Computer overheating is a common and severe problem faced by millions of users worldwide. Typically, this problem occurs in laptops that are used for prolonged periods.
Technological advances have made it possible for devices to become smaller and lighter. Therefore, notebook PCs are nowadays too thin to implement efficient cooling solutions.
You are in luck if you regularly work with a Linux laptop and periodically suffer from overheating on your device. Fortunately, overheating on Linux can be solved with some simple tricks.
This week at Rambox, we give you all the tips and tricks to avoid overheating on Linux PCs.
Laptop components are very close together, with hardly any space between them, so there are hardly any ventilation systems and areas through which air can pass.
It is usual for a laptop to heat up to 42-45ºC (107.6-113ºF), so if the device’s temperature exceeds these figures, overheating occurs.
There is a multitude of reasons why a computer may overheat. While the most common cause is an inefficient cooling system, other common causes include the following:
- Blocked ventilation ports due to dust build-up or having an object blocking the hot air outlet.
- Clogged fan.
- Lack of thermal paste on the CPU.
If your device is over three years old, thermal problems will likely reach critical levels, and hardware, software, or a combination of both will need to be implemented.
You can reduce the temperature of your device by installing some applications on your Linux PC. Many applications have different objectives, such as controlling the processing speed or manipulating the fan speed to reduce heat. Depending on your needs, you can install one or more packages.
This is one of the best software to help control the temperature of laptops. It is a clean CLI-based application that allows you to save battery power without dealing with complex technical details.
If you have Ubuntu or Debian systems, follow the commands below to install TLP on your system:
- sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw
If you are using ThinkPads, you will need to add a step:
- sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-dkms acpi-call-dkms
Restart your computer after the installation is complete. Usually, you will start noticing differences after a couple of hours, but don’t worry if you start seeing these changes within a couple of days.
This tool monitors and controls the CPU temperature, applying the necessary compensation methods to prevent the temperature from skyrocketing and reducing overheating.
https://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/lunar/en/man8/thermald.8.html and can be installed with the following command:
- sudo apt-get install thermald
Thermald and TLP do not conflict, so you can install both on your computer if necessary.
Laptop Mode Tools is a power-saving package for Linux systems. It allows different configurations for longer battery life.
Why worry about battery life if you are looking to reduce overheating? Because power saving mode lowers the temperature of computers.
You can use the following WebUpd8 PPA to install Laptop Mode Tools:
- sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/unstable
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get install laptop-mode-tools
You can start the GUI using the following command:
- $ gksu lmt-config-gui
One consideration to keep in mind is that Laptop Mode Tools and TLP do not mix well. Therefore, if you have TLP installed, you will need to uninstall it before proceeding with the Laptop Mode Tools installation.
If you have installed some of the above solutions, be sure to monitor the computer’s temperature to check the effectiveness of their solutions and their benefits.
Linux offers excellent tools that allow users to monitor hardware temperature effectively.
The sensors package provides helpful information about the system hardware and comes pre-installed on Ubuntu or Debian-based Linux systems.
The sensors will display the temperature of the processor and each core. A distinction is made between high temperature and critical temperature. Massive overheating may cause the computer to shut down automatically to prevent damage if the processor is at a crucial temperature.
To open the application, use the following command:
- $ sensors
Psensor displays CPU, GPU, and HDD temperature, rotation speeds, and heat statistics.
To install Psensor on Ubuntu or Debian, run the following commands:
- sudo apt-get install lm-sensors hddtemp
- sudo sensors-detect
- sudo apt-get install psensor
If the programs or applications installed on the PC require a lot of CPU power, there will be an increase in the temperature of the device.
Using these applications on older laptops will cause more intense overheating. This is because they need processing power to run applications that consume many system resources.
On the other hand, even regular applications can sometimes clog the CPU. This happens when the application faces runtime problems due to an incorrect system configuration or a bug in the program.
Whatever your case, you can locate which applications consume the most CPU and remove them to control your laptop’s temperature.
The classic Unix program displays the processes in a Linux environment. Using this application, you can sort your applications according to their CPU consumption and remove those that use more than 40-50% of the CPU. To run it, use the following commands:
- $ top
- $ P
Desktop environments such as KDE, Unity, or Pantheon are resource-intensive, as they have many graphic and software functions that require a lot of processing, leading to overheating.
Choosing lighter desktop environments, such as XFCE or LXDE is an effective and straightforward solution. If you use Ubuntu, switch to Xubuntu to reduce overheating. If you run Ubuntu on GNOME or a different DE, you can switch to Xubuntu using the following command:
- $ sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop^
The mere fact of using Rambox already presents benefits in terms of CPU consumption, as the primary goal of the application is to avoid using different desktop applications or opening multiple websites in your browsers, which ultimately increases resource usage on users’ systems causing system overheating.
Rambox concentrates users’ desired applications and websites in the same desktop application, which helps mitigate CPU consumption and overflow.
Rambox comes with an internal App Manager dashboard, which displays real-time metrics for each application and process running within Rambox. Here, users can disable applications or kill processes as well. Open the quick search panel (Alt+Shift+K) and type “app manager” to find it.
Rambox also allows you to instantly disable applications you are not using, which may consume considerable resources in the background. Right-click on the application and select “Enabled” to activate or deactivate the application.
When Rambox detects that some application is consuming a reasonably high amount of CPU, or if the amount of CPU consumption is unusual for a short period, users are automatically notified so they can reload or deactivate the application and prevent it from endangering others or slowing down Rambox in general.
At the same time, Rambox offers an option to automatically hibernate any desired application after a period of idle time, which restricts it from using main memory and pauses its background usage to preserve resources. At this point, users can set several minutes of inactivity, after which the application will be hibernated. Users can also start the desired application that is already hibernated and then “wake it up” when they decide to use it. To configure this option, you only have to right-click on the application, select “Settings,” and add the time you consider appropriate.
If you are overwhelmed by the number of applications you have to work with, consuming your RAM, and making your desktop extremely low and overloaded, try Rambox for free. All you have to do is download the program, configure it to your liking, and enjoy its functionalities. No cards, no cheating, it’s that simple!