Underclock your GPU aka why my Windows 7 feels so ‘hot’/’noisy’(fan) onto my semi-aged Laptop

In times you used Windows XP onto your semi-aged Laptop like a Dell Latitude D620/630 or similar, you never really noticed the Laptop fan on daily usage. But now you upgraded (or fresh install) to Windows 7 and the fan don’t stop spinning. Additionally, you feel that your Laptop is so hot that you cannot put it onto your lap anymore.


The main reason is that Windows 7 use the GPU heavily, if the Aero Theme is active (Desktop Window Manager –> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_Window_Manager), which force the GPU to run mostly on highest frequency (it’s also driver related –> see below).

Laptops mostly don’t have a separate GPU fan which implicate that the main fan needs to spin to remove the heat from the GPU via the heat pipe.

So what is the solution?

1.) You should install the latest display drivers for your GPU!

The shipped Windows 7 GPU drivers mostly don’t handle the frequency stepping well. I would suggest to download the driver from the GPU manufacturer directly because they are more up to date and the Laptop manufacturer mostly don’t support Windows 7 natively for their semi-aged Laptops.

2.) You should underclock your GPU!

30-50% GPU frequency on a semi-aged Laptop should be enough for daily work (office apps, internet etc.).

There are different tools out there for doing this (Rivatuner etc.) but I would recommend the GPU manufacturer ones like the one from NVIDIA called ‘NVIDIA System Tools’ (http://www.nvidia.de/object/nvidia_system_tools_6.06_de.html)

What are acceptable settings to run the ‘Wildlife in HD’ video smoothly onto a underclocked semi-aged Laptop?


A Dell Latitude D630 with a Nvidia Quadro NVS 135M (400/600) runs fine with the following settings:


A Dell Latitude 820 with a Nvidia Quadro NVS 110M (350/600) runs semi-smoothly with the current settings:


Last but not least you have two additional pros:

Your battery last longer and therefore you are more ‘GREEN’ with saving energy while on power supply. Smile

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One Response to Underclock your GPU aka why my Windows 7 feels so ‘hot’/’noisy’(fan) onto my semi-aged Laptop

  1. RCP says:

    thank you!

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