Why is my laptop overheating?
Question by Sahil /
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I have a Dell Inspiron N5010 which I bought 7 months ago in August 2010.

Nowadays, it shuts down randomly when I play games, mainly while playing Modern Warfare 2. I disable Windows Aero and MSE while playing.

I have monitored the temperature with TechPowerUp GPU-Z and the temperature reaches 106°C before shutting down.

I am sure there won’t be any dust or hairball in the vent as my laptop is new. What can be the problem? By the way, I am buying a laptop cooling pad in a day or two.

I have:
Chipset – ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5400 Series.
Windows 7 x64.

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Answers (28)
  • sunny

    hey hii i have dell inspiron n5010..i always had a problem I.e whenever i play any game. after half an hour my laptop shutdown automatically without any warning…and while playing games my laptop suddenly start overheating n then it goes shutdown…i am fed up with this problem.. can somebody help me plzzzzzz…

  • Wested003

     hey hii i have dell inspiron n5010..i always had a problem I.e whenever i play any game like cod. after half an hour my laptop shutdown automatically  without any warning...and while playing games my laptop suddenly start overheating n then it goes shutdown...i am fed up with this problem.. can somebody help me plzzzzzz...

  • 1742966100

    happens to me too. my friend said my processor aint good enough i3. it overheats because you need at least 3.2 ghz pc to run it or itll overheat. mine is 2.53 ghz

  • Amolak

    I have a  DELL INSPIRON  N 5010
     i have i5 processor...4GB RAM1 gb ati mobility radeon hd 550v 
    it shuts down randomly wn i play ALAN WAKE or BATMAN:ARKHAM CITY..does ny 1 have a solution or ansr to my question???plz help 

    • Smayonak

      It turned out that the Dell Inspiron N5010 suffers from a design defect that causes its graphics processing unit (GPU) to overheat (that's what has been said in the Dell forums). The best option is for you to call Dell and find out if they've recalled this model, or if it's still under warranty.

      In case you want to confirm whether heat is an issue, try using the Real Temp application (http://www.techpowerup.com/realtemp/). If installed, first turn on error logging (in the settings menu) and let it run in the background while playing Alan wake/Batman. It will record your system's temperature up until it crashes. Locate the log file and open it. Huge spikes in temperature indicate a heat issue. Be aware that not all motherboards/GPU are supported (although many are).

      In case your warranty has expired, you may want to try three simple and easy methods for lowering a laptop's temperature: (1) get a cooling pad; (2) underclocking your GPU and (3) playing with reduced graphical settings (located inside your game's configuration menu).

      #1 and #3 are really easy fixes for this issue, so I'll just skip to the second item: Underclock your GPU. Download the latest software for your graphics card (GPU). It may have options for reducing its maximum performance (underclocking).Try poking around in there for settings that control performance. If I remember correctly Nvidia has included a slider for the core clock of the GPU. Lowering this frequency will also lower the overall heat output.

      I'm not sure, but this might be the link to your graphics card:


      There's actually a whole article (it's a little dated though) on how to underclock your GPU:


      I don't know much about the software in the above link, however, so use at your own risk.

      Good luck! 

    • Smayonak

      A quick correction - try either Open Hardware Monitor (
      http://openhardwaremonitor.org/ ), PassMark BurnInTest (
      http://www.passmark.com/products/bit_screenshot.htm ) or SpeedFan (
      http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php ) for checking your GPU or CPU's temperature.

  • Amolak

    i have i5 processor...
    4GB RAM
    1 gb ati mobility radeon hd 550 vit shuts down randomly wn i play ALAN WAKE or BATMAN:ARKHAM CITY..does ny 1 have a solution or ansr to my question???plz help

  • sandip kc

    My laoptop has got same problem. It shutdown today morning 3 times.
    Model: dell n 5010
    RAM: 4GB
    procesor: i3
    Win 7
    Its winter here I dont think it is due to overheating.
    Help me please

    • George

      My laptop has the same issue.
      Model: dell n 5010RAM: 3GBprocessor: i3 

      OS: WIN 7

      First time it had this problem (only 3 month after I bought it) I took it to service. They told me the issue is cause of the dust and they only cleaned it. 
      After other 8 months the same problem.  But now it's out of warranty so after reading all the posts regarding this I decided to open it clean it and change the thermal paste.
      After disassambley surprise - no dust or just a little bit. Since the temp went as high as 70 C only 2 min after turning on I thought that amount of dust can't be the cause. So I replaced the thermal paste with Arctic Silver 5 (one of the best). 
      As a result of all this NO CHANGE! The temps are the same (70 - 80 C) when it hits 90 it shuts down. 

      I mention that I don't play games. This happens while using a browser.

      Can anyone suggest what the problem might be?

    • Smayonak

      Thank you George for describing the problem in necessary detail. If the technician thought it was overheating then it's likely that you are getting no warning, shutdowns to black. Another symptom is that your computer will start slowing down. Bluescreen also sometimes occurs. Can you confirm?

      To determine whether or not overheating is an issue requires a means of measuring how hot your laptop gets.

      Try this open source software:


      There are three primary places where heat can accumulate - the graphics processor or northbridge (AKA MCH or IMCH), the CPU and the southbridge (located on your motherboard). The hard drive is another place but less likely to be a source of overheating.

      OHM can sometimes look at heat sensors on your motherboard (where the north and southbridges are located), but sometimes it won't recognize them. It will always recognize the CPU temps.

      Try running OHM while using your browser. Watch the temps. If it spikes by a wide margin from its idle state, then you have the source of the problem. If there's no change, then the problem is likely elsewhere.

      Make sure your computer is getting good airflow - that means, if it has a fan intake on the bottom that it has proper clearance. Like rubber feet to keep it elevated and breathing. However, given your info, I suspect the issue may be a design flaw.

    • Smayonak

      I'm sorry you are having issues. Can you describe how it is shutting down? Bluescreen? Blackscreen? How does it behave before it shuts down?

  • Smayonak

    Something I almost forgot: Saptashwa is right that the BIOS oftentimes contains settings for different kinds of fan settings. Sometimes fans can run aggressively or silently. You typically want as aggressive as possible.

    Check your BIOS to make sure.

  • Smayonak

    I did mean that as a compliment. Your computer issues are always worthy of analysis.

    Did you try scanning them in safe mode? The majority of serious problems are caused by things that only show up in safe mode (or not at all).

    SpeedFan will wear your fan down faster, if it works, but otherwise there's no danger in turning your fan speed up.

    RE: Undervolting. The one thing to remember - ALWAY REMEMBER - when undervolting is never, ever, EVER turn your VID number up above the default value. Always lower it.

    If you use too low a voltage, you will get BSOD, but that's easily fixed by turning up the VID number slightly. If you RAISE the VID number, you will overheat and possibly damage, the CPU.

    On the many computers I've undervolted, all of taken the lowest voltage rating and temps drop substantially.

  • Sahil Dave

    Hello people,

    See the attached picture. The Inlet for the air flow is on the right top corner, and the other three in the middle would be of something else.

    The question is - i was getting a laptop cooler with only one big fan, about 15cm diameter in the center somewhat like this http://www.flipkart.com/computers/cooling-pads/cooler-master-notepal-x-lite-acccxscfwyhgm5mg . I was confused as the main inlet is in the corner and the fan is in the middle
    Will the fan in the middle be beneficial for the laptop or should i search a one with fan at the corners.

    Can anyone suggest me good coolers ?? The suggested above are all with fan in center.

  • Smayonak

    Sahil Dave - you always have the most interesting computer issues. :-)

    If your laptop was not overheating before, and it's overheating now, then logically something that happened between then and now must have caused this issue. Perhaps another user?

    Your brother may have inadvertently installed additional software, malware or viruses. You are already aware of this, so I will be brief: these things run silently in the background and contribute to system heat. The others in this thread know exactly what they're talking about. It's either dust, software or hardware.

    Give it the once over with a spyware, malware and virus sweeper. And run the scan in safe mode. Just install something simple like ClamWin and boot into safe mode.

    If that doesn't work, I highly suggest undervolting if you're using Core2Duo and iCore.


    It will lower heat production by around 20-30%, which makes a huge difference.

    SpeedFan is the most popular fan control program.


    • Sahil Dave

      Thanks for the "compliment" Smayonak,
      I have already ran all the malware, spyware and virus thingy. Done with deisk cleanups, registry cleaners and defrags but gained nothing.

      Are these two softwares reliable, cause i dont want to end up with wrecked burned hardware.

      ONE QUESTION to everyone. Can Win 7 ultimate x64 cause this. I have only 6 startup items, and very less startup services. I close all the running applications while playing game.

    • Jahangird1

      Dear Sahil, I have a Dell N5010 laptop, although I do not play games, but engineers from Dell have confirmed this model has overheating issues, as laptop is still in warrantly check with Dell Tech support for possible solutions.

    • Smayonak

      Jahangird1: Good job. The first question we should have asked is whether or not this particular model had been recalled or had any design flaws.

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