Cooler, quieter, but unfortunately with Windows

When I was in Japan, I took care of my own PowerBook as well as the two computers my flatmates owned. One of my flatmates insisted on building a machine as cheap as possible, along with a 15" flat panel. He had about $300US total to spend on it at the time, and a 15" panel was nearly that much alone. He also wanted to run linux on it, despite not being particularly knowledgable about linux or even computers in general.

It was up to me to install linux, but the install kept failing in one way or another. It turned out the motherboard was so crappy, that if we ran everything at the standard speed and voltage, data corruption would occur. All was well after I underclocked the computer and modified the voltage levels accordingly.

Fast forward to today – my own Samsung laptop is on the brink of death. Unfortunately for me, laptop computers rarely give the options for changing voltage and/or speed that are possible with desktop computers (particularly those built by oneself). I saw an interesting piece of software, but it wouldn’t run on Windows Vista. Now that I have suitably degraded my computer to a previous version of Windows, I can run the software – Notebook Hardware Monitor.

I can force my computer all the way down to 800MHz (from 1.86GHz) and reduce the voltage from 1.3V down to 0.7V. That makes the computer much quieter (fans don’t need to run), and it makes it more stable. Not stable, mind you, since this is utilising Windows.

It makes my computer last a bit longer, until Apple releases some PowerBooks MacBook Pros with screens containing LED backlights (and hopefully not the crappy glossy finish that seems so trendy in laptop screens these days).

Too bad I am not aware of something similar for Linux or other operating systems that I’d rather use than Windows.

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