Are there downsides to running a laptop fan constantly at max speed (aside from increased noise-levels)?

iceman_1212

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Jun 21, 2015
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Some background
I have a Thinkpad X220 and it's cores gets hot when I do CPU intensive work - the culprit is a video game which is not too graphics intensive (since I use minimal graphics settings) but which is CPU intensive.

The cores regularly reach 92-93 degrees C (which is 7-8 degrees with TJ max of 100 C) after an hour or so of play - it's not a coincidence that I also notice a marked drop in FPS at this point.

As a solution, I'd like to use a program (tpfancontrol) which lets me manually control the fan speed. Since fan noise is not a concern for me, I thought it would be optimal to have the fan running constantly, ideally at the fastest speed. (I'm able to select a manual speed of 1-7, 7 being the fastest.)

TL;DR:
What are the downsides (if any) of having my fan constantly running at max speed, aside from the increased noise-level? If wear-and-tear of the fan itself is a concern, how can I check whether it's time to replace the fan?

I wasn't sure if laptop fans were built to run for long stretches at max speed so I thought I'd check with you fine folk!

Thanks!

EDIT:
A few additional comments based on the responses thus far:

  • Prior to installing the fan control software, I used compressed air to blow out the fan and vents gently (I removed the keyboard in order to do this). This didn't make much of a difference.

    After I manually set the fan to run constantly, my core temps never rise above 48 degrees C. Also, I'm now able to hear the sound of a fan spinning, a noise which I honestly haven't heard in ages, which makes me suspect that it might have to do with the Thinkpad Power Manager (i.e., the software wasn't properly starting the fan when core temps rose to high levels)

    When I use it for gaming, my X220 is always attached to the Lenovo x-series docking station, so I would assume that it is designed to ensure adequate ventilation for the laptop?
 

Deuce65

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Oct 16, 2013
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An X220 shouldn't be getting that hot no matter what you are running on it.; 80ish or so is as high as it should get. I would make sure the underneath intake isn't blocked, and that it isn't clogged with dust before I did anything else.

You can run it at 100% without any issues (other than the fans wearing out sooner), the thing is, if it is hitting 93c, the fan at that point is already running at 100%, so running it at 100 percent all of the time isn't going to change that. If the fan isn't running at 100% at that point, then that is most likely your issue.
 
The bearings in the fan can, eventually, fail. Shouldn't happen for a very long time though; I'm not sure what laptop fans are typically rated for.

If and when the fan fails, it will fail completely and stop working. Maybe make a grinding noise.

I would have thought that the fan was already running at 100%, though.
 

Deuce65

Honorable
Oct 16, 2013
43
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10,610
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An X220 shouldn't be getting that hot no matter what you are running on it.; 80ish or so is as high as it should get. I would make sure the underneath intake isn't blocked, and that it isn't clogged with dust before I did anything else.

You can run it at 100% without any issues (other than the fans wearing out sooner), the thing is, if it is hitting 93c, the fan at that point is already running at 100%, so running it at 100 percent all of the time isn't going to change that. If the fan isn't running at 100% at that point, then that is most likely your issue.
 
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