Problem with hot surfaces

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This article is about hot surfaces that can cause thermal discomfort to the user of the laptop. For acoustic discomfort (indirectly) caused by fan noise due to heating up, see problem with fan noise. For hardware meltdowns, see your Lenovo representative.

ThinkPad T43 hot area under touchpad

On the T43 and T43p, the area under the touchpad (housing the southbridge and WiFi card) can get very hot, especially when the WiFi card is in use. This can cause severe discomfort when using the laptop on one's lap.

Health implications

The location of the hotspot in the above models some serious potential health issues, especially for male users.


There is a recorded case of a serious penis burn caused by a laptop.

Dr. Jon Jenkins notes in The Register: "I thought I would just point out that the penis does not have heat sensory nerve fibres. So it is [theoretically] quite possible to not know that your appendage is suffering from exposure to heat".

Reduced fertility and genetic damage to spermatozoa

Raised scrotum temperature affects fertility, and can cause defective DNA in spermatozoa for many weeks after a brief mild exposure (42 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes).

Partial solutions

  • Increasing the fan speed will reduce all system temperatures, but the effect on the above part of the laptop is small due to lack of air flow.
  • A hardware mod like How to build a T43 southbridge cooler or Guido's cooling system or the GPU-southbridge thermal bridge may help. One promising approach is to add a copper sheet to thermally bond the southbridge and WiFi card to the adjacent PCMCIA cage, which sees significant airflow.
  • If you do have more use for your lap and related bio-equipment than just holding the notebook, then don't use the notebook directly on top of your lap. IBM has not called their ThinkPads "laptops" for some time, you now know why.

See also