Personal computing discussed

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Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

No
11 (41%)
Yes, new laptop, myself
3 (11%)
Yes, new laptop, let someone else do it
No votes
Yes, old laptop, myself
10 (37%)
Yes, old laptop, let someone else do it
No votes
Gouda
3 (11%)
 
Total votes: 27
 
meerkt
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Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:09 pm

Bonus points for more details on the circumstances.
Always / sometimes / one time; was easy / hard to gain access; etc.

Background discussion started in the posts below and the conversation following them:
https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic ... 0#p1411767
https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic ... 0#p1411811
https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic ... 0#p1411855
 
qmacpoint
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:38 pm

Yes I have! an old macbook from 2013 and a new macbook from 2017. The 2013 one was super easy to pull off... and the 2017 one ended up with a daughterboard snapped out of place (I mistakenly screwed the wrong screws in the wrong standoffs) and had to replace the entire display assembly :( oh they joys of tinkering :)
 
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:19 pm

I did for my new laptop simply because I had to crack the case to upgrade the SSD and RAM anyway. Otherwise I most likely wouldn't have bothered.
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meerkt
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:22 pm

Waco wrote:
had to crack the case to upgrade the SSD and RAM anyway
Implies difficult to access SSD/RAM, or easy to access motherboard HSF?

qmacpoint wrote:
macbook from 2013 ... super easy to pull off...
Pro or normal?
 
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:23 pm

On an old laptop I think it makes tons of sense, and I've done it before. A Toshiba Qosmio with a Core 2 Duo 8000 series (I forget the exact model) and a 9800GT mobile. Made a ton of difference because the old paste had dried out and wasn't effectively cooling anything.

With new stuff I usually just use it as it is out of the box until that configuration becomes a problem. The one exception was a Compaq I got from Walmart with an entry-level socketed AMD CPU that I immediately replaced with a much fancier model of the same family shortly after purchasing. The cost savings was worthwhile in that case.

These days I think it's interesting that boutique notebook vendors offer to upgrade the paste for a $40-ish fee. Disassembling laptops can be (depending on the model) a rather non-trivial task. My wife's current laptop is a Lenovo Ideapad 330s that was hard to get apart. Had to use an iFixit spudger after removing screws because the lip was clipped all the way around. I only did that to replace the spinning rust with an SSD, but didn't mess with the cooling system.

edit: That's especially true when on at least some models, the CPU temperature (and thereby the thermal paste application) isn't a limiting factor. I just spent some time with the current-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and CPU speed behavior was interesting, to say the least. Eventually CPU temps dropped down into the 70s as the CPU clock got lower and lower, and so that made me think something else is responsible. Unfortunately HWMonitor wouldn't tell me anything about VRM temps, but that's my guess for the culprit, not the CPU.
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qmacpoint
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:38 pm

meerkt wrote:
qmacpoint wrote:
macbook from 2013 ... super easy to pull off...
Pro or normal?

both Pro! the old revision was super serviceable, whereas the new slim redesign is just a super hard to handle if you only do this as a hobby...
 
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:26 pm

I only recall specifically redoing thermal paste on one, but I've disassembled/reassembled quite a few laptops to that level, and would absolutely do that (including on something still in warranty) if I think it'll make a noticeable difference. (Picked old laptop in the poll, the one I did that specifically to was old.)
 
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:05 pm

Unless it were both a major source of irritation and the laptop was at or near the end of its factory warranty, no.
 
roncat
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:25 pm

The ol' cooler paste/new heatsink fan repair. Did it on an old ASUS zenbook. New battery also. Great display, and 2 SSD in stripe RAID were worth keeping it alive for. Pooped all over a Macbook, performance-wise. Just couldn't let it die.
 
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:48 pm

At work I redid the thermal paste on a basically new Dell Precision 5520 that was throttling under load. All I had on hand was Arctic Silver 5 (would have ideally used something non-conductive) but it seemed to help quite a bit. That model is very Macbook-like, just a few Torx screws (and a couple of hidden Phillips screws under the middle flap) and the whole bottom pops off, so the heatsink/fans are easily accessible.
 
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:02 pm

I've done it on a Thinkpad T420 after three years, it made a noticeable difference in temperatures and throttling. Did it again with a Thinkpad T440 more recently, simply because I was swapping out a part that necessitated removing the heat sink/pipe, so had to reapply goo during the reassembly. Was also successful.
 
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:44 pm

I am not sure why you wanted to ask this from a dozen of remaining active users rather than posting this poll at a proper place like Reddit, but whatever floats your boat ;-) Just wanted to add that repasting is A MUST on many new models if you want to get maximum performance with minimum fan noise and avoid thermal throttling which can be pretty aggressive on some models. Intel CPUs like 8750h or 9750h run pretty hot, combine that with very bad stock thermal paste used by ALL manufacturers and you will see plenty of reports of many new models throttling down when running games or doing video processing and other tasks. All you need to do is to browse and search subreddits such as MSI or Alienware or Dell and look for models like MSI GS65 or old and new Alienware m15 or Dell XPS. Or just take a look at Amazon review for new Gigabyte Aero 15 ;-) Sadly not many people are aware of this fact, but many who read these subreddits do and many of them do repaste, or order laptops from resellers like HIDEvolution or GentechPC with a repaste option (GentechPC does it for basically free). Go ahead, spend some time there. I can help you with a few links:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MSILaptops/com ... _applying/
https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comments/ ... l_pad_mod/
https://www.reddit.com/r/Alienware/comm ... _thermals/
https://www.reddit.com/r/Alienware/comm ... _its_done/ (this particular thread has comment from other user which is very relevant: "As someone who tried repasting for the first time just a week ago, I salute you! It's not an easy task (took me 3-4 hours!), but the reward is worth it. 10C temp reduction for CPU and smoother frames"). There are dozens more if you care to read them.
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ludi
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:30 am

I've only done it when a laptop repair required pulling the HSF. At that point you wouldn't want to re-use the dried-out goop that's there.
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meerkt
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:04 am

JohnC wrote:
why you wanted to ask this from a dozen of remaining active users rather than posting this poll at a proper place like Reddit

Reddit is no place for real discussion. :)

repasting is A MUST on many new models

For me that would be reason to avoid a model.

"As someone who tried repasting for the first time just a week ago, I salute you! It's not an easy task (took me 3-4 hours!)

Part of why I think most people won't do it, even ignoring warranty.

But so far the votes here support your PoV more than mine. Though most do it on older hardware, so presumably part of repair and possibly after warranty has expired.

An anecdote:

A few years old entry-level ASUS. 2.5kg, so no hard design constraints. Perfectly fine in terms of noise and temperatures. Just two screws to access the HDD, RAM, WNIC. But accessing the motherboard is difficult, with a ton of semi-fragile plastic clips to undo, and other obstacles. (Oddly, the user-serviceable compartment also gives access to the chipset/PCH. Maybe cooling reasons? But stupidly, no access to the RTC battery.)

Image

Image
 
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:21 am

Never done one myself or had one done on my behalf. I have upgraded drives and memory before, but never messed with the thermal paste.
 
K-L-Waster
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:31 am

meerkt wrote:
JohnC wrote:
repasting is A MUST on many new models

For me that would be reason to avoid a model.


^^This. If it runs hot enough that you should repaste it on delivery, it's a flawed design / implementation. The solution isn't to repaste it, the solution is to avoid that model like the plague.
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:09 pm

I've done it on multiple older laptops. Last time on my Lenovo T420 it started to run hot with win10 installed about a year or two ago.

First time was about 25 years ago on a toshiba running windows 98 that was running hot even with a new fan.
Turns out it was using a thermal pad. Switched that for radio shack white goop and it ran cool again.
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Waco
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:19 pm

meerkt wrote:
Waco wrote:
had to crack the case to upgrade the SSD and RAM anyway
Implies difficult to access SSD/RAM, or easy to access motherboard HSF?

Difficult for both. The SSD was "easier" but still required cracking a clamshell. The RAM was on the other side of the motherboard so I had to tear the whole thing apart.
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:11 pm

I was going to have it done when I ordered my 17 inch MSI gaming laptop. But Xotic suddenly claimed they had no stock. I found it for less on Amazon and ordered it from Amazon with a nice bag for several hundred less. Although I opened the case and swapped out the HDD for an SSD, I did not bother messing with the heatsink paste.

EDIT: Oh and I checked directly with MSI. They said it did not void their warranty to swap the HDD for the SSD. I did not ask about fooling with the heat sink paste.
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:27 am

K-L-Waster wrote:
meerkt wrote:
JohnC wrote:
For me that would be reason to avoid a model.


^^This. If it runs hot enough that you should repaste it on delivery, it's a flawed design / implementation. The solution isn't to repaste it, the solution is to avoid that model like the plague.

You understand that it would mean avoiding almost every model by every brand, right? Especially for people who want to quiet down those tiny high RPM fans. Even models like MSI GT76, with a polished heatsink plate and 4 fans with dozens of heat pipes will thermally throttle. It's just what these companies do - they save few pennies on good thermal paste in hopes that majority of the customers are **** idiots and won't notice a throttling CPU when running a CPU-intensive program, or like Dell customer support will tell you - "it is normal" for CPU to reach throttling point ;-)
Sure, there are VERY few exceptions, like Lenovo Y740 which has good thermal paste by default but even they are not guaranteed against improper application, not to mention they have other issues like battery capacity or crappy display quality (a lot of reports about light leak in their 144hz displays) or keyboard which some people do not like using.

P.S: Speaking of MSI: wanna see how else they are trying to save money? ;-)
https://youtu.be/morJq0HJoCc

Imagine if TR was still a proper review site, they could also produce such unique content, both for PC hardware and mobile. Of course this will never happen anymore. Luckily there are still sites like GamersNexus and others.
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ludi
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Re: Do/did you reapply thermal paste in laptops/notebooks?

Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:57 am

JohnC wrote:
Imagine if TR was still a proper review site, they could also produce such unique content, both for PC hardware and mobile. Of course this will never happen anymore. Luckily there are still sites like GamersNexus and others.


Image

The site wasn't sustainable and the owner went into significant debt trying to keep it alive. We've been through all that. Time to either make the best of what we still have, or move on.
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