Why not to replace your laptop's thermal pad with thermal compound... - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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Why not to replace your laptop's thermal pad with thermal compound...

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I decided to tear apart my laptop, a Compaq CQ61, and replace the CMOS battery and clean the heatsink off. After I removed the heatsink I tore the thermal pad and thought it would be OK to just use Arctic Silver on the GPU and CPU. After I put it back together the laptop kept shutting off randomly. I had a feeling it was the GPU so I dug my old XFX HD 4890 graphics card gathering dust out of the closet, and took the heatsink off and cut out a square of thermal pad off one of the Vram and placed it on the laptop's GPU. Now it's running fine, so I'm a little curious why the heatpipe isn't attached more securely so that you can use thermal compound instead of a thermal pad on the GPU.

There is almost no tension on the GPU heatsink at all.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 06:05 PM
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Did it come originally with thermal compound or a thermal pad?, i actually had a similar issue when taking apart my laptop and installing AS5 but haven't tried installing a thermal pad on gpu..

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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It had a thermal pad on the GPU and thermal paste on the CPU. I guess a thermal pad works better.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 06:15 PM
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You have to use a thermal pad if the heatsink isn't making solid contact. The thermal paste can't fill a real gap, it's only meant to fill in tiny cracks between two surfaces that are clamped together.

The pads offer worse performance, but they work with a gap, while paste wont.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 06:18 PM
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That is unusual and likely a problem of lack of care in production/cost cutting. With almost all of the laptops I've taken apart the GPU makes direct contact with the heat pipes contact point. Wonder if you couldn't slip some cardboard in there somewhere to force contact...

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I know. This is what the heatpipe looks like. Same laptop. Skip to 8:18 to see the heatsink. You'd think the GPU heatsink would be screwed down also.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 07:33 PM
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Just tried and it's still shutting down itself so it's not my case =(

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 07:44 PM
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This is good info to know, thanks aweir.
although my alienware laptop with a nvidia gpu had thermal paste that I replaced a couple years
ago and it worked fine, but if I ever re-do one with a thermal pad I will be sure to replace the thermal pad
and not use paste.



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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 07:53 PM
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I can't speak on other manufacturers as I work mainly on HP's, but I can say this is pretty common for HP laptops. Mainly older ones though. They've gotten better at using thermal paste on the newer (late 2014-current) ones though. Pre-2014 it was pretty rare to see an HP with a dedicated GPU that used thermal paste and not a pad. Hell, even on some current models they are using pads instead of paste on even the CPU's with low TDP. But anyways, you should change your thread title. It's safe to use thermal paste on a laptop GPU as long as it came stock with paste, if it comes with a pad, only replace it with another pad.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 08:01 PM
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You need to fill the space with something, i usually use a sheet of thin cooper (0.5mm+/-) with thermal paste on both sides

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