Fixing the Sony Vaio Flip's noisy fan

A few years ago I got the 14" Sony Vaio Flip 14 Laptop.

Sony VAIO Flip 15 laptop

It's a great laptop with a lot of functionality, perfect for work, writing notes, and drawing, and really anything you need (except playing games).

It has one problem though; the fan sounds like a jet going off. Especially in a classroom setting, this can be pretty embarrassing and annoying for others.

Finally though, a solution has been found! I first found the fix on this Sony forum post here.

You can read the post there to get some info about it, but if you just want to get going I will outline what to do here to get your noise fan silent and your Flip running quieter!

Notebook Fan Control (NBFC)

Essentially, there is a program made to better control the fan on different laptops, and this can keep the fan from jumping to 100% speed whenever its a bit hot.

The program can be found at this git repo here. It's a fairly simple program. You can choose between different profiles made for each laptop. There is no profile for the Vaio built in, but somebody else has created a few.

Original Link of files from forum

You will get two profile files. Once you install NBFC on your laptop, you will need to go into your Program Files (x86 on 64-bit computers) folder.

C:\Program Files (x86)\NoteBook FanControl\Configs

Once you're in the NBFC directory you will see a folder of profiles. Just add the two files in there.

Done! Now you can switch to your Flip's profile and away you go! Click the button on the top right next to the search box to open a "select config" window, and use the dropdown to find your profile. The two profiles are slightly different, but I've been finding the second (2) file to be better. You can try both to see what you prefer

NoteBook Fan Control menu

For me, the difference has been night and day. Even when my laptop is running hot, the fan is at an acceptable 50% speed which makes a HUGE noise difference.

If this helps you as much as it helped me, I recommend giving major props to the original creator of NBFC and maybe donating him a beer :)

Replacing the Thermal Paste

Additionally, you can replace the thermal paste on the CPU to help better regulate the heat as the one Sony put on could be better. I took pictures of my process to do this, so I can make a post later detailing how to do this, but after cleaning and applying Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste (and dusting out the fan completely), I've noticed huge temperature improvements.

It used to idle between 65-70 degrees celcius, and get up to a whopping 85+ when under a load. Now it idles around 50, 65 max with light use, and with a load around 75. It also cools down much faster too, rather than staying hot.

I definitely recommend trying this out if you're seeing high temperatures. I admit it can be a bit tricky to dismantle the laptop (trickier than servicing a PC Tower at least), but once you get the heatsink off it's the same procedure you'd do with a regular computer.

The Last of its Kind

Sony VAIO logo transparent

The Flip was the last of the Vaio line before Sony sold the division to Japan Industrial Partners (whom I believe are focusing more on commercial and industry products). The laptop itself is not overly powerful, but what drew me to it was it's innovative design. At a time when Laptops and Tablets were beginning to merge, and Microsoft's Surface tablet was becoming a really good option, the Flip offered a fantastic solution that bridged the gap between traditional laptop and tablet.

Rather than being a tablet first with a connecting keyboard, like most companies were going for, the Vaio Flip was built like a laptop with hardware components on the lower keyboard half, but with a touch screen. Even more importantly, with active pen support. The screen could actually be flipped around and closed so that the laptop effectively becomes a tablet.

For me, this hit all the checkmarks. Regular laptop shape/feel when I'm working/coding/writing, but can become a tablet with pen support for when I need to draw or write notes. It was perfect.