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I just installed 11.10 on a brand new Dell Precision M4600 laptop yesterday and I'm noticing the fans spinning up to full speed every minute or so then dying back down within a few seconds. Where should I begin to diagnose this problem?

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Are you running with dual displays? If so, do you see the same problem if you just use the laptop LCD?

The nvidia card has several power settings (google PowerMizer), and it automatically assumes the highest power setting when running with dual displays. This generates a lot of heat, causing the fan to cycle on. (You can watch the temperatures rise in the nvidia-settings tool.)

Unfortunately there's no way (that I know of) to get around this, since it's embedded in the nvidia drivers. (Although you could play with fan control utilities if you're brave.....)

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In the Ubuntu forums someone managed to install and use Ubuntu 11.10 on the Dell m4600, disabling Optimus video mode in the BIOS and then installing the Nvidia proprietary driver..maybe the problem is related..check comment #24 and see if it can be of some help..

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Thanks, I followed that advice but still the same problem. I've also tried watching processes in top but nothing seems to be spiking CPU usage. – Sam Youtsey Dec 29 '11 at 16:35
So you had already installed the Nvidia proprietary driver from the Additional drivers? – heiko81 Dec 29 '11 at 16:54
Yep, one of the first things I did. – Sam Youtsey Dec 29 '11 at 17:21

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