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I have an old laptop with a GeForce G 105M running ubuntu server without gui and the fan is always blowing because the GPU never goes under 60ºC with the computer completely idle! Is this normal or some kind of hardware malfunction?

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Normally I would suggest ripping out the graphics card but that's usually not an option in laptops. It might be worth exploring though.

When you run a graphical environment, most users use the nvidia kernel module. This manages the power consumption of the graphics card by helping scale back the clock speed when it's under lower loads and upps the fan speed when required.

When you're in the server mode the only graphics are the text-mode TTY displays. These won't use any real power but the graphics are active. You card is still going to be turned on and without the right driver it might be pulling more power than it actually needs.

I'm honestly not sure what's happening in Ubuntu server. I would assume nouveau (the open source driver) is being loaded but I'm not certain. That might also depend on the kernel you're using. Because I'm uncertain it might be worth experimenting.

Here are two separate options for you. Try them separately and see what happens with fan speed and temperature:

  • Is nouveau running? Find out by running lsmod | grep nouv. If it is, try blacklisting it. That's as simple as sticking blacklist nouveau at the end of /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf.

  • If that doesn't help try installing the real nvidia driver. I'd probably suggest you do that with jockey-text (you'll need to install the jockey-common package).

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