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My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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bmwman91
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My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#1 Post by bmwman91 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:26 pm

OK, first of all I would like to say thank you to forum member TuuS for making this possible. Discrete graphics are a MUST for me so that I can run CAD and stuff. With the known problems with T61p's with nVidia GPUs, I swore that I would just avoid a Frankenpad conversion. Well, TuuS has a good reputation and he seems to have a very thorough quality check process, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that the NVS 140M GPU in this sucker will last!

Parts needed for the conversion:
- A complete 15" (non wide-screen) T60p
- 42W7873 planar (14.1" non-widescreen T61p, NVS 140M GPU, Penryn-compatible)
- 45N4592 (T500 heat sink assembly, cannibalized for the fan)
- 42W2028 (T61p heat sink assembly for FX 570M, cannibalized for the heat sink portion)
- T6x modem daughter card (hacked up, used to stiffen the GPU mount point on the frame)
- Thermal paste (I used some high-end sheet material left over from a work project, something like AS5 is probably fine)
- Kapton tape (for sealing up the T500 fan in the T61p heat sink, probably not 100% necessary)
- T61p ExpressCard housing

The other specs for this machine:
- Middleton BIOS (thanks TuuS!)
- 8GB PC6400 RAM
- X9000 CPU (SLAZ3)
- Intel WiFi Link 5300 AGN
- Samsung 830 SSD, 256GB
- 38T2829 Super-Multi Drive (seems to work better than the one that came with the T60p)
- SanDisk ExpressCard SD card reader
- Flexview screen (the whole reason that I can't get rid of my T60p!)
- Ultrabay HDD adapter with WD Scorpio Black 750GB HDD
- Windows 7 Ultimate

OK, so swapping the motherboard is very straightforward. Start by removing the T60p motherboard from the frame.

As is well documented on here, you need to grind down the screw bosses below the two modem screw holes. There are no holes in the T61p motherboard to accommodate them. Really, you only need to grind the smaller portion of it off and can leave the larger part, if you put some Kapton tape on the motherboard to prevent the remaining posts from hitting it. If you don't have the tape, then carefully grind the posts off completely. Air blast the frame when done to remove all megnesium shavings.

Next, install the T61p motherboard onto the frame. You'll have two leftover screws because of the previous step.

Great, now reassemble the frame into the bottom tray, and reinstall the screen.

Here's where I took the most time: the heat sink. The X9000 CPU is rated at 44W, which is at 8-10W more than the CPUs offered for these computers. It is well known that the T60p heat sink leaves much to be desired, so I acquired a T61p heat sink for a discrete graphics model and a T500 heat sink from a discrete graphics model. The discrete T500 HSF just doesn't fit nicely, on either the T60p or T61p motherboard and it hits the keyboard. Well, the T61p heat sink fits well enough, and I opted to swap the T500 fan into it.

First, here is a comparison of the T60p, T61p and T500 HSFs, left to right. There was a gap pad on the T500 HSF but I removed it. Note that I removed the little copper fins on the heat pipes up around where they sit under the top keyboard bezel. The fins can easily be pulled off with some pliers since they are just soldered on. I also filed them down maybe 0.5mm to clear the bezel.
Image

Top view, same order. The fan blades on the T6x HSFs look about the same, while the T500 blades are more compact. I am not sure if this is better or not, but posts in this forum indicate YES.
Image

The T60p HSF GPU portion.
Image

The T61p HSF GPU portion.
Image

The T500 HSF GPU portion.
Image

Here is the T500 heat sink being taken apart to harvest the fan. You just have to peel the foil back and use a small flat blade screwdriver to bend the metal tabs. Use a razor to slice the foam tape where needed and lift this out. You must do the same on the T61p heat sink. Be EXTRA CAREFUL when peeling the foil to avoid damaging it! Maybe it doesn't matter, I don't know, but I don't like breaking things.
Image

The T500 fan on the left, the T61p fan on the right.
Image

Here is the T500 fan installed in the T61p heat sink. I got a little silly with the Kapton tape sealing all of the gaps and making sure that the foil tape wouldn't lift off (peeling it off seems to weaken the adhesive).
Image

Next, I installed some small sheets of thermal interface material (TIM). The nice thing about this is that it has a plastic backing. I installed it and screwed it down with the backing still on so that I could get imprints of the CPU and GPU to make sure that everything was nice and co-planar. I had to bend the GPU heat pipe a little to get it just right, and then I removed the plastic backing and installed it all.
Image

To minimize interference with the keyboard, you need to file the T60p spring clip a little, as seen in this image. Otherwise, the clip hits the keyboard and produces noticeable bowing.
Image

I also put some 0.5mm silicone-based thermal gap pad material on top of the clip so that the keyboard wouldn't be hitting metal. Maybe it doesn't matter, but the T61p heat sink originally had some material there that was contacting the keyboard, so I copied the idea. The clip still hits the keyboard, just barely, but the bowing is almost imperceptible. I can hold a ruler across the keyboard, and it is raised up around the GPU, but only very slightly and not enough to worry me about hurting anything. The T500 heat sink...yeah, I was concerned!
EDIT: I removed the blue silicone pad seen in the picture below. Doing so eliminated almost all distortion in the keyboard.

You'll also notice the modem card in there. I de-soldered the bottom connector since it does not mate to the T61p motherboard. I left it installed to help stiffen/reinforce the magnesium arm that the spring plate screws into. You can see that it is bent upward a little since that part of the frame can't be secured to the T61p motherboard (the hole is in the wrong place). I am probably going to machine a small Delrin bracket to fasten this portion of the frame to the T61p board since there is a hole for it about 5mm away.
Image

Alrighty, here it all is, ready to go!
Image

It...is...ALIVE!
Image

Overall I am very happy with this upgrade. SATA-II speeds really make this SSD shine, and having 8GB of RAM will give me more options when running VMs. The CPU is also noticeably faster, and the GPU is about the same in terms of performance. So, it seems like a worthwhile update to an aging, but capable machine!

What are the temperatures, according to tpfancontrol with the BIOS controlling the fan? In a ~25°C room they are:
Idle, 30 minutes after booting with only tpfancontrol running.
CPU - 42°C
GPU - 45°C
Fan Speed - 2555 RPM (BIOS speed setting 1 / 7)

The CPU was stressed with Prime95 for 20 minutes.
CPU - 97°C
GPU - 79°C
Fan Speed - 3295 RPM (BIOS speed setting 4 / 7)

After that, I ran FurMark for 20 minutes to stress the GPU (and it seems to run one core at 100% which probably pre-heats things a bit).
CPU - 73°C
GPU - 73°C
Fan Speed - 3000 RPM (BIOS speed setting 3 / 7)

The lowest fan speed setting, other than being off, is ~2560RPM. It is definitely quieter than the stock T60p fan, although I would not call it inaudible. tpfancontrol does allow me to run the fan in "smart" mode which basically keeps the fan off at idle and the CPU/GPU at 58°C/61°C. I'll just let the BIOS do its thing though since lower temperatures will hopefully mean a longer life.

Under Prime95 stress, the X9000 CPU gets almost as hot as the T7600 I had in my T60p (~99°C). Considering that the X9000 burns up 26% more power than the T7600 (44W vs 35W), I guess that it is a testimony to the fact that the T61p heat sink is indeed better. This is on stock voltages of course, and I will play around with undervolting later tonight to see if I can drop things measurably.

During the GPU test I suppose that it is not too surprising that the GPU doesn't get any hotter than the CPU. I believe that the NVS 140M GPU is rated at 10W, which is probably not much more than the CPU at idle lol.

Can anyone comment on the accuracy of tpfancontrol? I get vastly different temperatures from RMClock and FurMark. For now I assume that the ThinkPad-specific application will give the most accurate readings, but I really don't know if that's true. Thanks!

EDIT July 18, 2012
I did some GPU benchmarking and have a couple of things to report.

Video Drivers: I did some testing after member TuuS gave me some links to discussions about nvidia drivers. A thread on the Lenovo forums indicated that installing the latest Lenovo video drivers (from 2009) for the NVS 140M and THEN installing the latest ones from nvidia's site (296.88 is latest as of today) over the top of them would give some performance benefit. I ran tests using only the old Lenovo driver, the old Lenovo driver with the latest nvidia ones installed on top of them, and the latest nvidia ones with a clean system / no old video drivers.
- Old Lenovo Drivers: Windows Experience Index (WEI) 3D score of 4.2, 2D score of 4.0. 3DMark 2000, 3DMark 2001 and FurMark scores about the same as the newer nvidia drivers, but 3DMark 2006 crashed due to a driver error of some sort.
- Old Lenovo Drivers + New nvidia Drivers: WEI 3D of 5.3, 2D of 4.0. 3DMark 2000, 3DMark 2001 and FurMark scores remained about the same (maybe 1-2% higher, but that could be the margin of error). 3DMark 2006 was able to run fine though, likely because the new drivers properly support modern DX features.
- Clean Install of New nvidia Drivers: Exact same performance as installing them over the top of the old ones. I recommend this just because it is faster and easier than installing drivers twice.

Overclocking: Per online resources, the NVS 140M is basically a de-tuned GeForce 8400M GT with OpenGL-optimized drivers. It only dissipates ~10W, which considering that the HSF I installed was intended for a FX570M at 35W, means that there should be considerable thermal headroom, even with my X9000 CPU burning 9-10W more than any CPU intended for the system. I OC'ed with RivaTuner as it is probably the easiest and most hassle-free program I can think of to do it with. I only used FurMark since it is faster and simpler than the 3DMark series and is very stressful on the GPU. From reading around the web, it seems that the NVS 140M overclocks like crazy, possibly because nvidia was binning the G84M dies and only selected the lowest power ones for the workstation variant of the 8400M.
Stock Settings
400MHz Core
800MHz Shader Clock
600MHz Memory
Results after 20 minutes running FurMark:
1569 frames rendered
GPU temperature (via tpfancontrol) of 71°C
Fan spinning at 3100RPM (fan at setting 3 of 7)

Overclocked Settings
600MHz Core
1200MHz Shader Clock
900MHz Memory
Results after 20 minutes running FurMark:
2366 frames rendered
GPU temperature (via tpfancontrol) of 76°C
Fan spinning at 3100RPM (fan at setting 3 of 7)

Performance scales directly with clock speeds, which is really nice! The temperature of the GPU remains pretty darn low overall, which gives me confidence in this. I will actually be pushing this GPU to the highest setting I can before stability is lost, but RivaTuner is limiting me to 50% clock speed OC and I need to remove the safety governor. Other people on various forums have pushed the core speed to ~750MHz and the memory to almost 1GHz!

CPU Undervolting
Using RMClock to control the CPU core voltage, I was able to get a stable system with the CPU at 1.075V, versus the stock setting of 1.200V. Under a heavy load, running Prime95's Small FFT test for 30 minutes, my CPU temperature dropped from 94°C to 82°C. Nice! Undervolting is a great way to lower temperatures, increase battery life and all with no performance impact (as long as you don't go so low that the system freezes). Temperatures were monitored with tpfancontrol since RMClock seems to give inaccurate readings.

Speaking of battery life, it sort of sucks. This is not a surprise, or a complaint really...tossing in a Core 2 Extreme CPU and overclocking the GPU are not exactly battery-friendly moves on my part. The laptop is used while plugged in 90% of the time anyway. I can get just under 2 hours of web browsing in on the battery, with some YouTube mixed in. The T60p mobo + V5200 GPU + T7600 CPU would get me about 2.5 hours of battery life, so really there isn't much of a decrease here, especially considering that the performance of the Frankenpoad is waaaaay better. Laptops of this era all seem to have had low battery life, particularly high performance ones, so it's all good as far as I am concerned. If I wanted endless hours of web browsing, I would probably get a tablet or something.
Last edited by bmwman91 on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:57 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#2 Post by TuuS » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:09 pm

Very good job :)


I believe TPfancontrol uses sensors on the board and other utilities use sensors in the chips. From what I've read the board sensor is a better idea of the overall chip temp, as the internal temps inside the chips can vary quite a bit as they develop hot spots, so an internal sensor could read adnormally high at times when the chips overall temps aren't that high.

Your furmark gpu temps are consistent with the results when I stress tested the board, so all looks good, Enjoy your discrete FrankNpad :)

ps. I have a very similar setup myself.

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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#3 Post by bmwman91 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:08 pm

================================
EDIT:
Duh! I forgot to install the Thinkpad Power Management Driver. Once I did that, everything started working flawlessly. Sheesh!
================================

Original post (now resolved):
Alrighty, I am getting everything set up now and I am finding that Fn+F5 does not bring up the usual prompt. Volume and brightness features work (Hotkey features) once I manually launch the TPHKSVC executable, but not Fn+F5. I can manually run the Fn+F5 menu from the executable. Here's the other issue: Bluetooth is not showing up. It is enabled in the BIOS, but it does not show up when I manually run the Fn+F5 display.

So:
- Hotkey on-screen display service does not load with windows: I have to launch it manually
- Fn+F5 does not work in any case
- Bluetooth hardware isn't showing up (enabled in BIOS)

Is this a bug with Frankenpads, or is there a known solution? I don't REALLY care since I rarely use BT, but it can be useful when I am moving files to/from my phone.

Thanks!
Last edited by bmwman91 on Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#4 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:12 pm

bmwman91 wrote:
Is this a bug with Frankenpads, or is there a known solution? I don't REALLY care since I rarely use BT, but it can be useful when I am moving files to/from my phone.

Thanks!
I remember Fn+F5 working on the last Frankie I owned, which had an Intel board but that should have zero effect on something like this...

OSD seems to have a mind of its own on certain ThinkPads in W7. I have two almost identical units one of which seems to be sharing this issue...

On another note, thank you. I needed some encouragement to go the nVidia route, and your post has provided plenty of it... :thumbs-UP:
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#5 Post by bmwman91 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:36 am

I did some initial benchmarking on the system.

It seems that the NVS 140M is a little weak on 2D graphics acceleration (the V5200 scored 5.2 or something I think) and a little lower than the V5200 with 3D acceleration. Everything else is super fast, though.
Image

What I was really after with the T61p motherboard conversion was SATA-II support. I got it, and it is niiiiice.
HDTach results:
Image

CrystalDiskMark results:
Image

You can find some comparison benchmarks from the T60p that this same SSD was used in here:
http://www.thinkpads.com/forum/viewtopi ... 9&t=104687

You'll notice that the same SSD is significantly faster on a T61p mobo (w/ Middleton BIOS) than it was on the T60p motherboard. This sucker is QUICK!
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Odp: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#6 Post by thorcik » Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:06 am

Nice job mate, I see I should start looking for a t500 fan :) especially that mine seems to be dying.
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#7 Post by Peak2Peak » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:57 am

bmwman91 - Great post - Job well done - :thumbs-UP: :thumbs-UP: :thumbs-UP:

Excellent detailed pic's - The comparison pic's of the 3 HSF fan types is exactly what I was looking for :D

Don't forget to update your profile signature! - :lol:
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#8 Post by Tasurinchi » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:32 am

Peak2Peak wrote:Excellent detailed pic's - The comparison pic's of the 3 HSF fan types is exactly what I was looking for
Same here! Thanks a lot for the detailed pics! I'm also going to buy the T500 fan for my 15" T60p and the pics will be really helpful!
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#9 Post by Peak2Peak » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:48 am

Tasurinchi wrote:...I'm also going to buy the T500 fan for my 15" T60p...
According to forum member bmwman91 post (New methods to reduce the fan noise in a T60 or in a T60p)- This is a poor fit & causes significant distortion in the keyboard :(
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#10 Post by Tasurinchi » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:02 am

Peak2Peak wrote:This is a poor fit - See forum member bmwman91 post
Doh! I was following that thread too but seems I have to pay more attention. I think I will have to switch to plan B (T61p fan). Since I got the wrong fan for my T60p I just renewed the thermal paste with Arctic MX-2, let's see how cool/warm it gets now...
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#11 Post by Peak2Peak » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:14 am

Tasurinchi wrote:I think I will have to switch to plan B (T61p fan).
If you mean T61 HSF - FRU: 42W2820 - I have also tried this out on a T60p and it is also a poor fit too (mentioned in the same post as above)
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#12 Post by Tasurinchi » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:24 am

I was actually thinking about 42X4685, from the "p" model... In worst case I just leave the original fan and hope that the new paste makes a difference. I'm using MX2 instead of the AS5 lately and I got very good results, but my experience with MX2 is focused on X6x machines only...
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#13 Post by bmwman91 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:29 am

Sorry if I generated any confusion here.

The 45N4592 T500 heat sink for DISCRETE GRAPHICS does not fit well at all on T6x motherboards with dedicated GPUs. It will produce a giant bulge in the keyboard. I believe that the T500 heat sink for integrated graphics does fit though, although it may not cool the GPU as well.

I used a 42W2028 T61p heat sink. It was pulled from a T61p with a dedicated FX570M GPU and it has ample cooling capacity. I did buy a 45N4592 heat sink to steal the fan from though (and I assume that the other T500 heat sinks had the same fan too). You can easily swap the T500 fan into the T61p heat sink frame, as shown in my pictures. Also, you need to file out a little bit of the T60p spring bracket that holds the GPU portion of the heat sink down, as shown in the picture. Even so, there will be some minor contact with the keyboard. I am not really bothered by it though.

The T61/T500 fan WILL NOT fit into a T60p heat sink frame though, not even close.
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#14 Post by Tasurinchi » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:38 am

Thanks for the clarification! Then T61p will become my plan "A" then...
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#15 Post by bmwman91 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:40 am

I edited my original post.

I just removed the little blue silicone pad that I stacked on the GPU spring bracket. That eliminated almost all of the visible distortion in the keyboard. Even using a ruler, the distortion is almost completely gone. Nice!
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#16 Post by TuuS » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:47 am

This is a poor fit - See forum member bmwman91 post
Tasurinchi wrote:Doh! I was following that thread too but seems I have to pay more attention. I think I will have to switch to plan B (T61p fan). Since I got the wrong fan for my T60p I just renewed the thermal paste with Arctic MX-2, let's see how cool/warm it gets now...

I have several of the T61p fans available


I've also been toying with using T61p retainers on the heatsink. It uses two separate small clips and wont interfere with your keyboard at all. The only drawback is the lower clip has no mount to secure one end. I've temporarily wrapped tape around it and the keyboard holds it in place nicely, and the tension on the keyboard is negligible, literally non-existent, but I'm planning on making a more perm mount to secure it by welding a small piece on the end of the retainer. If successful I will make a bunch and offer them with my T61p fans. In the mean time I'd be glad to offer a set of T61p retainers with the heatsink/fans for any Frankie builder, or I'd gladly sell them separately.

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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#17 Post by Peak2Peak » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:24 am

TuuS wrote:...but I'm planning on making a more perm mount to secure it by welding a small piece on the end of the retainer. If successful I will make a bunch and offer them with my T61p fans.
Looking forward to this mod - Subscribed - :thumbs-UP:
T60F: (Integrated Intel GPU) - [Another T60 FrankenPad!...Different approach]
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#18 Post by nycmaster » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:25 am

I vote for making this a sticky post!!!

Tasurinchi
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#19 Post by Tasurinchi » Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:28 pm

Peak2Peak wrote:I have several of the T61p fans available
Peak2Peak wrote:In the mean time I'd be glad to offer a set of T61p retainers with the heatsink/fans for any Frankie builder
Very interesting :wink: PM is on the way...
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#20 Post by Peak2Peak » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:39 pm

Tasurinchi - I think you should contact forum member TuuS for the T61p fans - Not me :lol:
T60F: (Integrated Intel GPU) - [Another T60 FrankenPad!...Different approach]
R60F: (Integrated Intel GPU) - [ThinkPad R60 15.0" FrankenPad]

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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#21 Post by bmwman91 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:47 pm

TuuS wrote:I've also been toying with using T61p retainers on the heatsink. It uses two separate small clips and wont interfere with your keyboard at all. The only drawback is the lower clip has no mount to secure one end. I've temporarily wrapped tape around it and the keyboard holds it in place nicely, and the tension on the keyboard is negligible, literally non-existent, but I'm planning on making a more perm mount to secure it by welding a small piece on the end of the retainer. If successful I will make a bunch and offer them with my T61p fans. In the mean time I'd be glad to offer a set of T61p retainers with the heatsink/fans for any Frankie builder, or I'd gladly sell them separately.
Nice! Do you have a TIG welder? That's some thin steel to be welding. Since it is relatively low stress, I wonder if you could just braise another piece onto it?
W530 | 3920XM | 32GB PC3-12800 | Quadro K2000M | 500GB Samsung 840 | 256GB Samsung 840 | Win8.1 Pro

Tasurinchi
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#22 Post by Tasurinchi » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:04 pm

Peak2Peak wrote:Tasurinchi - I think you should contact forum member TuuS for the T61p fans - Not me :lol:
Ha haaa... Luckily I got the PM right... Weird... I was sure I click on the quote button from TuuS post. I can always blame it on the forum software :D
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#23 Post by iwishiwasinwhistler » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:16 pm

Great post! Thank you.

I'm a bit late to the party as I've had a few days holiday but it was good to come back and read about your success.

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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#24 Post by Rose » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:35 pm

I just finished up my own FrankNpad conversion and i have a couple of questions.

- Your temperaturedata states two different temperatures for the same test. What's the difference?
- The small copper fins under the top keyboard bezel that you removed, why did you remove them?

The reason why I ask is because I went the other way around, and added more of them.
I also, not really knowing if it does any difference or not, added more copper wires along the GPU heat pipe. My idea here is that, more copper carrier transports more heat. I notised the heatpipes are hollow, and really cant understand why.

I also wonder what the reasoning is behind the statement that the T500 fan is better. The way I see it, more blades means they take up more space, leaving less for air.
Zbook 15 G2 16GB IPS Quadro K2000M / T420s 16GB Intel320 / T60p T7600 14.1" / T42p and T60p/T61p Boe-Hydis UXGA T9300 8GB Intel160-X25 1TB2ndHDD FrankNpad - In use.
Pre: T23 / T40's/ T40p / T41p / T42 9k6 14.1"/ T42p 14.1" / T43p 14.1" / X32 / T60p / T61p WS / W500 / X40T

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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#25 Post by bmwman91 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:05 pm

Hi Rose,

- I ran three tests and measured temperature. Sitting idle, running Prime95 to stress the CPU, and FurMark to stress the GPU. They were run independently.

- I removed the little copper fins because it looked like they would be hitting the top bezel.

- Adding more copper next to the heat pipes likely does nothing. Yes, they are hollow. Heat pipes are not just solid conductors. They usually have a little bit of water in them, and then all of the air is sucked out, creating a vacuum before they are sealed. The low internal pressure means that the water will boil at a much lower temperature than 100°C. They are designed so that the water puddles near the CPU/GPU (whatever you are trying to cool) and then evaporates, taking a lot of heat with it. The water vapor travels up the pipe to near the fan/heat sink where it condenses, releasing the energy into that part of the heat sink so that it can be blown out of the laptop. The inside of the heat pipe also (usually) has some delicate wicking structure (think of it like copper sponge) that helps promote the flow of water inside of it. Anyway, I think that it is probably clear that heat pipes are more complex then they look from the outside!

- More copper does transport more heat, but there is always the law of diminishing returns at play. You could have a perfect heat pipe that poses no thermal resistance, but the whole heat sink might only function marginally better. You still have the imperfect conduction between the CPU/GPU die and the cold plate, and then the thermal resistance between the heat sink fins and the air. Adding copper wire likely does nothing to improve the overall performance of the assembly, and may even hurt it by reducing air flow over the heat pipes (if there is any).

- The main benefit that seems to come from the use of the T500 fan is that it is a little quieter than the T61p fan. That's all subjective based on unscientific listening tests by a few of us on here, so I may well be wrong. Does it cool better? That is unknown right now. Fans and air flow management are a pretty involved science, and while common sense would dictate that "more blades = more blockage" it may well not be the case. In fact, more blades may help to reduce blade tip and edge losses (air "leaking" around the blades rather than being pushed around), and it is all application-dependent. Anyway, I have the facilities at work to measure air flow on small fans like this, so maybe I will do that in the next couple of weeks.
W530 | 3920XM | 32GB PC3-12800 | Quadro K2000M | 500GB Samsung 840 | 256GB Samsung 840 | Win8.1 Pro

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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#26 Post by Rose » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:41 pm

Ok. thanks. Seems like a fair bit of reasoning.

It's just that, I cut a T61 fan assembly open, through the pipes. No water, No sponge thing/structure, just hollow. But then again, the water level could aswell be so low that it simply wasnt noticeable. Hmm...

The way I see it. thermal transport increases if the cut surface area increases. Reasonably, that should be the reason why the sinks on the T61p have larger pipes/one more of them compared to the T61 assembly. The ultimate solution should be to just have a massive solid plate of gold with the vents attached to it, but that would just not be a viable solution economicaly.

Just to elaborate what I did, I tried to solder my wires onto the existing pipe, but my soldering iron wasnt powerfull enough to heat it up enough. So It sits now fixated wth thermalpaste with the help of a glue gun. If i get hold of a more powerfull soldering iron, I will give it another shot.

Regarding the fan, do you know the wattage of it? Also, what is it that makes the T500 fan quiterer? Is it the fan engine/brush noise? Or is it the air venting that is quiterer? Whatever it is, The T61p fan is just so much quiteter compared to any T4x, and insanely more quiet compared to my T420s.

Also, the reason I asked about the vents you removed is because it should help dissipate even more heat with the intake air going into the fan. Adding more area for heat exchange should make a difference. Thats why I cant understand why you removed it.
Zbook 15 G2 16GB IPS Quadro K2000M / T420s 16GB Intel320 / T60p T7600 14.1" / T42p and T60p/T61p Boe-Hydis UXGA T9300 8GB Intel160-X25 1TB2ndHDD FrankNpad - In use.
Pre: T23 / T40's/ T40p / T41p / T42 9k6 14.1"/ T42p 14.1" / T43p 14.1" / X32 / T60p / T61p WS / W500 / X40T

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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#27 Post by bmwman91 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:20 pm

I think that you are on the right track in wanting to improve the thermal subsystem, and it is always good to toy around with things since that's how one learns!

- With that said though, we often learn the most from mistakes (god knows I have). There is a very good chance that you will damage the heat pipes, or have them come loose, if you try to heat everything up enough to solder wires onto/next to them. They are soldered down with a special fixture that applies even, controlled heat. On top of that, adding more copper next to them won't do anything measurable, assuming that the heat pipes aren't damaged. Honestly, adding more copper around the pipes won't improve them; the evaporative system inside conducts way better than solid copper.

- Copper is in fact a better thermal conductor than gold. Silver is slightly better than copper, but not much.

- Solid gold/silver/copper is not as good at heat removal as the water vapor transport system found in heat pipes. That's why they are designed they way they are! Water sucks up a lot of energy in the liquid=>gas phase change.

- There is definitely not enough water in there for you to find it when you cut one open.

- The fans are 5V @ 0.24A, so they require 1.2W to operate.

- The fan noise comes from the blades "beating" the air and creating pressure waves / turbulence. The shape profile and number of blades are all part of this, along with what is surrounding them.

- The little fins up at the top of the heat sink were serving as guides for the 3 antenna wires for the wireless-N card. They are positioned perpendicular to the incoming air, so they likely don't do anything useful, and may even hinder performance.

Don't take this as me trying to discourage you. Worst case, you have to go on eBay and spend $15 to replace a damaged heat sink and go a few days without a working laptop because it overheats. I work in the consumer electronics industry, and thermal stuff like this is where I got my start and where I still spend a lot of my time at work. I've tried it all over the years, and the T6x heat sinks really are pretty well engineered as it is. Fan designs do evolve over the years, and I think that the T500 one offers better acoustics for the same cooling, which is why I bothered to swap it into the T61p heat sink. Beyond that, I don't think that there is much low-hanging fruit left for improvement!
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#28 Post by Rose » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:41 pm

Ok. Well, what your'e saying seems fair. Im not going to argue against you. I just dont think an exact science is an exact science when it comes to consumer electronics. I honestly dont beleive for a second that soldering anything would ruin the fan assembly. What I do know, for a producer manufacturing products by the millions, every gram copper adds up in top dollars.

But you conviced me enough to just by curiosity buy another fan assembly and do the transplant as you did. See if there's any difference to it. In the mean time, the heatsink seems to work quite well. Atleast just as good if not better than my previous T61p WS.
Zbook 15 G2 16GB IPS Quadro K2000M / T420s 16GB Intel320 / T60p T7600 14.1" / T42p and T60p/T61p Boe-Hydis UXGA T9300 8GB Intel160-X25 1TB2ndHDD FrankNpad - In use.
Pre: T23 / T40's/ T40p / T41p / T42 9k6 14.1"/ T42p 14.1" / T43p 14.1" / X32 / T60p / T61p WS / W500 / X40T

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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#29 Post by bmwman91 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:25 pm

Sure, high volume electronics = penny pinching to the extreme. They don't put in any more copper than necessary to meet their reliability model/requirements.

Another note, sort of related, is that I undervolted the CPU as much as possible this weekend. The stock voltage for the highest multiplier is 1.200V. When I did this at home with the stock setting, the CPU was getting up to 94°C after 30 minutes of running Prime95 with the Small FFT load (seems to be the most CPU intensive for this CPU since the memory controller is elsewhere). I managed to get the voltage down to 1.075V and have Prime95 run stable for 4 hours; the lwer voltage dropped the CPU temp to 82°C! It also dropped the GPU temperature a bit too since the CPU isn't spitting as much heat out into everything else now. I think that undervolting is by far the best thermal mod that can be done! With tpfancontrol, the fan never even turns on at idle and the CPU stays at around 56°C.
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Re: My Frankenpad Conversion and Heat Sink Mods [+PICS]

#30 Post by Rose » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:55 pm

bmwman91 wrote: I think that undervolting is by far the best thermal mod that can be done! With tpfancontrol, the fan never even turns on at idle and the CPU stays at around 56°C.
Agree!!

What app do you use for undervolting your cpu? Last time I did that was with the T4x-series, but nothing really happened with "centrino hardware control" since then.
Zbook 15 G2 16GB IPS Quadro K2000M / T420s 16GB Intel320 / T60p T7600 14.1" / T42p and T60p/T61p Boe-Hydis UXGA T9300 8GB Intel160-X25 1TB2ndHDD FrankNpad - In use.
Pre: T23 / T40's/ T40p / T41p / T42 9k6 14.1"/ T42p 14.1" / T43p 14.1" / X32 / T60p / T61p WS / W500 / X40T

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