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Overheating from chargeable USB devices?

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May 21, 2011 11:46:01 AM

Hey guys,

I have a Samsung NP-Q430-JSB1US notebook. It is running an Intel i5 processor with the Nvidia GeForce M310 graphics card and 8 GB of RAM. The operating system is Windows 7 Pro x64. I have had my computer shut off several times during the last few months and have finally localized the problem to only when I have a chargeable USB device connected to the computer (I can use other USB devices such as cameras and hard drive enclosures just fine). Most notably, the problem occurs when I connect a Cisco Flip digital camcorder, but I recently bought an iPod Touch and it does the same thing during periods of heavy syncing.

I have Core Temp 0.99.8 installed and have verified my suspicions. When I connect either of these devices, temperatures skyrocket to the magic Tj. Max of 105 degrees C. This computer normally runs a little hot anyway, about 55 degrees C under no or very little CPU load. Under device manager, USB root setting under system devices, it lists my USB port as 500 mA. I have yet to find any specs on my devices, but I can't believe that they would individually draw more than .5A. It looks like the keyboard and mouse devices come off these low-power ports, as well as all 3 USB ports, one of which I always use for an external Bluetooth USB adapter. Tried removing it to verify it wasn't causing the problem, and the removal had no effect on the skyrocketing temperatures. According to Wikipedia's page on the USB standard, there appear to be "low-powered" and "high-powered" ports, which really didn't make sense to me the way they explained it.

The notebook is not having any issues running normally high CPU/GPU-intensive programs, such as video conversion or playback. The only upgrade I've done to the machine is increased the RAM from 4 GB to 8 GB. I thought this might be the problem, so I reduced peak processor state from 100% to 90% while I use the Flip. The iPod Touch still overheated using these settings, and in order to sync my library, I had to reduce this setting to an unbelievable 25%!!! I do NOT overclock this computer.

I have never seen anything quite like this. Am I experiencing hardware issues, or am I trying to draw too much power from my USB ports? Since I didn't even know that there were different types of power-ratings on the USB ports, I figured I would consult the experts. Has anyone else experienced anything like this before?

Thanks for all of your help in advance. This forum is always a great place to start for my computer woes.
May 22, 2011 6:35:21 PM

Looks like my diagnosis was a bit premature. After reloading Windows 7 Pro x64 on my newer hard drive, I tried to run the Windows Experience Index app. I had to turn off the laptop and let it cool down overnight before I was able to complete the assessment. I noticed that with the new hard drive (WD Scorpio Black 7200 RPM vs. Samsung 5400 RPM) idle temps were up around the 60 degree C mark, which is about 5 degrees hotter than it was before. This is nutty.

I downloaded the Intel Turbo Boost monitor program to check and see what good ol' turboboost was doing to my computer. Sure enough, when it overclocks itself, temperatures go through the roof. Under heavy CPU load (around 50%), the computer runs ok. Temps get up around 80 C, but it's far below the 105 C limit. Once Turbo Boost kicks in, temps jump up to 102+. Is there a way to turn off Turbo Boost. I do not have a setting for this in BIOS, which from what I could find online is the normal place to disable this function. I would hate to cripple my laptop, because this feature is part of the reason why I chose the laptop. But I think I could live with it, at least until I found out what's going on with the laptop.

As no one else has posted with any ideas so far, I'm thinking this could be a heatsink/thermal paste issue? I guess when I plug in my chargeable USB devices it puts more load on the CPU, syncing and whatnot? I'm also going to try swapping back to the old RAM and see if this makes a difference. I don't know why it would, but these problems started not long after that upgrade.

Anyone with ANY ideas please post. It's driving me crazy, and I am deathly afraid to send my laptop back to Samsung to troubleshoot the problem.
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May 22, 2011 9:58:27 PM

Here are some screenshots as to what's going on.

Run #1- Windows Experience Index assessment in progress, CPU near full load, max Turbo Boost applied, CPU very close to overheating threshhold of 105 C.



Run #2- Windows Experience Index assessment in progress, CPU near full load, no Turbo Boost applied, CPU hot but not close to overheating (80 C).



Run #3- Computer at idle after WEI assessment.

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May 24, 2011 10:50:38 AM

The problem seems to have subsided for now. I was able to do a full sync with the iPod with temps staying around 60 C. Maximum processor state setting was set for 70%. I'm upping it to 80% to see how the notebook reacts.
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