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September 23, 2012

Thermal Service

Even if you still have a fan, tracking the temperatures of your CPU and whatever else gets hot is very important!

Most of the time, temperatures will spike if you use a program that requires a lot of processing power. The heat that is generated by the resistance of the electric current will heat up the central processing unit (CPU or Processor), graphics processing unit (GPU or Graphics Card), Graphics Memory Controller Hub (GMCH), and anything else that generates heat. Most new computers have built-in temperature detection. It's supposed to trigger the fan when it gets too hot and save energy. But if the fan keeps running, perhaps the people who develop these systems should redsign these machines to put the hot parts as close to the edge of the machine to vent out this heat. I'll talk more about that in a bit. But first lets install the software that allows us to read this information.

$ sudo http-proxy= apt-get install lm-sensors
$ sudo sensors-detect				# say "y" (yes) to everything.
$ sudo service module-init-tools start		# this should restart that service
$ sensors					# You don't need to sudo to use this.
acpitz-virtual-0
Adapter: Virtual device
temp1:        +73.0°C  (crit = +100.0°C)

coretemp-isa-0000
Adapter: ISA adapter
Core 0:       +58.0°C  (crit = +90.0°C)
$

As you can see, we are fortunate enough to have a system set up that indicates what the critical temperature is. When any of these components reach critical temperature, the BIOS sets a shutdown message and the computer turns off.

When the fan does not work, or if the computers design does not consider where this heat needs to go, you are going to have a machine that malfunctions, which is why it is important to put the hot parts near the edge and use the fan to blow this hot air own and draw cool air in. Otherwise, you've signed a space heater with a hard drive.

At any rate, I plan on explaining how to put this information into the tmux status bar in the near future.

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