In October of 2009 I purchased a Dell Latitude E6400. As a tech I did my homework checking the specs (CPU, FSB, HDD speed, etc…) and user reviews. Little did I know that underneath the hood was a heating issue that paralyzes the system for hours at a time. Imagine being close to finishing a project up and all your programs come to a grinding halt. This is problem I faced after spending cash money for a brand new laptop.
I isolated the problem to video usage. Any video intensive application (flash video, DVD playback, slingplayer, etc…) would increase my laptops CPU usage to 100% after about 20mins of viewing. The processor usage wouldn’t drop until the computer had been sitting for at least an hour. I tried updating drivers, updating bios, and also making the switch from vista to windows 7. After I updated my machine to windows 7 and still had the issue I thought for sure all my money went down the toilet, but in a last ditch effort I ran some more utilities and read some more forums and determined the root cause of the problem. The graphics chip (GPU) was over heating causing my CPU to down clock between 500MHz and 800MHz.
I read forums about all the failed attempts to fix the overheating issue that causes 100% CPU usage. Some replaced the heat sinks, some replaced internal fans, some tried to wait on dell to develop a bios update to fix heating tables. None of these fixed the issue. After deep thought it occurred to me we have an overheating issue why not add an external fan. I went and picked up a simple laptop fan and eliminated the overheating issues. I have two 20” monitors connected to my e-port docking station and this solved my all my problems. Now I love my laptop and it works great.