Dell Latitude X1 Runs Slowly: Cure

Do you have a Dell Latitude X1 ultra-portable notebook computer and find that it seems to run slower than usual at times? I encountered the same performance problem and found a cure for the mysterious sluggishness a few months ago.

The Latitude X1 is passively cooled. In other words, it has no fan to blow away the heat generated by the CPU the way mainstream laptops do. Instead the heat is distributed through the bottom of the case. You may have noticed how hot the bottom of the laptop can get.

Without a CPU fan, what happens when the processor gets too hot? It slows down. As a survival mechanism, the CPU’s clock rate will decrease in order to reduce the amount of heat being generated. Usually, the clock rate will be cut in half. As a result, everything will run more slowly. The X1 will do this even if it’s set up to always run at maximum clock rate and is plugged into a power outlet.

The solution to this slow down is quite simple: Cool the bottom of the laptop. This can be done in any of a number of ways including buying a laptop cooler (the rectangular-shaped plate with fans in it) or, if you have an external keyboard and monitor connected to it, flipping the computer over so that heat more quickly dissipates into the air. Leaving the laptop on your lap, desktop or blankets (for those who like to compute in bed) will just exacerbate the heat build up and keep the CPU running at less than full speed during moderate to heavy workloads.

One thought on “Dell Latitude X1 Runs Slowly: Cure”

  1. I also put a 2Gb stick of Ram in mine. The BIOS does not count 2.25GB – Just the 2GB, so the built in RAM is no longer counted. Vista detects 2.25GB, XP detects 1.99GB and Ubuntu 8.04 detects 2GB.