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Notebook-overheat maybe redoing heatsink and thermal paste

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June 4, 2006 11:24:56 AM

Have a friend with a laptop that could be experiencing heat problems. It's a Tiny G900 laptop and every now and again (twice in past week) it turns off, not a nice shuts itself down but a straight and complete off, sometimes it manages a beepy scream but this all happens in a split second.

old post of mine http://technologyvault.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1215...

Anyway all fans are ok and fluff free as far as i can see, not sure what motherboard is being used, i know it doesn't have any temp sensors so can't check that (tried hwmonitor, speedfan, motherboard monitor) i can get a hd temp - ideling at 33 most so far is 45.

Can't think of much else to do apart from maybe check the cpu/thermal grease/heatsink combo. Maybe the thermal grease hasn't been applied very well (have you seen those pics of apple notebooks with compound everywhere but the cpu die !!) or perhaps it was done with a not very efficient compound. I have some arctic silver 5 so i thought it might be an idea to redo the compound.
Anyway being the sort of guy who likes all the info at hand before he begins - i've done desktop cpus loads of times but never a laptop. The manual for the laptop gives vague info about this so i was wondering if anybody had any info or links that may be of help. I realise that all laptop manufacturers have different implementations of thermal management but hopefully there may be something similar out there. From memory the setup looked something like this

http://www.intel.com/support/processors/mobile/pentium4...

Um...any help appeciated...if i'm not 100% sure that i won'y go ahead but i can't think of anything else apart from heating issues and will all fans working ok and being fluff free i can't think of anything else that can be checked.
The hard drive doesn't seem to be overheating, but maybe the memory or graphics card ? Would the graphics card have some sort of heatsink/pipe thing going on ? One that could be checked ?

Heres a hardware report on the lappy if it's any help

http://www.geocities.com/jjbtnc/laptop.txt

One thing i wanted to be clear on is what type of cpu the laptop has - from the report it's a p4 not a pentiumM - would that be the same pentium4 you get in a desktop or can you get a 'mobile pentium4' ? is it possible to tell from the hardware info text file ? does the cpu type make any difference to the method of re-applying the thermal compound/heastsink ? Also got this from an intel identification utility

Intel(R) Processor Identification Utility
Version: 2.8.20060328
Time Stamp: 2006/06/03 11:27:15
Number of processors in system: 1
Current processor: #1
Processor Name: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00E GHz
Type: 0
Family: F
Model: 4
Stepping: 1
Revision: 9
L1 Trace Cache: 12 Kµops
L1 Data Cache: 16 KB
L2 Cache: 1 MB
Packaging: FC-PGA2
Platform Compatibility Guide: 04A
EIST: No
MMX(TM): Yes
SIMD: Yes
SIMD2: Yes
SIMD3: Yes
Enhanced Halt State: No
Execute Disable Bit: No
Hyper-Threading Technology: Yes
Intel(R) Extended Memory 64 Technology: No
Intel(R) Virtualization Technology: No
Expected Processor Frequency: 3.0 GHz
Reported Processor Frequency: 3.0 GHz
Expected System Bus Frequency: 800 MHz
Reported System Bus Frequency: 800 MHz
*************************************************************

Anyway thanks for any help

p.s. i might try and get a couple of photos of the cpu heatsink stuff up if that might help
June 4, 2006 11:59:53 AM

Bit of an update - been googling and found references (although i don't believe everything i read!!) about thermal throttling on p4 cpus and how if it was getting activated then you could be having overheating issues - here's one page i found

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/104/1 need to look at both pages.

and a few choice quotes from that page

" Average users won't know if the Thermal Throttling is activated or not in their computers. If this feature is activated in your PC, it will run slower and also this means that you have an overheating problem in your computer, which has to be solved. "
" Under normal condition, the "Throt" collumn has to be always showing zero. If it happens to be a number different from zero there, this means that the Thermal Throttling feature was activate and your processor has overheating problems. "

So it seems possible that in the abscence of motherboard temp readouts you could check this throttling feature and it could indicate that you have a heating problem. I tried the 2 programs that were mentioned and here are the readouts

http://www.geocities.com/jjbtnc/Throttle.jpg

and

http://www.geocities.com/jjbtnc/journal.txt

the throttling started after aprox 1 1/2 mins and was constantly on after about 2 mins and to seemingly quite high levels. This would indicate that there heating issues going on but then again maybe it's impossible to design a laptop with a p4 cpu, that even when all heat management elements are working at 100% , will not need some throttling - i don't know

any opinions on this ?


Some pics of the heat sink assembly - sorry a bit blurry

http://www.geocities.com/jjbtnc/IMGP0371.JPG

http://www.geocities.com/jjbtnc/IMGP0370.JPG

http://www.geocities.com/jjbtnc/IMGP0369.JPG

i suppose it's just a matter of unscrewing, would be nice to know what it looks like underneath. Going to look around at various manufacturers to see if something similar. The Dell manuals are pretty amazing when it cones to detail.


So really looking for info on whether the throttle info indicates overheating and any tips and guides on removing the heat sink - plus a bit of cpu info would be handy.

Thanks for any help
June 4, 2006 2:18:38 PM

First go into the BIOS and make sure some elf hasn't turned off whatever Intel calls AMD's "Power Now" this will 'clock down' the processor and that you should be able to see if you right click MY COMPUTER and choose PROPERTIES, should say on the bottom right what the mobile processor is running at.

It's amazing to me how many of my cusotmers ask, "How can I turn the thing off that makes my Turion clock down?" Chip makers spent millions in R&D so the processors could save battery life and heat and these guys want to turn it off because they don't like seeing their 2.2 GHz processor running at 800 Mhz while they surf the web or something. It's like Arnold doesn't need to use all his strength to pick up a baby man... he'll throw him through the roof!

Next, you said you checked the heat sinks for junk, might want to open the case and recheck. I would physically take the heat sink out because like you said with "fluff" it can build up underneath in some cases and act as insulation overheating the processor.

While you have the case off make sure the fan is spinning constantly, there could be a loose connection on the fan controller that it goes on and off or something.

If none of that works get yourself of Arctic Silver 5, take off the CPU & GPU heat sinks (yes the GPU on notebooks usually throws off more heat thatn the CPU if you aren't taxing the CPU). Lap the heat sink by taking a piece of 1/4" glass and putting 150 grit wet sandpaper on it (automotive store), use the sandpaper to flatten the heat sinks. If your heat sink is aluminum is is going to take longer than copper obviously so don't go crazy. You can take a black permanent wide tip marker and color the entire heatsink that you are going to lap. Once the marker is completely gone it is a good indicator that the surface is flat.

Next move to 180/220, 400 lastly 600 grit paper (you can go 1000 if you are crazyed at this point). If you have a Dremmel tool and you have a heat pipe type cooler you can polish the heat pipe taking out any imperfections with mothers mag polishing cream or any other polishing formula (automotive store).

You now have a perfectly flat surface to mate to the GPU/CPU which should transfer the most heat physically possible. Put a dot of AS5 on the CPU/GPU and make sure the entire thing is covered with the paste. Don't get the AS5 on anything else because it contains silver and will arc them over.

Attach your heatsinks and you have just solved your heat problem. If not, throw the thing on Ebay and buy a Killer Notebook!
Related resources
June 5, 2006 8:15:24 PM

Your specs are not to far from mine (3ghz P4). Use compressed air to clean most of the lint from the cooling fan and fins. I dissambled mine and applied AS5 to the heat pipe system and cured the problem. Whil I had it apart I cleaned all of the linf from the fan and cooling fins. The factory had used the cheep-o white paste that had been around for 30 yrs. Not the best in any means. Using the AS5 cured the problem for me. I now blow out the lint every month.
June 5, 2006 10:45:25 PM

The more radical things you could try is a Dremmel tool and polish the imperfections out of the heat pipe, that might grab you 1/2 a C. You could take that same dremmel tool and add fluting to the heat pipe if you have a very steady hand... That will increase the surface area for heat disipation. Other than that you would need to have a custom heat sink made from a fabricator.
June 6, 2006 9:16:55 AM

I'm having a similar problem with my 7 month old laptop.

I have a P-M 2ghz which runs at 97C under full load and idles at around 60C!
The laptop never crashes or "down throttles" but other people with the same laptop model as me record only half of those temperatures I'm getting. It's still under warranty but the company won't take it in for inspection as there is no apparant hardware failure...

I've come to the conclusion that the heatsink may be fitted incorrectly/badly, though I was told that the internal thermometers are dodgy, by the company supprt group that could be the reason (which I can't beleive)

Anyone have experience of this kind of thing?
June 6, 2006 12:41:33 PM

They are right that the internal heat sensors aren't very good, but you can measure the heat yourself with a meat thermometer, just jam that baby's point right in the CPU.

No, just kidding, consider first before we start this modding check where the air intake for the system is. Some notebooks have them underneath the computer, which is not a very good place for them. Also consider the surface on which the system sits.

An aluminum fanned notebook cooling pad does wonders for cooling notebooks down. If that doesn't help you may want to get a temperature sensor of your own and take some measurements before, and after your mod. Nothing feels better than being able to quantify your hard work.
June 6, 2006 1:00:15 PM

The enviroment it is used in is pretty normal, hard surface, plenty of air flow underneath and behind, windows are open ..

Just out of curiosity, how hot in your opinion would say, the underside of a laptop get if the cpu was at 90C and higher? Of course I do hope the thermometers are dodgy, as I don't fancy doing any work as it's cost loads to buy the laptop in the first place thus voiding the warranty.
June 6, 2006 1:41:54 PM

Well one of the reasons they won't look at the system is because they are obviously questiong whether the system is truely running at 90 C.
90 C is 194 F. More than likely (99%) it isn't because that is just so high for a processor to be running at and not dammage itself over time. I think the highest I read was 84 C on an O.C.'d Athlon.

To give you an idea of "how hot would it be" the hot water in your house is set about 49 - 60 C or up to 140 F, and it will burn your skin severly in 2 minutes at 49 and about 6 seconds at 60 C. Here is a study on dermal burns on rats which the temperatures were even less than 60C.

How hot could the underside of your laptop get in that situation? Way too hot to even want to touch. It's going to depend on the case of course, if it is metal or plastic underneath. At 90 C (194 F) you are pretty darn close to boiling water at 212 F.

s far as opening the system up and doing you modding, it sounds like it will void a warranty that is nearly worthless anyway since they won't even perform tech support. Can you immagine trying to get them to do something that would cost them money?
June 6, 2006 4:14:22 PM

Quote:
s far as opening the system up and doing you modding, it sounds like it will void a warranty that is nearly worthless anyway since they won't even perform tech support. Can you immagine trying to get them to do something that would cost them money?


Quite daft then isn't it...

Just to mention that, after checking on Intel's website the quoted amount that the Pentium-m can reach is 100C without damage!

Nethertheless, the average temperature recorded with my model of laptop seems to be around 35C idle and 65C full load which means mine is definately over the top.
June 6, 2006 6:33:54 PM

Well if you're saying that you can run your CPU at 100 C (212 F) without damage (yea right) and you don't want to touch anything in the case because it would void the warranty then run the thing and have a boiling hot plate on your lap all day!

Look on the bright side it's perfect for cooking eggs and hot dogs when you're not surfing the internet.

...Order Up!
June 12, 2006 10:02:16 PM

While I think that the Pentium M CPU will in fact run at 100 celsius, it will also automatically enter its downgraded mode so it doesn't cook itself. Very slow.

For those contemplating cleaning their heatsink but a little leary to open their laptop, I just made a video showing what's involved for a Dell D600:

http://geekswithblogs.net/lorint/archive/2006/06/12/816...

Was time again to clean it out, and as usual I'm surprised by the amount of fur that was in there, and the fan now runs less now that it's done.
July 5, 2006 4:48:03 AM

I have a problem. I watched the video and i took out the keyboard, but theres a black cover over everything and i cant seem to get it off. i hav a compaq presario 2500.
July 5, 2006 4:21:30 PM

I would try to email or PM the person who posted that.
!