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I8kfanGUI V2.0 User Manual


Contents

  1. Main window
  2. Options window
  3. CPU temperature control
  4. Tray icons
  5. System info window


1. Main window

Every time you start or open the I8kfanGUI program, you will see the main window:

The main window is divided into five parts:

  1. Direct Fan Control
  2. Temperature control
  3. Current System Status
  4. Status History
  5. The Buttons

1.1 Direct Fan Control

This part of the main window allows you to set the speed of upto two fans. To set a speed, enable the check box for the corresponding fan, set the speed with the slider, and click on the 'Apply' button. You can also set the speeds for both fans at the same time by enabling the check boxes for both fans.

Several Dell notebooks are equipped with only one fan. In this case, you have to find out yourself which check box controls the fan.

The two speeds 'Slow' and 'High' are preprogrammed speeds and are controlled by the BIOS. There's currently no known way to change the preprogrammed speeds to different ones (as an alternative see hardware sensor support).

The direct fan control is disabled if either the temperature control or the observer mode are enabled.

1.2 Temperature control

On this part of the main window you can enable/disable the CPU temperature control or quickly select a predefined profile set for the CPU temperature control. The shown level value is the currently active fan level of the selected profile. The fan level corresponds with one of the four temperature range definitions of the currently active temperature control profile. See here for further info about the temperature control.

1.3 Current System Status

Here you can watch the current status of the sensors in your notebook. The values shown here correspond with the sensors that I8kfanGUI found on your system. You can enable and disable the sensor readings on the options window.

  • CPU temp: the current CPU temperature
  • GPU temp: the current temperature of the graphics chip
  • DIMM temp: the current temperature of the memory area
  • Other temp: the current temperature of a sensor at an unknown position
  • HD temp: the current temperature of the harddisk
  • CPU load: the current load of the CPU in percent
  • Current CPU speed: the current speed of the CPU
  • Fan status: the current fan speeds (one of 'Off', 'Slow' or 'High')
  • Fan speeds: the current fan speeds in RPM (revolutions per minute)
  • Sensor levels: the current fan speeds in sensor levels (0-63)

The temperatures are shown in C or F. You can change between the two units on the options window. The shown values are updated in fixed intervals which are adjustable on the options window, too. You can activate an immediate display update if you click on the 'Update' button.

1.4 Status History

This section shows the history of the CPU and GPU temperatures in addition to the CPU load and speed. The diagram is updated every time when the sensors are read and shown in the 'Current System Status' area. The diagram scrolls from the right to the left. You can scroll through the values manually by moving the slider below the diagram to the left or right.

1.5 The Buttons

On the upper right area of the main window are several buttons which perform different actions when clicked:

  1. Close: closes the main window and shuts the program down
  2. Options: opens the options window
  3. Minimize To Tray: closes the main window and puts the program in the system tray
  4. Show Sysinfo: opens the sysinfo window
  5. About: shows the credits along with links to some project web pages


2. Options window

On this window, you can tweak I8kfanGUI to your needs. The options are grouped in six categories:

  1. Autostart
  2. CPU temp control (explained later)
  3. Display options
  4. Status reading
  5. Direct fan control
  6. Miscellaneous
If you finished tweaking the options, click on the 'Ok' button to use the new options and to return to the main window. Clicking on 'Cancel' reverts to the previously selected options and takes you back to the main window.

2.1 Autostart options

If you want I8kfanGUI to start automatically on every reboot, then this is the place to enable this.

  • Enable Autostart

      Enable this option to make I8kfanGUI start automatically on every reboot and to put itself into the system tray after the start.
  • Autostart only when on AC

      No comment necessary, I guess.
  • Enable automatic fan setting

      By enabling this option you can set the fans to a certain speed when the system restarts. This option is not available if either the temperature control or the observer mode is activated. See also the 'Maintain fan speeds' option at the Direct fan control options.

      • Enable hardware sensor support

          If you enable this option, then the program tries to search for a supported fan sensor chip on the motherboard of your notebook (read the warning message carefully). If it detects a supported sensor chip, then you can set the speeds to one of 64 different levels instead of just slow, fast, off:

      • Terminate after starting fans

          Causes the program to terminate immediately after starting the fans.

2.2 Display options

Here you can change the displaying of values and the values shown in the system tray icon.

  • Autoupdate

      This option enables the automatic reading of sensor data at specified intervals. You can choose two intervals, one for the reading of the harddisk temperature and one for the motherboard sensors. The harddisk temperature update interval can only be set in minutes to prevent a significant speed degradation when reading the HD's temperature. The reading of a HD's temperature is a very complex task for the system and can take upto a second or longer during which the drive can be unusuable for other programs. You should leave this interval at the default four minutes.

      The autoupdate option will be enabled automatically if you enable the CPU temperature control or the maintain fan speeds option.

  • Show status history diagram

      Turns the automatic displaying of the history diagram on the main window on and off. In the box next to this option, you can choose which values should be shown in the diagram. The CPU speed scaling option to the right sets a scaling factor for the CPU speed when shown in the diagram (i.e. a CPU speed of 1200MHz is displayed as the value 24 in the diagram when choosing the scaling factor 2, or as 36 with factor 3 etc.). This option makes it easier to see CPU speed changes (due to Speedstep) in the status diagram.
  • Show fan speeds as tray icon

      Enables the display of a second tray icon which shows the current fan speeds. See chapter 4 for further info about tray icons.
  • Default temperature unit

      Sets the default temperature unit to either Celsius or Fahrenheit. This automatically converts all temperature values on the main window and on the CPU temperature control option tab to the new unit.
  • Tray icon display

      This option lets you choose which temperatures or system values you want to see in the tray icon. You can choose upto two different values which are shown as one tray icon. The two options determine which value to show in the upper and lower part of the icon, respectively. See chapter 4 for further info about tray icons.

2.3 Status reading options

Here you can select the temperature sensors and system values I8kfanGUI should read. The availability of the individual sensors depends on your particular notebook model and the BIOS version you are using.

  • Read CPU/GPU/DIMM/other temperature

      Enables the temperature reading from the corresponding sensors. The program does not talk to the sensor chip on the motherboard directly, instead, it tries to read the temperatures through a diagnostics interface which is provided by the BIOS. That's why this depends on the BIOS version. Some BIOS versions support reading certain sensors, others don't. As mentioned above, this also depends heavily on your notebook model.

      The program automatically disables the GPU/DIMM/other temperature reading if it detects a BIOS version change (that means, if you flashed to a newer or a previous BIOS version). In this case you have to reenable the reading options to see if they still work with the newer/older BIOS version.

  • Read HD temperature

      This option enables the reading of the temperature from a harddrive. You can choose the drive from the dropdown list box. By clicking on the button 'Redetect HDs' you can trigger a reevaluation of the temperature reporting capabilities of the internal hard disks. This causes an immediate update of the hard disks that are available through the dropdown box.
  • Read fan speeds/status

      Select the fans to read the speeds in RPM and the status from. The availability of these options also depends on the notebook model and BIOS version.
  • Read CPU load

      This option enables the displaying of the current CPU load which can be used in the history diagram to observe CPU temperature or speed changes in correlation to the CPU load.
  • Read current CPU speed

      The program can detect the current CPU speed by using one of three methods: it can ask the BIOS to report the current speed, it can ask Windows to do that (very unreliable!), or the program can calculate the current speed by itself. The calculation takes place by executing some loops and measuring the time the CPU needed to execute them. This time can then be converted into a MHz number. The realtime calculation method usually causes a 1-5 MHz deviation from the theoretical speed due to minimal timing differences. But it is a reliable alternative compared to the 'should-be' speed reported by the BIOS.

2.4 Direct fan control options

These options extend the direct fan control feature on the main window.

  • Enable hardware sensor support

      If you enable this option, then the program tries to search for a supported fan sensor chip on the motherboard of your notebook (read the warning message carefully). If it detects a supported sensor chip, then the sliders for the fans on the main window change from the 'Slow', 'High', and 'Off' settings to sliders with 64 speed levels. On the main window, you can then try to set the fans' speeds in the range from off to the maximum speed they are capable of:

  • Maintain fan speeds

      This option provides a mechanism to maintain the fan speeds if they are set by the direct fan control on the main window or by the autostart feature. With this option enabled, the program constantly monitors the current fan speeds and tries to set them back to the last set fan speeds if the BIOS or another program turns the fans off. This ensures that the fans are never off, but it also takes care of the BIOS which can still set its own fan speeds when necessary. You should enable this option if you want to use the direct fan control to provide the notebook with constant cooling.

      If this option is not enabled (default), then the fan speeds are not controlled once they are set in the direct fan control or on autostart. The fans are staying at the specified speed until the BIOS intercepts or until they are changed again via direct fan control or upon reboot.

      This option has no effect if the CPU temperature control is active.

2.5 Miscellaneous options

This category consists of some options that didn't fit into the other ones.

  • Observer Mode

      Enabling this option puts I8kfanGUI into a mode that prevents any kind of fan control through the program. All options and controls that provide fan control mechanisms become disabled and are no longer accessible by the user. This includes the direct fan control on the main window, the CPU temperature control, the setting of fan speeds upon autostart, and the maintain fan speeds option. You should enable this mode if you want to use I8kfanGUI to show the system status and temperatures only and to avoid taking over the fan control intentionally or by accident.
  • Debug Mode

      This mode enables the tracking of problems through log files which are generated by I8kfanGUI at runtime. The log file is called i8kfangui.log and is in the same directory the program is in. You should leave this option disabled unless you are trying to track problems and known what the messages in the log file mean.
  • Minimize to tray when clicking on Close

      Well, the option title says it all. Enabling this option changes the behaviour of the 'Close' button on the main window. Instead of shutting down the program, the program minimizes to the tray. Thus, the 'Close' button becomes similar to the functionality of the 'Minimize To Tray' button.
  • Enable workaround for I8100 BIOS A08

      This is a workaround for a bug (supposedly) in the I8100's A08 BIOS. That BIOS version caused the fans to rev up on high speed and after one or two seconds they switched back to the intended slow speed. This happened every time the BIOS or I8kfanGUI turned on the fans. This option suppresses the initial high speed of the fan, causing it to start at slow speed immediately. Previous versions of I8kfanGUI had this workaround integrated, so it's generally ok to leave this enabled (maybe there are more BIOS versions out there that have a similar bug).


3. CPU temperature control

The CPU temperature control can be used to automatically regulate the fans depending on the CPU temperature. Basically, it allows you to define fan speeds which are to be used when the CPU temperature falls within different temperature ranges.

The CPU temperature control can be enabled and disabled from the main window or from the tray icon context menu (see chapter 4 for tray icons). There, you can also choose which profile is to be used for the temperature control. The profiles themselves can be changed from the options window:

3.1 How does it work ?

The CPU temperature control area consists of two parts. In the lower part, you can select the temperatures for four different temperature ranges and the fan speeds that are to be used when the temperature reaches the respective turn on value. In the above picture, the first temperature range starts at 60C and ends at 50C. If the CPU temperature reaches 60C, the CPU temperature control sets the first fan to slow speed and the second fan off. If the temperature reaches 50C or below, then the fans are switched off. Instead, if the temperature rises further and reaches 70C (the beginning of the second range), then both fans are switched to slow speed. If the temperature falls again and reaches the 60C-51C range, the second fan will be turned off again with the first fan still running on slow speed. And so on. The temperature ranges must be incremental, that means, the ranges must have ascending temperature values.

You can change the ranges and fan speeds at anytime to suit your needs. To make switching between different range sets easier, the program stores the temperature ranges and fan speeds in a profile. There are four profiles available which you can use to define separate temperature profiles and different fan behaviour. You can switch between the profiles by selecting one from the dropdown list box next to 'Select profile:'. When you change a temperature value or fan speed, the changed value will get stored in the currently selected profile immediately.

You can change the names of the profiles by clicking on the 'Rename profiles' button. This opens the rename profiles window with the current profile names:

The temperature control can automatically maintain fan speeds if the program is capable of reading the current fans' status. In this case, the temp control can adjust the fan speeds back to the desired speeds if the BIOS tries to intercept to turn them off or to a lower speed. If the temperature control is active, then it coexists with the BIOS' thermal algorithms which are usually in charge of controlling the fans in relation to the CPU temperature.

If you terminate the program while the temperature control is active, then the BIOS' thermal management takes back the control over the fans.

3.2 Enable hardware sensor support

If you enable this option, then the program tries to search for a supported fan sensor chip on the motherboard of your notebook (read the warning message carefully). If it detects a supported sensor chip, then the dropdown boxes for the fan speeds change from the usual 'Slow', 'High', etc. to numerical boxes where you can set the fan speeds to upto 64 speed levels:

Enabling this option causes the temperature control to behave a bit different in terms of detecting BIOS interferences. With this option enabled, the temperature control does not correct the fan speeds when they are changed by the BIOS due to a collision between the program and the BIOS. It is heavily recommended that you first experiment with this option and the temperature ranges and fan speed levels on your particular notebook to learn how this works (keep an eye on the CPU temperature !).

Due to the inability of the program to correct fan speed changes with this option enabled, you may experience some weird fan behaviour !

3.3 Enable fan usage balancing

Enable this option to distribute the fan usage (caused by the temperature control) on both fans. Every time the program enters fan level 1 (start of a cooling cycle), it swaps the fan speeds for all temperature ranges between both fans. If you change a setting in the temperature control, then the next cooling cycle starts again with the initial fan speeds set in the temp control options.

An example: If you have only one fan running on fan level 1, then every time the program enters the cooling cycle, it starts the one that was off at the beginning of the previous cycle.


4. Tray icons

I8kfanGUI automatically puts an icon in the system tray which, by default, shows the current CPU temperature:

When you hover the mouse pointer over the icon, you get a quick info about the current temperatures and other system data:

When you click on the icon with the right mouse button, you get a menu which provides you with quick access to the most important program options:

From this menu or from the options window you can select a second value to show up in the tray icon. Also, you can enable a second icon which shows the current fan speeds. This will look like this:

On the above picture, you see that the main tray icon shows the CPU and GPU temperature. Hovering the mouse pointer over the fan icon to the right of the main icon shows you the current fan speeds:

If the program can read the fan speeds as RPM, then they are shown in thousands units in the icon (i.e. 6000RPM = 06). If the program can read the fan status only, then the speeds are shown as either '00' (off), 'Sl' (slow), or 'Hi' (high).


5. System info window

This window opens when you click on the sysinfo button on the main window.

In the upper box you can find general information about your system internals such as BIOS data, CPU info, battery information etc. The second box displays general harddisk data. You can choose which drive's data to show from the dropdown list box if you have two or more internal drives.


© 2004 Christian Diefer
 



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Last Update: 24. May 2004