|04 Jan 2010||#1|
Win7 Fan Noise Solution
First post here - can't remember it took so long to post about Vista !
A small but important niggle many will have experienced upgrading their laptop from XP or Vista to 7 is the marked increase in fan noise or to be specific intermittent fan noise. It drives you nuts and reading posts from desktop owners who say the fan is just doing its job just adds to the frustration.
So I went in search of a solution. As I installed Win7 64bit the hardware controllers I came across such as Notebook Hardware Control, SpeedFan etc. wouldn't run in 64bit, so I started looking for things that would control my processor speed. My top has an AMD Turion X2 so I started researching AMD's Cool n'Quiet technology. However I found their software stopped development several years ago.
It was then that I realised that there was no need to look for processor control software because it actually built in to Windows. I'd overlooked that the Control Panel>PowerOptions applet actually allows you to set your processor speed directly. You need to select a Power Plan and then click on Change Plan Settings. On the dialog that then appears click on Change Advance Power Settings and then Scroll down to and expand the Processor Management section.
You will see three settings:minimum and maximum processor state and the enigmatically named system cooling policy. Expand the maximum processor state setting and you'll see two sub-settings one for when you're on battery power and one for when you're plugged in.
In my case the maximum state setting on power was defaulted to 100%. Interestingly this actually means not that your processor is clocked at top whack all the time, but that 100% is available if needed. In practice it is only occasionally needed unless you're a full time gamer and the rest of the time Windows "load-follows" or optimises the clock speed to match the load. Hence the intermittent fan noise.
You can check out what happens when you change this setting by opening Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+del+)>Start Task Manger, selecting Resource Monitor.. on the performance tab, and studying the Processes indicators (%CPU Usage and %Maximum Frequency) together with the graphs. If your Maxmimum Processor State was set to 100% then you will see the blue line on the graphs "load-follow", and just as impressive if you change the Maximum Processor State to 50% the blue line immediately shifts to reflect this - as does the fan noise !
Now a couple of questions for those who knew all this and more:
1. What does the System Cooling Policy option do ? It has two settings Passive and Active. I would have thought passive meant no "load-following" and active "load-follow" but this seems not to be the case because,
2.If I set the maxmimum processor state to any percentage less than 100 the blue line in resource Monitor "defaults" to 50 and stays there, ie no "load-follow". Is this due to a hardware contraint, ie for my processor there are basically only two clock speeds: full and half throttle ? But why doesn't Windows "load-follow" on both settings ?
These are just niggles and I can live with a flat half throttle in return for blissful silence. However in the course of researching this thread I came across Microsoft's Hardware Developer site with a page on Power Control:
Power Policy Configuration and Deployment in Windows
You can download a paper on Power Policy Configuration and Deployment from that page and it contains a huge amount of detail on how PPC works with examples. In the section on Processor Management (p 42) there is a statement:
Additional processor power management subgroup settings are documented in “Windows 7 Processor Power Management Technologies.”
Intriguing - does anyone know where to find this document and/or how to use the additional settings?
So in conclusion, well done Microsoft for grasping the nettle of real power management and (for me) for delivering the best O/S out of the box since Win95.
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