I also find it extremely annoying that laptops have to ON/OFF cycle the CPU fan so audibly.
I intend to tackle the problem by undervolting the fan with series resistor or diode(s). Optimally the fan would always spin lowly but to make it do that, I would have to add quite a bit of resistance to it, so that fan will spin without actually doing enough cooling to make system cut off the fan power. With such big resistance, max rpm on high-load / high airflow resistance (like holding laptop on your lap, blocking airintake partially with clothing) conditions would be severely reduced and overheating could be common.
So, I'd probably stick to low in-series resistance, so that fan does indeed cycle ON/OFF but the lowest non-zero rpm would be ... halved, for example.
This would no doubt hurt battery life as fan would spinning more ofter and a great deal of energy given to fan will be lost to heat in in-series resistor. PWM speed control is better than in-series resistance (or other similar voltage drop, like in-series diode) but what can we do... it's not like they offer any user control for that PWM fan. No SpeedFan, no BIOS setting.
If I at least could set a higher target temperature for CPU. 50 deg C core temp is ridiculously low for a system that is supposed to minimize energy loss attributed to system cooling. 30 deg above ambient... they could easily take 60 deg above ambient but just 40 deg above ambient would probably suffice to keep can from occiationally spinning when idle, at least when ambient is around 20.
I could agree with you more on your opinion about things not having advanced. It's mostly due to them not trusting us to control out own hardware so they force us to use presets. Added with content protection, and Microsoft Partnership that prevents laptop retailers / OEM from selling laptops without pre-installed OS, it really makes wonder who is actually the paying customer.
Antec 1200 | HX520W | Commando | Q6600 G0 @ 3.15GHz | Noctua NH-U12F | 8GB of RAM | HD 4670 (passive)
7 TB of storage: 1x 1st gen GreenPower (1TB), 1x 2nd gen GreenPower (1TB), 1x 3rd gen GreenPower (2TB), 1x 7200rpm F1, 2x 5400rpm F2 EcoGreen