Unusual X220 repasting story...

X200, X201, X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300, X301 series specific matters only.
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axur-delmeria
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Unusual X220 repasting story...

#1 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:38 am

My X220's CPU temps have been rather high lately, so I tore it apart and had a look.

Paste wasn't dry (I repasted it a few months ago), but the thermal pad wasn't sitting flat on top of the PCH chip-- I didn't replace it the last 2 times I repasted since I didn't have any at hand. I realized that it may be causing the heatsink to have poor contact with the CPU die, resulting in high temps.

I still didn't have any spare thermal pads, so I looked in my shelf of gutted laptops hoping to find a usable substitute.

Then I saw the bottom chassis of an ancient Thinkpad 560E, with an almost-pristine, rubbery thermal pad. :o

The 560E has a plastic base, but there's an aluminum plate on top which functions as an EMI shield and heatsink for the chipset and other parts, and there are 3 thermal pads attached to it. One is white, rather gummy and not really reusable. Two were of the pink rubber type, but one had a 2-3mm foam backing, while the last one had the 1mm thickness I needed, so I carefully took it off, cut it to the right size, then set it on top of the X220's PCH. :D

Then I had to choose which paste to use for the CPU. Last time I experimented with Deep Cool Z5, and even though it probably wasn't the cause of the high CPU temps I was having, I decided to go back to Noctua NT-H1, as I still had a bit left in the syringe I bought years ago. :lol:

So, I unscrewed the cap, pushed the plunger... and nothing came out. :?
It seems like the paste had dried, or hardened. :o
I've read that NT-H1 is a "dry paste", but this was ridiculous. :lol:
I didn't know these things had an expiry date.
For a moment, I wondered if I should go back to using Z5, but decided to go mad scientist and try to moisten/soften the Noctua paste...

With a drop of Singer Oil :twisted:

I also tried a different application method: I applied the paste on the heatsink rather than the CPU die as I usually did.
OTOH, the HMM actually instructs us to put in on the heatsink. :wink:

I put a drop of oil on the CPU contact plate, then used the corner of a microfiber cloth to absorb most of it. Then I put the business end of the syringe on it, and the thermal paste particles on the tip mixed with the oil. I moved the syringe around, aiming for a uniform consistency and higher viscosity, until the paste/oil mixture looked like a proper thermal paste. Then I attached the heatsink to the system board and reassembled the laptop.

It's been a week or so since then. One core is slightly hotter than the other, but it's far better than before the repate, with CPU temps exceeding 80c with CPU load below 50% . :x

Of course, I'll keep an eye on the temps over the next few months to see if it worsens.
Daily driver: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M

In reserve: X61 T7500, X60 T2300
In pieces: X60s CS U1300 [board only], two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E

CASPER
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Location: Bobrowiec, PL

Re: Unusual X220 repasting story...

#2 Post by CASPER » Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:33 pm

80 C on 50% load is way too much. Do you need this thermal pad on the heatsink? My heatsink sits directly on the CPU (with a bit o thermal grease between). Also buy some new thermal grease, even silicon based if you must, this will make a difference.

TankPad
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Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Unusual X220 repasting story...

#3 Post by TankPad » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:11 pm

Yes, I was thinking the same.
Why do you have a thermal pad on the CPU?
| 701c | X220 | T420 | X230 | T430s |

axur-delmeria
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:49 am
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Re: Unusual X220 repasting story...

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:18 am

Here's an image of an X220 board viewed from the bottom:
https://shop.workventures.com.au/wordpr ... 4Y1846.png

The processor is the chip left of center, with the big silicon die. The PCH is below it, a bit to the left, that's where I put the thermal pad. The old pad was wasn't flat anymore, and I guess the added height titled the heatsink just enough to prevent proper contact with the processor.

Over 80c at 50% CPU load was the temp before I repasted. Now it's lower than that-- I've just run a 2-thread, 5-round 7zip benchmark, and the temp maxed out at around 75c. The temperature doesn't rise as quickly, unlike before. This probably means that the contact beween CPU and heatsink is much better now.
Daily driver: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M

In reserve: X61 T7500, X60 T2300
In pieces: X60s CS U1300 [board only], two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E

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