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I've got a semi-old laptop (toshiba satellite a110-228), that's appointed 'laptop for the kids' by my sister. I've installed ubuntu netbook (10.10) on it because of the lack-of memory and it seems to work fine, accept from some heat-issues. These where never a problem under windows.

It looks like I've got something similar to this problem: Load is generally 1 or higher, sometimes its stuck at 0.80, but its way to high. Top/htop only show a couple of percentage CPU use (which isn't too shocking, as i'm not doing anything). At this point all the software is stock, and i'd like to keep it that way because its supposed to be the easy-to-maintain kids computer.

Now I'd like to find out:

  • What could be the cause of the high load? Could it be as this thread implies, some driver, are there other options to check?
  • How could I see what is really keeping the system hot and bothered? How to check what runs, etc etc? I'd like to pinpoint the culprint.
  • further steps to take for debugging?

The big bad internet leads me to believe that it might be the graphics drivers. The laptop has an Intel 945M chipset, but that doesn't seem to be one of the problem childs in this manner (I read a lot abotu ATI drivers that need special isntall).

I'd not only welcome hints to directly solve this (duh) but also help in starting to debug what is going on. I am really hesitant in installing an older kernel, as I want it to be stock, and easy upgradeable (because I don't live near it, it should run without me ;) )

As an afterthought: to keep the whole thing cooler, can I 'amp up' the fancontrol? Its only going "airplane" mode when the computer is 95 Celcius, which is a tad late for my taste.

Top: top

powertop: enter image description here

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If I choose the 'desktop' version (I didn't know this, but it is available on the login screen), I fare a little, but not much, better. – Nanne Feb 22 '11 at 21:11

If you provided an output of a "typical" uptime and top, we might be able to help more.

Apart from that, I would suggest trying powertop: it analyzes the CPU load, gives you an overview of the most demanding processes, and even suggests what to do to reduce power consumption/CPU load.

screenshot of powertop

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Will show you a top and a powertop, just a sec – Nanne Feb 22 '11 at 19:29
There you are :) – Nanne Feb 22 '11 at 19:35
I'll start to read up on powertop, i'm not really sure what i'm seeing here ;) – Nanne Feb 22 '11 at 19:45
Hmm, I don't see anything out of the ordinary, and I think the load of 0.8 is normal given the fact that most of the time the machine is in C3 (800Hz) state saving power (but I'm not sure of that, I don't use a laptop). You say it is overheating - do you have some data or you can physically feel the surface is hot? – arrange Feb 22 '11 at 19:59
I can feel it and hear it (the fan spins up majorly). The sensors (using 'sensord') have the temp going up to 90 - 100 degrees (celcius), and at a certain point it even shut off. But what you say about 800hz is interesting, I'll have to look into that! – Nanne Feb 23 '11 at 6:58
up vote 0 down vote accepted

This laptop never could work nicely with this install. But as it is a kids computer, I have no need for speed. The high load seems to stay either way, I still don't know if this is a feature or a bug.

So the sollution (or actually: workaround) has been to clock it down in the bios so the CPU never goes tot the higher speeds. That is enough to keep it cool. I could not find any way to set the fan-speed to "high" in the bios, which would have been my first sollution.

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