    Then I visited the Windows Download Center and manually downloaded all
    the recommended upgrades and installed them except the Jet 7 (the
    downloads had failed even when done one-by-one from the Windows Update
    page). People had been warning me about DirectX 9.0a, the Windows
    Messenger upgrade, and the Media Player 9, so I did set another
    restore point before downloading them. After the downloads, I
    installed each and rebooted even if it didn't say I had to.
    Amazingly, the machine has now been up without a crash for 7 hours!!!
    It does want the Messenger to run all the time now, but that's a small
    price to pay for having the use of it!

    Although the RAM never seemed to be an issue, I think I'll leave it
    out to be safe. There is clearly something unexplainable going on.
    It still has the msconfig set not to load services except for my virus
    checker and personal firewall, and I don't think this should be
    required, but I just want the thing to run at this point. I'll
    continue my burn-in tomorrow by taking it with me and using it on the
    road to see how it does.

    --Jane
     
    Martian, Jul 22, 2003
    #13
  14. I'm still not *convinced* that the problem is due to one thing on my machine
    (Presario 729EA), the PowerNow software
    has definitely cut the crashes and overheats down by a HUGE factor. I still
    have my suspicions though that something is not quite right
    with the graphics driver or the mousepad/touchpad. Since my lockups always
    seemed to happen just as I suddenly moved the mouse.

    I installed all the patches etc that Compaq advised, plus the Microsoft
    ones. I'm currently running the latest driver for my graphics card
    so if there's a problem with that then I'm stuck. But as I said, I'm just
    happy that the machine isn't overheating every 30 minutes now like it
    used to.....one step at a time!

    John.
     
    John Edward Scott, Jul 22, 2003
    #14
  15. John Edward Scott

    Rob King Guest

    I'm still not *convinced* that the problem is due to one thing on my
    machine
    Funny you should say that, as I noticed most lock ups occurred when doing a
    trackpad movement. When I reinstalled the notebook from scratch I made the
    point of not installing any extraneous drivers for the touchpad, sound and
    access keys. Haven't had a lockup yet and it runs at a decent temp now.

    Perhaps you want to reformat your HDD and install just the OS from scratch?
     
    Rob King, Jul 23, 2003
    #15
  16. John Edward Scott

    Martian Guest

    I had put a clean load on, so I'm not sure that will help. Also, mine
    has been crashing not only after mouse movement, but also when I'm
    doing absolutely nothing, typing email, or just playing a music CD.

    I've been very careful to keep the intake and blower vents clear and
    I've tried to keep it as near the air conditioning as possible, since
    it's hot weather here now (this never seemed to bother my old Compaq
    laptops, though). I haven't put the RAM back in (although it was
    problematic before the RAM, which was why I was so adamant about
    reinstalling it). So far, so good. I am absolutely paranoid about
    trying to put the RAM back in.

    I asked Compaq about PowerNow, and it is supposedly operational. It
    does slow down the processor depending on need when I don't set the
    power setting to home/desktop.

    I wouldn't feel safe playing a game on it, although after I get my
    dissertation finalized, I plan to put it through its paces while it's
    still under warranty!

    --Jane
     
    Martian, Jul 23, 2003
    #16
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