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How much can you expect from your manufacturer?

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 15, 2011 6:21:28 PM

I have recently had a few threads here about heat and temperature, because I just bought a new laptop. I have been using PC's for many years but made the switch to Mac a few years back and bought an Asus Eee with Ubuntu in between. I like to try out different OS's and such, but I haven't been into the PC hardware scene for years. In other words, I know computer basics (ie. no i havent put tonnes of spyware on the computer, I know a laptop is not ideal for gaming but no it is not useless for it either etc.) but haven't bought a laptop in years. My Macbook recently died a tragic death so I wanted to buy a cheap replacement to just watch films on and do a bit of writing, and of course game. I have been gaming purely on consoles and not on the PC for ages, but I did a lot of research on hardware and found an Acer 5750G within my price range, and it boasted nice hardware for its price. An i5 with Geforce 540M 2 gig video and 4 gb of system ram - decent specs for a lot of games. I bought it and played on it for a while, and realized that Real Temp recorded temperatures of 90 degrees in both CPU's and 80-85 degrees on the GPU after just an hour of gaming. The framerate and everything was super decent, so it was only by looking at the log I could see that there might be a problem (I had a few game crashes, but I was playing a heavily modded game so I expected I would have a few of those).

Now the customer support here is absolutely useless - they made some sort of unholy alliance with the specific retailer that they take care of support, and in my retailer's case they don't do phone or email support. My only option was to send in the computer and then wait for them to look it over and then send it back - when all I wanted to know is if 90 degrees could be a sign of malfunction or if I shouldn't worry about it. I did a bit of browsing and I found out that US/Canada have chat support, I contacted them and told them my story and they were super helpful, even though they knew I bought my computer in Europe and that it is a Europe-only model. I got redirected to their pay-for-service chat for free, which was really super nice of them and much much appreciated.

The tech guy was super helpful, but the answers he gave were downright shocking to me. Perhaps it is because I have been out of the "Windows PC world" for so long, but he basically told me that 90 degrees is way too much, but it is because the system isn't "optimized". The manufacturer does a remote "optimization" for an extra 100 bucks that actually lets me use my purchased hardware without turning my laptop into a frying pan. To me this is downright apalling - if this is the general scenario among laptop manufacturers today then how am I going to make an informed purchase? If I can't go by the specs because some computers will fry themselves if I actually use the hardware without paying a fee to get it "optimized" (that's "unlocked" in my book) - how am I ever going to make the "right" purchase? Perhaps I have just been living in my little "Apple-bubble" for too long, also not using my computer for gaming and having to deal with these issues, but is this the norm?

I have a few options though:

1) In my country there is a two week period where I can take the product back to the retailer and switch it for something else (that runs out this week, so I gotta move fast). And that also puts a heavy research burden on me to find out who "locks" their computers - I'd rather have lower "unlocked" specs than what I have now, because this is basically useless unless I want to pay an extra 100 bucks (the computer in total was 850 bucks, so it is quite an increase in price - what other laptops could I get for the extra 100 bucks?) Or fry the computer...

2) Which brings me to number 2. If the computer suffers hardware malfunction within one year of purchase I can get my money back. So I can game on and not care about ridiculous temperatures and hope it will burn out fast so I can get something else instead. However this option really sucks if it takes the computer say 1.5 years to die. Not to mention the moral issue of just wasting stuff for the sake of wasting it in this "green" age.

3) Deal with it and just accept that this is how the Windows PC market is, and the exact same thing would happen to any 850 bucks laptop from any manufacturer. Try and find workarounds (and make damn sure to get a mac next time I buy something - especially if the Windows PC specs can't be counted on anyways).


I really don't know what to expect - if this is the norm and how I should react to this situation, so any inputs would be really nice. If I want to get out of having a product from this specific manufacturer I have to move really fast though. I only got a few days left, so plz any thoughts and comments would be awesome! I saved a transcript from the chat with the tech guy for documentation - he said they don't do official transcripts, but I saved it for reference. To me this is shocking news.

More about : expect manufacturer

August 15, 2011 8:18:36 PM

Any opinions on what I should do and what I could expect from other brands and laptops in the sub 850 bucks price category (we got 25% VAT and in general different pricings so 850 will get you less here).

Also if I am to get something else, how does the Intel HD 3000 fare for games vs. its counterparts such as geforce 540m, 520m and radeon 5470 + HD 6310. And also which is generally better, toshiba (i had one loooong ago that I liked), HP, Acer, Lenovo or Packard Bell? Generally speaking.
August 15, 2011 8:51:15 PM

Or can I fiddle with clock settings and get it on to some reasonable temperatures? If I do take it back, it will be a replacement without the super good video card, and most likely an i3 and not an i5.

Edit: So would I be better off with my current system with a really good graphics card but super underclocked CPU to get reasonable temperatures vs. a system with lower specs, like an i3 with a geforce 520M 1 gig or Intel HD 3000?
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a b D Laptop
August 15, 2011 9:50:28 PM

Wow, the fact that they don't do official transcripts is really fishy. Every time I've dealt with any form of tech support they emailed me a transcript after...

That said, I really think they are trying to sell you a "cat in a bag" type of deal. I cannot imagine what they will "unlock" in that laptop hardware settings, besides severely underclocking CPU and GPU to keep them from getting so hot under load. I mean, honestly, if the GPU and CPU operating temperatures are getting so hot, but you aren't experiencing any shutdowns (thankfully, but probably, for now) I think that indicate a severe design flaw in their cooling system and you probably should not keep such a laptop.

If I were you, I'd try either a different model or different manufacturer all together.
August 15, 2011 10:12:48 PM

To be fair the original customer support lady in India who directed me to the pay-for-service chat for free sent a transcript without me asking. It was only the actual tech guy I talked to who said they didnt have the option. To get in touch with them I had to download a unique exe file from a link the lady generated for me based on my info, so you would think a system like that has a "do transcript" action in his end, but who knows. He seemed like a genuine guy.

Unlocking-wise I suspect something like that, a combination of underclocking the CPU and perhaps rev up the fans to a point where they will wear out. I had an Acer that died that way years ago. I also noticed it never rev up to the insane amount my old also million degrees hot macbook did, but its had super components though. A glass of water was what killed it off after 5-6 years of being on constantly, not faulty hardware. You pay for that stuff too, and sadly I dont have the bucks for investing in a macbook at the moment.

From my end, I know I probably should have it changed for something else, but the specs are just so appealing. Furthermore it is the CPU not the GPU that reaches unacceptable levels, so I was thinking if there is a safe and easy software way to underclock the CPU myself and see the results on heat and framerates when gaming I might benefit from keeping the good graphics card. I just have no experience in this - I once overclocked a pentium 90 mhz to 120 mhz, but that was in the days of yore and I have no clue how things work now.
August 16, 2011 3:28:37 AM

It's all speculation unless you swap it for the same make / model. Even then, if you experience similar heat issues, it may indicate a "bad batch" of an otherwise good product.

You seem hesitant to mention the make and model in question. oops just re-read the OP. It slipped my mind by the end lol... I guess I can answer my next question myself too... My reading comprehension sucks today. Oh well.

What happens if you type the make, model, and the word "overheating" into your favorite search engine?

Just read through someone's review they posted in a forum. That person is experiencing a lot of heat, blue screens when gaming, etc... it's probably a hot item...

You can void your warranty and put top-shelf thermal paste on it and hope it helps...

or...

exchange it. I read about someone complaining about the "heater" effect coming out the side, and the "hot to the touch" plastic on the left-side area of the keyboard.
August 16, 2011 10:38:14 AM

I was a little bit reluctant to mention the name because I had bad experiences with this company before, but I didn't want to turn it into an Acer-bashing. I think lots of people had bad experiences with them, but at least here they offer better specs in the cheap price range - quite a lot better specs than competitors such as HP, Lenove, Packard Bell etc. So even though I knew I probably would regret it I bought it:-)

Talked to an Acer tech guy in the US and it seemed like he wasn't really that surprised with my situation - he offered a fast 100 buck remote optimization, so I reckon this is something they deal with on a regular basis. I dont think anything is wrong with the particular shipment of computers - I think it is in the design and the components. I am just saying that if I was a shrewd businessman, I would advertise high specs because I know that is what consumers look at, and then cut the production cost by using cheap components such as fans etc. Things that are difficult to check up on on laptop before purchase.

I found out that I can use the simple windows 7 power setting controls to set a cap on the percentage of the processor used. Here is what I got in PerformanceTest 7.0 + temperature and framerate results after a good Fallout 3 (with added shaders+improved textures) gaming session on the same settings:


75% power:

PassMark CPU Score: 2154 (equates rougly to an i3 370M 2,4 GHz in the charts)

System Score using Intel HD: 858,6

System Score using Geforce: 948,8

Core 1: 69 degrees

Core 2: 71 degrees

GPU: 68 degrees

FPS: 35


100% power

PassMark CPU Score: 3581 (strangely it equates to the faster i5 2520M 2,5 GHz in the charts, even though it is an i5 2410 2,3 GHz)

System Score using Intel HD: 1143,5

System Score using Geforce: 1293,5

Core 1: 88 degrees

Core 2: 90 degrees

GPU: 80 degrees


Fallout 3 is probably not the best benchmarking game (especially when modded) because there is a memory leak on Win7 64-bit machines with more than 2 gigs of ram (officially Win7 64-bit is not supported by Bethesda/Fallout 3, even though Microsoft have stated otherwise on their site). But still the difference in temperature is remarkable, and I think because of the relative quality of the Geforce 540M, I don't feel the loss of frames. I didn't measure FPS on 100% power settings, but in Witcher 2 it dropped 4-5 frames with the reduced CPU output. Not too bad.

All I am wondering now is if I would get better gaming performance in a laptop with the same i5 processor running at full clock speed, but a Geforce 520M 1 gig (which is quite a bit slower according to PassMarks+Notebookcheck's charts and have half the built in memory). In other words which is better for gaming: Strong graphics card, slower processor OR Fast processor and weaker graphics card?

I am reluctant to give this computer up (even though I know I probably will regret it some day), because it is in the price range ruled by i5's with Intel HD's - this Acer is quite a step up specs-wise for the same money.
a b D Laptop
August 16, 2011 4:54:25 PM

for gaming you def want the better gpu, the "slower" processor is still quite fast and shouldn't be the bottle neck
August 16, 2011 5:14:24 PM

Imma gonna keep it. I really think this putting a cap on processing power is a good solution - I can just do it with the right click on the taskbar so it couldnt be easier to change it and play around with, and temperatures get severely lowered. This might be a good idea for other people with similar issues, because as I said it only drops a few framerates while gaming and you can compensate for that by lowering settings a bit all the while staying at 75 degrees. Thx for all the advice
August 16, 2011 11:39:00 PM

At lower resolutions, the cpu is important as well as the gpu. There's a ratio there of importance that Im not certain of. You can compare benchmark charts and compare low resolutions to high resolutions, and how they scale in relation to the cpu/gpu power. Once you're at 1680x1050 or 1920x1080 there's a much larger shift toward gpu horsepower. I can't give you exact numbers or percentages, but simply say there is more reliance on cpu horsepower at lowered resolutions when compared to higher ones.
a b D Laptop
August 17, 2011 12:11:24 AM

The CPU has internal thermal protection, it will clock its self down to try and cool off, you don't have to do it manually. If there has been no apparent problems, no slow downs, (which would be the first big clue, the CPU would clock its self down to a level your games would not be playable at) no artifacting, no hard crashes, I would say that your temp monitoring app is not 100% accurate, which is pretty common.
August 17, 2011 1:18:23 AM

Yeah I know it has a tjmax of 100-105 but I have no doubt that sustained usage on 90 degrees will wear it down fast, considering it is a really cheap laptop. I did experience more crashes in Fallout 3 when it was unrestrained, and I mean I trade in 4-5 FPS in for 15-20 degrees. In my experience heat-related issues are often the ones eventually causing laptop death, so I think this is alright.

I use Real Temp which uses the Digital Thermal Sensor on the i5, but still anything can be prone to errors - however I have run prime95 tests on different clock speeds and tested it out when gaming, and I can see temperature reacts according to strain put on the system and cools down fast when idling. It is very responsive so I think all in all the data is fairly reliable, at least the ratio by which temperatures change. Real Temp can also monitor Nvidia GPU temperatures. WR2 directed me to several reviews of budget laptops with i5, and in those they measured temperatures of 90-100 degrees too. So I think that is just the general temperature range budget i5's operate under when put under stress - I know I am going to stress mine a lot, so I think for me it would be wise to aim at lower temperatures, especially when I find that I only lose 4-5 FPS.
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