Change Thermal Paste MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ivoruest, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. ivoruest macrumors 6502

    ivoruest

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Guatemala
    #1
    I just wanted to know, how much will changing the thermal paste on your Macbook Pro with a good product such as those from Arctic enhance your Mac's temperatures?

    Is there a significant drop? Will it do any better? Will the fans run slower/quiet?
     
  2. paranoidmac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    #2
    dont change the thermal paste. you may screw your machine while attempting to change it. if you have temp related problems get it checked at an ASP.
     
  3. Bulletoine macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2012
    #3
    If you want to apply some new thermal compound from ARCTIC like MX-4, you should able to get additional 5c lower in temperature
     
  4. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #4
    Do you have overheating problems? If not, then it may not be worth reapplying thermal paste.

    That aid, if you have overheating problems, you might see a couple degree drops to 2-digit drops.
     
  5. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #5
    Fans should run more quiet which is the only reason I would do it for.
    How much you get depends not only on the new TLP. The difference between those isn't all that great. But also on how sloppy the factory job was. Afaik most of the temp drops come from just doing a better job at applying only just enough TLP and not too much as they do in the factory because it is safer if you don't take enough care.

    Toothpaste is a pretty good TLP the paste really doesn't matter all that much.
    If your temps are fairly good already. It will get you less. If your temps are worse than from many other people with the same notebook it may help a lot.
    Reported temp changes are often stupidly reported because the temps don't change as much but rather the fans slow down. Usually people report 5-10C changes but without much context info.

    If you do it would be nice if you could measure properly before and after with very specific workloads. And report back not just the temps but also the fan speed and run the benchmarks so long that the temps seem settled (no changing fan speeds).
    And maybe also use SMCFanControl to set the fans to full speed so as to compare the temps with the very same speed.
     
  6. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #6
    Your handle is quite accurate, isn't it? How do you know OP isn't capable of taking it apart and replacing the thermal paste?

    That being said, it WILL void your warranty if they catch it, so something to keep in mind for sure...
     
  7. Pentad macrumors 6502a

    Pentad

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    #7
    ivoruest, before you embark on something like this here are some thoughts that I feel are based on logic and common sense:


    1. Thermal Compound is an important part of keep your MBP running well by helping to draw heat from the CPU to the Heat Pipe. However, Thermal Compound as a limit on what it can do.

    When you read on MR where people claim that it lowered their temperture some astounding number it is just not possible. It is Thermal Compound, not Magic Compound.

    I think there are two forces at work here. I think people tend to exaggerate their experience a bit and I think the placebo effect also takes holds. I'm not saying people are intentionally lying but in the end it is just Thermal Compound. There is only so much it can do by the the laws of thermodynamics.

    If you read where somebody tells you that it lowered their temps by 30% then they had much bigger problems. Perhaps their old Thermal Compound had become dried or the heat pipe was not on correctly or who knows...

    I think you might see a 5 degree change depending on a lot of variables. I remain skeptical of 10 degree differences unless the cooling system had some problems.


    2. So, one side of the equation is lowering your temps by say 5 degrees. Well, to achieve that you have to tear down your MBP, risk damaging something, and also voiding your warrant (if it is still under one). For myself, I do not feel that the pros outweigh the cons.


    Now, people will probably reply to this post (and down vote it) and howl that they have seen insane temperature differences by using Brand X Compound. If you really could lower your temps by 30% by using Brand X, wouldn't all the tech sites be pushing it?

    Lastly, Maximum PC had a great article on Thermal Compounds, comparing each brand, some statics, and cost. Look there if you decide to reapply your Thermal Compound and can't decide on a brand.


    -P
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    You'll see some decrease in temps, but I think the savings will be minimal. Most people reported only a few degrees drop (Celsius)

    Is the risk of damaging your MBP, and voiding your warranty worth 5 degrees?
     
  9. Hackintosh Sr. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    #9
    I will just say this.

    If you change your own oil in your cars, you most likely will have no problem changing the thermal paste.

    If you have never touched a tool in your life, then don't F with it.

    You can think of it like that. It is super easy to do, but if you are the type of person who gets scared from tools and taking apart crap - you should just bake your crotch and live with it.
     
  10. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #10
    Not worth the hassle; The impact will be negligible at best say in the region of 5C and this is debatable as has been previously discussed. The thermal compound is definitely a key component of the cooling system, however the real life difference between various compounds is minimal at best, just adding up to a few degrees one way or the other.

    Those that report a significant reduction in operating temperatures are likely seeing the vast majority of the benefit from the removal of dust from the cooling system; fans, heat-sync `s etc, more care in the application sealing tapes from the fan bodies to the heat sync `s etc. This in general is never brought to the table as most are simply excited by the perceived transformation in temperature of their Mac, due to the reapplication of the thermal paste.

    I recently had to replace both fans in my Early 2008 15" 2.5Ghz Penryn MBP, this and cleaning out the heat-sync`s has brought the machines temperature and fan RPM`s down. Especially with older Mac`s unless for some reason you have monitored, documented the operating temperature and range from new it`s clearly difficult to benchmark any change accurately several years down the line, as you can see it can be very easy to asume that by replacing the thermal paste a tremendous difference can be obtained in operating temperatures.
     
  11. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #11
    This is not equivalent to changing your own oil. Changing your oil doesn't void your car's warranty, but changing the thermal paste absolutely does. I don't care how good you are with tools, don't mess with it unless you're having a major issue, and even then only if Apple isn't fixing it for you (or you're out of warranty).

    jW
     
  12. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #12
    I would try it.
    Probably will try it. In my experience if you do watch some guides and aren't an idiot that stuff really isn't rocket science. It is not that hard.

    I probably will do it when I have time and aren't so hugely dependent on the machine because it annoys me that with an external screen attached it is just too noisy. Only a few degrees less and I would get it to stay at its 2000rpm at low load with the external screen.

    An accurate before after comparison should include clean fans and cooler. Just cleaning those out can get you 5 C all by itself after the notebook ran for over a year. You need to compare dirty, clean, changed TLP. Would be very interesting. I won't be able to do it for another few weeks.
     
  13. Queen6, Jun 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #13
    You can alos use the likes of SMC fan control to prevent the heat building up in the first place by running the fans at 3K, keeping a machine cool is far easier than cooling down a hot system. I also use Rain Designs Mstand to elevate my MBP`s, if the machine is just on a flat desk the heat is absorbed and subsequently radiated back to the machine, just raising the rear of the machine will help with cooling.

    As my father would sometimes say "you can pull the engine out the car to see why it stopped, or you can just take look at the fuel gauge" ;)
     
  14. Riemann Zeta macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    #14
    I've run smcFanControl on every single x86 Macbook Pro I've ever owned, as the MBP has always been a hot machine. For some reason, the default SMC settings leave the fans on a very low rpm setting (with an occasional massive spike up to 6-7k), so running them at 3k rpm helps the temps be a bit more consistent (mine idles around 45 C on a 2.8 GHz Nehalem 2010 MBP running the NVIDIA discrete GPU exclusively).

    Now it is well known that Intel and most OEMs use the crappiest of crappy thermal paste for the CPU heatsink, so replacing it with one of the silver microbead compounds does make a difference. Apparently this is a big issue with Ivy Bridge, where the CPU die mount is covered by a metal heat spreader and is awash in crap thermal paste (making Ivy Bridge chips run hotter than they should). But completely taking apart a MBP, removing the CPU/GPU heatpipe and then removing the metal CPU heat-spreader to apply better compound is not a trivial task. So really think hard about whether those 5-8 deg are worth the ass pain of potentially damaging the CPU die.
     
  15. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #15
    How would they catch it assuming you don't break anything or shock components? I can't think of any warranty voiding stickers or anything of that sort. Are you suggesting that they'll see properly applied paste and know someone tampered with it:p?

    I've been concerned that the difference wouldn't be significant, which is why I haven't bothered doing this. It would annoy me if a new laptop hit throttling temperatures though.
     
  16. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #16
    Now we are getting into it 5-8C, not all have the skills, not all need to be so concerned. Unless your machine is throttling due to thermal overload you really have no concerns, there are so many inconsistencies right across the board that result in each and every Mac having a subtly different thermal signature.

    Apple looks to run their systems hot and quiet, with fans typically ramping up once the CPU is exceeding 80C SMC Fan Control and UltraFan can and do resolve this in differing ways; former allows manual control of fan RPM`s, latter looks to automatically maintain a preset temperature.

    At an elevated rate of 2500rpm my 15" MBP 2.4 i7 idles at 34C with an ambient temp of 27C, under full load it peaks in the high 90`s settling down to low 90`s, given the performance envelope of the system and the physical footprint the operating temperature is not unreasonable.

    You want thin, You want fast, you got it, you want to run cool, best look to a plastic encased PC laptop that`s about an inch more thick ;)
     
  17. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #17
    I'd agree with that.

    I've worked on my car back in the day, changing the oil etc.

    I've also built computers from the ground up and repaired them as a job. Just because you can change the oil in your car does not equate to the expertise to replacing the thermal paste in a laptop.

    Its not rocket surgery but you need to do it right or you'll risk cooking the CPU. The very action of applying the thermal paste voids your warranty so you need to weight the risks vs. rewards.
     
  18. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #18
    Quite possibly.
     
  19. ivoruest thread starter macrumors 6502

    ivoruest

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Guatemala
    #19
    Ok so firstly thank you all for your replys!
    Sencondly I guess will just take the machine and let the pros do it. I saw some videos and slides in iFixit and it doesn't look like an easy job.
    Thirdly I've decided those 5° may not be worth it. Thanks to all!
     
  20. Hackintosh Sr. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    #20
    I was trying to make an analogy but must have failed to get the point across.

    5 C shouldn't be the only test to validate. Your fan does not have to run at such a high RPM to leave it at the 5C difference.

    So a fan running at 6200RPM keeping the processor at 90C is not the same thing as the fan running at 2500 RPM keeping the processor at 85C.

    The results I got were pretty extreme. Did I do the right thing and test the way I just said? No.

    But if you are tired of your balls being on fire and you can open up a computer and you say that you have built machines....what are you waiting for?

    P.S. There is no way in Heck Apple would know you took it apart
     
  21. stevenb macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #21
    I just took my 17" MacBook Pro apart as both fans were noisy and the hard drive was only 200GB. I went to iFixit and got a new hard drive (750GB), two fans and thermal paste. I also bought a heat sink just in case something went bad. Also bought the necessary tools. Yes, the MacBook Pro was getting pretty warm with two noisy fans. I took my time and tore the computer apart. A bit intimidating at first, but all went well. It had not been apart in four years and there was a ton of dust bunnies around the heat sink. The thermal paste was minimal as well. Since I was there and had the heat sink, I just put the new one in. Only had one temp. sensor to re-attach to it. Put the thing back together and it works like a new machine. I spent a few hundred bucks in parts and tools, and burned about four hours. Lot less than a new one. Did a Time Machine restore and I was up and running. I am not going to make any wild claims. My computer runs about 20-30 degree's cooler now, and with no noise. YMMV.
     
  22. iRepairMacs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    Location:
    Knoxville TN
    #22
    Finally, someone who is brave enough to defy the advice of almost everyone who posted above. Long live the ones who are brave enough to try! If your Warranty has expired and you are somewhat technically inclined then I say go for it. Out of the 100+ laptops that I have repaired over 20 of them needed the thermal paste to be be reapplied. If you have tried all of the other solutions and your system still slags along, the fans are loud and your laptop runs hot then give it a shot. The simple fact of the matter is that Thermal Paste does dry out over time and needs to be reapplied. It amazes me how many people actually listen to and fear the advice of people who have no clue of what they are talking about. - Steven B knows what's up though, Kudos!
     

Share This Page