1950rpm, described as too slow?! Mine runs at 1350-1450rpm! That's why it's so quiet. I wouldn't worry about the speed if I were you; it's the CPU temp that you have to think about and 36c is very cool. I have to use an enormous radial Zalman to get my P4 to run as cool as that.
As for alternatives for temp monitoring, your motherboard should have its own sensors which will listed under PC Health Status in BIOS. Run you PC as normal for a while, the re-boot to check the temp readings. AFAIK they should be quite accurate.
Easy. Press Del immediately after the system performs its POST (Power On Self Test). This will be confirmed by a beep and the appearance (if your monitor is a CRT, it will need to have warmed up by now for you to see anything) of the first BIOS screen. If you see the page with DMA info and the IRQ list, you're too late.
Should that with some less common BIOS types, a key other than Del will be used. Which one, I can't be sure, but the instruction "press ... to enter setup" should be visible at the bottom of that first screen.