Chrome ate my Thinkpad

OK … not quite, but close enough.  I’ve now noticed that when running Chrome (in my typically abusive manner — with 15-30 tabs open for my queued up reading matter slash multi-tasking), my CPU temperature rises about 2-4° (C) due to the Chrome hammering of the CPU.  Is that an essential design trade-off (separate processes per page = constant processing of javascript, Flash, etc.), or is this just an (incredibly annoying) implementation defect, and will a future version of Chrome hibernate the processes/pages that aren’t currently active/visible (if I can’t see it, either turn it off, or nice it down so far that it won’t substantially impact the CPU).  As it is, if I leave Chrome running (again, with many tabs), I typically see CPU usage > 75%, and eventually approaching > 95%.  Luckily, Chrome has automatic saving of current tabs … so it’s a breeze to just start and stop it at will (hint, Firefox:  stop asking me if I want to save my current tabs … of course I do!).

But why am I now monitoring the Chrome effect on my CPU temperature?  Because earlier this week, in the midst of all sorts of irreproducible work (of course), my 3-year-old Lenovo T42P abruptly quit, and wouldn’t return to life.  BIOS diagnosis:  fan kaput — and to the point, the notebook would shut down immediately thereafter.

Took the old fan out, which was very easy, following the instructions in the clean T42 Manual.  For finding the right part number (a cutely named FRU = “Field Replaceable Unit” … guess I’m in the field now!), I used the Service Parts Diagram for the T42p.  Turns out that my part number – 13R2657– has been replaced by part number 41W5204 (confirmed in the Thinkpad forums, and also by IBM NL).  Since I’m in the Netherlands, I had to order from IBM NL … they were pleasant and efficient, and I received the fan overnight.  Putting the new fan in was a breeze.

Disturbingly, though, the Thinkpad booted up, but then would quit after 10-20 minutes … and by “quit”, I mean:  turn off abruptly, with no traces left in the event logs.  Not so cool.  So I installed “Emeritus'” Windows Thinkpad fan management app (if you’re running Linux on a Thinkpad, there’s a whole host of app support for you … Google it), as discussed in this thread, set it to be a bit more aggressive about kicking the fan up in response to temperature steps … and … so far, so good.  I’m holding at about 53-54° C when on battery, even with my Chrome abuse.

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