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SirKhan

How to cool down a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Xi 1546

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SirKhan

Okay guys this topic is started because I couldn't find a website or forum where all the information was in one place I was looking for during the past weeks. I hope this topic will be different because I will try to summarize every piece of information I could get and believe me it was a very hard job (I read forums and websites in 3 different languages for 2 weeks...).

So the problem is given:

We have an overheating laptop, the Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Xi 1546 and the very similar models to this: FSC Amilo 1526 /1547 / 1554 and Alienware Area-51 m5750.

The design of the cooling parts of these laptops is like a 3 years old had done it. And the implementation is even worse! Fortunately enough we can do a few things about it, but it requires dedication, patience and a little mechanical knowledge.

I will go step by step the next few days / week as I will be modding my own rig so expect more detailed posts in the near future and at the end I will summarize everything up in this first post.

Q: How do you know if your laptop overheats and something's wrong with it?

A: When playing games you get artifacts (annoying pieces of texture, etc. that shouldn't be where it is as an anomaly). When watching HD movies you'll see tiny, annoying points on your screen in every color. The more overheat the more points / dots you'll see. It is possible that you won't see them immediately, but try this: restart your PC after a longer gaming session and while booting up you'll immediately notice them!

How to repair:

1.) First Step: downgrade your BIOS to 1.15 (if you have newer!)

The first and easiest thing you can do is downgrading your new BIOS to v1.15. I don't know which idiot at FSC came up with the idea that they should make the cooling fan less efficient on a factory-default-overheating laptop??! But they did. :) Here's a quick comparison:

1.15: Fan starts to run at 50°C, turns off at 45°C, switches to second level at 60°C.

1.25: Fan starts to run at 63°C(!), turns off at 52°C, switches to 2nd level above 72°C...

You see, not a good idea on their part, but luckily downloading the 1.15 BIOS from FSC official homepage and running the executable to automatically downgrade your BIOS is a quick and helpful solution.

2.) Second Step: clean your laptop with compressed air cleaner

This is the most important part. You have to clean your laptop from time to time because dust can easily get in the way of the air and no matter how hard the cooling fan will try to blow the air through it won't help anything. You have to remove the screws holding the back panel of the laptop so that you can get it off and blow directly in the house of the fan and clean out the way of the air. You will be surprised how much dust will come out! After you're done, put back the panel, boot up and let's if anything has changed already!

Step three (installing Notebook Hardware Control) is coming soon and I will also take some pictures and upload them, but I have to take a break now. :)

PS (for now): If somebody is already ahead: use Arctic Cooling MX-2 thermal paste instead of the so popular Artic Silver 5 because the first one gives way better results. And don't forget that you can use the thermal tapes only once!! If you remove your complete cooling unit, then you will have to apply new thermal paste and new thermal tapes (or pads as some people calls them) before you put it back because these stuff is for one usage only...!

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captainm

Good job! :)

Edited by captainm

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myron
1.) First Step: downgrade your BIOS to 1.15 (if you have newer!)

The first and easiest thing you can do is downgrading your new BIOS to v1.15. I don't know which idiot at FSC came up with the idea that they should make the cooling fan less efficient on a factory-default-overheating laptop??! But they did. :) Here's a quick comparison:

1.15: Fan starts to run at 50°C, turns off at 45°C, switches to second level at 60°C.

1.25: Fan starts to run at 63°C(!), turns off at 52°C, switches to 2nd level above 72°C...

You see, not a good idea on their part, but luckily downloading the 1.15 BIOS from FSC official homepage and running the executable to automatically downgrade your BIOS is a quick and helpful solution.

Over time I had tried most of what you suggested so far (besides the MX2 instead AS5 or getting the high performance thermal pads from MXM upgrade)

Have you noticed a difference between 1.15 and 1.17?

As i've noticed on posts over the net (and personal experience as well), most Xi 1546 are downgraded to 1.17 bios before returned from FSC service.

I'm using 1.17 and: the Fan starts to run at 50°C, turns off at 45°C.

I haven't noticed when the fan goes to second level as I usualy run my notepad at highest speed, which is a bit noisier than the laptop fan.

Also, do you know the fan rpm's (or voltage), or how many levels the fan goes to?

Interestingly enough, when removing one of my 2x1GB 667 Crucial Ram and leaving the system with 1x1GB RAM of Ram the occurance of artifacts has been greatly reduced but not extincted (There's always Gears of War to ruin every decent attempt I made).

Don't recall weither having the original 533Mhz ram was leaving my system without artefacts after intensive gaming. Sold them on ebay a year ago so can't test that now...

I thought of buying a single 2GB RAM at 533Mhz to install it alone as these are very cheap nowdays (~35euros).

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SirKhan
Good job! :)

Thanks!

Over time I had tried most of what you suggested so far (besides the MX2 instead AS5 or getting the high performance thermal pads from MXM upgrade)

Have you noticed a difference between 1.15 and 1.17?

As i've noticed on posts over the net (and personal experience as well), most Xi 1546 are downgraded to 1.17 bios before returned from FSC service.

I'm using 1.17 and: the Fan starts to run at 50°C, turns off at 45°C.

I haven't noticed when the fan goes to second level as I usualy run my notepad at highest speed, which is a bit noisier than the laptop fan.

Also, do you know the fan rpm's (or voltage), or how many levels the fan goes to?

Interestingly enough, when removing one of my 2x1GB 667 Crucial Ram and leaving the system with 1x1GB RAM of Ram the occurance of artifacts has been greatly reduced but not extincted (There's always Gears of War to ruin every decent attempt I made).

Don't recall weither having the original 533Mhz ram was leaving my system without artefacts after intensive gaming. Sold them on ebay a year ago so can't test that now...

I thought of buying a single 2GB RAM at 533Mhz to install it alone as these are very cheap nowdays (~35euros).

Hey, good to see your post. It's a shame that you also have this annoying problem though :P Looks like the design of these laptops is really a mess.

I didn't notice any difference between 1.15 and 1.17! At least regarding the fan, I wasn't looking for anything else.

I bet you don't know, but there's a 1.18 bios available also I got it from a friend who has the same laptop and he doesn't have any heating problems. I have to add that he barely uses his laptop though! Unfortunately from our point of view the exact same plan on the 1.18 regarding the fan.

I don't know "exactly" but I think there are three levels. The second level kicks in at 60°C with 1.15 and the third one at 70°C or at least around those numbers. Unfortunately my laptop is so overheating now (on the videocard side I bet) that around 72-73°C it simply restarts.

I have 2GB RAM also and I've tested every way them and IMO it doesn't change anything regarding the overheating and artifacting. And I mean no change at all.

I'm thinking about very seriously modding the laptop as I don't want to buy another one soon (I don't play a lot, and for work it's enough, but overheating does get me angry) and I've came up with a few plans already:

1) overriding the fan cord to an external power source (maybe usb??) or something.

I'm not a genius at electrics so I would be more than happy if someone could tell me if it's a good or bad idea? I know the fan would be running all the time but to be honest I wouldn't care.

2) Changing the fan to an other one, maybe that would mean at least a few degrees?

3) Putting in liquid cooling system completely replacing the air cooling unit. I already have a design in my mind but I don't know how effective would it be. (I don't really fear about spilling water out because it would be a welded, closed system without any leaking possibilities... that's why I don't really know how effective it would be... If anyone has any ideas regarding this please share!

Will post soon again. I'm enjoying the holidays :)

PS: do you guys know how to override the fan control with software? I heard about ACPI and Notebook Hardware Control unfortunately I can't find much info about them... and wasn't able to find a working ACPI template for FSC Amilo Xi 1546 yet for NHC. :P

Edited by SirKhan

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Guest Guest-Parallax

Hi, have you got any further at this? I've downgraded the BIOS, done some hoovering of dust, changed the thermal paste, installed NHC.

Computer still crashes at games which it was fine with when I first got it just over a year ago.

Can anyone provide a way of making the fan just run faster? All fan programs I have say that there is no fan hardware lol.

Does Gears of War work for you guys, because if I can succesfully fix my comp, I'd like to know what graphics drivers you guys have for your Xi 1546 because the FSC ones aren't liked by GoW. Won't even let me start the game, let alone crash :)

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myron

No idea about increasing the fan speed. The best you can do with the fan is to hardwire it to work to 100% all the time. But i aint sure if this gonna do you any good beside bombarding you with db of noise.

As about Gears of War, the only way to go is to use either Omega drivers or Mobility modder+lastest catalyst desktop drivers. However, using modded drivers and after intense gaming you might get BSOD reffering to NMI memory parity errors ( Besides the known glitching ofcouse).

I completed the co-op campaign in a day while having 2 or 3 system crashes to slow me down. The multi is all the money, however you cant really enjoy much as you have to take measures to avoid the stuttering. Hence you need to lower screen resolution, post processing and shadows.

Moreover, you need to apply the lattest patch and play with the config files to get rid of stuttering. A little bit of research is required in order to reduce stuttering. I've found some good leads in GoW forums and 3DGuru forums as well.

Anyway, i wouldn't recommend GoW on this laptop as you can't really enjoy much of it. Lower graphics is really annoying. I bought it when it was first released and i'm still waitting to buy a desktop in order to play it properly. The minimum requirements that Epic released ( X700 , 1GB RAM) is a big lie. You need at least 2GB of ram and X1800 is not that good sometimes even at 800x600.

Here's what i've done to increase playability on multi, Backup all related files to avoid re-installing first!

in My Documents/My games/Gears OF War/War game/Config:

1) WarEngineUserSettings.ini

change this:

OneFrameGPULag:TRUE

to false:

OneFrameGPULag:FALSE

You must copy the code in the folowing files:

[TextureLODSettings]

TEXTUREGROUP_World=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLODSize=1024 ,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_WorldNormalMap=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLOD Size=512,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_WorldSpecular=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLODS ize=512,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_Character=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLODSize= 1024,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_CharacterNormalMap=(MinLODSize=128,Ma xLODSize=512,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_CharacterSpecular=(MinLODSize=128,Max LODSize=512,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_Weapon=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLODSize=102 4,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_WeaponNormalMap=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLO DSize=512,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_WeaponSpecular=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLOD Size=512,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_Vehicle=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLODSize=10 24,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_VehicleNormalMap=(MinLODSize=128,MaxL ODSize=512,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_VehicleSpecular=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLO DSize=512,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_Effects=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLODSize=10 24,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_Skybox=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLODSize=102 4,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_UI=(MinLODSize=128,MaxLODSize=4096,LO DBias=0)

TEXTUREGROUP_LightAndShadowMap=(MinLODSize=128,Max LODSize=1024,LODBias=1)

TEXTUREGROUP_RenderTarget=(MinLODSize=1,MaxLODSize =4096,LODBias=0)

2)DefaultEngineUserSettings.ini

3)WarEngineUserSettings.ini

and in the game directory: in Gears of war /Engine/Config:

4)BaseEngineUserSettings.ini

5)BaseEngine.ini

or

OnlyStreamInTextures=False

Edited by myron

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Guest Parallax

Sweet, thanks for the info on GoW. Well I'm having a lot fewer problems now, can play games again (mostly) but GoW likes to crash alot, not to mention my screen just turning off in the middle of doing nothing hard at all! I have NHC running telling me the temp, 46 degrees for Firefox, ~ 50 for videos, but sometimes without warning the screen just turns off. It's not the screen saver, nor is it anything other than the video card because if using my projector, the projector screen turns off too, and the sound of the video keeps on going.

Hardware issue? It's very strange to me considering the processor is barely being used and the temp of the laptop is at a low 50.

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Guest none

BULESHIT

If you see artefacts pkaying with mobile grafic card in 99,99 % it is damaged graphic module and better cooling will not help resolv it.

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SirKhan

I have not succeeded cooling it down without the use of an external fan. With the use of an external fan (desktop fan, NOT an usb or other PC related one) with high performance I'm able to run games without any problems, artifacts or anything other problems. But on its own, the laptop is pretty useless for games unfortunately.

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Guest TheAlien

I also have the amilo x1546. Everything woked fine untill this summer.... I have cleanded the coolingsystem. Didn`t help. The only thing that helps is a household fan blowing into the open bottom of the notebook. But that is no solution for me.

Did you get your problem sorted out ?

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TheAlien
I also have the amilo x1546. Everything woked fine untill this summer.... I have cleanded the coolingsystem. Didn`t help. The only thing that helps is a household fan blowing into the open bottom of the notebook. But that is no solution for me.

Did you get your problem sorted out ?

hmpf, wasnt thinking.... The post above was me

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TheAlien

Can anyone provide me or make me a picture with ALL the parts that REALLY need to be colled on the graphics card ? I get the feeling that I lost one of those termal pads on one of my "cleanups" ... And that this is the reason why my notebooks acts up...

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Guest Wiaf

Hi Guys,

I rolled back my BIOS and the Fan is way faster but my Xi1546 still keeps crashing when I do 3D Applications (Eve Online in my case, basic graphics, 1440x900) Ive cleaned the fan as well. Is it really needed to apply ArctivSilver or something like that, because I cant be arsed just for my secondary notebook (I have a watercooled Q-Core machine and a vaio for university xD, this is just for playing)

Or is there any other version like a modded BIOS or even an open BIOS (like the normal ones on ATX mainboards).

Thanks in advance,

Wiaf

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SirKhan

Hey, long time no see. :) Quick update: I had another laptop but I had to sell it and now I'm back with the broken FSC. Because I could not do anything about the supposedly broken X1800 I bought a GeForce 8600m GS for $100 put it in the laptop, applied a little change to the heating module (to cover the parts of this new card) and everything is fine now. The performance is about the same, (actually 6% less according to my 3DMark tests) but knowing that this card consumes 50% LESS power (about 20W instead of 45W or so with the X1800) and that the lappy isn't going to overheat ever... is pretty good :) I recommend changing that crap Ati card to everyone.

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myron

I was considering my options for a while as i'm stuck with the X1800 and your post sounds really interesting. So if you could answer some of my questions :)

Was it like plug and play with this card, or you had a specific bios pre-installed ?

Can you give more details on the heatsink mod required ?

Can you give a hint on the gaming performance of 8600GS compared to X1800 ?

25 watt less power consumption is really nice, is the laptop that cool?

I know that most who had the X1800 doesn't want to use ATI products ever, but is HD 3650 worth considering? It should have the best gaming perfomance from the above cards and from what I can find on the forums it is possible to run using an ASUS or ACER bios and a minor heatsink mod. Just to explore all available choices on mxm upgrade for this laptop.

thanks

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SirKhan

hi myron,

you're right about my (and possibly a bunch of other not-so-happy overheated laptop owners') feelings about Ati products, and I don't consider buying one in the next 10 years or so :) I had so much trouble with Ati besides the well known heating problem, like connecting via DVI-HDMI to my Samsung LED-LCD hdtv, and a bunch of other issues that are all sorted out with the change to an Nvidia product... I really don't recommend the other Ati card, but of course the choice is up to you.

If you have some cash to "waste" the best choice would be the 9600gt it's a small and very powerful card also with a consumption around ~22W (!!). We have another topic here in the MXM forums regarding the 9600 and Xi1546(like) laptops, check it out.

My GS is a little bit slower regarding games, ~7% based on my 3dmark06 tests (I got around 2800 in WinXP and 2600 in Win7 beta with this new card).

Heatsink mod: you either have to modify a bit the thermal pads to get a connection between the graphics card and the heatsink because this card is smaller than the x1800, or have to make some modifications to the heatsink itself but that requires some knowledge about metals which I don't have unfortunately. Also regarding the thermal pads, I used the original (FSC factory) ones but in two layers on top of each other, and I also had to use one on the GPU because there's a gap between that and the heatsink. I don't think it will overheat.. ever, though, 8x series geforces are better than that or at least that's what I heard.

I had the 1.15 original FSC bios (because of the better cooling features) and now I can't upgrade to any other (besides the alienware 1.19w which DOES NOT support 8600gs unfortunately :P ) and it was really a "plug and play" case with this card!

If you still decide to use the HD3650 please keep me informed about your experience, although currently I pretty much h4te Ati, this could change if I see something convincing :)

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Guest F.Coyle
hi myron,

you're right about my (and possibly a bunch of other not-so-happy overheated laptop owners') feelings about Ati products, and I don't consider buying one in the next 10 years or so :) I had so much trouble with Ati besides the well known heating problem, like connecting via DVI-HDMI to my Samsung LED-LCD hdtv, and a bunch of other issues that are all sorted out with the change to an Nvidia product... I really don't recommend the other Ati card, but of course the choice is up to you.

If you have some cash to "waste" the best choice would be the 9600gt it's a small and very powerful card also with a consumption around ~22W (!!). We have another topic here in the MXM forums regarding the 9600 and Xi1546(like) laptops, check it out.

My GS is a little bit slower regarding games, ~7% based on my 3dmark06 tests (I got around 2800 in WinXP and 2600 in Win7 beta with this new card).

Heatsink mod: you either have to modify a bit the thermal pads to get a connection between the graphics card and the heatsink because this card is smaller than the x1800, or have to make some modifications to the heatsink itself but that requires some knowledge about metals which I don't have unfortunately. Also regarding the thermal pads, I used the original (FSC factory) ones but in two layers on top of each other, and I also had to use one on the GPU because there's a gap between that and the heatsink. I don't think it will overheat.. ever, though, 8x series geforces are better than that or at least that's what I heard.

I had the 1.15 original FSC bios (because of the better cooling features) and now I can't upgrade to any other (besides the alienware 1.19w which DOES NOT support 8600gs unfortunately :P ) and it was really a "plug and play" case with this card!

If you still decide to use the HD3650 please keep me informed about your experience, although currently I pretty much h4te Ati, this could change if I see something convincing :)

I too have an Amilo XI 1546, I live in the UK and have had the laptop for about 2.5 years now.

How long have you had the 8600m GS installed?

Where did you get the card from?

Also I had many artifacts on my laptop, I thought it was dead pixels at the start but learned otherwise.

I am currently running FSC bios 1.17, my other issue is that my battery will only last about 2 minutes if even, don't suppose anyone else has this trouble or why its went like that?

I am considering buying another battery + power pack and graphics card but maybe I am better off just buying a new laptop when that's all added up.

My laptop overheats a lot around the right of the touch pad after even 5 minutes...Iv tried applying arctic silver 5 and cleaned out the heatsink with compressed air, helped for like a month but its not worth it to do it every month to be honest.

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TheAlien
I too have an Amilo XI 1546, I live in the UK and have had the laptop for about 2.5 years now.

How long have you had the 8600m GS installed?

Where did you get the card from?

Also I had many artifacts on my laptop, I thought it was dead pixels at the start but learned otherwise.

I am currently running FSC bios 1.17, my other issue is that my battery will only last about 2 minutes if even, don't suppose anyone else has this trouble or why its went like that?

I am considering buying another battery + power pack and graphics card but maybe I am better off just buying a new laptop when that's all added up.

My laptop overheats a lot around the right of the touch pad after even 5 minutes...Iv tried applying arctic silver 5 and cleaned out the heatsink with compressed air, helped for like a month but its not worth it to do it every month to be honest.

The XI1546 is a design desaster. I would say almost all xi1546 have a damaged (and therefore overheating(it's actually not overheating, they become more SENSITIVE to heat)) x1800 Card. I don't know why, but the cards crap out after extensive usage. They still work, but they overheat and sometimes even crash or produce something that looks like dead pixels at startup.

My advice: Don't even waste your time trying to fix the overheating problem. The card WILL crap out on you sooner or later.

Getting another card will also lower your temps.

After 2,5 years of daily usage. The battery is just trash. I have the same experience here.

If you like the laptop, fix it and buy a new battery. If you want to keep it simple, get a new one with new warranty on it.

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SirKhan

I had two of these laptops, one went broke after 1 year intensive gaming and daily 15h usage, the X1800 died in it, the battery since then (!!) is damaged too, now only lasts 15minutes, Windows 7 even says that the battery is damaged :) The other one was used a lot less but still artifacts appeared after 2 years and it was going down also I think... Now I only have one of them ;-) This has the 8600GS with max overclock, 3dMark06 around 3600 points, heating is "okay" GPU is around 80C even after 2 hours heavy gaming. CPU tops around 70C, I use the 1.15 bios for better fan speed control -> less heat. I got the 8600GS from a lad in my city for around $100, best purchase for this laptop. Ati: NEVER EVER again......... :)

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TheAlien
Ati: NEVER EVER again......... :)

You do know that about 80% of all Nvidia Geforce 8xxx cards have a bad connection between the PCB and the GPU ? The solderpoints break due to the fact that the GPU expands under heat. And that they usually crap out after about a 6months ? Just to give you a heads up...

I think it is a little to simple to say: Never ever ATI or NVidia again.

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SirKhan

Staring from power consumption, then overheat problems, incompatibility problems with my new 42' lcd tv and the ati cards, then when I finally got it working the colors were pale, etc. I had sooo much trouble with Ati cards that I don't have with nvidia. Not to mention that for half the price I got more performance now :) So you can't convince me, but it's true that both sides have problems. Nvidia is only a little better for me, that's all.

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GabSoftware

Owners of Amilo Xi 1554 (possibly 1546 and alienware m5790 too) can try this ACPI script for Notebook Hardware Control (NHC) in order to manually set the fan speed to the max.

It works very well on my 1554.

The script was initially designed for another newer Amilo (and not by me) but still work with this one after minor modifications. You have to modify the .xml file if you have a 1546 or whatever else than 1554.

You have 2 modes : Auto and Manual. Desactivate the Auto mode and activate the manual mode, set the speed to 3 and your lappy should begin to get much cooler !

Fujitsu.rar

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