Save a relationship solve a laptop issue!

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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Save a relationship solve a laptop issue!

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:53 pm

OK here is the problem.

My girlfriend currently lives in Cambodia, I do not. As you can imagine we rely on skype quite a bit! Her computer works well in general, but skype with video enabled causes it particular distress. To the point of regular freezes and only a full restart will fix the problem. The frequency of this is increasing, we both want to avoid this!


She is smart, but not technically minded so possible fixes need to be eloquently presented and locally available!


It is an HP G42 with an i5 M430 with 4GB RAM and W7 64bit so I'd consider that a pretty good amount of hardware. It is two years old! I picked it out very carefully at the time.

I've been to Cambodia, it is an electronics nightmare, all hot and humid. She is not in a temperature or humidity controlled environment so I can see overheating as a possible issue. It could be progressive as dirt builds up on the heat sinks causing overheating to occur faster.

Any more positive diagnoses? She is not in a position to start dissembling her computer to clean heat sinks.
rogthewookiee
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Re: Save a relationship solve a laptop issue!

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:30 pm

If hardware is the current primary suspect, it would be nice if she could blow out the vents with compressed air and/or report the temps from SpeedFan.
wibeasley
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Re: Save a relationship solve a laptop issue!

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:46 pm

wibeasley wrote:If hardware is the current primary suspect, it would be nice if she could blow out the vents with compressed air and/or report the temps from SpeedFan.
Definitely worth a try. If she can get her hands on a bag of ice, she could try sitting the laptop on that and see if it eliminates (or greatly delays the onset of) the problem. You have to be a little careful with this: even if the bag is well-sealed, there will be condensation. This is not a long term solution, but it can be a useful diagnostic. (This is no joke: I had a friend in a similar situation who used bags of frozen peas to keep her notebook running, rotating them through the freezer)
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Re: Save a relationship solve a laptop issue!

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:49 pm

rogthewookiee wrote:I've been to Cambodia, it is an electronics nightmare, all hot and humid. She is not in a temperature or humidity controlled environment so I can see overheating as a possible issue.


A possibility is to put the laptop into power-saving mode. This will throttle the CPU and possibly reduce heat output. However, even an underclocked 430M should be able to drive video chat. Worth a shot, as it does not require her to know/do much.
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Re: Save a relationship solve a laptop issue!

Postposted on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:56 pm

HP G42 with an i5 M430 with 4GB RAM and W7 64bit


I can imagine it didn't came with ATI or nvidia graphics card right? The only thing I would check is intel graphics drivers, see if they are updated, and update skype too. And I would google a bit for possible issues with intel GMA when using skype. Not sure but maybe try another webcam. What about bandwidth? is internet fast enough in cambodia to make these kind of conference calls without glitches whatsoever?

If its an overheating problem, try another energy profile, lets say, low performance (less energy consumption/battery friendly, it will run slower of course)

I picked it out very carefully at the time.


I can assume your girlfriend does work a lot with the laptop, if that is the case, then a core i5 M430 was ok 2 years ago, it was the latest intel processor at the time (that series was released in Q1 2010), and even today is a very respectable processor.

Are you planning a laptop switch? But if you picked the laptop for using with skype, then I would have chosen something way more cheaper with a *minimal* in (serious) graphics power, lets say either an AMD laptop with HD3200/4200 series onboard (while way slower than a core i5, they were way cheaper, and won't overheat when using graphic intensive apps. At least I can say mine works with a broken fan inside, but I'm not in cambodia, although is pretty hot right now.)

Its a pitty zacate was released 1 year ago and not 2 years ago, that would be not just a bang for buck, but never seen such performance and battery friendlyness in a system before, and such tolerance to heat. And I'm talking about 15 inches full keyboard laptops. Zacate is ice cold. Still, its way slower than a core i5. But I wouldn't get any intel computer unless it comes with nvidia or ati card. no matter which model.
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Re: Save a relationship solve a laptop issue!

Postposted on Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:52 am

Intestingly enough, "hot and humid" doesn't necessarily produce much dirt buildup but it can cause corrosion to form on all exposed metal surfaces, including heatsinks. Also, if your GF or anyone she shares space with happens to be a smoker, that gunk can build up and insulate a heatsink surface to an amazing degree after a couple years. Does she keep any pets that shed hair?
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Re: Save a relationship solve a laptop issue!

Postposted on Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:41 am

thefumigator wrote: The only thing I would check is intel graphics drivers, see if they are updated, and update skype too. And I would google a bit for possible issues with intel GMA when using skype. Not sure but maybe try another webcam.


+1 to all these suggestions. I had a video-freezing issue on one machine and turned out to be a problem with the video driver. Overheating might not necessarily be the culprit until proven guilty :)
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