I have Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on my old laptop hp Pavillion dv6 (CPU Intel® Core™ i5 CPU M 430 @ 2.27GHz, Mem 5,8 GB, Graphics GeForce GT 320M/PCIe/SSE2).

When I try to watch a video online, my laptop overheats and fan activates very loudly; if I don't close the browser and let it rest, the system will shut down in 30 min.

When the fan activates they stay always on, until I close all programs. If I restart the browser The fan will continue to be active, but they will be more quiet.

This problem will happen also if I try to operate with few other programs.

I use proprietary drivers:

  • NVIDIA binary driver-version340.108 from nvidia-340
  • Broadcom 802.11 Linux STA wireless from bcmwl-kernel-source

What can I do?

  • Remove dust from the inside of the computer. Be careful. There are cans with compressed air that you can blow where you see that there are slots for air (input and output). Check that the fan()s are working. Provide space around the computer, for example with a spacer under it. There are also special coolers for laptops (that blow air to the bottom of the laptops). Work in the coolest place that is available. - You can also try with a flavour of Ubuntu with a lighter desktop environment: Lubuntu or Xubuntu and with a lighter video player (for example mpv) – sudodus Jun 23 '20 at 19:39
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    you probably need a cleaning and change of thermal paste. your laptop's specs are not bad, I am running Ubuntu 20.04 on an older model than yours, with no problems – Giorgos Saridakis Jun 23 '20 at 19:40
  • @sudodus I actually clean the fans before, I can surely try to install a light version and yes, I use mpv when I watch videos offline, It' a very useful program. – alevoolt Jun 24 '20 at 8:21
  • 1. It's a good idea to try a light flavour of Ubuntu; 2. This link describes some cooling pads; 3. What tool are you running when you stream video? Firefox? Maybe using VLC directly will use less computer power and run cooler (I am not sure, but it is worth trying). I have not used mpv with streaming. Maybe it is possible. - By the way, are you able to use the nvidia GPU so that the CPU need not work too hard? I think it depends on the format of the video clip as well as the settings of the graphics driver. – sudodus Jun 24 '20 at 8:33
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    @sudodus I checked, thaks for the suggestion, the Gpu is really doing all the work, When I tryed to switch to noveau the resolution was stuck on 4:3 600x800, so I switch back on the Nvidia driver, but I noticed that the fans were working, more softly with noveau, but steadly. I will try to resolve the resolution problem with noveau and compare if there is a better performance. Thanks for your help. – alevoolt Jun 28 '20 at 10:23

If the fans are running full speed and it still overheats, it's not an OS problem. There is either little to no air flow, or your fan/heat sink is not properly mounted.

You should feel good air flow coming out of the vents when they are at full speed. If not, you can try to clean out the vents with an air compressor or a can of compressed air. Also make sure the air intake is not covered, laptops should not be used on a soft surface like a blanket or you lap as the air intake can easily be blocked.

If the airflow is reasonable, then I would recommend applying new thermal paste and making sure the fan and sink are properly mounted.


Under volting helps a lot when there is over heating (and by lot I mean A LOT). To be on a safer side, manufacturers supply higher voltage than required to the CPU (which causes heating), as at very lower voltages CPU doesn't work properly under stress. Under volting is completely safe. It will not void your warranty whatsoever. Under volting is basically removing the excess voltage supplied and giving the minimum voltage required to run the CPU smoothly.

Try intel-undervolt from here on GitHub.

Here is an article on CPU undervolting in Linux which I followed

Some terms in the guide might be deprecated. Refer to the first link for the deprecated terms.

Here is a step by step procedure with the non deprecated terms

  1. install git with sudo apt install git
  2. run git clone https://github.com/kitsunyan/intel-undervolt
  3. sudo su and then enter password
  4. run ./configure --enable-systemd --enable-openrc && make && make install
  5. close the root mode by typing exit and press enter
  6. run sudo systemctl daemon-reload
  7. run sudo gedit /etc/intel-undervolt.conf this will open a text editor
  8. change the value in line 10 (in front of CPU) to -130 like this undervolt 0 'CPU' -130 (recommended -125)
  9. now save that text file and exit
  10. run sudo intel-undervolt apply and then run sudo systemctl start intel-undervolt
  11. use the system for some time, if it looks stable then run sudo systemctl enable intel-undervolt.

As of selecting the offset, I use undervolt 0 'CPU' -130 in the /etc/intel-undervolt.conf file. As a beginner I would suggest you to stick to undervolting the CPU only.

To find the correct offset (unique to each CPU piece. Same CPU but on different computer could have different ideal offset) slowly lower the offset by small values (I used 10), and at the point where your PC crashes, is the threshold. And set the final value to threshold - 10. In my case it crashed at 140 so I set it to 130.

The only downside (if you don't choose sudo systemctl enable intel-undervolt) is that you will have to apply the settings on every boot. I have created an alias with alias us='sudo intel-undervolt apply && sudo tlp start'. So I just have to type us in the terminal on a boot, and then I am good to go.

Note: the crashing of PC to calculate the offset is completely safe. It will not damage you hardware whatsoever.

Note: Any Intel CPU can go to -125 at least, above that comes the difficult part. If you want to take it to the limit, then only try increasing it step by step. Otherwise -125 will work just fine for any Intel CPU.

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