Are all modern laptop fans this loud or regular in use?

I have been running 2011 hardware for years, the fan is not loud at all on my thinkpad x220.

I am running linux on the framework and whenever the fan kicks on I’m flustered at how loud and frequent it is. Is this normal? Is this just how modern laptops are? OR is this a linux thing or framework thing?

Hmmm, I don’t feel like the fan is particularly loud? Which distro are you running?

[Edit] I didn’t think the fan was loud because I had never had it run at full speed until yesterday! I decided to try parallelizing a bash command which hammered the cores for a few minutes straight, and yeah…the fan is quite loud.

That being said, I absolutely don’t mind it because as others have pointed out, it’s always a compromise between performance and noise, and I’d rather have the performance!


PopOS right now, but I’m distro hopping a bunch, manjaro, ubuntu. Even in the BIOS it just sounds loud.

I’m guessing because its so thin it has to punch more volume which produces a higher volume compare to my old laptop which is twice as thick or more.

Coming from a Google Chromebook that made zero noise I thought the noise was very noticeable. The morning I built it and got it working I thought the noise I was hearing was coming from the house heating system… It’s not a big deal for me though, but I sure did notice it

Disclaimer: I don’t have the Framework laptop. In general I’d expect the fan to be audible under intensive workloads but not otherwise. If it’s spinning fast too often or all the time, Linux settings thing would be my guess.

For the record, I have the X220 (i7-2640M) and the fan can definitely make one aware of its existence, only under load though.

Laptops are a trade-off between space/portability and performance. Most manufacturers today design around the loud (haha) majority that complain about fan noise, so the solution is to heavily throttle the CPU so it never gets hot enough to run the fan.

ThinkPads are notorious for doing this. Your X220 throttles the CPU down to 800 MHz to achieve sub-40 dbA fan noise (source). Fanless units like Chromebooks or Macbook Airs achieve this by using low-power and/or high-efficiency chips, combined with throttling.

If you’re pushing the Framework laptop, it will get loud. And this is a good thing, as it means you are able to get the expected performance out of the CPU you paid for.

However in my experience, during normal usage, the fan almost never kicks on and when it does, it’s barely audible. On Windows you can specify power plans to limit the CPU to prevent the fan from ramping up as often. On Linux you should be able to similarly adjust fan curves to your preference.


This was very helpful. And the website you linked does a great job with details and comparisons. Thank you. Very revealing. I don’t think the fan turns on when it shouldn’t but I guess I am surprised how often it decides to run and of course how loud. IT seems to happen a lot when I am running my VM, which is discouraging. Guess headphones will be common for me. Thanks again

This was something I ran into when looking for benchmarks for comparable systems ahead of my purchase. The numbers I was seeing didn’t quite make sense, with some 1165G7s performing worse than 1135G7s in other systems. Then I realized most of those systems were throttling heavily rather than cooling adequately.

My framework i5 runs silent on a table with browsing and YouTube and that sort of stuff.
I get intermittent fan use for the same activity if it’s on my lap.
When I hit render on a video file, then the fan runs constantly, and it really picks up after about 20 minutes. The system stays at full speed for 2+ hours until the job is done, then goes quiet.

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This is presumably common for modern laptops, but I really wish that they had found a way for the fan to be quieter. I know that not all laptops are equally noisy/ quiet. I would definitely strongly prefer a much quieter fan. So far, it is my only real complaint about this laptop, a much bigger concern than only being limited to a quad-core Intel CPU. The fan noise is one of the biggest and most common complaints in reviews of the product. Personally, I would rather have a thicker laptop even if it were only to allow for a quieter, more pleasant sounding fan. At least we know that the fan is easy to replace, so if it eventually gets much noisier as it gets older, it can be easily fixed.

It should be possible to tune the performance of the CPU and maybe also the fan speed curve to get it to be quieter. If you don’t need the full performance of the CPU, this would make a lot of sense.

It would be nice if at some point Framework is able to have at least two different chassis sizes. It would make a lot of sense to me for them to have a much larger chassis aimed at people who want to be able to have a very powerful and customizable laptop (either for gaming or for a mobile workstation, or both). People who value performance are likely to not mind if the laptop is larger, to accommodate superior cooling. However, larger cooling systems also allow for much quieter operation as well (depending on the CPU used and on the power settings).

Perhaps even a laptop which can take desktop CPUs, which would allow for superior upgradeability, and would also even further improve the cost effectiveness of doing repair (it would be easy to save the CPU and keep it or resell it even if the motherboard is dead). I have seen reviews for a laptop which used AM4 desktop CPUs (it came with a Zen or Zen+ 8-core desktop CPU), so it can definitely be done. One which uses an AM5 socket would be awesome.