Attached monitors causing PC fan RPM increase

G'day experts,

A client is having some trouble with a new Lenovo ultrabook, docked on a new, genuine Lenovo docking station which came with it. When docked with printer/ I/O peripherals attached, all works beautifully for an indefinite period of time (tested over a 12+ hour stretch without incident). However, when a Samsung TV/ monitor is attached via HDMI as an extra screen, the Lenovo's cooling fan seems to kick into high gear within a minute, whirring loudly for a time every 5 minutes or so. If this monitor is removed, all goes back to normal quickly. If another LG monitor is connected via D-SUB, similar symptoms occur, but after about 30 minutes and the whirring happens less frequently than every 5 minutes. The same reduction in fan speed and subsequent noise can be seen after monitor B is removed.

When the fan speed increases, the PC's performance reduces, possibly indicating some tie-in to CPU overheating or the like.

The same symptoms, to a lesser extent, can also be seen when the ultrabook has been removed from the dock, but still with either monitor attached.

The client is not a heavy user by any stretch, and a CrashPlan cloud backup operating almost constantly in the background. They pretty well only use Office 365, primarily Word & Outlook. There are no other programs to speak of which should put any real strain on the working of the PC, causing it to heat up and call the fan into overdrive.

Looking forward to hearing you collective thoughts so that we can get to the bottom of this!
Servant-LeggieAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have looked at this a couple of times. I think the only thing that can account for this is the GPU working overtime to drive both monitors (especially big monitors). I have Accountants at a client who use portable 12 inch screens to make their Lenovo laptops 2 screen devices. The small attached screen does not overdrive their laptops or heat them up.
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
Thanks John,

I'll check to see how big the screens are that the client has- I've never seen them first-hand, but suspect each is 24"+...

I have another client running a Lenovo Yoga 3 who drives a 24" off that and he's never mentioned any issues, though the Yoga doesn't work off a docking station, but independently.

I've just emailed the client and will let you know the result when I hear back.
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rindiCommented:
TV's with HDMI will usually have a high resolution in full HD or higher. This high resolution needs more power from your GPU in order to be driven properly. The other display you have tested it with using D-Sub, probably has a lower resolution. Besides that, HDMI also transmits audio, so that can also increase the load.

Maybe you can change some options in your BIOS for the power settings, Sometimes you can change fan speeds there, as well as temperature thresholds.

Another thing to look at is to clean out all the dust from the laptop. If there is too much dust, the fans will have to work harder to keep things cool.
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andreasSystem AdminCommented:
You might also consider to heck newest drivers and if available newest BIOS version for the laptop. sometimes this might help. Before update the BIOS check the changelog to see whats improved on the newer versions, you might need to check all changelogs for all versions newer than the running BIOS version. If one of the resolves some problems with the cooling system or external screens its worth to try.

If nothing of this is mentioned just let the BIOS alone as its also risky to update it as you can break the laptop if something went wrong.
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
Rindi, thanks for that information - that all makes perfect sense. The machine is almost brand new and in a pretty clean environment, so dust won't be the issue. I'll take a look at the BIOS issues, if I can, but it might be a while before I can get in front of the machine due to the client's proximity to us and the client doesn't have enough technical expertise to access BIOS settings, let alone change them.
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
Andreas, thanks for this further tip- I'll take a look at this when I'm able to.
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
John, the two monitors connected are:

- LG Flatron W2253TQ (21.5"/ 22" TV monitor);
- Samsung Model LA22A450C1XXY (22" Monitor).

I'm looking up the specs, but nothing seems unusual.
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
Experts, there was one VERY IMPORTANT piece of information which I failed to mention. When the TV monitor is connected, or even 30 minutes after the LG PC monitor is connected, the PC slows down dramatically and, in the customer's eyes, becomes almost unworkable. This is the main concern for the client as he requires 2 monitor to be running off his PC and the speed issue is causing him great frustration.

The model he purchased is the Lenovo X250.

Is there any chance that this could be a manufacturing fault with this particular machine? I haven't found any significant issues with this particular model, so I'm hoping it is this if it's nothing we can resolve here.

Another thought which has just dawned on me is in relation to comparing his current setup with his previous one. The client used to have an almost identical setup, with an older Lenovo, the docking station, and both of these monitors. The only difference is that he used to use a Matrox dual-head-to-go (Analogue Edition), whereas he's not using that this time. Given that the Matrox device, while splitting the signal, also works to power the device via USB, is it possible or even likely that this could be the resolution to this issue?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Based on your observations, I would open a case with Lenovo Support. The X250 is a new machine (I use an X230). This goes back to my earlier post about the GPU working overtime.

Also make sure you are using a regular dock and not a USB dock.
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
Hi John,

Yes, it's a regular dock which is being used.

I'll make contact with Lenovo support and see what they say.
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
Hi guys,

There was some confusion over Lenovo Support becoming IBM support and my having to log into it, so I avoided that.

It occurred to me, shortly after my previous post, that the client used to use a Matrox DualHead2Go Analogue Edition on his previous setup which he claims worked beautifully. He was also going to purchase a Matrox DualHead2Go Digital Edition off us at the time he purchased the above machine off us, but decided not to in preference of connection directly through the docking station.

Would you agree that the Matrox device should help to alleviate any issues, given it's a powered (USB) option for multi-screen support? From what I understand of these devices, it should do the trick and the client is most happy to try it if it will.
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
Hi guys,

The client will be available to meet on Wednesday 14th Oct, so I'll be installing the Matrox device then (unless you suggest that this will have no affect (please confirm).
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
Hi guys,

Sorry for my delayed reply. The client was available shortly after Oct 14th and I was able to work on their machine and all its peripherals. We seem to have gotten it working without the use of the Matrox device through driver and software updates, even though this was already completed initially with apparently no success.

I'll close this ticket for now, but if the issue comes up again we might have to re-open it.
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Servant-LeggieAuthor Commented:
Seems the simplest solution was the best, in the end.
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